North South vulnerable

North South vulnerable

Play Bridge: Handling the two-suited slam

"This is a hand that occurred in a BridgeBase Online tournament."

This is a hand that occurred in a BridgeBase Online tournament. With this column, I wish to dispel point counting. It is tricks that make contracts not points. People also have the misconception that if an opponent opens one No Trump, they should only seek a partscore not a game. This example shows where not only a game is possible but also a slam is cold.

The bidding: West has a balanced 14 high card points and a very good five-card suit so he opens a 15 to 17 One No Trump. I tend to do this only when partner is a passed hand. If partner has not bid, he could have 18 points and raise 1NT to 6NT, missing two aces since 18 plus 14 is a point shy of 33. However, West’s hand contains an adequate potential of tricks for a One No Trump opening.

This example illustrates the importance of having a bidding defense against One No Trump. Opponents try to open One No Trump as much as possible, even when others think they should not.

North and South are using a defensive system called Meckwell (after two current famous bridge players, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell). It is also called modified DONT (Disturbing Opponent’s No Trump). A double shows either a long minor or both majors. Partner has to bid Two Clubs, which will be passed or corrected to Diamonds. If the bid of Two Clubs is corrected to Two Hearts then both majors are being shown.

South jumps to Three Hearts showing both majors and a big hand. North bids Five Hearts asking partner to bid six with two out of the three top Heart honours. South complies with this small slam force.

The Lead: The King of Diamonds is a natural lead.

The play: South draws trump and can afford to lose one Spade but not two. He cashes the Ace of Spades, sees the Jack fall and then plays a little spade, thus making his contract.

Result: Six hearts by South making for +1430.