The interpretation of bids is important at all times but, for the sanity of partner and the health of the score-card, being confident about slam going manoeuvres is particularly important.

Bidding
Dealer:North N/S Game
NorthEastSouthWest
2C3DNBNB
3HNB5HNB
?

North opened a game-forcing 2C and East interfered modestly with 3D. Although it looks odd for South to pass, there is no point in showing such poor spades and North is very likely to hold a distributional hand. When North rebid 3H, South sprang into action by bidding 5H. What does a free bid of 5-of-a-major indicate?

When your opponents have bid a suit, or your side has named three suits, the bid of five of the agreed major says: I want to bid a slam, but I have two losers in the key suit. If partner holds a singleton, KQ, or if he is playing the hand Kx, he bids six of the agreed suit. If he holds the ace or a void in the key suit, he cue-bids it. So, here, North should bid 6D and South would have bid 7H. Unfortunately, North did not realise at that moment that this was what 5H indicated, and he passed, leaving himself in the inelegant contract of 5H, which made thirteen tricks instantly.


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