Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Not Every Hand is a Slam Hand

My opponents got into a heated argument last night about the defense of my 5S contract. The best defense is a diamond lead, trumped by Opener, a club back, and a second diamond ruff, for down one. But, how clear is this defense?

The auction had been 1H-1S-2H-4S-5H-5S-P-P-P.

Opener had a void in diamonds. When he started to berate his partner for not using his extra-sensory perception to find the diamond lead, I noted that he had missed the golden opportunity to cuebid 5D as a lead-director, which would have resulted in no doubt as to the opening lead. The response was the 5D is not a possible bid, as this would be a slam try, with a real diamond suit.

There must be a point where practicalities rule. This auction seems to scream for such an approach. The key factors screaming for 5D as a lead-director are (1) Responder will be on lead, (2) Responder has shown relative weakness, such that slam is remote, and (3) Opener had the option of a forcing pass as an alternative for slam purposes.

A good partnership should agree on when cuebids are for slam purposes and when cuebids are for lead purposes. This seems to work better than ESP, in my opinion.

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