Welcome to my weekly Bridge column.
I intend to vary the level I pitch the topics in this column because I know I cannot please all of the people all of the time but I am trying to please most of the people some of the time.
This week I want to look at a hand that I came across recently at a local club.
Fortunately for my partner and me, my opponents got this one wrong, as did most other pairs, but with a relatively simple bidding tool I think the trap they fell into could have been avoided.
Most pairs played in 6D going one down when the opponents cashed two aces.
When East opens the bidding with the normal 1D (12-19 points), or 1NT (12-14) as our opponents chose, West knows that the partnership has a good diamond fit and at least 30 points.
This should make him think about a slam.
If East opened 1D, West should at some point bid 4NT, a system known as Blackwood, to ask partner how many aces he holds and on finding out partner has none (a response of 5C shows 0 or 4) should close the auction at 5D to receive the best score.
If partner chooses to open a slightly off the wall 1NT, West can instead bid 4C, a system known as Gerber, to ask partner about his aces. In this case the reply will be 4D showing 0 or 4 and again the auction should close at 5D.