♠8 3 2 ♥— ♦A K Q 9 8 7 ♣A K 4 3
What’s your call?
South has an amazing hand opposite a partner who could bid their spade suit at the two level. Surely slam will make, but what about the grand? Ten experts cuebid 5♥.
“5♥,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “If partner bids 5♠, I’ll continue with 6♦.”
“5♥,” agreed August Boehm. “I’ll bid 6♠ over 5♠, searching for seven.”
“Because partner may have ♠A K Q x x x, we have a shot at a grand,” said Mike Lawrence. “I’m bidding 5♥, hoping partner can bid 6♠ with a good spade suit.”
Partner doesn’t have a control in any of the three side suits. He may be afraid to bid slam. Most of the time, you’ll hear 5♠ over your cuebid.
“5♥,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “We’re not stopping short of 6♠.”
“5♥ asks for spades and says not to worry about hearts or anything else,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper.
Other panelists didn’t agree with this.
“Last month, a five-of-a-major bid was looking for a control in the opponents’ suit. This month, I can’t use the same call to claim it is asking for good trumps (I wish I could),” said Larry Cohen. “I’m bidding 5♥ to show the heart control, and presume partner will go to slam with good spades. What else can he have?”
“5♥,” agreed Mel Colchamiro. “Bidding 4♠ is way too conservative. By the way, would 5NT be grand slam force or pick a slam?”
Three panelists thought 5NT was pick a slam.
“5NT,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “This is pick a slam, not grand slam force in spades because we have not con¬firmed spades as trump. Bidding 5♥ would confirm spades. Why pick a slam? Playing 6♣ or 6♦ may be our ideal trump suit.”
Barry Rigal agreed with 5NT. “Partner may never be able to bid the grand slam, although 6♥ might invite it. It feels wrong to commit the hand to spades when it could be wrong opposite ♠A J 9 7 6 4. At matchpoints, we are probably destined for spades, but it can’t hurt to be careful.”
“5NT pick a slam seems so much better than 5♥,” said Allan Falk. “After 5♥, I’m not likely to learn anything from partner’s bid, so why create a mean¬ingless sequence just to postpone my agony. We hit the jackpot if partner has: ♠A Q 9 7 6 ♥Q 2 ♦J ♣Q 9 7 6 5.”
Other panelists went different routes.
“6♠,” said Karen Walker. “Bidding 5♥ will usually get you 5♠, then what? A jump to 6♥ might convince partner that I have all the outside controls, but could also imply four-card spade support.”
“6♥,” said Jill Meyers. “I hope partner has the ♠A K Q and bids 7♠. I don’t know how else to get the message across.”
“6♥,” agreed Kerri Sanborn. “What could this be, but a hand with all the first-round controls and inviting a grand? If I had a top spade honor, I would bid 5NT, a grand slam force.”
“4NT, Roman Keycard,” said Steve Robinson. “I’ll take a chance that partner does not have the ♥A.”
Bridge players are taught not to bid Blackwood with a void. In this case, the reasonable gamble might pay off. If North bids 5♠, showing, presumably, the ♠A K Q, you will have hit the jackpot.
The only panelist who bid a pessimistic 4♠ was Bridge Baron. “I’ve seen my human partners play the dummy,” Baron explained.
At a high level, a cuebid tells partner you have support and a strong hand.
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