Page 0024

24 English Bridge August 2017 www.ebu.co.uk

L

ast issue we were looking at heading for a

slam and considering which hands might

produce a decent play for 12 tricks opposite a

normal hand for partner's bidding to date. This

time we are going to look at ways you can issue a

slam try with the aim of pinpointing your strengths

and weaknesses.

TRYING FOR SLAM - DO NOT USE

BLACKWOOD, USE A CUE-BID

A subtle point, but one that can't be stressed

enough is that when you use Blackwood you are not

making a 'slam try'. You are in fact committed to

bidding a slam and just employing the final check

that your side is not missing two aces before you

take the plunge. There is no point using Blackwood

if you are unsure whether or not you have the

firepower to make 12 tricks.

However one way you can try for a slam is by

making a cue-bid, stating to partner that you have a

control (ace, king, singleton or void) in the suit you

are bidding, and interest in a slam.

Note that cue-bidding always takes place after you

and partner have agreed a suit, and is always above

the level of 3NT (with the one exception you will

see below).

The most common start to a cue-bidding

sequence would be something like 1´-Pass-3´,

where an eight card fit (and probably nine) has been

explicitly agreed and where the opener is free to

pass. Any bid opener makes will commit the

partnership to at least game. (Contrast this with the

more frequent but less exciting start of 1´-Pass-2´

where a new suit by opener would be a game try,

looking to decide whether or not to go to the 4level

- thoughts of slam are far from your mind)

If after 1´-Pass-3´ opener bids a new suit it is a

try for slam, saying to partner you have a control in

that suit, and denying a control in any suits you

have actively skipped.

Let's see a few hands you might have with this

start and consider what to bid on each of them:

Slam Bidding - Cue-Bids or Blackwood?

Traps for the unwary by Michael Byrne

click

link

Hand 1 Hand 2

´ A K 6 5 4 3 ´ A Q J 8 5

™ A Q J ™ K Q J 9 6

t Q J 9 t 5 4

® 6 ® A

Hand 3 Hand 4

´ A K 9 8 4 ´ A Q J 6

™ Q J 9 6 ™ K J

t A K J t Q 9 5 4

® 5 ® A Q 3

If the first hand looks familiar that's because it

featured in June - but I didn't give the answer. The

problem with using Blackwood 4NT is that finding

out how many aces (or key cards) your partner has

is not what you need to know. The biggest problem

from your point of view is that you need partner to

have a control in diamonds, since you are sorely

lacking in that department, and however many

tricks you have to cash will count for nothing if the

opponents start by winning the first two diamonds.

Instead you should bid 4®, showing a control in

clubs and asking partner to cue-bid if he holds a

control in diamonds. Since partner is the weaker

limited hand he will have to cue-bid a diamond

control if he has one - you are in charge of the

auction and he is dancing to your tune. If instead he

cue-bids 4™ (missing out 4t) then he denies a

diamond control and you know to sign off in 4´. If

he returns to the trump suit with a bid of 4´ then he

has a control in neither suit.

Likewise in Hand 2. The opener is desperate to

know if partner can control the diamonds so he

cue-bids 4® to show a control in clubs and give

partner the opportunity to cue-bid diamonds.

Index

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