This will be a quick one. Our experts are playing in the finals of the Brazilian Trials, and we are building a backlog of interesting hands to comment upon in the coming days. This next hand, in the semifinals, struck my eye:
Miguel Villas-Boas picked up this nice collection, vulnerable, 3rd in hand. He was already thinking about how to deal with spade preempts when his partner pleased him by opening 1 Spade, himself. He bid 2 Diamonds (game forcing), and partner rebid 2 Spades.
I gave this hand as a problem to some intermediate and advanced players, and none of them chose Miguel's bid, 4 Diamonds. I think his bid is clearly the best. This little digression shows how people are reluctant to jump in a forcing auction even when they have the hand for it (setting trumps, asking for cuebids). This creates problems in the later auction. Not in Brenner-Villas Boas table, though (at least not yet!).
Diego Brenner bid what was probably the best thing Miguel could wish for -- 4 Hearts (cuebid), depicting either the King of hearts or shortness. East could perhaps bid 7 Diamonds now, but he chose to go through 4NT. Partner showed one Ace, and he bid 7 Diamonds. This was Diego's hand:
Excellent bidding, wasn't it?
But the auction was not over yet. Diego had a thoughtful idea. Since he had an undisclosed source of tricks, (and a nice hand of his own), perhaps 7NT would be safer, protecting against some bad break in diamonds. (He would have two bites at the apple rather than one -- if diamonds did not ran, perhaps spades would). And so he bid 7NT.
He picked an unfortunate time to do that, since his hand had no entries!
Luckily for them, South had a tough problem in picking the lead, and he picked... a spade. A happy ending for our experts, and 13 imps when the other table ended in 6 Diamonds (after East did not jump to 4 Diamonds over 2 Spades).