1st June 2016

This deal is from a duplicate at Bramhall Bridge Club on 11th May.

 S  A632
 H  63
 D  Q32
 C  A542

Love All Pairs Dealer South

1C Pass 1 S Pass
2D Pass
3C (1) Pass

(1) three clubs is constructive game forcing, two hearts would have been weak

What do you bid now?
Do you agree with three clubs?


Bidding problems like this are subjective, this is why bridge magazines have a popular feature with a bidding competition to choose the next call on a hand.
There are two ways of determining the best bid, the first is to poll a set of experts, the second is to try to run a simulation of the deal.

Here I did both.  Manchester's finest all bid on, Gary Hyett and John Holland would both have bid four clubs on the previous round.  Michael Byrne suggested that South was likely to be 1345 distribution as with a 2245 he may well have rebid two notrump rather than two diamonds.  Michael Newman also bid on.  Alan Mould gave the most detailed analysis.

"OK - very tricky at pairs I think.  At IMPs 4C is clear (indeed I would have bid it over 2H).  The problem here of course is that I pretty much have to bid 6C if I move over 3NT, particularly in a weak pairs field where no one will lead spades against 3NT (as you frequently should do).  Given that x, Axx, AKxx, KQxxx is a stiff slam (well close!) I feel I have to bid but I don't like it at all!  I think it is a toss up.  Maybe in a weak pairs field you should pass and rely on your superior declarer play - no one else will move!"

A quick simulation suggested that slam would make about 60 percent of the time.
John Currie, who held the hand at the table, did bid on.  Partner had a maximum hand x, AKx, AKJx, QJ10xx and made six in comfort.  As Alan predicted nobody else bid the slam.

Thanks to the experts for their views and comments