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Try to play through the hand

In a long uncontested auction, because one player generally describes his hand more precisely than his partner, that partner will often know so much that he can actually play out the possible final contracts in his mind during the auction.

North Deals
N-S Vul
A J 7 2
A Q 5
10
Q J 6 3 2
10 9
3
7 6 5 4 3
A 10 9 8 5
N
W   E
S
Q 8 6 5 4
9 6
Q J 9 8 2
7
 
K 3
K J 10 8 7 4 2
A K
K 4
West North East South
  1 ♣ Pass 1 
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 
Pass 3  Pass 4 N
Pass 5  Pass Pass
Pass

South’s 1  reply to 1 ♣ was correct – it is rarely sensible for responder to jump in a new suit; North’s 1 ♠ revealed an unbalanced hand with five ♣s and four ♠s; South’s 2  was “fourth suit forcing” – showing a game-going hand and asking partner for more information; North’s jump to 3  showed his exact distribution and North asked for aces with 4 NT. What should South have bid after North’s 5  response (two aces)?

South’s actual choice of 6  seems reasonable, but West found the devastating defence of leading ♣ A and following with a second ♣. East trumped and the contract had failed.

After four rounds of bidding, South knew his partner’s hand very accurately and should have counted the tricks available to his side. His partner’s hand was known to be of the type: ♠ Axxx,  Qxx,  x, ♣ Axxxx (actually better - he opened the bidding and jumped to 3  over 2 ). South could count twelve tricks and should have bid the twelve trick contract that avoids the risk of the opponents trumping – 6 NT. This contract would have made easily by flushing out ♣ A early.

ANDREW’S TIP: When partner has revealed his hand very accurately, play the hand in your mind during the auction in order to choose the final contract.

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