Here's a hand from the finals of the Nail Life Master Open Pairs played recently at the San Francisco NABC. My partner, Larry Hansen, had an unusual hand after I opened one notrump and had to both guide and force the bidding in an effort to get to the best contract.
I opened 1 notrump with: (Board 2, 1:00 game, Nov. 24)
Partner bid 2♠, which is a relay to 3♣ after which partner can describe his hand--a hand weak or strong in one or both minors. After I bid 3♣, he bid 3♠, showing a slammish hand with diamonds. With my strong holdings in the majors and weak diamonds, I bid 3NT, denying interest in diamonds.
He then made a surprise bid of 4♣. This bid hadn't exactly been discussed and I had to decide what to do. He had a way to show a hand that was strong in both minors by bidding 3NT over my forced 3♣. So it didn't sound like that. Perhaps it was Gerber, ace-asking. I decided to treat it as such and bid 4♠, showing two aces.
Partner now surprised me again by jumping to 6♣! What is going on here? Did he misbid earlier in the auction and he really had clubs? Did he have both minors? Should I correct to 6NT with my strong holdings in the majors?
I really wasn't sure what was going on--I was just along for the ride. I decided to trust my partner, however--to trust that he had bid correctly and was trying to send me a message. Accordingly, I passed 6♣.
Wow--nice hand. I got a spade lead and starting on diamonds, planning to ruff a diamond in my hand. LHO, whose original diamond holding was K8, won and returned a spade. Now I played the ♣Q and ♣A, both opponents following, and ruffed a diamond with my ♣J. Now it was a simple of getting to the board to draw the last trump and claim.
Plus 920 was worth 73 out of 90 matchpoints. Several pairs had minus scores. Six notrump doesn't make because you have to lose 2 diamonds.
Most of us are unable to discuss every possible auction and must do our best to guide and force the bidding as the situation requires. A successful partnership is amenable to that.
See you at the table!