Friday, October 24, 2008

Mirror Auction

Opener: ♠AQxxx ♥KQx ♦xxx ♣Kx
Responder: ♠Kxxx ♥Axxx ♦x ♣Axxx

This set of hands was provided to me for analysis. I found something interesting here.

The auction with the opening bid as indicated in easy, whichever route you take.

Option #1: Opener starts with a 1NT opening. 14 HCP, five-card suit, three hearts - sure. Responder bids Stayman; Opener shows spades. Responder splinters; Opener accepts. Easy.

Option #2: Opener starts with a 1♠ opening and a 2/1 GF sequence commences. 1♠-2♣. At this point, I am a tad weird and like 2♦ by Opener. It works well when Responder can now bid 2♠. Opener bids 3♣ (two of the top three spades for bypassing 2NT, one of the top three clubs). Responder bypasses diamonds (none of the top three honors) to cue 3♥ (heart control). Opener cues 3NT (serious because tactical), allowing Responder to bid his stiff diamond (4♦), also denying two top clubs. That should be enough.

Option #3: Immediate or delayed splinter. 1♠-4♦, or my way (1♠-3♣ ,multi-purpose spade raise; 3♦ asking; 3♥ for undisclosed stiff; 3NT asking; 4♦).

The one "bad" auction would be 1♠-2♣; 2NT-3♠; 3NT(maximum for a minimum)-4♦; 4♥-??? This is why I really like the 2♦ call.

In any event, switch who opens now. This makes it a lot more difficult, unless you are empathetic.

1♣-1♠; 2♠-? Responder should visualize that a perfect minimum with a stiff diamond is possible and bid 3♣ as a cuebid of a club card to give Opener space to splinter. Opener should remember that 3♣ is not always just a game try and should now kick into slam try bidding (since he will accept), jumping to 4♦. A lot of people, however, will typically mess these auctions up.

In practice, no one facing these two hands found the slam. I'm not sure, in the real world, who opened. Heck, some people may have auctions where the long-spade hand opens after a pass from partner. That would create, I suppose, a third possible sequence:


Again, Opener should know his partner well enough to realize that a pass is possible with this partner. A fair finish:


Well, 25 HCP slams are a bit tough.

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