Bridge - The Scotsman 04/04/2012

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Wednesday’s puzzle...

WE have looked at slams based on high card power; or where a long running suit compensates for fewer high cards. The third type of slam features an abundance of trump, some aces, and the shortages that allow you to make your trump separately. On this deal North-South make 6S with just 21 high card points. The defenders may cash a club, but then declarer draws the solitary outstanding trump, then crossruffs – even if diamonds break badly he can ruff three times in dummy.

This sort of fit can be diagnosed with the help of a very useful convention: the Splinter Bid. In its simplest form this is a double jump response to an opening bid of one of a suit – here the jump to 4D. (2D would be natural; 3D a strong jump shift – but who needs 4D in another meaning?) The Splinter Bid promises three things: at least four-card support for partner’s suit; a singleton (or void) in the suit you have jumped in; and the values to play in at least game. North has just nine high card points, but he has a six-loser hand, and can add points for the extra spade length, the singleton and the doubleton. South knows of at least a ten-card spade fit, and that he can ruff diamonds in dummy to establish the suit.

He checks on aces via Keycard Blackwood, discovering that partner has two of the five keycards plus the queen of trump. There is a missing keycard, so he stops in the small slam.