Question of the Week - 5

 Hi All,

In today's hand, East/West want help with the below hands.

   West               East

♠️  109                 AK743

♥️  AKQ1073         85

♦️  A52                 QJ109

§ K9                   A7

East opens 1 Spade and West responds 2 Hearts to show his 5 or more Hearts, 10 or more points and to force partner to describe his hand. East rebids 2 No Trump and West raises to 3 No Trump. They easily take 12 tricks and want to know if there was a way to bid the slam. Where did they go wrong?

I think the key here is East's rebid. West has a lovely hand, but 2 No Trump is a real turn-off. West has shown at least 10 points and 5 Hearts, so East would surely bid 3 No Trump if he had 15-16 points and liked No Trump. West can't do much opposite the supposed minimum hand with only 5 Spades, so will pick a game.

East must reverse to 3 Diamonds to show his 15-18 points and two suits. West can then reevaluate to 18 points (if he considers the Hearts to be self-supporting, he can call it 21) opposite 15 or more. He has no forcing bid, so can't bid anything that partner could pass. He must jump to 4 No Trump (Blackwood) to check the Aces. When partner shows both Aces, he'll stop to ponder 6 Hearts or 6 No Trump. Fortunately, when the Hearts run, he can make either 7 Hearts or 6 No Trump. 

We must all remember that when opener is forced, his sole duty is to describe his hand. Partner is the Captain and will make the decisions until he limits his hand.

Keep playing and stay well,  Dave