Take a Cue ..

There are cue bids and there are cue bids, different ones for different occasions. If you don’t play cue bids at all, or play them badly, your bidding becomes much more difficult. If you do play cue bids and pass up the chance, or maybe even ignore the opportunity, you won’t always get the right result. This deal comes from a Swiss pairs match, where getting to the best game is of huge importance. It would also have taken place in match point sessions at other X-Clubs.

Board 23 from Tuesday 10/03/2020
Dealer S All Vul


The results on this board varied, from 3NT making, 3NT down two, and 6D DOWN 2!! That last result must have been heartbreaking for poor East, having reached a makeable slam while others were in an unmakeable 3NT.

Those who made 3NT made because NS did not defend well enough. It should be easy enough when a spade is led and spades continued until declarer takes the third spade when forced to do so. Then declarer runs diamonds but North keeps three hearts and South keeps ace of clubs and a spade to lead to North. That is all that is required. As for the 6D down two, West must have got the jitters when faced with the problem of having to make an unlikely slam. No need to discuss the play, is there? You can try it yourself by clicking here.

The correct contract, as I see it, is 5D. East should be able to get enough information, no matter how the bidding goes (as long as North does not jump to 3S when West opens 1D) when North overcalls either 1S or 2S, and this is where cue bids are necessary, not just a crude leap to 3NT. One spade stopper may not be enough, so East should cue bid in spades. West will then bid clubs and continue bidding clubs to 5C and East will settle for 5D.

I will be writing much more on cue bids later, but for now, a tip: when you have a great fit in one suit, the ace alone in opponents’ suit is seldom good enough in No Trumps but will provide a very useful first round control in a trump contract. Is it not better to play in 5D making an overtrick, than 3NT down one, whatever the system of scoring may be? But of particular importance in teams play.