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Slam/game tries - different methods

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-February-07, 18:29

Dear all

You pick up this hand opposite a 1H opening from North



I had assessed the hand using the much questionned losing trick count and decided that obviously we had game and on an average opener from North there would be a chance of approximately 12 tricks.

I was a bit unsure what to bid. Bid 2C then jump in hearts, Jacoby?, bid a splinter (my choice) or find some other way to assess the hand with cues. I'm deliberately not showing North's hand. However we had 10 hearts and North had 18 hcps on top of my 13. We were also just missing the King of spades with North having a small doubleton. However with beautiful clubs suit and AK diamonds opposite my singleton it was an easy 7H or I think 7NT etc. I think the only downside is that the splinter doesnt help North much (It had AK doubleton which gets rid of my loser but not Norths). Is there a way for better assessment of doubletons aside from the obvious knowledge of Aces and Kings

Can anyone assist me on how better to choose my first and subsequent bids

If necessary I will post North's hand. I think North had to be the decision maker and needed to know how to offload a loser. Only one table bid it (using rather an unusual method - overruling Blackwood). Everyone else made 6+1 hearts (EDIT a few 4+3). Nobody bid NT. The distributions aren't obvious for that unless you see the two hands together. It was a brilliant fit with only 31 points. I assessed 5 losers in my hand and North had only 5 losers! However under most metrics obviously 6H was correct. Im just interested if there are better ways of assessing our AK fits and gaps

regards P
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#2 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2019-February-07, 19:36

It is sometimes said that splinters shouldn't be used with hands that have a strong side suit. Here, it may be more important if partner has club fillers than if he has vastage in diamonds. So a strong jump shift in clubs, or 2, followed by heart support, might have worked better.

I am not convinced, though. The club suit is not that strong. Besides, in the style I usually play there is no way to show 4-card heart support if you don't show it immediately. If opener has Kxxxx in hearts he doesn't need to worry about the trumps and there will be plenty of ruffing values for his diamonds. You want to get this message across.

Another issue is that some might think the hand is too strong for a splinter, and that you should start with 2NT.

It sounds like partner had xx-KJxxx-AK-AKxx. After knowing about all keycards, there's still a potential club loser and/or a spade loser. 5NT, if that asks for specific kings, is not helpful since he knows you don't have any kings below the trump suit. Maybe he should have bid 6 instead. Now you can think this way: Partner didn't ask for kings so he is looking for some other kind of help in clubs. I can hardly have a better club suit under those circumstances. So you bid 7 now.
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#3 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2019-February-07, 20:24

View Posthelene_t, on 2019-February-07, 19:36, said:

It is sometimes said that splinters shouldn't be used with hands that have a strong side suit. Here, it may be more important if partner has club fillers than if he has vastage in diamonds. So a strong jump shift in clubs, or 2, followed by heart support, might have worked better.

I am not convinced, though. The club suit is not that strong. Besides, in the style I usually play there is no way to show 4-card heart support if you don't show it immediately. If opener has Kxxxx in hearts he doesn't need to worry about the trumps and there will be plenty of ruffing values for his diamonds. You want to get this message across.


I'm going to defend the position Helene is attacking. She is right that you can't start with 2C and ever expect partner to work out how good your support is, but this is an excellent example of why you don't want to splinter with a good side suit. Splinters are good for when you want to show two important features about your hand - trump support and a shortage. Partner is then in charge of the rest of the auction most of the time. Here this is a problem - you want to have the chance to find out information.

How do you do this? By being the hand to ask for key cards. Obviously you don't want to do that now, but you can retain control of the auction by simply bidding 2NT and finding out what partner has. If partner shows a club shortage, your hand loses its most important source of tricks, but if not then you are much better placed.

It sounds like the auction could proceed:

1H - 2NT (4+H, FG)
3H (bal, extras) - 3S (cue)
4C (cue)

Now asking for key cards gives you the information you need:
... - 4NT
5C (0/3) - 5NT
6C (CK) - 6D (DK as well?)
7H (yes) - Pass or 7NT

I would bid the grand without the DK anyway (it's hard to construct a hand for partner that fits the auction and doesn't make), but one of the side kings makes 7NT a good bet. If partner denies it with 6H, I can ask for the SK by bidding 6S.

