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by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 With spades two-one and the
K onside doubleton North-South can make a grand slam in spades or hearts. Such is the power of the two useful voids in combination with the big double fit. You wouldn't want to be in seven, needing a finesse INTO the opening bidder, but 6 is certainly a desirable contract.

Both sides vulnerable
West deals


  8 7 6 3
J 10 8 6 4 2

K 5 2
  A K Q J 10 4
A Q 9
8 6 4 2


West North East South
1 Pass 1 Dble
2 4 5 5
Pass Pass Pass  

Opening Lead: A

 When this deal was played in a top-flight team competition, few of the North-South partnerships realised the full potential of their cards. With a combined total of only 20 points, North-South were not really thinking about slam.

 What action would you take as South after 1-Pass-1
-? Our choice would be a straightforward 1, introducing the main feature of the hand immediately. We would hope to double later for takeout if the auction took a favourable turn. Our featured South adopted a more aggressive approach by doubling directly, intending to bid spades at his next turn. His decision seemed to work well when the next round of bidding proved very revealing. West's diamond raise marked North with shortage in that suit and the jump to 4 suggested a long broken suit (no initial weak jump overcall) in a shapely hand.

 Although North held only 4 points he was happy to contract for 4
, expecting South to have at least four hearts and strength in spades. East, in turn, was delighted to compete to 5, expecting the double fit in the minors to produce a lot of tricks. At this point South's logical alternatives included 5, 6, 5 and 6 (if not 6 we like 5, the last slam try available to South, but we are not prepared to argue the merits of a fifth-round cue-bid in your column). He elected to follow through with his two-step plan with 5, describing a powerful hand. Alas, that was not enough to convince North to raise. As North's K was almost certainly wasted it might seem uncharitable to criticise him for passing 5, so perhaps South should take the bull by the horns and leap majestically to 6 over 5.

 If you believe that you and your partner would bid these cards to 6 in the diagrammed scenario, pat yourself on the back. Your slam bidding is most impressive.


 The 4 hands were:


  8 7 6 3
J 10 8 6 4 2

K 5 2
9 5
7 5
A Q J 5
A Q 10 9 8
K 3
K 10 9 7 3
J 7 6 4 3
  A K Q J 10 4
A Q 9
8 6 4 2