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   Nov.  28/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 North, your favourite partner, opens 1
. How would your partnership develop the auction? Choose any methods you like. Rate the likely contracts, with 10 the top score.

Neither side vulnerable North deals

  A K Q 2

K Q 9 7 5 3

J 7 6

  J 10 9 5
A Q 2
J 10 2

A K 10


 If you respond 1, North would raise to 3 and the auction would continue with a couple of cue-bids - 4 and 4. With topless trumps South would not go past 4 when North denies the A and shows first-round control of hearts (the marked heart void does not improve South's hand). If North elects to continue with 5 (second-round control) South will bid a slam because he can almost "see" North's magnificent trumps to justify a move beyond game.

West North East South
  1 Pass 1
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 5 Pass 6/6NT

 If a 2NT response (13-15 points, stoppers, balanced) may contain a four-card major in your style, South will look no further. It is up to each partnership to choose a follow-up method to unearth a major-suit fit or to reveal a weakness for notrump. Naturalists would rebid 3
or 3 with the North hand while more scientific partnerships favour an artificial checkback mechanism (usually 3 or 3) or use new-suit rebids to show shortage.

 In a natural approach North should rebid 3
, showing at least six cards in the suit. South could continue with a natural 3. North might bid 4 to show a control, inferentially agreeing spades (South won't have four hearts when he bids 3 so it's pointless to introduce hearts in a natural sense). Or he might jump to 5, depicting a short holding with a spade fit; that won't excite South, who has weak trumps, wasted strength in hearts, and no top honour in diamonds, so perhaps 5 is the wrong bid.

may go down on a diamond ruff and 6 might go down on a less likely (second-round) spade ruff. Best of all is 6NT by South, which is ice cold.

 6NT (South): 10; 6
: 9; 6: 7; 3NT (South): 2; 4: 1.