Question of the Week - 8

 Hi All,

The following board was sent to me by South, who wanted to know how they could have done better. North dealt and E/W were vulnerable.                                         

                     North

                     ª A 2

                     © 5

                     ¨ K Q 9 7 6 5

                     § A Q J 9

West                                  East

ª Q 7                                 ª K 10 8 5 3

© Q J 2                               © K 10 9 8 7 6

¨ J 9 4                                ¨ 10

§ K 7 6 4 3                          § 10

                     South

                     ª J 9 6 4

                     © A 4 3

                     ¨ A 3 2

                     § 8 5 2

North opened 1 Diamond and East bid 2 Diamonds, the Michaels Cuebid, showing his two 5-card majors and either too little or too much to overcall. South raised to 3 Diamonds to show his support. West bid 3 Hearts to select the suit and North raised to 4 Diamonds to show his 6-card suit. East competed to 4 Hearts,  South passed and North competed to 5 Diamonds. East competed to 5 Hearts and they went down two, vulnerable. North/South gained 200 points, but missed their 400 point game.

Where do I start? Competitive bidding is always hard, but when I step back and look at this, I see a lot of bidding. 

North's 1 Diamond and East's Michaels Cuebid are straightforward. I'm trying hard to justify South's 3 Diamond raise, but a 3-level raise with a flat 9 points and 3-card support when partner may have a flat 13 points with a 3 or 4-card suit gives me the willies.  

Nevertheless, after South raises, I think West should pass. If partner has 17 or more points, he could bid again and if he's weak, 3 Hearts is too high. North reevaluates to 22 points with partner's promised support and should jump straight to 5 Diamonds. East has no business bidding at all after his weak Michaels and all should pass.

If South instead passes, West must bid 2 Hearts to choose a suit. North will jump to 4 Diamonds to show his 17 or more points and 6 or more Diamonds. (He could also jump-shift to 4 Clubs, but hesitates to force game when partner has already passed and might have nothing.) East must pass and South will see his 9 points and Diamond support opposite partner's 20 or more points and will raise to 5 Diamonds.

North/South will get to 5 Diamonds regardless, but when the opponents stumble into 5 Hearts vulnerable, they should accept the gift by doubling for at least 500 points.

Ah! Competitive bidding.  Dave