Lucky for Some

  ♠64
97642
876
♣QJ8
 
♠K987
A
A53
♣AK542
Board 13
Dealer N
Game All
♠AQJT532
-
QT94
♣96
  ♠-
KQJT853
KJ2
♣T73
 

What do you open the East hand on this deal from Kirby Muxloe on 30th July 2016? The choices appear to be one spade, three spades or four spades? South is likely to bid three or four hearts, if possible, but may well pass four spades. What should West do? West has eighteen points; South must have KQJ of hearts to bid at a high level. That leaves fifteen points for North and East. Assuming East has the ace and queen of spades it is hard to imagine they will have neither king of diamonds or queen of clubs as well for an opening bid of one. Seven spades is now a reasonable proposition after checking for aces (no point checking for kings as you don't need any if East has the queen of clubs). It is harder to bid the grand after three or four spades is opened as now it is likely there will be a loser in diamonds or clubs, and six should suffice. As it is, there are three diamond losers to dispose of in the East hand. One goes on the ace of hearts and, as cashing the ace and king of clubs and ruffing the two establishes the suit when it breaks 3-3. It is poor tactics to bid a grand on a 3-3 break; bidding the small slam usually, as in this case, provides a good score, but you could not fault West after East had opened one spade. The hand is not quite good enough for a one spade opening in front of partner, and the pre-emptive options are a better bet.

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