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Navigation to the right slam and bypassing the NT obstacle

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2018-November-24, 18:54

Dear all


This situation happens quite often. Firstly you are interested in exploring a suit (or NT) slam but your partner has arrived in 3NT.

What are the best ways of moving on. Below is a recent hand where I managed to navigate through but wasn't happy about my 5NT bid and how it would work. Other more advanced players than me did a superaccept in Spades which allowed earlier use of Blackwood. That was probably my error

I also considered quantitative NT.

I wasn't totally sure all my cues were correct

Regards P



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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2018-November-24, 19:33

Not super accepting is fine; one is supposed to have 4 cd support to super accept.

Robot's 3nt was conservative and normally denies any slam interest, but since you have like the absolute best hand you can possibly have you cued along the way to 4s to give it another chance which was a good bid. (If partner just bids 4s of course pass). After bots 5h I wouldn't muddy waters with 5nt which is probably undefined in gib and thus dangerous, not really accomplishing anything; just bid 6s.
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#3 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2018-November-24, 20:23

This auction is bad. 3NT is a signoff.
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#4 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2018-November-24, 21:38

View PostTylerE, on 2018-November-24, 20:23, said:

This auction is bad. 3NT is a signoff.

You'd pass 3nt? :)

Given you were guaranteed to get to 4 anyway, how could it hurt cueing along the way in case partner was really close to going further?
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#5 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2018-November-24, 22:59

Thanks everyone

Yes, I thought maybe I should have bid 6S after 5H but was still hoping to give partner the choice of staying at 5 level of choosing a small slam. I was in unchartered territory and wasnt sure how the 5NT would be interpreted at all.

Fortunately it was either interpreted correctly or had the right outcome.

I wish I could say the 5NT was planned in the sense of the Pick a Slam bids but it was abid selected when not sure what to bid. 5S (showing K) would have been a sign off in Spades which I didn't want.

All a bit mysterious and a little fortuitous.

Thanks again. I still feel lost bidding slams without Blackwood :)

PS I thought with transfers that a 3NT still gave me a choice of leaving in 3NT or going to 4S myself. Isnt that how transfers work. Also the range on the 3NT bid goes up to 15 or so points plus my 15-17+ (depending on shape) - surely enough that slam is always a chance
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#6 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 00:11

View Postsmerriman, on 2018-November-24, 21:38, said:

You'd pass 3nt? :)

Given you were guaranteed to get to 4 anyway, how could it hurt cueing along the way in case partner was really close to going further?


I'd bid 4!S rather than passing 3N.
The Aces and the Club doubleton strongly suggest playing in NT.

With this said and done, I have seen GIB do enough stupid stuff that I'd bid 4!S rather than 3N.
Throwing in a cuebid is just too dangerous...
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#7 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 00:21

View Postthepossum, on 2018-November-24, 22:59, said:

Also the range on the 3NT bid goes up to 15 or so points plus my 15-17+ (depending on shape) - surely enough that slam is always a chance


Slam always a chance is inaccurate. Slam is a very remote chance once partner bids 3nt. He'll have some random 10-12 count with absolute zero interest far more often than an absolute max 3nt bid. You only cue because you have the nut maximum with all working cards just in case partner happens to be at the absolute top of his range.

You shouldn't expect to get to slam after this start any more than maybe 5-10 percent of the time.

Also, 5s over 5h doesn't show the spade king. Nor is it a signoff. Return to a trump suit in a cue bidding auction doesn't show anything, it just says at this point I have nothing more to say, partner you can make the final decision. But on this hand after partner cooperated with 5C and 5h, you should be sure you want to be in 6s so just bid it.
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#8 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 00:55

Always a chance is accurate.

You don't rule it out until you explore further

I think people should be encouraged to go through the thought process of looking at the meaning of the bids, possible point counts, assess their hand for shape and controls

Then decide how to proceed.
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#9 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 03:24

You felt the need to catch up because your hand was really good, I'd have bid it as a balanced 18 rather than 17 (K&R gives 17.7), now you're bidding a slam, but whether you bid the right one ...
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 03:56

View PostStephen Tu, on 2018-November-24, 19:33, said:

Not super accepting is fine; one is supposed to have 4 cd support to super accept.

Robot's 3nt was conservative and normally denies any slam interest, but since you have like the absolute best hand you can possibly have you cued along the way to 4s to give it another chance which was a good bid. (If partner just bids 4s of course pass).


Quite a few people play 2nt as a super accept with max strength and 3 card support- but not GIB I imagine.

Did people here read GIB's description of 3nt?
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#11 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 03:56

View Postthepossum, on 2018-November-25, 00:55, said:

Always a chance is accurate.

You don't rule it out until you explore further


Consider the following hypothetical example:

Your cue bid has a

5% chance of getting to a slam that the field is going to miss
70% of breaking even
25% chance of getting you a zero (you pushed GIB out of its envelope, slam goes down, a 5 level contract goes down...)

In this case, you really don't want to explore further.
YES, you might get a good score, but the net proposition is an expected loss.
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#12 User is offline   r8864 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 04:53

I always have this problem. As a responder to 1NT, after transfer, I dunno how to explore slam and at the same time allowing the 1NT opener a chance to correct the contract from NT to major.
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#13 User is offline   Wackojack 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 05:09

Forget that GIB is your partner for a moment. This is an excellent slam to be in. So how with normal methods do you get there? It appears to me that North with a 15 count can do no more than bid 3NT after 1N-2H -2S. However, since South has 3 card spade support 17 points and a doubleton can now painlessly cue 4C, then cue 4D, 4H and 6S can be reached with ease.
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#14 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 05:34

GIB's slam bidding is, frankly, quite horrible. That said, you've caught a situation (basically balanced hands) where it will work quite well.

