Double Dummy 21

This is not a double dummy play problem but more about bidding, featuring yet again what seems to be the constant shunning of the minor suit slam. It is true that in this deal, 3NT played by North and making overtricks would have scored over 80% so you might say, why worry about bidding any slams. At match points it is no big deal, but at teams, bidding the good slams can make a huge difference. But let’s see why a very good small slam (which makes an overtrick played double dummmy) was either too difficult to bid, or simply eschewed in favour of the easily bid 3NT.

Board 7 from Thursday 23/05/24
Dealer S All Vul


I can’t imagine any crazy West coming into the bidding when South opens 1C, so let’s ignore that. North bids 1S and South REVERSES with 2H. That should show at least 17 HCP and 5+ clubs and four (or, rarely, more) hearts. This is where you need to have an understanding about bidding after a reverse. The old ‘rule’ was that a reverse was ‘forcing to 2NT’ so North would bid 3NT with the values that North has in this deal. That would end the auction. Is South ever likely to pass 2NT? I don’t think so, and I know some Norths would bid 2NT to give the discussion more time. But why would North not tell South what South might really want to know, and what might help the auction continue meaningfully? I play 3C in this auction as 100% forcing, since we are now past 2NT (simple minded!).

This makes the discussion so easy it should be a breeze to bid the small slam in clubs. There are now two ways to 6C. South can ask for key cards and when North shows ‘two without the queen of trumps’, quietly settle in 6C. Or, South can bid 3S to show secondary spade support, and North now bid 4NT to ask for key cards. One or two pairs across X-clubs did bid 6S but none were in 6C. A couple also tried 6NT which required an anti percentage guess in the club suit. Those in 6C would not worry about a potential club loser!

P.S. There is another path to 6C if North does not bid 3C, thinking it would be a weak bid and South might pass. 3D, fourth suit forcing, can also lead to 6C but I leave that to the reader to work out how, as also I leave the reader with a double dummy problem of how to make 7C.