In short, slam auctions are often about who should be in control. If you have a clear expectation of being able to place the contract if partner gives you information, it should be you. If not, then try to give partner the best picture of your hand so they can take control.
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#4 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-February-07, 21:14

Dear Helene and Sfi

Thanks for the advice. The only reason I didn't use Jacoby was that I thought it still needed reasonable balance with 4+ trump support but clearly it is more flexible than that. And I wasn't sure on relative strengths between splinters and 2NT

I concur with all the discussion about control and who should be asking information. Sometimes I think it is not easy to decide who needs to be asking but in this case (as in many other cases) it does seem that the weaker hand can be better placed to assess the information gaps and fill then from the strong hand's information. Its more common for the strong hand to ask the weaker hand. In this case though, I don't know if Blackwood gave North enough information as you say

P
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#5 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2019-February-07, 23:19

I don't like using Jacoby 2N here. Partner responds 3N or 4H and you'll have no idea whether you have slam or not. Those are much more likely than a 3H response. (This is a good reason to play one of the improved Jacoby structures out there.)

If you want to find this grand, play Symmetric Relay.
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#6 User is online   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 02:12

Hi,

I would start with 2C.

The problem with the splinter is, that you are not happy, if partner bids 4H.
You are unsure, if you should stop or march on.
The advantage of 2NT is, that partner knowes game is on, and that you may get
some descriptive informations.
The same is true for 2C, but it gives you the chance to locate a sencondary fit,
partner has more room.
The downside, the heart fit is not established, you may need to have a firm
understanding which bids below game are forcing (assuming 2C was not already GF).

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 08:51

I too would start with 2. In 2/1 you immediately find the double fit and have no problem in showing fit on the second round:
1 - 2
3 - 3
4 - .....

Now you already know you are missing the K and have 3 entire levels bidding to reassure yourselves that you lack nothing else.
If opener's hand is xx KJxxx AK AKT9 as you seem to suggest, then you should bid to 7NT in complete safety.
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#8 User is online   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 09:48

This isn't easy. You only made one bid (4) where you have any real discretion - partner's 5NT has told you that all aces are present, but you can't know that you have a source of tricks and have no real option but to show zero kings. Your options are 2 (or possibly 3 if you play this as strong), 2NT (Jacoby), 4 (Splinter) .

(1) 2 - this emphasises the club suit but difficult get over the extent of heart support (even if you do play Delayed Game Raises). I would want a better club suit for this action.
(2) 3 - players who play this as strong usually require more HCPs and a better suit, so I would dismiss this.
(3) 2NT - as Akwoo points out above, you have assumed captaincy but may not know where to go after various responses to 2NT.
(4) 4 - this isn't perfect (see sfi's comments), but it would be my choice.

The WORST call in the auction was North's 4NT with a small doubleton in spades. A better auction might get there if North cue-bids 5 (highlighting the spade problem then cue-bids 6 over your 5 cue-bid.
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#9 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 10:21

We would start 1-2N-3(long suit feature usually a suit)-4-4 and now the double fit is known, but the problem is that you need to let S who knows about the 5th club take captaincy so that the 13 tricks are known.

We play strong jump shifts, but require a better club suit than this.
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 10:36

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-February-08, 10:21, said:

We would start 1-2N-3(long suit feature usually a suit)-4-4 and now the double fit is known, but the problem is that you need to let S who knows about the 5th club take captaincy so that the 13 tricks are known.


For us it would be no issue, as S has already shown A.. AQx.. x QJxxx during the bidding so N who knows the J can make the final call.
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#11 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 11:57

FWIW, this strikes me as a hand where any number of approaches could work.

I wouldn't fault any of the following bids

  • 2!C
  • 2N
  • 4!D


I would probably start with 2! simply because its the lowest possible bid and given that I don't have a strong preference, I'd like to preserve as much bidding space as possible.

