Bid better slams
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tA in partner’s hand is of little signifi-
ARTHUR Bradley writes from West cance to East – in fact the lack of it
Sussex: The following deal occurred at (implying values elsewhere) is actually
our club recently and I wondered more encouraging! points), whereas 1´ – 1NT – 3t – 3´ –
whether you could suggest a bidding This is my recommended sequence: 4® will show a huge hand (about 4-5
sequence. Hearts break 2-1; slam is a losers), investigating slam when partner
certainty but not easy to find. West East can only respond 1NT.
Dealer West. 2™ 4t1
´ Void N
´ AQJ982 4™ 4´2 JIM Mallinson writes from Burnham-
™ K97652 W E
™ A843 5® 2 6™ on-Sea: How would you bid these two
t K 10 8 7 6 3 2 t Void Pass hands scientifically?
® Void ® AJ3 1 Splinter, showing a singleton or void in
the bid suit and support for partner’s suit Love All. Dealer West.
My partner and I play Basic Acol with 2 Cue-bids, showing first-round control ´ A K Q J 10 5 3 ´ Void
Strong Twos and our bidding was: ™ 2 N
t J84 W
t A K Q 10 6 3 2
West North East South RD asks by e-mail: How many points ® 53 ® K94
Pass Pass 1´ Pass would you recommend to play the
2t Pass 3´ Pass cue-bid (after a fit)? Also, are the cue- At my rubber bridge club, playing basic
4™ Pass 4NT Pass bid and LTC the only conventions Acol with just standard Blackwood (no
5® Pass 5™ All Pass used after a fit has been found? transfers, cue-bids, etc.), the auction
was simple: 1´ – 2t – 3´ – 4NT – 5t –
6t, the final contract looking like the
This hand is certainly not simple to bid, and When you are developing a constructive best slam in terms of protecting ®K
I would be surprised if many pairs reached auction, unusual jumps generally show sup- from the lead and offer ing better
slam. Although the small slam is decent, I port, since it is preferable to keep the bid- chances of an entry to the West hand.
would not wish to play a grand with these ding as low as possible while investigating a
two hands, since, although there are no top fit. For example, 1´ – 4® is an unusual
losers, you are a long way from thirteen jump, and is normally played as a splinter, Your bidding sequence is a decent
tricks. West’s main problem is what to res- guaranteeing game values, primary support practical auction and you did well to reach
pond over 1´. Despite the lack of values, for spades, and a shortage in clubs. a great slam (played from the correct side,
1NT is too much of a distortion, which Once a fit has been found, you can use as you say). However, I would have started
leaves a choice of 2t or 2™. 2t is not the Losing Trick Count (LTC), which isn’t with a 3t force with the East hand, which
incorrect, but I think it is more practical to a convention as such, but an alternative would take the pressure off the auction.
show the six-card major. At this stage you method of hand evaluation, and you will Here is my suggested sequence:
are not envisaging slam, so your first use that to decide, for example, whether
priority is to reach the highest scoring game you are worth game, slam, or part-score. If West East
and a 4™ contract must be investigated. you are in the slam zone, then once a fit 1´ 3t
Following your sequence, East’s rebid of has been found, cue-bidding, splinters, or 3´ 3NT
3´ is, in my view, not best. A change of of course Blackwood can all be useful tools. 4t 4™1
suit following a two-level response should A cue-bid guarantees the values for at 4´ 1 4NT2
be played as forcing, and that allows you least game, and shows some slam interest. 5t 6t
to rebid 2™, keeping the bidding low while The values you need will depend on the 1 Cue-bids
investigating your best fit. I also dislike the auction that has preceded it. For example: 2 Normal Blackwood. Partner is known to
use of Blackwood by the hand that has 2® – 2´ – 3´ – 4® will show no more have the ´A after the cue-bid, so we know
three aces and a void. The presence of the than the minimum positive values (8 that it is the ®A that is missing r
www.ebu.co.uk October 2010 English Bridge 9