Congratulations to Roger Baker and Tony Peacock who were the only pair to bid and make 7NTs on Board 23 on Thursday evening. The hands are published with the results on the club webpage and I recommend a look at board 23 together with your partner. Making the contract is a doddle as there are 14 winners off the top (11 of them in the two minor suits) but bidding it is a much trickier proposition.
North, with 23 points and good intermediate cards will open with a strong 2 clubs/diamonds depending on your system. South must give a positive response with 8 points and a lovely 6 card diamond suit – I would favour 3 Diamonds. Then it becomes interesting. North, having all 4 aces, knows what the initial response to Blackwood or Gerber will be – no aces, although Roman key-card Blackwood would confirm possession of the King of Diamonds (a key card). The second round of Blackwood or Gerber would confirm that one King is missing so it may be tempting to settle for 6NTs as indeed, two other pairs did.
Roger and Tony employed a slightly different bidding method. After the initial strong 2 opening, Tony replied 2NTs showing 7 – 9 points. Roger then used rolling Gerber and found South with 2 Kings. Roger then judged that 13 tricks would probably make despite the missing King and jumped to 7NTs. A bit of a gamble but, once again, fortune favoured the brave!
With a long strong minor suit, game or slam in No Trumps is often preferable to the minor. Board 6, where South had a long Diamond suit, was another example on the same evening. All the best. Andy