Monday, May 16, 2011

Diamond Madness

Helping some friends practice for the CNTC Playdowns at the end of the month, had 2 very interesting slam hands come up involving Diamonds as the central theme. You are playing IMPS on both hands.

On the first, you pick up 4 AQ74 KJ87 T853 with everyone Vul and Pass in first seat. The opps are silent throughout and you bid a forcing NT over partners 3rd seat 1S opener. Partner now makes your hand better by jump shifting to 3D. So how do you plan to catch up in the auction now?

This hand bid 3H, planning on a delayed raise in Diamonds, but partner KO’d that idea by bidding 4H. This hand now bid 5D, and over partners 6C cue-bid, settled in 6D, the final contract. In the discussion afterward, it mainly centered around should this hand start with a Diamond raise to 4D, or show where the values are to start, and if so, how to catch up, since 5D can be a lot weaker hand. My suggestion that the person holding this hand liked, was to start with 3H, but then over 4H, show the strength and primary Diamond support by jumping to 6D, not 5D. After all, your hand has gotten awfully good on this auction, with partner virtually guaranteeing short Clubs.

This would have made it relatively easy for the other hand to raise to 7D on AKQ75 KT3 AQT64 ---. Since hearing that partner has a good hand with Diamonds and cards in Hearts is exactly what it needs.

The next hand, with everyone Vul, you pick up A943 K7 KQT8752 --- and hear it go Pass on your left, 1S by partner, Pass on your right. You make a 2/1 2D bid, and it goes 3C on your left, 4C by partner, 5C on your right, what now?

At the table, my partner bid 6C with this hand, showing the first round control and seeing where partner was going. I bid 6D, confirming that my 4C cue-bid was for Diamonds, and partner decided that I pretty well had to have the required cards on this hand to carry on to 7. Not sure if the interference propelled us to the grand, since there was a pretty good chance we were going there anyways on this hand when I showed a good hand in support of Diamonds.

This was not a play problem as I put down KQJ75 AT94 A43 T. I also liked the fact that partner played the grand in Diamonds instead of Spades. We have at least a 10 card Diamond fit, so the chances of a ruff on the opening lead are higher in Diamonds than in Spades, our probable 9 card fit.

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