The World Wide Bridge Contest is a long-standing tournament in the World Bridge Federation’s calendar, 2013 is its 27th year, and I do hope you all enjoyed this event and found the hands interesting and challenging – my thanks go to Eric Kokish for his excellent and most entertaining commentary. Gianarrigo Rona, President, World Bridge Federation.
Par for N/S is +1440 in 6NT, and many N/S pairs will get there once the decision to drive to slam is made, either when North represents his hand as quasi-balanced or when North judges that he will not need to establish South’s heart suit by
North will open (rarely, these days) a strong 2, or an artificial forcing bid of 1, 2 or 2. If N/S are given a free run and South is in a position to make a natural positive response in hearts before rebidding in notrump over North’s spade bid, North will usually simply check on aces in his favorite way and bid 6NT.
North might be motivated to try for the extra matchpoints accruing from the otherwise irrelevant 10-point difference between 6 and 6NT when both contracts can be made, but there is also a safety issue as 6[ might occasionally go down on a ruff.
Where South’s initial response is an artificial waiting bid of some sort (e.g. 2-2 or 2-2), perhaps due to the poor quality of the heart suit, North will plan to either show his suit before suggesting notrump, jump in his suit to set trumps
and initiate control-showing bids, or simply treat his hand as balanced without revealing his trick source. Although all are viable strategies, the straightforward approach of bidding spades will be the popular choice.
Where South has not yet shown his values (or his ace), he will need to take strong action and will not always have a comfortable sequence of bids to engage North in a constructive dialogue; some might underbid and risk missing slam altogether while others will drive to slam, guessing whether to play in spades or notrump.
At favorable vulnerability, many Easts will come in over a strong club, and some will compete over a strong two-level opening. As West won’t be able to cooperate in an obstructive campaign, N/S should be able to cope with a 2 or 3 overcall.
In practice, their task might be easier as a result because South, with two club stoppers, will be keen to bid notrump, and even if he doesn’t, North might bid notrump early to secure the declaration in that strain before branching out into spades.
Overall, few N/S pairs will miss slam and those who record only +680 will score particularly badly. 6NT will be the majority choice and the frequency of that choice will determine the fate of those who stop in 6. No one will go to bed
with the A, so we will not see any 13-trick scores in either spades or notrump.