BETTER OF SLAMS
February 16, 2012
Let’s look at board #2 from Tuesday at Jourdan’s:
Most East-West pairs got to slam after a 3C opening from East. The pairs that played in 6C were disappointed to find they had a below average score. Why? Many East-West pairs played this board in 6NT!
It seems silly to play in NT when you have a 12-card suit fit. Did the pairs in 6NT just get lucky that there were also 12 tricks available in NT? Let’s think about this for a minute and see if there is a sound bridge reason for playing the board in NT rather than clubs.
When East opens 3C, West should be thinking like this: We probably have 7 club tricks plus my 2 AK combinations brings us to 11 tricks. The QD, QH or Qxx of spades will be a 12th trick or we might be able to ruff a spade in my hand or we can lead up to the KH and hope the AH is onside. Too many chances not to bid a slam. Wait a minute! What if the AH is offside? They will lead through my KH and might take the first 2 tricks even when partner has one of the other key queens.
West should bid 6NT to protect his KH. North is now on lead and a heart lead will present him with the 12th trick and his other options will be preserved (except for ruffing a spade in his hand).
On the actual layout, partner has one of the missing queens and 12 tricks are easy in both NT and clubs. Of course, NT scores more so top-on-the-board for the players who bid 6NT.