Live by Your Convictions
You are dealt Kxx-AJx-AKxxx-Ax. Your opening bid?
I think, as did USA II, that this qualifies as a strong 2NT opening. Eight controls, plus a very good five-card diamond suit, certainly suggests an adjustment upwards.
Partner, with Axx-Kxxxx-Q-J10xx, certainly has a strange hand. Stiff Queens are difficult to evaluate. 5-4 hands do have play possibilities. However, the practical sequence seems to be to transfer to hearts (3D) and hope for a super-acceptance. If not, bid 3NT and hope that partner, if he has the golden hand, takes action.
That was the start:
Once deciding that this hand is strong enough for a 2NT opening, why back off now? Your strong control count has not changed. If anything, your hand now has a technical distribution point (Ax in clubs), and you have a trick source. I would consider this about as strong as one could imagine for this sequence, as you would evaluate up a stronger HCP hand and open 2C (or a Precision 1C, if that is your approach).
Suppose that Opener uses my technique of "de-nebulizing" a balanced opening when super-accepting. Opener has a clear 4D call, showing two of the top three diamonds and a three-card heart super-acceptance.
How interesting for Responder. His stiff Queen now can easily be evaluated. It fills in the diamonds. Even if Opener only has three diamonds, Responder can play well opposite xxx in spades for no spade losers. This certainly will re-interest Responder in slam prospects.
Do you really want to hand 13 IMPs to the opposition?