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What Would You Bid to Reach This Cold Slam?

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This hand illustrates a problem about bidding in competition that a partnership should resolve to be sure to arrive at good contracts. If east—after doubling to show a good hand—can bid 5 diamonds after his partner's jump to game and expect that it will be interpreted as showing a spade fit and the ace of diamonds, he will be much more confident than if he worries that the cue-bid will be passed. These are points of discussion for a long-term partnership, and while the situations don't come up every session, they count for a lot when they do arise. If you can reach a cold slam on this kind of hand, you are going to win more team games and become known as a team to be respected.

On this hand, west should interpret the diamond bid properly and bid 5 hearts to show the ace of hearts. At his turn, East—looking at a singleton club—can bid 6 spades with confidence.

The play of the slam is not much of a challenge if the declarer counts his tricks. All he has to do is trump his two losing clubs before he draws north's trumps and he will arrive at 12 tricks. The losing heart will go away on the third diamond trick, and after he draws the rest of the trumps, his hand will be good. In a recent club game not one pair found the slam, and I wonder if worry about the diamond cue-bid was part of the reason.

The grand national teams competition resumes with another qualifying round this weekend. This is a grassroots event with qualifying at the local and district level. Our district includes Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as Idaho, and winners at the district level will be subsidized for a trip to the national finals. There are four flights, from rookies to experienced players, and the whole competition is a lot of fun and a great experience.

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