On August 30, 2018 at Adventures in Bridge everyone loved their slams. Some of them were “better” than others.
West: ♠75 ♥105 ♦A6432 ♣AQJ10
East: ♠AKQ843 ♥AK95 ♦J7 ♣6
At our table, we passed throughout as North-South. West passed as dealer. Then it went; 1♠ 2♦; 3♥ 4♣; 4♠. East has now shown a BIG hand with six spades and four hearts. West elected to pass. I think the excellent controls are worth another bid. You can just gamble on 6♠—or you can make the “blame transfer” bid of 5♠ leaving it up to partner to bid on or not. What does 5♠ ask?—totally unclear, but it must be a slam try.
West: ♠KJ753 ♥2 ♦J6 ♣A7654
East: ♠94 ♥A65 ♦AK9 ♣KQJ109
I opened 1NT in the East. South bid 2♣—showing a single-suited hand. Partner bid 2♥—transfers are still on when the opponents interfere with a double or 2♣. I duly bid 2♠. Partner now bid 3♣. That shows a second suit—at least four of them, and enough points to be in game (3NT or higher). I looked at my excellent clubs and fabulous controls in the red suits and said 6♣. No one else bid this slam. Partner did have a wee bit less than I expected and we were very fortunate that the ♠A was onside—although that likely since South had made a bid over my 1NT. Visualizing partner's hand helps you get to good games and slams. Here, I expected partner to have ♠AK and the ♣A if she was only 5-4 in the black suits. I expected her to have the ♣A and either ♠A or ♠KQ if she was 5-5. With any of those hands, 6♣ is very easy.
West: ♠T ♥1098 ♦AJ53 ♣KJ974
East: ♠AQ763 ♥AKJ762 ♦— ♣A6
Partner passed as dealer and the opponents passed throughout. I opened 1♥ and partner bid 2♣ (Drury), showing a 3-card limit raise. I bid 2♠—ostensibly a “help suit” game try. If partner has spade help, I'm going slamming. Partner bid 3♦. Unfortunately, in help suit game try tradition that says: “Partner I have mediocre spade help (usually the Queen, Jack, or a doubleton), but I like my raise, and I have good help for you in diamonds. Is that enough for you to bid game?” Basically, it's a counter-offer. (Partner actually thought she was showing the ♦A.) I cue bid 4♣ anyway—I'm still interested in slam if partner has a doubleton spade, and partner signed off at 4♥, so I gave up. If partner had understood the second half of help suit game tries, she would have jumped to 4♥ over my 2♠ bid and I would have simply bid 6♥—no point in asking Key Cards with a void and I'll be happy with any Dummy that has three hearts and the ♠K or singleton or void in spades. Or, partner could have bid 4♠ (delayed cue bid) over my 4♣ or 4♦ (definitely cue bid now, NOT help suit) and then 4♠ over my 4♥.
North: ♠K1098 ♥5 ♦AK87 ♣AK83
South: ♠J7643 ♥AKQ6 ♦4 ♣QJ5
Partner was South and opened 1♠. I temporized with 2♦, not wanting to make a heart splinter with such a big hand. Partner bid 2♥. I bid 2♠ (with 2/1, we are in a game force and can explore slowly), and partner jumped to 4♠—no interest in anything beyond game. I bid 4NT (Roman Key Card for spades) and she bid 5♣ (showing one Key Card). I then bid 5♦—asking if she owned the Queen of trumps. She bid 5♠, denying the ♠Q. So, we were missing the Queen of trumps AND either the ♥A or the ♠A. You are not advised to bid a slam missing one Key Card AND the Queen of trumps. Now, with a known 9 card fit, I could have said—”Oh, the Queen might fall anyway,” and taken a shot at slam. If I had been sure that partner's Ace was the ♠A, I might have bid the slam because now the chances of 2-2 spades OR a singleton Queen are about 52%. However, if partner has the ♥A and we are missing BOTH the Ace and the Queen of trumps, I do not like our chances. If spades are 2-2 or 3-1 with a singleton honor behind my King, partner will have to be really good at guessing when the honors are divided. So, I signed off at 5♠—which made. Many pairs tried 6♠ and went down as BOTH the ♠A and the ♠Q are behind my poor ♠K.