X-Clubs 58

This deal came from our local club’s AGM bridge session preceding the formalities. I thought other X-Clubs readers should find it of interest. We heard recently of the passing of John Wignall, one of our bridge icons. John earlier partnered the late Frank Lu for many years and Frank’s favourite phrase was “Slowly slowly catchee monkey”. We know what that means at the bridge table.

Here is a good example of how to get to the best possible end result the careful and slow way.
Dealer North NS Vul


The bidding in this session started with 1D from North and 2C from South. Then almost invariably North made the ‘book’ bid of 3NT. Some Souths were now encouraged to go on to asking for aces and settling for 6NT. This was not successful when the defence led a spade and then defended carefully.

However a number of Norths in 3NT did make twelve tricks when, with eleven top tricks there for the taking, the declarers persuaded East to part with a club. Whether declarer ducks the first trick or takes it immediately, there is no proper squeeze in operation as long as East keeps all three clubs and leaves West to look after the spade suit. We won’t go into the intricacies of the play but look instead at the bidding.

When South responds with 2C, North’s jump to 3NT is too hasty, even though that is what we are taught as learners. With a doubleton spade and three good clubs in support of South’s 2C response, North should find a slower way to discuss possibilities. A bid of 2H is the perfect answer. Because this is a) a reverse and b) game forcing opposite a two over one response, the partnership is now free to take things slowly. South rebids 3C, there is still no need to jump to 3NT despite the spade stop. 3NT can wait IF it is the right spot. North is now very interested in South’s club rebid and with club support should raise to 4C, anticipating a slam in clubs if South can show interest. South now bids 4D, a cue bid that encourages North to now cue bid 4H and South can reciprocate with 4S. Now 6C (NOT 6NT) should be a sensible slam, because while North might well be hopeful of a grand slam in clubs, not enough is known about all the cards. And in a match point session there is plenty of evidence that bidding ANY slam that makes usually scores well over 80%. Not one pair bid to 6C and only one to 6NT. Since 6NT failed but 6C was a very easy make, what more proof do we need that slams should be bid in the best trumps suit when there is one, and not in No Trumps. And that there is a time and a place for ‘slowly slowly’ and a bit of improvisation helps. When you think about it, is there any way that a reverse to 2H was going to hamper the bidding conversation?