Poll #6, November 24, 2010

Note: Due to the two day Thanksgiving Holiday in the U.S., we will not have a “Polling You” contest on 11/26/10.  We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.

Self-Sustaining Suits are not only great when we are bidding on our own.  Self-sustaining suits, those long suits guaranteed not to lose more than 1 trick (even when partner holds a singleton) get even more exciting when our partner opened the bidding!  Of course its not uncommon to have a misfit with partner, making the bidding look like the proverbial married couple that can’t agree on anything (1S – 2H. 2S – 3H, 3N – 4H…)

But when our partner opens 1 Notrump and we have a long running major suit, we know the contract belongs in the major suit (always play in your long 8+ card major suit).  And since partner’s opening 1 Notrump bid promises at least a doubleton, with a 6+ card major suit makes it clear to play in that suit – i.e., “the golden fit.”  Okay, with that in mind let’s get ready to “bid ’em up” with that same lovely 7-3-2-1 shaped 17 HCP hand we held on Poll #5 back on Monday – but this time partner opened 1 Notrump!

So how high do we go? Yes, we know partner holds around 16 points, but how does that equate to tricks and what’s the best method to explore slam?  For more commentary, please login to your FREE Membership Subscription – see you there…

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  1. Dennis Sturdevant says:

    I don’t understand the King ask portion of the Grand slam try choice. If partner has the three missing Aces, he covers my singleton heart. I have the other three kings. I would be trying the grand slam even if i know he doesn’t have the fourth king.

    This is why I selected the Ace only choice.

  2. Ashraf Ismail says:

    I have learned that in such situations – (ie bidding little slam,slam) It is helpfull to Look at the result we wish to bid and work backwards!

    So here in this case we had a loser in H;D; & C – OK so far three losers from slam achievement

    Forget conventions and try asking for A’s, K’s and its all in the Bag – Thats exactly how I voted

  3. nekthen says:

    If you are playing match points and partner has all the aces you go 7N. At rubber 7S for the honours.

  4. BridgeHands says:

    After 24 hours, while the voting is a bit light with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the trend seems to be holding with the following in the leader position:

    “Transfer, Ace & King-ask, try grandslam”

    The early leader was “Ace & King ask, no transfer, bid Spades later on your own.” But with several hundred votes tallied, those who first transfer and then explore grandslam appear have taken the most popular vote. In fact, by a slim margin the new second place vote goes to:

    “Transfer, Ace-ask, try for slam”

    Many duplicate players competing in International Match Point (IMP) scoring might agree since making a 7 level contract is usually not a guaranteed contract even if partner holds one King (two Kings and three Aces is not possible unless the partnership is playing 16-18 one Notrump openers and pard has a perfect hand). The late great Barry Crane had a list of “Commandments” that he required all players to follow if they wanted to play on his team. On of his commandments was:

    Never bid grandslam in a IMP team game!

    But here playing contract rubber or MP duplicate Bridge, for many the extra points make exploring for grandslam an interesting proposal. But after 24 hours not so for 80+ of our voters who went with “Transfer, Ace-ask, try for slam.”

    By the way, experience has shown that it is often more difficult to make grandslam in 7 Notrump with our very distributional major suited hand. Check out the hands below for more details.

    In the comments above, Dennis brings up an interesting point that some others may also have considered. Since responder holds 3 Kings and a low singleton in Hearts, does it really matter if the 1 Notrump opener holds the Heart King? Good question, Dennis. However playing in a suit grandslam contract, when partner did hold the Heart King the above hand could discard the low Club to assure making a 7 Heart grandslam.

    For those who want to get deeply into hand analysis here, let’s do some detective work based on the assumption partner’s 1 Notrump includes 3 Aces – otherwise we stop in 6 Hearts anyway.
    1. Partner holds 12 points with 3 Aces
    2. Assuming a 15-17 point 1 Notrump opener, partners remaining HCP is 3-5 HCP.
    3. Since we hold 3 Kings and 2 Jacks, partner can hold up to 1 King, 2 Jacks, and some number of Queens
    4. Thus partner holds one of the following:
    a. 3 Aces, Heart King, etc – makes grandslam, throwing low Club on HK
    b. 3 Aces, 1 Queen, 1 Jack
    c. 3 Aces, 1 Queen, 2 Jacks
    d. 3 Aces, 2 Queens, 0 Jacks
    e. 3 Aces, 2 Queens, 1 Jack

    Anytime partner holds the Diamond Ace-Queen with a 3+ card suit, grandslam is “money in the bank.” Again, we can throw off a low Club on partner’s DQ – this leaves us with a Club doubleton with our CK and partner’s CA.

    Ditto on Clubs – if partner holds the Club Ace-Queen, 13 tricks are home free. So the only worry is when partner holds the Heart Ace-Queen (Jacks are immaterial). In this situation, we must roll the dice for a “all or nothing” 50-50 chance.

    By the way, in the hand Jerry Helms used for his lecture the finesse would FAIL! Yet with “proper play” grandslam was still assured. How could that be, you ask? Here are his hands (minor change from our hand):

    S: J 9 2………………………. H: A Q….D: A J 2……C: A 6 5 4 2
    S: A K Q 10 8 7 3…………….H: K J…..D: K 5 4……C: 3

    Oh-oh, with the unfortunate mirrored values in the red suits – Hearts and Diamonds, there is no way to pitch the Diamond suit loser. Ouch! Can you find the way to make slam 62 percent of the time? The trick is to only play one round of trump, then ruff and continue ruffing the long Club suit – the North hand has plenty of entries and the South hand can ruff with high trumps – no fear of being overruffed by an opponent. And since we have 6 total Clubs, 62 percent of the time the opponents will have a 4-3 split in Clubs. So after winning the CA, ruffing 3 Clubs and pulling the remaining trumps,the lowly dummy Club has been promoted. So on the fifth Club in North’s hand, the Diamond loser goes away without attempting the (losing) Diamond finesse. Advanced players have learned to recognize this often recurring pattern in slam/grandslam – with a 5-1 suit and plenty of entries to the hand with the 5 card suit, ruff out the suit since opponents hold 4-3 in the suit almost two-thirds of the time (62 percent). And on the unlucky day when their cards split 5-1, you can always try the finesse as a last effort.

    For more details, please login to view our Protected Comments above.

    Happy Bridging, Michael

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