When you’re dealt a huge, two-suited hand, do you bid an artificial and forcing 2 ♣ ? Or do you risk a pass-out and bid each suit in turn? Marty Fleisher, North American Player of the Year in 2013, favors the latter system. I learned why by choosing the former style in a game on OK Bridge. Paired with friend Paul Laliberte, I was sitting South and dealing, with both sides vulnerable:

NORTH (Laliberte)
♦A K Q 8 7 4 3
♣J 9 7 3

WEST                    EAST
♠10 9 7 3             ♠J 6 2
♥ 5 3 2                 ♥8 7 6 4
♦ J 2                    ♦9 6 5
♣ A Q 4 2            ♣10 6 5

SOUTH (Kaplan)
♠A K Q 8 5
♥A K Q 10 9
♣ K 8

The bidding proceeded as follows:

South          West          North         East
2♣              Pass           3♦*         Pass
3♠              Pass           4♦           Pass
4♥              Pass           5♦           Pass
7NT             All Pass

* Strong diamond suit.
Opening lead:♣A.

Paul and I normally bid 4♥ to ask for key cards in a diamond contract, but here I was trying to show my second suit. I read his 5♦ reply incorrectly as showing the ♣A and ♦A-king. West politely declined to double and cashed the setting trick. I claimed 12 tricks on any return. The mishap costs us 10.85 international matchpoints (imps) and any hope of placing in the competition for masterpoints.

Plainly, the bidding jammed us up. We should have moved slower, since our 2-over-1 game-forcing style would have kept the bidding going. Here’s a better auction, showing both my suits at a lower level:

South          West          North          East
1♠              Pass          2♦             Pass
2♥              Pass          3♦             Pass
3♥              Pass          4♦             Pass
4♥*            Pass          5♦**         Pass
6NT            All Pass

* Roman Key Card Blackwood for diamond slam
** Shows two of the five “key cards” (four aces, ♦ K), plus the ♦Q.

Since North didn’t support hearts, there’s no question that we’re looking for a possible slam in diamonds. When North’s reply shows one missing key card, presumably the ♣A, South protects against East’s likely lead of a club to the ace-queen by bidding 6NT. It will make seven unless West leads the ♣A.

The Edgartown Bridge Club game on Mondays now meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Tisbury Council on Aging.