Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

A Sad Grand Story

I was commenting yesterday during the match on the second segment match between Meltzer and Weinstein.  Let’s look at the bidding in the Open Room first.  East opened 3d in first chair vulnerable against not.  Your partner Meltzer overcalls 3s.  Let’s follow along with Larsen.

Larsen – North

s K73

h AK43 

d K95

c A104

You start with a cuebid of 4d and partner bids 4s.  Do you pass?  I wouldn’t but Larsen did.  Here was the South hand.

Meltzer – South

s A86542

h Q1076

d A

c J7


Looking at both hands you definitely want to be in slam.  The best slam?  Well if spades are 4-0 you may still make 6h (but not 6).  Spades might play better when hearts are 5-1 offside and spades break.  So hearts seems to be the right place.

It must feel like you are going to lose imps.  But spades are 4-0 so if the other table gets to the wrong slam you have won the board.

So over to the other table.  Here East did not preempt giving North-South free range.  North’s 2NT bid did not show spades particularly.  It showed a balanced hand with game values.  This interesting bid allowed North-South to easily find the heart fit.

West North East South
    pass 1s
pass 2NT* pass 3h

So North knew that they had at least a 5-3 spade fit and a 4-4 heart fit.  He chose 3s now, perhaps to find the spade keycards or maybe because he didn’t have a convenient way to support hearts and try for slam.  (I think 4c here should be a cuebid with a heart raise, myself).  Here is how the auction continued

West North East South
    pass 1s
pass 2NT* pass 3h
pass 3s pass 4s
pass 4NT pass 5h

North knew that they were off the spade queen but had the rest of the keycards.  So what now?  He bid 6h.  The problem: What is 6h?  Is it a grand slam try in spades or is it a choice of contracts or is it just to play.  South decided it was a grand slam try.  What is North looking for?  Maybe the stiff diamond and an extra spade is what is needed?  (North can’t really have four spades in this auction).

Anyway Meltzer bid 7s.  The hand with the QJ10x of spades doubled and the contract was quickly down 2.  Yes, it is true that on a very good day the grand slam in spades makes but this is not the right contract.

I am trying to decide what the 6h bid should be.  Should North just have agreed hearts in the first place?

Even if you think it is a grand slam try would you bid 7s with the South hand?  Maybe not.

How would you assess the blame?


Craig BiddleJune 21st, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Interesting view from other kibitzers here. Since the opening bidder has denied the SQ, then 6H should be to play. If opener had bid 5S to show 2+Q then 6H should be a grand slam try.

If opener’s reply had been queen-ambiguous, then the situation is not so clear. A consistent way to play would be to ask for the trump Q and use parallel meanings for 6H.

kenrexfordJune 22nd, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Wow. I wiah I had played in this event.

With no competition, I would have the following auction:


2H-2S (sets trumps for cue purposes)

2NT(not two top spades)-3D(not two top clubs, diamond control, spade paucity not yet a problem)

3S(one top spade, not two top hearts)-3NT(serious)

4D(no club A/K/Q, diamond control)-5H(RKCB, but show heart K/Q instead of spade K/Q)

5S(two with the Queen)

At this point, Opener is known to have Axxxx(x) in spades, Qxxx(x) in hearts, the Ace of diamonds, and at most the club Jack. A final bid of 6H (clearly to play in this sequence) would be easy.

That said, I agree with the idea that 6H is to play after denial of the spade Queen but a grand move after showing the spade Queen, not by agreement but by logic.

About the competitive sequence. These are always tougher. I’m real curious, though, what 4NT would have meant. 3D-3S-P-4NT. Seems like a fairly good option if Quantitative. Partner should surely introduce hearts, getting to the right contract.

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