Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Can You Get To This Slam In Standard Methods – Read Larry Cohen’s Answer

Recently I posted a blog which featured this hand from the the Swedish District Championships


s_thumb2 A9532

h_thumb2 Q1065

Copyofd_thumb2 A2

c_thumb12 KJ


s_thumb2 KQ107

h_thumb2 AKJ4

Copyofd_thumb2 J3

c_thumb12 A96


The issue: Is it possible to get to the heart slam playing standard methods.  I have some answers from experts who responded to my blog.  But most involved some very unusual treatments.  I decided to ask the maven Larry Cohen.  In Larry’s book My Favorite 52

My Favorite 52

Larry managed to get to a lot of great contracts on lesser fits (even when knowing their side held a better fit).  So he was the ideal person to ask. 

In the match, at one table the pair routinely got to 6s_thumb2

The “normal” auction at the other table was

North South
1s_thumb2 3s_thumb2
4c_thumb12 4h_thumb2
4NT 5Copyofd_thumb2

 Larry answered that in a standard system such as 2/1 or SAYC the first three bids will be the same and it will be impossible to avoid playing in spades.

For many players in a forcing club system after North shows a positive and five spades when South opens a strong club, the die will be cast.  Those playing relay systems where responder describes their hand exactly will be well positioned to make the slam.

At the other table they were playing a very unusual system South showed a strong hand and North an opening bid with five spades.  South then used a series of relays to find out that north was 5-4-2-2 with two aces and the club king.  He could at that point used 4NT to find out about queens but apparently wasn’t sure that he could know exactly which queen North had.  (They need more relays here!).  So he settled for 6h_thumb2.

Larry wants to add that this hand will not make his book! 

Larry has a great website Bridge with Larry Cohen.  There is lots of content and it is the “Real Deal”, very instructive and entertaining.  (One of my all time top sites made better).

For more suggestions on how to bid this hand and some interesting system ideas read the comments from readers at this blog:

Strange Systems

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