Both Vulnerable

Play Bridge: How to complete a slam both ways

Tips and tricks for bridge players from beginner to experienced.

I have used the hands shown to end my most recent workshops. They come from a deal in the Swiss team event of a recent Spokane sectional.

The bidding: West, with 13 HCP’s and six Hearts, opens the bidding with One Heart. North makes a Two Club vulnerable overcall. This is the minimum holding for such an overcall. If he had KJxxx, North would have passed, and either he or his partner would balance if the auction were to pass out at the two-level or lower.

East has nine points in support of Hearts because the singleton with four-card support is three points. Therefore East bids Two Hearts. South has more than just a little tolerance for Clubs so he bids Two Spades guaranteeing five Spades and Club tolerance. West bids Four Hearts, and North bids Four Spades.

South passes, and West does a calculation. The opponents have an eight-card or better Spade fit. Therefore, partner, at most, has one Spade. In order for Six Hearts to be cold, partner needs the Heart King and Diamond Queen.

This is five points and if these are not part of Partner’s six to nine, the contract may still make on a finesse. Six Hearts is a good bid playing against good opponents making good bids.

North has no more to say. If partner does not have good support in clubs, Six Spades could be creamed in the Diamond suit alone. He passes and South has to do a calculation of his own. It is very likely the opponents have a nine or ten card Heart fit.

Therefore partner has a singleton or void. Six Spades is, at the very most, down one or two. Doubled this would be -500, much better than -1430 and even -680.

East throws up his hands in despair because he does not have a clue whether a double or Seven Hearts is the better bid. He doubles to get what positive score they can get.

The Play: To set the contract, West must underlead the Diamond Ace and King, and then East must play a club for a ruff. This will never happen, so Six Spades makes Doubled for +1660.

South just has to ruff the second diamond, then ruff one Heart in Dummy, draw trump and claim. In hind sight, East should have made a Seven Heart sacrifice for down one.

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