On this hand, I don't see the point of further cuebidding after 5 - you can't possibly have enough for grand, and you can't find out any more information, and you can't get GIB (or, actually, any partner who couldn't figure out that 4N RKCB was the right query given their hand) to make an intelligent decision with any information you give it, so you might as well bid 6.

Also, any slam will be a good matchpoint score as most players will probably not find it, so there's no special reason to look to see if 6N will make.
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#15 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 06:43

View Postakwoo, on 2018-November-25, 05:34, said:

GIB's slam bidding is, frankly, quite horrible. That said, you've caught a situation (basically balanced hands) where it will work quite well.

On this hand, I don't see the point of further cuebidding after 5 - you can't possibly have enough for grand, and you can't find out any more information, and you can't get GIB (or, actually, any partner who couldn't figure out that 4N RKCB was the right query given their hand) to make an intelligent decision with any information you give it, so you might as well bid 6.

Also, any slam will be a good matchpoint score as most players will probably not find it, so there's no special reason to look to see if 6N will make.


Given the description of GIB's 3N, you could have enough for grand but it's unlikely (nothing to say there isn't a side 4 card suit so AJ10xx, Kx, Kx, Kxxx would do it although I'd like to see what 3 was).

What you have here is 2 hands at the max of the GIB ranges, both of which are worth more than their actual point count (K&R gives 17.7 opposite 15.8) so both hands tend to underbid using GIB's judgment. 6N is a perfectly decent contract with the heart suit very likely to provide the extra trick you need, any 3-3, any singleton/doubleton honour or void with W, any doubleton comprising 2 of QJ9 with E, or if E has 0-1 you can fall back on the club finesse, so while it's not cold, it's a reasonable shot and I wouldn't worry too much about being in it rather than 6 at MPs.
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 07:56

View PostWackojack, on 2018-November-25, 05:09, said:

So how with normal methods do you get there? It appears to me that North with a 15 count can do no more than bid 3NT after 1N-2H -2S. However, since South has 3 card spade support 17 points and a doubleton can now painlessly cue 4C, then cue 4D, 4H and 6S can be reached with ease.


FWIW, I wouldn't be happy with those agreements. I think it's normal (and certainly my preference) that a 1NT opener can simply pass or correct 3NT, and that (GIB-like) 10-15 points to bid 3NT is too high at both ends. If responder with 5M332 has vision of slam despite knowing that opener has no 4-card support, his reasoning is essentially quantitative and 4NT tells the story.
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#17 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 15:02

View Postpescetom, on 2018-November-25, 07:56, said:

his reasoning is essentially quantitative and 4NT tells the story.


Look at South's hand. Three aces + the K and Q of partner's suit. These scream to be played in a suit contract and 4NT tells no story at all.

There is a good case to value this hand as too strong for a 1NT opening. But even if you value it at 17 initially, it surely looks much stronger now. The 4C cue-bid must be right.
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 15:54

View PostTramticket, on 2018-November-25, 15:02, said:

Look at South's hand. Three aces + the K and Q of partner's suit. These scream to be played in a suit contract and 4NT tells no story at all.

There is a good case to value this hand as too strong for a 1NT opening. But even if you value it at 17 initially, it surely looks much stronger now. The 4C cue-bid must be right.


North can't look at South's hand. Yes it screams in the context, and was probably worth re-evaluation initially (17.7 KR), just arguing that in a normal bidding system agreed between partners it shouldn't be relevant, given that South already freely bid 1NT and then did not super-accept. It's not hard to construct super-accepts that show both length of fit and range of HCP, and North still has ways to invite slam after a 5-card transfer not super-accepted. I guess you could decide that opener with desire to play in the major should cue-bid any first-level control rather than simply bidding 4M, but I see little point - it risks helping the opponents more than partner, and in any case opener has every right to pass when not interested in the major.
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#19 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2018-November-25, 16:29

Well inviting on 15 might lead partner to accept on a lot of 16s and get to some thin slams you don't want to be in. I think most of us are having opener cue over 3nt only with exceptional maxes like this one, not routinely. Over responders game force knowledge of a control or not is quite unlikely to help the defense enough to matter.

Super-accepting on 3 is perhaps unsound, as partner can be broke, and with 8 cd fit less likely for the opps to have the shape to balance. Question is whether the extra times you get to game and make on are enough to compensate for 3s down one and 4s down 1. Or times opponents were going to balance and down 1 when your 3s is going down.
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#20 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2018-November-26, 14:49

The bidding should have gone: 1n-2h-2s-4n(quantitative, 5 spades)-6s. 3n essentially said that you should just play in game in spades or nt, I'd take 4c to be a suit, not a cuebid. After 3n, you should bid 4s to tell partner you have support.

If you think that the 4n bid is dependent upon a special partnership understanding, it's not. 4n is a standard continuation after a Jacoby transfer that shows exactly what I described. It's been that way since the first book on bidding I've read (Commonsense Bidding, Modern Bridge Conventions, Bill Root), which was written in the 80's.
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