The following hand came up recently in the Common Game. I would like my gentle reader let me know how you would have bid in order to reach the optimal contract (6 clubs). I know that a small slam really is possible because a few partnerships, admittedly rare, actually bid and made 6 clubs. I suspect those partnerships used the Precision Club system, or some variation thereof; but any insights that you can provide would be much appreciated.
I propose the following sequence playing a standard approach, with EW passing throughout:
1C 1D 1S 4 Spades, denying a hand suitable to rebid 1NT 2H 4th Suit Forcing to game, suggesting dislike for NT 3C 5-card Club suit, dislikes NT also, often denies Heart control 4C agreeing clubs, still forcing, extras 4D 1st or 2nd round control in Diamonds 4H 1st or 2nd round control in Hearts 6C We have the controls, and 5C is almost always a bad result
Another possibility using Single Raise Forcing (10+ Pts) is:
1C 2C forcing raise, 4+ support and 13+ support points 2S 4 Spades, two suited with longer Clubs than Spades 3H Denies Diamond A or K, shows Heart A or K, Game Force 3S Spade A or K and Diamond A or K or singleton denied by partner 4H Holding both A and K, or singleton A, of Hearts; and likes the Diamond and Spade controls from Opener 6C Looks like a super fit
It is also faulty analysis to claim that NS have less than 30 points combined. The South hand is worth 16 to 17 points in a Club contract (15 HCP and either 1 point for the fifth Club or two points for the two doubletons) and the North hand is worth 16 Dummy points in a Club contract (14 HCP - 1 for the unsupported QS + 3 for the singleton Spade). This is a combined partnership strength of 32-33 points, and as the auctions above indicate that it is quite reasonable, using standard methods, to find the Club slam.
If finding reasonable slams were easy, they wouldn't be worth so much. Bridge is designed to reward those who can accurately reassess hand strength during the auction, in light of bidding by partner and the opponents.
It's possible that those partnerships used Splinter Bids, which are artificial bids that promise High Card Points a bit short of a guaranteed slam but also show shortness in the bid suit to compensate. With a bit of distribution luck it's possible to get extra tricks via ruffs.
As discussed in the article above, specifics like splinter bids after minor openings and other slam bidding conventions come into play. But I suspect that a splinter bid first alerted South of a favorable card distribution, with an Ace opposite a singleton spade.