Playing in our weekly IMPS game, had the following interesting hand come up. All vul, I picked up AJ2 T863 T9 QJ84 and heard it go 1D by partner in first seat, 1S overcall on my right. This is the poster child for a negative double, and LHO bid 3S, pre-emptive over it. Partner now cue-bid 4S, pass back to me.
I felt I needed to slow the hand down a little here, my values did not appear well placed, so I bid 4N. Since we do not have any suit agreement yet, just values, I hoped this would imply values in Spades. Partner now bid 5C over that, and I felt I had a problem. I assumed from this auction that partner was a good 6-4 or perhaps 5-4 in the minors. My hand was actually not that bad, considering. If partner had a 6-4 hand something like x AK AQxxxx AKxx, then slam was a good prospect. The question was, how much less could he have for the 4S bid and the 5C follow up?
I finally decided that he had to be showing 1 of the very good variations, and raised to 6C, ending the auction. The opening lead was a Spade, and partner won the A while following with a little Spade. He now played the Q of Clubs off dummy, which held, then a small Club to the K and A. Finally, another Club to board, RHO following while LHO pitched a Spade. I thought with bad Clubs, he had to have a great Diamond suit on this hand, but he now ran the 10 of Diamonds, losing to the Q on my right. Back came a Heart, and based on a confidentiality agreement with pard, I will not disclose the rest of the play, other than to say it made 6:)
Turns out partner held x AKQ AJxxx ATxx. I think that is a 4C bid (or double) on this auction, your suits are too poor to force to game, and partner is not shy, will bid most games that have a shot. I think the Q of Hearts has to be in 1 of the minor suits to bid 4S.
It turned out we did not have to bid the poor slam to win the hand though. At the other table, strange things occurred, and when the opponents did not overcall, the auction proceeded 1D-1H-2C(!)-P. So bidding and making game would have won us almost as many IMPS as the slam. This is not something you expect that often, I guess the big hand assumed if partner could not bid over 2C, they were not missing much, but after 1D-1H, I think that hand improves too much not to try 3C.