By Prof Tony Campbell

MANY players now play a form of Benjamin using a weak two heart or two spade bid, showing six cards in the suit bid and only 6-10 points.

But there is another way to show this, using what is known as the multi-two diamond bid, which I will illustrate in a future article. This two diamond bid leaves the two heart/spade bid open for something else than the weak two in the Benjamin system.

My partners and I use this bid to show at least five/four in the majors with 11-15 points. This convention has evolved over many years, but surprisingly has no name, and is not accredited to any bridge player as the inventor. I suggest we call it the double majors convention for now. Here is a hand illustrating this bid, which led to a slam that most other pairs failed to find.

The Auction

With five hearts and four spades and fifteen points West opened two hearts. East used the three club bid to agree spades, guaranteeing at least four spades, and points as well. West then cue bid his singleton diamond. East responding with four clubs, cue bidding his ace. West with a maximum in their system of fifteen points took East’s bid to show some points, so it looked like a good fit between the two hands.

A slam could easily be on. As we have seen in previous articles, four no trumps was Roman key card Blackwood. East with two key cards, the ace of clubs and the king of spades, and the queen of the agreed trump suit, bid five spades. West was then happy to bid the slam.

The play

South started by leading his fourth highest diamond, the two. Remember, the first time spades were actually mentioned directly was when East bid five spades in response to Roman Key card Blackwood. So, East ended up as declarer.

North won the diamond lead with his king. He then switched a club, which declarer, East, won with the ace in his hand. Looking at the hand East could see it was a good slam, only requiring a 3/2 split in spades, a 68% chance, and a 3-3 or 4-2 break in hearts, an 84% chance. So, East drew all of the opponents’ trumps by playing three rounds of spades. Even though the hearts were four/two against declarer, East was able to win the rest of tricks.

He played first the king of hearts, and then won the next trick with the ace of hearts followed by the queen in dummy. He then ruffed a fourth heart with his last trump, establishing West’s last heart. East then cashed the ace, king and queen of clubs, and won the last two tricks with the seven of hearts and nine of spades, making the slam with 12 tricks – four spades and one spade ruff, four hearts and three clubs for a score of 1430, and a joint top. Well bid and played.

At most other tables East/West were not playing the double majors convention with 5/4 in the majors, and ended up in four spades. After an opening one heart from West, East bid one spade. But this could be anything from six points to a big hand. So, West responded only with three spades, and East simply raised to four spades.

However, at one table, after his partner’s one spade, East came up with the imaginative bid of three diamonds. This is known as ‘splinter’, and showed four card spade support, a singleton diamond and more than a minimum opening bid. This time West cue bid his ace of clubs, which led to Roman key card Blackwood again and a bid of six spades by West. Well bid.

What have we learnt?

1. The double majors bid of two hearts here is not used by many players. I was taught this interesting convention by one of my regular partners when I had returned to the magical game of bridge after an absence of 40 years. And my partners and I have had many successes using this unusual convention.

2. Roman key card Blackwood is far superior to simple Blackwood. It was essential here for West to know they held the ace, king and queen of trumps between the two hands.

3. It is very useful to know your basic percentages for particular distributions.

Current positions in Peter Sampson’s bridge ladder

Peter Sampson’s ladder competition continues to be a success, continuing for 18 weeks with 24 competing pairs.. It adds an extra bit of excitement and fun to the games, and Peter sends out the results weekly. If you would like to join, more details can be had from Peter at Play is on Bridge Base Online (BBO). Current leaders are Angela and Rod Hudson, followed by Peter Millar and Mick Green, with Debbie Dawkins and Hilary Morgan in third place, and in fourth place Viv Duckers and Vernon Pearn.

Further information

There will be a SIMS event for Penarth and Sully bridge clubs on Tuesday 10th November. This is in aid of Children in Need, a charity the Penarth club has supported for many years. It will probably be on BBO. So please contact me if you would like to play. If you have any views, experiences and information you would like to share, please email me. Meanwhile, good luck with your online bridge.

You can always find my articles online at www.penarthtimes/bridge. Keep an eye on Email me if you have anything you would like me to discuss Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance. Virtual table up. But there is hot news. There is a new online British bridge site, Real Bridge. This looks really good, as you can see everyone live and talk. More next week about this experimental site. So maybe at last it is going to be Real Table up!