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missed slam

#1 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 14:35

I am helping a friend with her bridge, trying to help her progress from the novice stage. One way I do this is to go through her bad scores on one evening she playes with another regular partner (this partner is a weak intermediate). This hand came up yesterday:



They ended up in 4 for a 30% board. Despite this being one of the less expereienced evenings at the club, half of the other NS pairs found 6, and the grand is also cold.

Assuming EW stay silent (neither had shapely hands), North opens 1, and they are playing Acol (3 weak twos), what is the best way to guide her (sitting South) on how to look for the slam? I don't think she is confident with cue bids and splinters (she knows about them, but tends not to use them in play), but does play Blackwood. The first tricky part is how to respond to the 1 opening. South wants to force to game but doesn't have a convenient way of doing that by bidding a new suit without distorting her hand to the point of risking ending up in the wrong place (like bidding 2 for example). They are not playing any game forcing raises like Jacoby 2NT.
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#2 User is offline   TylerE 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 15:08

If you want to bid slams, use a system that isn't completely unsuited to the task. That's really all there is to say. Of course you don't find slams when you have no forcing raise, no RKC, no splinters, and no cuebids.
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#3 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 16:03

If you can't bid 4 or 2N you're a bit stuffed.
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#4 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 16:23

If you're not using splinters, and admittedly the South hand looks a tad strong to use a splinter, then you need to compromise with another bid. Given the level of your partner, I doubt that she would have even considered a temporising bid of 2 here - this seems better than 2, in my humble opinion.

North will probably bid 3 in reply to 2, and South should then be able to visualise the slam potential.

The reason why I suggest 2 here is a) If partner raises s your hand increases in value enormously b) It might deter the opponents from finding a killing lead c) It keeps the strength of your suit hidden d) 2 should show a 5+ card suit e) There is less danger if partner raises the suit as you then bid s showing a delayed game raise in s - this is standard Acol. f) It also gives you the opportunity if partner bids 2 next of bidding 2 as fourth suit forcing, if necessary.
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#5 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 17:51

 FelicityR, on 2020-January-10, 16:23, said:

If you're not using splinters, and admittedly the South hand looks a tad strong to use a splinter, then you need to compromise with another bid. Given the level of your partner, I doubt that she would have even considered a temporising bid of 2 here - this seems better than 2, in my humble opinion.

North will probably bid 3 in reply to 2, and South should then be able to visualise the slam potential.

The reason why I suggest 2 here is a) If partner raises s your hand increases in value enormously b) It might deter the opponents from finding a killing lead c) It keeps the strength of your suit hidden d) 2 should show a 5+ card suit e) There is less danger if partner raises the suit as you then bid s showing a delayed game raise in s - this is standard Acol. f) It also gives you the opportunity if partner bids 2 next of bidding 2 as fourth suit forcing, if necessary.


2 is the old fashioned Acol bid.

You also only normally play limited splinters if you have a 2N raise available.

Your reasoning is a little faulty, you DON'T want partner to raise, you'd much rather he was void or had a singleton, Kxxx is a really bad holding, which he might not expect.
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#6 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 21:51

It should be possible to at least bid the small slam without any conventions other than Blackwood. For example
1-2
3-4NT
5-5NT?
6-6
... most of the new ideas I get are pretty "boring", mostly focusing on constructive methods rather than destructive ones --- Kungsgeten
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#7 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 22:25

AL78 writes 'I am helping a friend with her bridge, trying to help her progress from the novice stage. One way I do this is to go through her bad scores on one evening she playes with another regular partner (this partner is a weak intermediate). This hand came up yesterday: They ended up in 4 for a 30% board. Despite this being one of the less expereienced evenings at the club, half of the other NS pairs found 6, and the grand is also cold. Assuming EW stay silent (neither had shapely hands), North opens 1, and they are playing Acol (3 weak twos), what is the best way to guide her (sitting South) on how to look for the slam? I don't think she is confident with cue bids and splinters (she knows about them, but tends not to use them in play), but does play Blackwood. The first tricky part is how to respond to the 1 opening. South wants to force to game but doesn't have a convenient way of doing that by bidding a new suit without distorting her hand to the point of risking ending up in the wrong place (like bidding 2 for example). They are not playing any game forcing raises like Jacoby 2NT.'
++++++++++++++++++++++++

With the South hand, a 2 reply seems a distortion. Even if South is uncomfortable with Splinters, 4 seems the only sensible reply. On a very good day, you might then enjoy the auction on the left.

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#8 User is offline   heart76 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 02:41

I also think this hand clearly shows why splinters should be part of the system from quite early.
We play mini-splinters too, so here it would go:
1S - 3D (either GF with singleton or invitational with 0-1 cards)
4C - 4H
4NT - 5S
5NT - 6D (1), or if you want more specific info: 6C - 6H

With just a forcing 2NT raise:
1S - 2NT
3S (6 cards) - 4D and opener has at least more analyses to do.
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#9 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 02:50

Seems I have an isolated view here but I dont like 2C with xxx (the worst holding possible, especially if partner has a fit as we are now facing some likely losers here), and N jumping with a suit headed by AT.

