18th Oct 2023

Raymond Semp has sent me four consecutive deals from the recent Great Northern Swiss Pairs.
Each of them is a bidding problem.  Here are the first two.

Dealer N EW Vul

S A10
H QJ53
D AK83
C 1084

S QJ93
H AK108
C A63

Here the problem is how to reach six hearts.
If North opens a weak notrump, then South bids Stayman and, on finding the heart fit can bid three spades to show a balanced slam try (the Baze convention).  However, this would be a bit of a stretch by South, the hands fit exceptionally well.

Playing five card majors and a strong notrump North will open one of a minor and raise South's one heart response to two.  If North opened one diamond, showing a genuine suit then maybe South just about has enough for a slam try with the fitting diamond honours, but if North opened one club, then South definitely hasn't got enough to make a slam try.

If South makes a slam try, North will show a spade control and, with a maximum, drive to slam.

S AKJ953
H A76
D Q5
C J9

S 7
H J10983
D J107
C AQ54

On the second deal above East and South pass, then West opens one diamond.  How do North South reach four hearts?
This seems to depend on whether North thinks the hand is strong enough to double and then bid spades or is only worth an overcall of one spade.  If North overcalls one spade (which would be the choice of most experts I think) then that is likely to end the auction.  After a take out double from North, then South would respond two hearts and the game could be reached.  However, four hearts at pairs is not that great a contract.  With three inescapable losers it needs some reasonable breaks in the majors and I wouldn't worry too much about missing this game.

Thanks to Raymond Semp for reporting these deals