Charlotte Slam Decisions

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 10/07/2007
Level: Advanced

Charlotte, North Carolina

The October, 2007 regional in Charlotte, NC provided several tough slam decisions. First, I held this unusual hand:

?J 10 9 7 6 5 4
?K 8 6 4 3

We were at favorable vulnerability and my LHO dealt and opened 2?. Partner doubled and RHO passed. Now what?

We were playing a popular treatment whereby 2NT would show any weak hand (requesting 3? from partner). Direct bids (without going through 2NT) would should values.

From RHO's failure to raise, it seemed partner had some spade length. Accordingly, he probably had a strong balanced hand, as opposed to support for all the unbid suits.

Rather than encourage him with 3? (showing values), I bid 2NT to show some weak hand. He now bid 3? (not the requested 3?) to say he had a hand too strong to overcall 3? the first time.

Now what? I bid only 4?--maybe another underbid. I was now afraid he held something like:

?A Q x x
?A K J 9 x x
?x x


Partner raised to 5? and again I took the low road and passed. I suppose I was too conservative, because his actual hand was:

?8 7 5 4
?A K Q J
?A Q 3
?A 7


That's quite a strange auction he took (double followed by 3?), but I can't say that I'm able to think of anything much better.

The ?K was wrong, but we still made 12 tricks and lost a swing when the other table played in 6? making. Next time, I'll bid more.

I got my chance later in the same match when I held:

?5 2
?J 10 7 6
?J 5 4
?A Q J 3


Partner opened a strong 1? and I bid 1NT to show 8-13 balanced. He asked with 2? and I showed 8-10 HCP and 4?. He now bid 3?, forcing to game.

I had 9 HCP (right in the middle of my range), but surely enough to make a control-bid of 4?. Over that he bid 4?. He was still interested in slam. Should I make another move?

Yes! Here is why. Surely he must have spades controlled (he knows I don't, since I bypassed 3? to bid 4?). Even though I don't have 10 HCP, I have one very important feature -- the J10 of trumps. Those have to be huge cards for partner. Picture him with, say, KQxx of trumps. If I held xxxx, slam would be terrible. With my actual J10xx, I wanted to make another move.

I invented a bid. I bid clubs again. Normally, this would show the ace-king, but this seemed close enough.

Partner jumped to 6?, ending the auction. He held:

?A 8 6 4
?A K Q 4 2
?K Q 2


I'm not sure we knew what we were doing, but this slam with 30 HCP was "laydown." We lost only the ?A (all the spade losers go on the clubs--nice ?J!)

This one wasn't bid at the other table, so we won back the slam swing. One out of two ain't bad.

To read about two play deals from Charlotte, click here.