Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A couple of weird slam decisions

I like cuebidding, in case you did not know this.  Very delicate exploration of slam.  so, when playing with a man the other day who did not play Stayman, a couple of slam decisions were a little more general principle.

The first was truly odd.  As dealer, I grabbed Axxx-void-Axxxxxx-xx out of the slot.  I expected a fair chance that, whatever my decision, the auction would return to me at the five-level.  I was right, but the exact auction was unexpected.  I started with One Diamond, figuring that this would be the best way to start.

1D - 2C - 5H - P - ???

Now THAT was unexpected!!!  What in the world does 5H mean by a man who does not play Stayman, but who actually seems to have a fairly good grasp of the game?!?!?  Weird.

I decided to pass, as a void looked ominous.  Partner had the somewhat expected -- two voids (clubs and diamonds), with Qxxx-AKJxxxxxx-void-void.  About right.  On the spade lead, he ducked to assure 11 tricks.  Sure enough, however, trumps split such that the Queen was protected AND the opening lead was a stiff spade.  Fortunately, on the other hand, the stiff spade was with the Q-x-x in hearts.  So, good stop.

The other.  I was dealt AKQxx-Q10x-10xxx-x and opened One Spade.  The auction then went:

1S - P - 3D - 5C - ?

Again, back to me at the five-level.  And, what is a jump shift here???

6D seemed fairly good, so that's what I tried.  Partner held an unexpected hand:


Kind of odd decision, but "the Rabbit" is a system with which I am not altogether familiar as to nuances and the like.  So, presumably 3D is the standard Rabbit Jump Shift.

As you can undoubtedly see, 6D has play.  If diamonds split 2-2, declarer can win five diamonds by force, two more diamonds by ruffs, one heart, three spades, and a 12th trick if spades split no worse than 4-2 or the spade Jack falls.  If diamonds split 3-1, then we need the spade Jack to fall. 

As it was, spades split very strangely.  LHO had Jxxxx in spades.  He also had three diamonds, along with KJ in hearts.  Jxxxx-KJx-Jxx-Ax.  RHO, therefore, held x-xxxx-x-KQJxxxx.  Partner lost trick one to a club and got a spade switch (?).  He won that and pulled three rounds of trumps before trying spades, finding the bad news, and ruffed a spade back to hand.  Now, a club ruff to dummy.  He now had five diamonds plus a ruff, three spades, and that heart Ace, for 10 tricks.  His best shot was a hail-Mary catch of stiff heart with RHO, so Queen-King-Ace...  Nope.  Still, I liked his line.

The moral?  Sometimes you have to guess.

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