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Choosing a Grand Slam
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At a non-life-master match point game, neither vulnerable, as the dealer you pick up


You can save time and bid 6 which would have a good chance of making, but you decide to keep your partner by being a bit desciplined and scientific, so you start low. The first choice: 1 or 2?

You open a gentle 1, and to your delight, partner bids 2, game force. Now at least you don't have to worry about stalling in a part-score. You rebid 3, and partner thought for a while before putting 3 on the table. Now what?

During postmortem, partner mentioned that she thought about bidding 3NT, which would have made things a lot easier. But for now, we have to find a rebid after 3.

We are looking for a grand slam, but not sure where to play, right?

7NT is the match point favorite, but to make it, both suits must run, or one of partner's suits will have to run. Often times, a suit contract is safer, especially when partner has a void or singleton in one of your suits, and you will have to declare in the other suit, and hope that partner can ruff to help set up the side suit.

The most important thing is to make sure that partner has A.

We have been taught to not use key card when you have a void. It would be nice to have a convention that asks for specific aces. If Larry Cohen is to extend his grid of 16 conventions, this would probably be #27.

Any way, three players are waiting, you have to bid something.

You bid 4NT, key card.

Partner answers 5, two key cards plus the Queen of trump!

But how does partner know which suit is the trump? It must be one of her two suits. Unfortunately, we still don't know whether she has A -- in the best case scenario, she could hold both Aces, but she could also hold KQ and A and assume that you select her last bid suit as trump, or she could hold A and KQ and assume that you select her first bid suit as trump. There is, at least, a bit of good news -- partner does not have a void in your suits, or she would have responded differently.

Remember that partner almost bid 3NT at her second turn? That would have at least simplified the situation -- you could bid 4 (Gerber) to ask for aces, and there would not be ambiguity as to whether there is a king of the "trump" mixed into the key cards. But that did not happen.

Are you ready to give up and sign off in 6 or 6?

You decide to take a chance and bid 7, which ought to have perhaps a 70% chance.

If partner is short in clubs, perhaps she would correct to 7. If she has singleton or void in both your suits, today is just not your day, but anyone who bids 7NT will likely go down more.

Everyone passed.

The opening lead is a low diamond. Partner tables Aces and Queens in both red suits, and two doubletons in your suits. Soon you claim 15 tricks playing from the top.

When the final scores were posted, you discovered that grand slams were reached at two other tables, both making 7NT.

Time to apologize to partner for worrying too much.

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