I have to admit I played very little Acol, and a long time ago too (internship in the UK!) but over 2C, IIRW, 2D is forcing and could be a better anticipation before rebidding S.

The only reason Id bid 2C is that if we wont do controls anyway, at least it could avoid them leading C. But it is a deliberate psychological bid.

Here, Id just describe my values with 2H (hey, now partner will like his HQ and will bid 7 more comfortably). I dont understand the risk that partner fits me and insists in H, I can always correct back to S.

But going back to the OP on how to guide a novice player to improve, bidding, Id say:
- try to anticipate follow-ups of bids, what will please you or not, what you need to discover and how
- practice with partner on difficult hands and analyze them
- be on the same wavelength with partner on what is forcing or not
- include basic needs (eg controls and one forcing raise at least) in your arsenal but avoid fancy stuff that you cant masterize that will blur you more than help you (or that you will want to use just to use it but w/o the appropriate hand)
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#10 User is offline   hamish32 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 03:18

No splinter no jacoby.

Well if partner splinters you are not so excited with AQx wasted.

It a matter of judgment not methods. If i can bid jacoby 2NT and hear 3!S 16+ bal then sure less judgment is needed. However ask your self if you had one bid with the south hand to place the contract what would you bid?

I would bid 6S. If partner has 2 aces to go along with their 5+ spades then 6S is probably ok. So if i had 1 bid it would be 6S. Thats judgment. Ask your friend that question and you will find yourself having a conversation about judgment with her and that will be much more educative than a methods conversation.

It turns out we can do much better than just bidding 6S. We also have blackwood available. Note key card is irrelevant because we have the K and Q of trumps. If we bid key card we can stop in 5S or 6S. That is cool. Maybe with all the aces we should bid 7? Well that pushing a good thin too far.

However it turns out that if partner has shown us 16+ and 6+S and we have all the aces maybe 7S would be ok since we look like we can ruff D. So.... what do we bid to find out if partner is minimum for her bid? Well 2C would get us that information even though we dont really have any C if we consider that our next step is balckwood then 2C to descover a little more about partners hand seems like it might be ok.

So there you go we have improved the auction quite a bit. To be able to bid 7S by applying judgment and thinking about just the areements we already have. Cool
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#11 User is offline   hamish32 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 03:18

No splinter no jacoby.

Well if partner splinters you are not so excited with AQx wasted.

It a matter of judgment not methods. If i can bid jacoby 2NT and hear 3!S 16+ bal then sure less judgment is needed. However ask your self if you had one bid with the south hand to place the contract what would you bid?

I would bid 6S. If partner has 2 aces to go along with their 5+ spades then 6S is probably ok. So if i had 1 bid it would be 6S. Thats judgment. Ask your friend that question and you will find yourself having a conversation about judgment with her and that will be much more educative than a methods conversation.

It turns out we can do much better than just bidding 6S. We also have blackwood available. Note key card is irrelevant because we have the K and Q of trumps. If we bid key card we can stop in 5S or 6S. That is cool. Maybe with all the aces we should bid 7? Well that pushing a good thin too far.

However it turns out that if partner has shown us 16+ and 6+S and we have all the aces maybe 7S would be ok since we look like we can ruff D. So.... what do we bid to find out if partner is minimum for her bid? Well 2C would get us that information even though we dont really have any C if we consider that our next step is balckwood then 2C to descover a little more about partners hand seems like it might be ok.

So there you go we have improved the auction quite a bit. To be able to bid 7S by applying judgment and thinking about just the areements we already have. Cool
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#12 User is offline   dsLawsd 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 03:54

With such great trumps she should think about slam.
Have her give partner a perfect minimum here with Axxxx xx Axx KQx
and that would likely yield 12 tricks.
With no other tools, bid regular Blackwood and on the actual hand
she can count the tricks. Maybe the response will inspire her to
bid 5 NT.

Soon you can help her build a better bidding system.
I would bid Jacoby 2NT because I am stronger than 15 HCP.
But a splinter would be used by many.
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#13 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 05:21

I fail to see a problem here!

1. You are helping a novice improve her bridge by going through her bad scores. Excellent - more of us should help develop new players.
2. She isn't very confident with cue-bids and splinters.
3. This hand is almost a text book hand for learning about splinters.
4. It is easy to see that this is an ideal hand to start discussing the splinter bids: (a) when they apply; (b) when they don't apply; © how do you make a splinter bid; (d) what are the continuations. Good luck :)

As an aside, I do not think that splinters and cue-bids are an advanced play - it would be helpful if beginners were taught splinters and cue-bids before being taught Blackwood.
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#14 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 06:53

 Tramticket, on 2020-January-11, 05:21, said:

I fail to see a problem here!

