Monday, March 4, 2013

A failure of imagination

Playing online, everyone non-vulnerable, I pick up this nice hand.  Playing 2/1, what do you open?

I decide to open 1S. If partner can't scrape up a bid, 1S may be enough. Partner replies 2S (the opponents are silent throughout).  Now what?

If partner has his points in diamonds and not in hearts, we may have a slam. What do I need from him for the slam to be cold?  Kxxx xxxx KQx xx would do.  So, I decide to bid 3D, a help-suit game try.  Partner should reply either 3S or 4S and then I can decide.

Partner replies neither 3S nor 4S. Instead, he bids 4D.  The bids so far:

Now what do you bid?

Can you envision a grand slam because that is what you make? This is what partner has:

At the table, I convinced myself that if partner had KJxx of diamonds, he was unlikely to also hold the King spade and the King of clubs.  So, the slam would be on two finesses (diamond queen & spade king, for example). I chickened out in 4S.

Partner's 4D was a very descriptive bid, but I had had a failure of imagination.


  1. FWIW ...

    Opposite a single raise, the minimumish hands of partners that I would be considering for a good slam (applying Culbertson's Rule looking for a good fitting minimum) are hands with both black kings and absence of heart values. (A hand with SK, and DKQ is not a minimum and so that particular hand would not be on my radar of investigation.) The difference between Kxxx, xxx, Kxx, xxx and Kxxx, xxx, xxx, Kxx is pretty substantial. Thus, if I were going to make a slam try, I would prefer either 3C as a help suit try or would try 4H if that is defined as a splinter. But I am not sure I would try for slam at all. (Maybe that is MY failure of imagination!)

    Responder seems to me to have substantially underbid in treating his hand as just a single raise. A 7+ loser hand with trump support would seem to be worth at least a three-card limit raise, if not an aggressive 2D gf response. (Not that I am at all confident that slam would be reached even after 1S-1NT-3C-4S ... but at least responder will have come closer to describing his values.)

    What strikes me as inconsistent about the auction you did conduct is that it seems you began with the thought that if partner likes diamonds, you were going to explore slam. And yet when partner did announce he likes diamonds, you changed your mind and signed off.

  2. That should be 7- LTC, not 7+ LTC (two in spades and two in diamonds, plus something slightly less than three in hearts).

  3. I agree with the above. 2S is a very heavy raise.

  4. ah, but you folks should see the dregs that I sometimes open ...