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Picture partner’s hand

The British Ladies emerged victorious by less than one game swing in their match against The Parliamentarians, held last summer at The House of Commons. This exciting deal occurred near the end:

South Deals
None Vul
10 4 3
Q J 9 7 5 3
J
A Q J
A K Q 6 5 2
4
7 2
K 10 3 2
N
W   E
S
J 9 8 7
8
K Q 10 9 6
8 7 6
 
A K 10 6 2
A 8 5 4 3
9 5 4
West North East South
      1 
1 ♠ 4  4 ♠ Pass
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 6  Pass Pass
Pass

North’s bidding appears inconsistent. How can he have contented himself with 4 in response to his partner’s 1  opener, and then gone for slam via Blackwood after only an opponent had advanced the bidding? The answer lies in his ♠ holding. When East supported ♠s North was able to deduce that his partner held very few ♠s - his ♠ xxx was no longer a liability and his hand thus became very slammy. After finding his partner held two aces (the 5h response to 4 NT), North blasted 6 , a contract that proved easy to make. Declarer trumped ♠ A lead, drew trumps, played ♣ 4 to ♣ J, crossed to  A, played ♣ 5 to ♣ Q, cashed ♣ A, then cross-trumped the remainder. He made all 13 tricks.
6  was also bid and made by the British Ladies. They used a slam-bidding tool, featured in my Top Ten Conventions – The Splinter. North jumped to 4  after South and West had bid 1 -1 ♠. This showed a good raise with a singleton , and enabled South to upgrade his hand enormously and leap to 6 

ANDREW’S TIP: Listen carefully to the opponent’s bidding. If they bid and support a suit in which you have some length, you know partner is very short.

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