Neither vul, at Matchpoints, you hold as south: ♠KQ10954 AK3 K103 ♣3


W      N       E       S

-        -        P       1♠     

P       21    P       ?       


1 Game forcing


What do you bid?

This deal, from the April 9th Bridge at the Centre game, is a very interesting and instructive hand for constructive slam bidding. First you should be thinking slam in diamonds at this point. A raise to 3 cannot be faulted. It simplifies the auction as trumps are agreed early.


An even better raise of diamonds is a splinter. I strongly advocate playing that a jump in a new suit, in a game forcing auction, shows shortness and does NOT promise extra values. 4♣ would be perfectly acceptable on the above hand or on ♠Kxxxx Axxx KJx ♣x.


This would be my bid at teams but at matchpoints you should find out if partner has a spade fit. Bid 2♠. Now partner bids 3♣. Ok, he has a minor two suiter, and usually denies two or more spades, because you have shown six with your rebid. Now you have an easy 3 bid. Partner bids 3NT. What now?


3NT is a suggestion of a contract, thus in my view indicating a minimum 2/1.  I feel the right bid is to try for slam one more time. Even if partner has ♠x ♥Qxx ♦AQJxx ♣Axxx for his 3NT bid slam is odds on to make with reasonable splits. (If they lead trumps you set up spades; if they lead anything else you ruff two clubs.) So, what is the best call?


Before answering this I will show you partner’s hand. He held ♠A QJ2 AQJ96 ♣A954. All 7 requires is one club ruff. The best call over 3NT is 4. This tells partner you are still interested in a slam opposite a minimum. He can sign off or ask for key cards. At the table North bids 4, Redwood key card ask. (Redwood is used over minor suit fits – 4 asks if clubs are agreed and 4 if diamonds). You show your two key cards and partner signs off in 6.


If you are playing attention you will notice instead of a minimum partner held 18 of the finest. He explained that he and is regular partner liked to bid 3NT directly over 2♠ to show a minimum. Anything else shows extra values. I would not recommend this treatment for your partnerships. Otherwise you could never investigate a club fit, or further describe your hand for that matter, when holding a minimum.



Lessons to Learn



1)    At matchpoints exhaust finding a major suit fit before playing in a known minor suit fit.


2)    Opposite unlimited hands always ask for Kings when all the aces and KQ of trumps are present. This is an invitation for the responder of the key asker to jump to seven when he has either extra values or an undisclosed source of tricks.


3)    At teams a raise to 3, or with shortness, a jump in a new suit splinter simpler would simplify the auction.


4)    Some partnerships like to play Minorwood. This convention states that in a game forcing auction, 4♣ is keycard if clubs have been agreed, and 4 if diamonds. The reason that I prefer Redwood, is the ability to bid a natural four of a minor showing interest in slam, without committing to it.


5)    Questions or comments may be sent to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.