When to bid seven hearts – and when not to by Zia Mahmood

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Suppose that this is your hand…And suppose you discover at an early stage in the auction that partner…

By Zia Mahmood
On 18 April, 2015 At 15:14

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Zia Mahmood
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the guardian Thursday 7 January 2010

Suppose that this is your hand:

  A J 10 9 7 2     A K Q J 5 4 2 

And suppose you discover at an early stage in the auction that partner has excellent support for hearts – five or even six cards in the suit. What would you do?

You would expect seven hearts to make. But in real life, to bid seven hearts at once is likely to be a losing proposition, because the opponents will realise that you expect to make it and will therefore sacrifice against it. The trick is to convince them that you are the one doing the sacrificing. When the hand was dealt, in the final of the trials for this year’s US team in the world championships, this was what happened.

East-West vulnerable, dealer West.

Mano Z

At one table, North’s actions were astonishingly timid:Z S


Seven hearts made easily, and North-South collected 14 IMPs.

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