Source: Mr Bridge

David Gold
David Gold

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:

Spade Suit J 5 4 3
Heart Suit K Q J 10 7 6 4
Diamond Suit 3
club suit 2

Your partner opens 1Diamond Suit and you decide not to respond 4Heart Suit in case you miss a spade fit. You are very pleased with yourself when partner rebids 1Spade Suitover your simple response of 1Heart Suit. Unsure of the value of your hand, you try a gentle 2Spade Suit. Partner now raises himself to 4Spade Suit.

This is the full deal:

aaxx

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 4Spade Suit are impossible.

In the other room, North knew about the power of the seven-card suit and simply responded 4Heart Suit to 1Diamond Suit. 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 1Spade Suit, 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 4Heart Suit, — a bid that means exactly what it says at the rubber bridge table. This is the full deal:

aaxx

Despite partner’s void, 4Heart Suit makes easily for the loss of one club and two hearts —the third spade goes away on a top diamond. 4Spade Suit, despite the favourable trump break, is very awkward and should not make unless the defenders slip badly. Now that you are getting the idea:

Spade Suit Q 3
Heart Suit Q 10 9 6 5 3 2
Diamond Suit 7 6 5
club suit 2

LHO opens 1club suit, partner overcalls 2Spade Suit (strong) and RHO puts the pressure on with 4club suit. While you don’t have much, you know the power of the seven-card suit and venture a very aggressive 4Heart Suit. This is the full deal:

aaxx

On the normal lead of the club king, you will easily make 4t, just losing two hearts and one diamond. 4Spade Suit, 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.

UD    Partner
1Heart Suit       1Spade Suit
2Heart Suit       3NT
?

If you have seven hearts, you do not need to know anything more about your hand: bid 4Heart Suit. So next time you have a long suit and do not know what to bid, remember:

Seven-card suits should be trumps.