The X(Club)Files

This article begins a new series that will comment on deals throughout the week. Readers may send requests to Vil ( for hints or comments on anything that puzzles them.

This freak deal occurred in a recent session. I still don’t know if I bid and played it correctly, but the end result was that I failed, as did a number of others. There is a lot to be discussed and learnt from the deal.

Board 12 from Friday 7/09/2019
Dealer W NS Vul


How would you bid the NS hands if there was no opposition bidding? And how would you bid the NS hands if West opened a weak 2D?

Let me address the second question first, because that is what West did when we played this hand. My partner had looked at her hand in astonishment wondering what to do with such a monster when West opened a weak 2D. North doubled, which was not the best bid because you cannot afford to have South pass the double, no matter what diamond or other cards South has. The destination surely must be a slam in ether major at least. North should cue bid 3D and then keep cue bidding diamonds until South is forced to bid his better major. But when North doubled, I bid 6C, surely reasonable enough. North bid 6S and I bid 6NT, knowing that whatever the case was, North had a great spade suit to which I had an entry, and that no doubt North also had a great heart suit as well. I was correct in my analysis when West started the defence with the queen of diamonds lead. Dummy was enough to blow my mind, but not enough to stop me thinking through the possibilities. The probability was that dummy had at least nine tricks and I had three,. But what could possibly go wrong? What could go wrong was that one or both of dummy's suits did not produce six tricks. If neither suit broke, the contract could surely not be made. But if either hearts OR spades broke, there would be twelve tricks IF I took took my three first, since there was no entry to my hand after the opening lead.

I came up with what I thought was the best solution but failed. If you can work out why, and how, I played the hand, your declarer play is better than mine. I will send you the final additional chapter of “Declare and Defend” on request. [Hint: beat Vil on this one by clicking here.] As for how to bid the NS hands with no opposition bidding, you should read my book “Thirteen Tricks and Evil Acol”.