Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jennbridge: Whaddya call an 8-card suit?

I picked up an eye-opener on Tues. in a STAC game playing with Lynn B. 

♠ x
♣ Ax

At favorable vul., RHO passed and I opened 1D.  LHO bid 3S and partner bid 4H. RHO passed and it was back to me.

The good news is that partner has values (and hearts!).  With my 4-loser hand I am thinking seriously of slam.  Originally I was thinking of a diamond slam, but now, at matchpoints, I must consider hearts.  I put off my decision by bidding RKC Blackwood, seeking additional information.

Partner answers 5H, showing 2 controls (aces since I have the heart king) without the queen of hearts.

Had her response been 5S, showing 2 controls with the queen of hearts, I probably would have bid 6H.  In this case, however, having been tipped off to the fact that suits were likely to break badly by the 3S preempt, I veer back to diamonds and bid 6 diamonds.  All pass.

A surprising 5 of hearts is led (must be a singleton!) and I view the dummy:

♠ Axx
♣ xxx

♠ x
♣ Ax

As I study the hand, it looks like I can set up the heart suit for a pitch, which should take care of my losing club.  Therefore my main concern is the diamond suit, although it occurs to me that if LHO has only 1 heart, she probably has more than 1 diamond.  It also occurs to me that we have landed in the right contract.

The heart 8 is covered with the 10 and I win the king.  The AK of diamonds reveal a 2-2 break, drawing the trumps.  A heart to the ace followed by the jack of hearts, covered and ruffed, sets up the heart I need for the club discard.  I now return to dummy with the ace of spades and pitch my losing club on the heart 9.

STAC Tues. aft

Board 32
West Deals
E-W Vul
♠ 2
K 6
A K J 10 8 6 5 4
♣ A 3
♠ 8 5
Q 10 7 2
9 2
♣ K Q 10 9 4
♠ K Q J 10 9 7 4
Q 7
♣ J 7 5
♠ A 6 3
A J 9 8 4 3
♣ 8 6 2
Pass1 3 ♠4
Pass4 NTPass5
Pass6 All pass
6 by North
Made 7 — +940

Plus 940 was a top.  Only one other pair bid the diamond slam and they made only 6.  About half of the field went minus (presumably bidding the doomed heart slam) and there were a couple of 420's for heart games and a 440 for 13 tricks in diamonds.

Interestingly, with the diamonds coming in, 6NT also makes:  8D, 2H, and the two black aces.

So the answer to the question--"Whaddya call an 8-card suit?"--is an old tongue-in-cheek bridge adage:   TRUMPS!

See you at the table!

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