This is the first of in a series in which we will look at bidding problems. On this hand, the problem is to find a way to arrive at the cold slam without simply guessing or making a wild stab that could end with a bad result. If you bid a slam that fails in a team event, you stand a good chance of losing the whole match. However, failing to find the slam when the other team bids and makes it could also lose. This hand was dealt in a recent pairs game and in several replays not one pair bid to 6 hearts.
I have left the auction incomplete so that you can imagine your own series of bids that will communicate the power in the south hand to your partner. When partner makes a negative double over the diamond overcall, it should tell you that the north hand has at least 4 cards in one or both of the major suits. Your singleton diamond is now like gold, and you want to find out if he has 4 hearts and also if his strength will make a slam try sensible.
One suggestion is to cue-bid 2 diamonds, a bid that says, "I have a powerful hand, what else can you show me?" Just jumping to game in hearts does not convey the trick potential in your club suit, because you could possibly open with 3 clubs. The diamond call also implies some feature in diamonds, in this case second-round control.
Now if partner bids hearts, will you ask for aces? If you make another cue-bid, will it say that you have a heart fit and are now exploring? These are elements of partnership agreement that experienced pairs should work on. The important thing in bridge is not so much the system you play as it is how well you play the system you play.
We held a party to honor two members who have made significant contributions to the bridge community. Both Kathy Dowen and Sandy Watson are past presidents of the Boise Unit, faithful and improving players, and we are thrilled to be associated with them.