Page 0032

32 English Bridge February 2020 www.ebu.co.uk

Bidding slamwards

Ask Frances by Frances Hinden

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'At my local bridge club my partner opened 1™ and

I picked up the following cards:

I bid 1´ and partner

responded 2t. I should

welcome your advice on how I

should have continued. We

play basic Acol with Keycard

Blackwood.'

but 7NT opposite this one;

and 7t opposite this one?

If partner bids a suit (3t, 3™ or 3´) I would bid 4®

which should be a cuebid agreeing the suit. Partner

can't cuebid anything, and I'll bid 4NT RKCB next,

planning to play a grand in our suit if we have all the

keycards. (An immediate 4NT over partner's rebid

should probably be natural and invitational).

DIf we have agreed diamonds,

I'll bid 6NT if we are short of a

keycard. This will still miss a

grand opposite this hand, but

the odds favour partner not

having the ´Q if she is 5-5 in the reds.

DIf we have agreed hearts, I'll

play in 6™ or 7™ depending on

the response. (This is giving up

on 7NT opposite this hand,

but I can't see how to get

there.)

DWith spades agreed, if we have

all the keycards but not the ´Q

I'll bid 6NT. Partner really

needs a minor suit king to have

an opening bid now, and even

opposite this hand, 6NT is a pretty good spot.

DIf partner bids 3NT, I'll probably just bid 6NT as

partner is very likely to have a singleton spade.

This isn't particularly satisfactory, but it's a very

hard hand unless partner has enough in the way of

extra values to get to the seven level easily. There's

no easy way to ask about both of partner's major

suit queens.

Your hand is sufficiently strong that you expect to

have the values for slam, but it isn't obvious whether

you should be looking for six or seven, or whether

to be in NT or a suit.

Having started as you describe with 1™ - 1´ - 2t

you have little choice but to continue with 3®. This

isn't natural, but is usually played as fourth suit

forcing meaning you have a game forcing hand but

don't know what to bid next. Opener will now

describe their hand further: with five diamonds, she

will bid 3t; with six hearts 3™; with a decent club

stop and a minimum, 3NT. Most experts nowadays

would raise 1´ to 2´ with a minimum 3·5·4·1

shape, so 3´ from opener is typically 2·5·4·2. If poor

partner is 1·5·4·3 with three low clubs she will be

stuck for a bid over 3®, and will have to invent

something (either 3™ with a good five-card suit or

even 3´ with a singleton honour). If partner also

has a good hand (say 16+ HCP) that wasn't strong

enough to jump to 3t, but has a club stop, she can't

bid 3NT as that isn't forcing. Simplest would be to

jump to 4NT, natural and invitational.

I can't tell you how the auction would go after

your 3® bid as it depends so much on what partner

bids next.

If partner is a reasonably sound opener, you are

likely be making a grand slam somewhere. It

depends so much on partner's major suit queens

and jacks.

How do we bid to 7´ opposite

this hand;

´ A K x x x x

™ A K

t Q x x

® A x

´ Q x

™ J 10 x x x x

t A K J x

® x

´ x

™ Q J x x x x

t A K x x

® K x

´ x

™ Q x x x x

t A K J x x

® K x

´ Q x

™ Q J 10 x x

t A J x x x

® x

´ Q x

™ Q J x x x x

t A K x x

® x

´ x x

™ Q J 10 x x

t A J x x

® K x

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