Playing in our weekly IMPS league, had a few hands come up that presented problems (opportunities) for all involved.
The first hand, you pick up this hand all Vul. A A54 J8xxxx xxx and hear it go P, 1S, 2S (Michaels) to you. You decide not to take a call here, and it now goes 3H, 4D, 4H back to you. I think this is a pretty easy 5D call here, which goes, P, P, 5H back to you, so what now?
First, do you even know who is sacrificing on this hand, or is anyone? The person on your right must have a pronounced 2 suiter to be bidding this way, and partner is probably fairly distributional as well. You have 2 fairly sure defensive tricks, but negative defense in Diamonds. (I count negative defense when you have a holding that will subtract from partners expected defensive tricks, here you do not expect to cash very many Diamonds) I would expect that you will beat 5H about 50%-75% of the time based on the 2 tricks that you have and 1 hopeful trick from partner.
The next question is, what are your chances in 6D? If you receive a Heart lead, and partner can pull trump and set up Spades for Club discards, fairly good, but will you receive a Heart lead on this hand? Give partner a hand like KQxxx --- AQxxx Kxx and you are a favorite for 6D, since 2 Clubs can not cash, even with less in Clubs, you would make on a Heart lead. However, I would expect a 6D bid will not receive a Heart lead in many instances, so would not count on those versions very often. All in all, I would bet that it is about 50-50 as to whether doubling 5H vs bidding 6D is better, and the payback on 6D is a lot higher, so the nod has to go in that favour. At the time, I thought 6D was a funny bid, but looking at it in retrospect, it is probably a close choice.
In reality, it is the winning choice, 6D goes down 2, but 5H was not going down on this hand. Rho was 1-7-0-5 with the AK of Clubs. At the other table, the auction went 1S-4H, and the 1S bidder did not take any action over 4H.
The next hand, All Vul, you pick up T9842 A5 AQJT6 J and hear it go 4H in first seat on your right, your bid? This has put you under tremendous pressure, and it is usually right to get in the auction with a good 2 suiter, but does this Spade suit qualify you? Think about what you would bid (in tempo remember) and I will tell you what happened at the 2 tables next.
At my table, my RHO bid only 3H, giving me almost the same problem. I decided this hand did not qualify for any sane bid, so passed, which went P on my left, 4C by partner, P on my right. I bid 4S, which went Double, P, P back to me. I did not relish running to partners suit with a singleton, I was not sure he would thank me, so decided to sit it out, at least partner would not have to play it. The opening lead was the Q of Hearts and partner put down an amazing hand, A65 3 87 AQTxxxx. The K of Diamonds was onside, and the defense made a small error in the Spade suit, allowing me to make an overtrick for +990 and a loss of only 7 IMPS.
Finally, you pick up xx KQT8xxx Ax Kx and open 1H in first seat, all Vul. Partner bids 2C over this and you rebid 2H, partner now bidding 2S, back to you.
At the table, my partner decided to slow things down with a 2N bid here, which got raised to 3N. Worried about being able to take 9 quick tricks after the expected Diamond lead knocks out his A, he opted to run to 4H, which bought the contract. The opening lead was the K of Spades, and this dummy tracked, A9xx --- Q9x AQT9xx.
Partner ducked this trick, and won the A on the Q of Spades continuation. He came to hand with the K of Clubs to play the K of Hearts, won by the A on his right, and he ruffed the Spade continuation (A Diamond switch would have been nastier). He now continued the Q of Hearts and when the 9 dropped under this, was able to drive out the J, win the now Diamond continuation, pull trumps, and run the Clubs for making 4. 3N was definitely easier though.
At the other table, this hand decided to bid 3H over 2S on the same start to the auction. He now received a 4H bid, a bid I really like, but decided that if partner had Heart support and a good hand, he had a great hand. 6H was not a success.