If the opener is certain there is no slam, then he
simply signs off in four of the agreed major suit. The
splinter bidder is not allowed to bid on - if he wants
to carry on looking for a slam then he should have
started with 2NT Jacoby and asked the questions, as
opposed to making a splinter bid and showing
partner the answers.
If the opener is certain he can make a slam if there
are enough aces (or key-cards) present, then he can
launch into Blackwood.
If the opener's hand is in between and he can see
the likely possibility of a slam without being certain,
then he must use cue-bidding and investigate.
Let's see a few hands you might hold for a 1´
opening bid and what you would do with each of
them when partner splinters with 4®:
Hand A Hand B
´ K J 9 7 6 ´ A J 9 7 5 4
™ J 3 ™ K
t A 2 t A 2
® K J 9 3 ® 7 6 4 3
Hand C Hand D
´ K J 9 7 6 ´ A K Q J 9
™ A K J 6 ™ Q 3 2
t Q 3 t J 8 3
® Q 8 ® K J
Hand A has a lot of wasted values in clubs, and only
9 points outside the splinter suit; the odds of a slam
are almost zero, so sign off in 4´.
Hand B by contrast is ideal. The 6-4 trump fit will
make the play very easy, and you have a full opening
bid outside the club suit. Blackwood will get all of
the answers you need and lead to a slam on most
Hand C has a good 14 points (discounting the
useless ®Q) and goodish spades and hearts, so a
slam might be on. You need quite a lot of help from
partner though, and a cue-bid of 4™ is the right
move. If the splinter bidder now signs off in 4´ then
you must respect his decision and pass. Even facing
a perfecto of ´A, ™Q, tA-K, which is 13 points, you
still need to pick up the queen of spades to make a
slam, barely a 50/50 chance.
Hand D looks very impressive, with solid trumps
and a bit outside. Remember that the ®K-J are
useless, however, and you lack any controls in the
red suits. Stay safely in 4´ and pocket the money.
February 2015 English Bridge
Let's review the dos and don'ts of splinter bidding:
• Agree to play splinter bids with partner and
remind him about 1´ - Pass -4™ lest you
end up in the 'inevitable' 3-1 fit.
• Discount any points you have in the
splinter suit (apart from the ace) if partner
makes a splinter bid and you are wondering
whether to bid on.
• Appreciate that a void is significantly better
than a singleton, especially when accompa nied
by massive trump support.
• Splinter with singleton aces, it will just
cause partner to mis-evaluate his hand.
• Splinter on good hands (14+); if you are
wondering whether or not to bid on after
partner signs off, then you made the wrong
bid on the previous round.
• Splinter when you have a long, strong source
of tricks for partner: when you splinter, you
are telling him that the main highlight of
your hand is the shortage. r
7-13 October 2015
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