Q 10 7 6 3
10 7 6 5
A 10 8 2
K 5 4
Q J 8 2
A K J 10
A J 9 8
K 9 3
Q 7 6 5 3
8 5 4 3 2
After West’s normal 1C opener, East, holding a balanced 18, exactly the sort of hand on which 6NT usually fails to make against a minimum opener, temporizes with 1D. Gee, carefully noting his suit quality and one cashing trick, steps in with an unusual, a very unusual, 2NT. The vulnerability is favorable, and his partner, a passed hand, can be expected to hold zero defensive tricks, making the opponents cold for slam.
Remarkably enough, North actually does hold zero defensive tricks, and 6NT, although it is a distinct underdog, requiring six minor suit tricks, comes in on careful play.
Silly, stubborn E/W elect to defend instead. West passes his minimum, and poor North, with no major suit preference, or so he thinks, passes 2NT and hopes for something from East besides a double.
No dice of course. East, with his marginal slam hand, doubles for the certain profit, and Gee pulls to 3H. North can save 300, in theory, by taking a spade preference but in practice he has no bid.
West leads a low diamond against 3HX. The D8 holds, and East plays two rounds of trump and another diamond. Gee ruffs and tries a spade. East wins, pulls trump, and knocks out the CA, which is declarer’s last trick. Down 7.
“Even 1400 would have been good,” cries Gee. And of course he is right. Against the 30% 6NT, assuming E/W bid and make it, 1400 saves 40 points. If only, if only partner had corrected to 3S.
Question to Discuss
1. On this sort of hand, how many IMPs would you expect -1400 to cost? How about -1440?