Source: Mr Bridge
I firmly believe in:
“seven-card suits should be trumps.”
You will almost never lose control when you have seven or more trumps in one hand. In addition, the ability to ruff gives you built-in entries to the long suit.
In a teams match, you, North, pick up:
J 5 4 3
K Q J 10 7 6 4
Your partner opens 1 and you decide not to respond 4 in case you miss a spade fit. You are very pleased with yourself when partner rebids 1over your simple response of 1. Unsure of the value of your hand, you try a gentle 2. Partner now raises himself to 4.
This is the full deal:
West leads the eight of clubs and East wins with the ace. East returns a club, forcing dummy to ruff. Declarer tries the king of hearts from dummy but East wins with the ace and cleverly plays another club, forcing dummy to ruff again. Try as hard as you like but, on this defence, ten tricks in 4 are impossible.
In the other room, North knew about the power of the seven-card suit and simply responded 4 to 1. As you can see, playing in hearts, ten tricks are trivial —and eleven tricks are possible if the defenders do not attack spades. Next time, you are South and pick up:
Partner opens 1, promising a five-card suit in your methods. Just as you are wondering how many spades this hand is worth, you remember my maxim: ‘seven-card suits should be trumps’. So you respond 4, — a bid that means exactly what it says at the rubber bridge table. This is the full deal:
Despite partner’s void, 4 makes easily for the loss of one club and two hearts —the third spade goes away on a top diamond. 4, despite the favourable trump break, is very awkward and should not make unless the defenders slip badly. Now that you are getting the idea:
Q 10 9 6 5 3 2
7 6 5
LHO opens 1, partner overcalls 2 (strong) and RHO puts the pressure on with 4. While you don’t have much, you know the power of the seven-card suit and venture a very aggressive 4. This is the full deal:
On the normal lead of the club king, you will easily make 4t, just losing two hearts and one diamond. 4, by contrast, is hopeless on any lead. The maxim applies on other auctions, including after partner opens at the three level and when you are the opener.
If you have seven hearts, you do not need to know anything more about your hand: bid 4. So next time you have a long suit and do not know what to bid, remember:
Seven-card suits should be trumps.