1. You are helping a novice improve her bridge by going through her bad scores. Excellent - more of us should help develop new players.
2. She isn't very confident with cue-bids and splinters.
3. This hand is almost a text book hand for learning about splinters.
4. It is easy to see that this is an ideal hand to start discussing the splinter bids: (a) when they apply; (b) when they don't apply; © how do you make a splinter bid; (d) what are the continuations. Good luck :)

As an aside, I do not think that splinters and cue-bids are an advanced play - it would be helpful if beginners were taught splinters and cue-bids before being taught Blackwood.


Yes, this is a good hand to go through with her face to face with the objective of (re)teaching splinters/cue bids and demonstrating how useful they are.

Cue bidding is taught in the beginner classes, and the workshops which I help with also cover it. Beginners start by learning the core of the Acol system, whish is fundamental natural bidding and its logic. Their first introduction to conventional bids are the 2 opening, Stayman and Blackwood (Transfers get covered later in the course). This means that at least early on in their bridge career, they find it hard to comprehend the idea of a suit bid not showing a holding(length/strength) in that suit, and because it seems illogical at first, they struggle to remember it. It usually takes going over it many times before it sinks in. It does not help that slam bidding does not come up very often for any individual partnership.

It is a bit like the time when I e-mailed a mathematical derivation of why the rule of 11 works to a friend, I wrote it as simply as I couild, yet because it had maths in it, as far as she was concerned it was gobbledygook. It requires repeated repetition of concept and worked through examples before it sinks in enough for them to be able to recognise and apply it in real time (especially, I think, with elderly people who take a bit longer to learn new things).
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#15 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 17:56

If you want to reach major suit slams, you need a bid that says "I have 4 or more trump and a hand worth a game force." Every decent bidding system will have such a bid. If hers doesn't, then it's about time she learned such a bid. Jacoby 2NT is a very simple convention.

Also, RKC is a very simple convention that even a beginner should be able to learn very quickly.

Both of those are more important than splinters (which are also useful, but require more judgment).

You could bid 4D (splinter) with this hand, but I think it's just a bit too good for that.

The bidding might go:

1S 2NT(1)
3NT(2) 4D(3)
4NT 5S(4)
5NT(5) 6H(6)
7S(7)

(1) Jacoby 2NT
(2) 15-17 or so (generally a six-loser hand)
(3) cue-bid (note that your friend should learn to cue-bid up the line and second-round controls are fine (the idea is to pinpoint a two-loser suit)
(4) 2 with Q - if your friend doesn't know RKC, she should learn that
(5) Specific Kings (much better than #K)
(6) Kh
(7) Six spades; three hearts; three diamonds (either AKQ or A and two ruffs); one club

Not a hard grand to reach.

Cheers,
mike
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#16 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 18:11

I disagree that this hand is good for teaching splinters, Jacoby 2NT or even RKC.

Small slam is easy to bid just using Blackwood.

Grand slam requires either South to locate Q in North's hand, or, alternatively, North to take captainship and locate the singleton AND K AND K.

I think this is way beyond the beginner level.
... most of the new ideas I get are pretty "boring", mostly focusing on constructive methods rather than destructive ones --- Kungsgeten
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#17 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 22:04

If you aren't playing modern methods (no Jacoby, no Splinters, etc), your best option is to hesitate significantly and then bid 2!C

This will tell partner that you have a flawed 2 advance and help clarify the rest of the auction
Alderaan delenda est
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#18 User is offline   70 West 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 23:31

Allow me to make a suggestion. North and South can bid the slam as follows. 1. North (one spade), South (three hearts). 2. North (three spades), South (four spades). 3. North (six spades), South (pass). In modern point count bidding, many players would consider the South hand too weak for a strong jump shift response. In the 1930s and 1940s, Culbertson recommended making a jump shift response with strong trump support and 3 1/2 honor tricks. South has three quick honor tricks: the king and queen of spades and the ace and king of hearts. He also has two plus values: the jack of spades and the singleton diamond. The two plus values added together are 1/2 honor tricks. After South responds three hearts, North would bid three spades. In Culbertson's methods, after a jump shift by South, a jump rebid of four spades by North would show a solid or semi-solid suit. South would then bid four spades and set the trump suit. Now North would know that there were at least seven honor tricks in the partnership hands, because he has 3 1/2 honor tricks in his own hand. In Culbertson's methods, if North and South have seven or more honor tricks, a strong trump suit and good distribution, then they can bid a slam. Culbertson became a rich man by writing bridge books for the masses. The bidding is papa and mama style, but it can be very effective.
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#19 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2020-January-12, 05:00

You are all getting too complicated. This is a 5 loser hand with 5 trumps.
4N regular Blackwood 5S response 6S end

This is about recognising a slam hand and bidding acccordingly
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#20 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2020-January-12, 05:01

You are all getting too complicated. This is a 5 loser hand with 5 trumps.
4N regular Blackwood 5S response 6S end

This is about recognising a slam hand and bidding acccordingly
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