Both vulnerable

Both vulnerable

Play Bridge: Double fit with Jacoby

"We saw the exact same hands in last week’s column, but the bidding is extremely different."

We saw the exact same hands in last week’s column, but the bidding is extremely different. Last week, North first bid Two Diamonds followed by a series of forcing bids, a choice he made out of three possible bids. The other two possibilities were splintering by making a double jump shift into his shortness, or bidding Jacoby Two No Trump.

Splintering is out. He has the correct trump support and the required shortness, but splinters are for hands that have enough strength for game and not much more. Jacoby is a better bid as it allows more space for slam exploration. However with Jacoby, the opener will be unaware of partner’s shape.

Shape is just as important or better than knowing partner’s strength. The strength will become apparent later in the auction.

There are some hands where Jacoby Two No Trump is by far the better bid, but this hand is not one of those.

The bidding: South opens One Spade and North realizes he can use Jacoby Two No Trump, a convention that must be good because it is a popular convention and he is dying to use it. He bids Two No Trump.

Partner bids Three Clubs showing his shortness in clubs.

North is spurred on by this shortness because he has no wasted values in this shortness and starts a cuebidding sequence with a Three Diamond bid. Slam tries below game should be automatic when one has extra values or no values opposite partner’s shortness. He has both.

South, now cuebids clubs, showing first round control. His first club bid was not a first-round-control cuebid, but the second club bid clarifies that he has first round control as well as shortness. It must be a singleton ace or a void.

One does not show shortness with a singleton ace, king or queen because partner will discount a King in the suit so it must be a void. A King or Queen opposite a singleton honour (AKQ) has value because it represents a potential pitch. A King or Queen opposite a singleton Jack or lower has little value.

North shows the heart controls and South, the diamond control. South can bid six. Without knowing about the excellent diamond fit, they cannot find the grand like they did last week. Thus Jacoby Two No Trump is the second best bid for this example.