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The “Rule of Seventeen”

An opening bidder holding a balanced hand with seventeen or eighteen points should start by bidding a suit and then jumping a level in Notrumps over his partner's new suit response. By painting such an accurate picture of his hand after just two bids, Opener hands over captaincy to Responder for him to choose the final contract.

On this week's hand Responder needed to ask one further question.

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

 

Thirty-three points are needed for a small slam in Notrumps. North's 4 NT bid said, "Partner, we may have the thirty-three points - bid 6 NT with a maximum for your jump to 2 NT (ie eighteen points) otherwise Pass.

West found the unfortunate lead of  J (implying  10) and declarer ran the lead to  Q, cashed  K, played  6 to West's  8 and dummy's  9, East discarding, and cashed  A discarding  2. He next moved to ♠s, leading ♠ 3 to ♠ K, ♠ 6 to ♠ Q, and cashed dummy's ♠ A discarding  3. West discarding (a ) was disappointing news - declarer was still one trick short of the twelve required for his contract. Delaying broaching s, he crossed to ♣ A and returned to dummy's ♣ KQ, West discarding a second on the third ♣. He then led  4, East followed with  8, and the moment of truth had arrived.

Declarer knew that West started with two ♠s, two ♣s and four s. Therefore West began with five s and his last three cards were  KJ10. Declarer inserted  9 and, after winning  10, West was forced to lead from  KJ into  AQ. Elegant.

THE RULE OF SEVENTEEN: With a balanced hand of seventeen or eighteen points, open one of a suit and rebid Notrumps with a jump over partner's new suit response.

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