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Big Hands

Big, balanced hands can be very difficult to bid. The following hand came up at Chelmsford Bridge Club last week:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

AK3

AK5

AKQJ

AK10

What do you open with a balanced 31 points? Whatever you choose will have major defects. If you bid 2, you must decide what to do next – how many No Trumps do you want to bid to show a 31-point hand?! Maybe you should rebid diamonds? You only have a three-card suit, but the quality is excellent! But how do you continue? Can you find out if partner holds one or more of the missing queens?

Maybe you should just close your eyes and bid six no trumps? This seems like the most practical shot. But you will be worried that you will never get to dummy! A very real worry, the full deal was:

J652

1042

53

9643

Q97                                                    1084

QJ973                                                86

10987                                                 642

5                                                         QJ872

AK3

AK5

AKQJ

AK10

I sat West and led a “normal” queen of spades. Remarkably, declarer can actually make the contract now. South can win the heart lead with the ace and then cash AKQJ of diamonds, AK of clubs, AK of spades. With nine tricks in the bag, South exits with a third spade to West’s Queen, end-playing West. West is forced to play hearts, conceding two further heart tricks (king of hearts in the South hand and ten of hearts in dummy). This access to dummy is key and dummy’s Jack of spades will be the twelfth trick.

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