North south vulnerable

North south vulnerable

Play Bridge: Final column for slam series

"This is the last column in my slam series and the start of a series on competitive bidding."

This is the last column in my slam series and the start of a series on competitive bidding. Right after that, I will start a series on lying and then the Two-Over-One Bidding System.

The bidding: South opens One Spade. West has nothing to say with all of his high card points outside of his long suit, so he passes. North, knowing the partnership will make game, bids Jacoby Two No Trump. He hand is too strong for a jump to four of the major, and he is too strong for a splinter bid. All he needs, from partner, to make game is 10 points. For example, if North were in first seat, he would open One Spade and go to game after a limit raise. An equivalence of 15 points is too strong for a splinter.

Over Jacoby Two No Trump, East jams the auction with a bid of five diamonds. Assuming hearts distribute around the table evenly, he has five losers, three of which are in hearts. At favourable vulnerability, Five Diamonds is the correct bid.

If South has slam interest and Diamond shortness, he would pass Five Diamonds and pull partner’s obligatory penalty double. The pass is a forcing pass because when North and South have enough for game, the opponents cannot play, if they play at all, undoubled.

However, if South has slam interest but has two or more losers in the opponent’s suit, he bids the Last Train, Five Hearts. It asks partner to go to slam with a singleton in opponent’s suit and possibly a grand with a void or singleton Ace. North goes to Six.

The Lead: The Ace of Diamonds then a Club for partner to hopefully ruff. From the bidding, East is unlikely to have the Ace of Clubs but may have a void. It is unlikely in the absence of a Lightner double.

The play: Declarer holds his breath as East follows to the Club lead, draws trump and claims.

Result: Six Spades making for +1430.

Note: A heart or diamond sacrifice would be foolhardy with the obvious diamond misfit. A pre-empt jams the auction but also warns partner to stay out of the auction with shortness in the pre-empt suit. In a previous column, I stated that one certainly would not want to be at the three-level with a double misfit, so one would certainly avoid the five-level in a similar situation.