My Bridge and Yours: Non-system bidding issues — part 6
Visualization II : I believe that the current emphasis on conventions and systems is unhealthy. In this series, I’m discussing natural bidding skills that learning players often neglect. Visualizing partner’s hand will help you judge auctions, especially when you have an unbalanced hand and need partner to hold particular cards.
AQ5 AQ 9652 J1082
Both sides vulnerable. North’s bidding suggests about 10 high-card points and a six-card suit. Why didn’t he open 2?
If he has either a minor suit void or four cards in spades, that should suit you fine. Bid 4. Players often miss inferences when partner passes, then competes.
J83 7 AK43 KJ642
Both vulnerable. North has a long suit, but didn’t open 2 or 3 . Maybe he has a two-suiter. Cuebid 3 and let him mention his other suit. If he has: 5 KJ9642 5 A10873, you can make 5.
6 J1053 A107 KQ853
North has a shapely hand to invite an 11-trick contract. He can’t have a singleton spade when you have one, nor can he have a singleton heart since he didn’t act over 1. He must have a singleton diamond. Bid 5. Your diamond holding is just right.
J65432 6 Q2 AKJ2
None vulnerable. Since East–West haven’t leaped about in hearts, North should have two or three, hence a singleton or void in spades. If you held: KQ6543 6 Q2 A654, your spade strength would be wasted, but your actual hand may produce a slam. Acting on a picture of partner’s hand is fine, but beware of bidding his cards.
In a Bermuda Bowl:
J105 A10 A54 AK975
South placed North with a singleton spade and went on to 5, expecting the hands to fit well.
North held: 7 K 9 3 2 8 7 2 J 6 4 3 2. North had the singleton spade — to justify his 4 bid. 5 went down while North–South at the other table made a club partial.
As South, you hold: AQ954 J75 A A753
What are your chances for a grand slam?
Taking high-card strength first, North must have super hearts. Since he did not cuebid 5 over 5, he probably lacks the K. If he had, say, the K plus the A K, he might have simply jumped to 6 at his last turn. Most of his values will be in hearts and spades. As for North’s distribution, if he is 4=5=3=1 or 4=6=2=1, 7, 7 or even 7NT will make. If he is 4=5=1=3, no grand slam may succeed. But if North is 4=5=2=2, only 7 will come home. (At hearts, North can ruff a diamond for the 13th trick.) If you try any grand slam, it should be 7.
North’s hand is: KJ82 AKQ94 Q6 J4 The key is visualizing a club discard on your fifth spade. (A diamond discard won’t help, since you have that suit under control.)
KQ85 AJ753 A6 AJ
Partner must have the K Q since he leaped to slam without the A and your spade honors. Bid 7 , since partner’s fifth spade can provide a discard for one of your minor-suit losers.
His hand: AJ1094 KQ104 Q54 5.