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Common Game 2017-12-02 Board 17
West
AK83
J
1042
K8753
North
QJ7
109873
85
J96
East
65
AKQ65
AKJ
AQ4
South
10942
42
Q9763
102
D
17
West
North
East
South
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
5NT
P
6
P
7
P
P
P

Analysis by Craig Hemphill

This is a difficult hand -- responder has a nice positive, likely slam, but no bid comes with the standard menu.

Herewith comes a suggestion for your partnership's consideration. The "book" meaning of a 3 bid playing 2 waiting responses* and a major suit rebid (2 -2*; 2M - 3) is that the 3 bid "Shows" a bust hand, no controls, and if a fit, just the pits of a hand.

One problem with this meaning is that 2, 2, 3, and 3 directly over 2 show five (or six for the minor suit positives) promise two of the top three honors fifth or sixth. With positive response values but a flawed heart, spade, or diamond suit, you simply bid your flawed suit after opener's rebid. But the poor club suit has once again been cast aside.

Over the years, the problem has arisen a few times -- how to show the positive hand with the flawed club suit? I tried something exotic at the table once, but partner did not get the joke. Later examples encountered led to partnership discussions. A Bridge World hand revealed an international level pair bidding the problem holding better.

So I suggest that in some situations responder with the flawed club positive hand might begin with the 3 bid, that the alert's explanation be altered to include the possibility of a positive with a weaker suit than a direct bid in the suit, and that a later unexpected bid by responder be understood to reveal the problem hand. Some ideas for the revealing bid might be a jump in notrump (2-2;2-3;3-4NT) or in partner's rebid major suit (2-2;2-3; 3-5). Alternatively, a next-step bid might be used artificially, as in the diagrammed auction: (2-2;2-3;3-3*) *being given up for natural purposes in favor of the difficult club hand.

So, in the present case, after opener bids a reluctant 3, expecting perhaps to play that contract, the artificial 3 alerts opener to the fact that a positive club response exists, but a flawed club holding. The diagrammed hand shows how such an agreement could reveal responder's secrets:

4 is clearly Minorwood by a 2 opener in support of partner's suit, and 4 shows two key cards. 4NT, according to Eddie Kantar, is "always" the specific king ask (except when it isn't, of course!), and here it certainly is. When responder shows the spade king, 5NT is a general relinquishment of captaincy along with a strong urge to bid a grand slam. Well, responder does not have a sixth club, a major suit queen, or the diamond queen, so respectfully declines to be the one deciding on the grand.

Opener would have taken an acceptance to 7NT, but 7 must be laydown.

It's a thought and an example of an effective use.

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