Playing matchpoints in a field where everyone is supposed
to have 1000 or more masterpoints, things are going badly
and I am annoyed. I deal myself
KJ10 KJ1084 K32 63
In the methods we are playing, this is really a pass, but
I am tired of having no part in our destiny, so I open 1.
Partner bids 2, entirely artificial, asking me
(normally) to bid 2NT, which I do. He rebids 4, showing
16-18 support points, a singleton or void club, four hearts, and a
decent spade suit, though not necessarily a long one. What now?
My choices are to sign off in 4, cue-bid either the
K or the spade fillers, bid Blackwood, or leap to slam.
Which is best?
My first thought is that I have just opened a flat aceless 11-count,
so I should not be making any slam noises, but on reflection, that
is a short-sighted judgement. Usually, by this time in the auction,
a normal opening bid is down to about eight to ten working points,
but my eleven are all gold. I think signing off is out of the
question; partner will pass when slam is cold. I should at least
make some sort of slam try.
What are some hands that partner could have?
These all seem reasonable; he almost has to have the AQ to
have a decent suit. He should have a heart honor or two, and is
very likely to have a card in diamonds, either the Ace or the Queen.
The first point that comes to mind is that 5 is probably pretty
safe; only hand 4 has much chance of going down, and I can still find
the Q to make it. If he has hand 2 or 3, 6 is making.
Slam is definitely in the picture. Is there a sensible way to investigate
- AQxxx AQxx Qxx x
- AQxx Axxxx Axx x
- AQxxx Qxxx Axxx ---
- AQxxx Axxx QJx x
- AQxxx Qxxx AQx x
Will cue-bidding help? I don't see how. It looks as if we shall make
a slam unless we are off two aces or an ace and the trump queen and I
don't find it.
What about Blackwood? If 4NT were Blackwood, then a 5 response,
showing two aces and the trump queen would get us too high. Fortunately,
we have agreed that 4 is Blackwood here, and 4NT is a spade
cue-bid, so Blackwood is safe to use.
Finally, I decide to bid Blackwood. Partner shows three aces with
a 4NT bid. (He cannot have zero aces.) I ask about the trump
queen with 5, and he bids 5NT, showing the trump queen, but
no side kings (and presumably no club void.) Twelve tricks should
be cold, and they are when dummy tables hand 2. Note that partner
showed the Q, even though he did not possess it because he
has a fifth trump. With a ten-card fit, the trump queen should be
I am no longer annoyed.
Copyright © 1993 Jeff Goldsmith