Without knowing partner's hand I am guessing that the auction will start

1 - 2
2 2
2N - 3

and then we can start cue bidding and the like.

If I draw a club raise or a heart rebid, better yet. Same with a NT rebid.
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#12 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 18:36

Dear everyone

Thank you for all your responses. Its encouraging to know that I took some of the right considerations. Here is the full hand. I was incorrect in where Norths doubletons were. They were actually doubleton AK club with AKxx diamonds, which could be offloaded on my singleton so that bid did help immediately. Apologies for remembering North incorrectly when writing it up and giving you inaccurate information. This would effect how you feel subsequent bidding would go. Maybe 4NT isnt so bad with this hand? and maybe it improves percentages too? but I would still have preferred to find a way to get enough information for grand if possible. Thanks all :)




regards P

Note Out of the other tables there were frequencies of 2C (6), 4D (7), 2NT (2), 4NT (2)
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#13 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 19:20

North's 4N bid is terrible.

After

1!H - 4!D - 5!C - 5!S - 6!C you can bid 7!H - the worst hand you can expect from North would be !S xxx !H Kxxxx !D AKxxx !C - and even then you're still likely to make on a heart lead and even better on any other lead.
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#14 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-February-08, 20:38

Dear all

Thanks so much for all the information. Here is my understanding given the modified distribution of Clubs and Spades - sorry that this changes a few sequences slightly above. Please correct me if my understanding is wrong

I think I understand the best followup to the splinter where unfortunately the 4NT damaged any chance I had to describe or investigate further

If I bid 2C as several people suggested then the followup from North may be to show AKxx of diamonds(2D) or jump? in diamonds (3D) followed by cue bids etc

If I bid 2NT then North would bid 3H (forcing) then I can start cue bidding with 3S etc and we should get there

Would it all be done through cues or would there be a stage where I would choose to bid Blackwood.

From my understanding of what everyone says if I know about AK clubs, A diamonds (not necessarily the K), K hearts I have enough information since I can deal with my spade loser

If north knows I have clubs, singleton D, AQxx trumps holding J, and A spades that should be enough

regards P
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#15 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-February-09, 00:06

View Postthepossum, on 2019-February-08, 20:38, said:


If I bid 2C as several people suggested then the followup from North may be to show AKxx of diamonds(2D) or jump? in diamonds (3D) followed by cue bids etc



Assume that the auction starts

1!H - 2!C
2!D - 2!H
2N - 3!H

Opener now knows that partner has real Heart support.
Moreover partner made a 2/1 in a suit rather than bidding 2N or starting with a splinter.
AND you have the AK in the suit where partner made the 2/1

I'm not at the point where I am going to assume that I can run clubs. (If partner had a holding like xxxxx in clubs, he would have found another bid)

At this point in time, you can count

4 Clubs and 5 Hearts in partner's hand for 5 tricks
Two Diamonds and either a Diamond or a Spade ruff in your hand

If partner has the Ace of Spades, the grand looks pretty cold
Alderaan delenda est
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-February-09, 08:48

View Postthepossum, on 2019-February-08, 18:36, said:

Maybe 4NT isnt so bad with this hand? and maybe it improves percentages too? but I would still have preferred to find a way to get enough information for grand if possible.

I agree with hrothgar that a 2/1 response in clubs is still the way to go now that we see the real hand.
Our bidding style is a bit different and could take various routes here but most would lead to grand, see an example below:



Both players actually have enough information to call the grand.
South knows that N has xx Kxxxx AKx(x) AK(x).
North knows that S has Ax(x) AQxx(x) x Qxxxx.
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#17 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-February-09, 09:58

View Postthepossum, on 2019-February-08, 20:38, said:


If I bid 2C as several people suggested then the followup from North may be to show AKxx of diamonds(2D) or jump? in diamonds (3D) followed by cue bids etc



I suspect that most people would interpret a jump in Diamonds as a conventional club raise
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#18 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2019-February-09, 19:32

Thanks Hrothgar and Pescetom

Appreciate the advice. Italian possums and bots do play quite differently. It will take me a while to be able to bid a sequence like that 😊
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