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Advanced
Control Cue Bidding - Advanced

Cue bidding has its complications and is the subject to learn in a lesson situation.  It’s usually advised when either hand has a void because it can be important to know which specific controls partner holds.  

However, there is a simple but very nice cue bid which can be used when you hold a very big hand which you only need to know if partner has one ace. For example:
AKQ76
AK985
KQJ
none

Using RKC, Gerber or Blackwood in the above hand would be useless.  You want to know if partner holds the AD, example 2C: 2D: 2S: 3S: 4C: 4H (one ace, but which one?).  Using cue bidding in this case the bidding would go:

2C: 2D: 2S: 3S: 5C (first round control of clubs) asking partner to bid 5D if they hold the AD, if not they will bid 5S (because they obviously don’t hold the AH).  Notice the bypassing of 4C which may well be understood as Gerber and you don’t need to know about the majors because you are in control of the contract.

Note – 3S by responder shows some strength such as 3 + card support and 8+ total points, giving partner room to bid on to slam if necessary, otherwise with a weak hand,0-7 total points, responder will bid 4S shutout because the opener’s 2C bid is game force.  In this case, if responder does bid 4S, opener can still bid 5C asking if they have the AD, and if not, can afford to play a comfortable 5S or even 6S if they want to risk it.

Kath Kean. 

Thought Processes of a Bridge Player

This monster hand was dealt to North at Berry Bridge Club on 13th February 2016.  West opens 1C. As North what are you going to bid with this curse of a two suited but potential slam hand?

Maybe think about overcalling 1H planning to bid 4S, (note the reverse of the higher suit showing power). On the other hand, the easy way out is to overcall 1S then plan to bid 4H. On the other hand again, how about doubling 1C, what happens then?
Let’s try and find the best case scenario:

West North East South Comments
1C
2D
Dbl
2S
1D Pass Obviously the opponents have the majority of points, partner has little or none, or ...
1C
2D
2C*
4S
2D 2S Michael's Cue-bid showing 5-5 in majors, see below. Trouble is, will partner bid 2S?  Law of Total Tricks, partner should.  Some will, some won't. And how to get to 6S?
1C
3D
1H
3S
2D Pass Partner may pass with no points, or ...
1C
3D
1H
4S
2D Pass Choice of suit partner, big hand.  Partner passes, may have missed a slam here. How about ...
1C
3D
1S
5H
2D Pass Slam invitation, choice of suit, partner again may pass.
1C
3D
1S
6H
2D
Pass
Pass
6S
Here we go, no problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And 6S makes. Dreams are made of this lovely stuff. Happiness is….

*Michael's cue-bid - here it shows 5-5 in the majors when the opposition have bid a minor - you bid the minor at the 2-level ie 1C:2C or 1D:2D. It can be used either when weak ie 8-11 pts, or strong ie 16+. The responder bids their longer major. The cue-bidder then uses that information to bid on or pass.

The Two-Suited Conundrum

Check out this hand from a session:
♠ AKQJ4
2
AKQJ42
♣ 6
What should you open?

Having good partners who understand my restrictions on two suited hands* I laid my trust, crossed fingers and toes that partner had at least 6 points and opened 1D.  This was a huge risk because there’s a probable game in diamonds and a possible game in spades.  But is there a slam?

Suppose you open 2C, in this case the bidding could go:
2C: 2D: 3D (long suit first) ? Now what? Partner can search for NT by bidding their 4 card major if they have one, but do you have a spade fit? You can bid 4S over their next bid, giving partner a choice. Far too many question marks at this high level. 

How about:
2C: 2D: 2S: ? partner will support with three and maybe ask for aces if they have the points, but if they don’t, then they’ll bid their next best suit looking for NT, say 3C.  Now you bid 3D, giving partner a choice.  If they hold minimum or no points you’ll end up in a spade or diamond game, but you’ll have room to ask for aces, possibly landing in 6 spades with a 7 card fit. 

How about:
2C: 2H: 2S/3D…….  still messy.

How about 4NT (ace ask, and partner must recognise this), they answer one ace, which suit do you choose to play your slam in? You need to establish a suit before sailing off into the realms of slam.  Yes diamonds are a very good bet, but if you have a fit in spades, then a much better score.

Thankfully partner had 7 HCPs and answered 1H to my 1D opening.  The bidding went:
1D: 1H: 1S (no hurry): 1NT: 3S (showing 5 spades and a powerful hand), partner bid 4D preference, and we landed in a diamond slam.  Partner held:

♠ 8
 AK973
1065
♣ 9863

A big risk and a hard decision on opening which paid off.  What would you have done within your system?
* I don’t open 2C with strong two suited hands because the bidding is one level too high and can become messy.

NB.  you can read all of Kath's articles to date by clicking on: Nowra Bridge Club Tips of the Week

Bidding With Big Hands - Don't Rush

When you hold all the cards, don’t rush.  Click HERE to view Dave’s latest Hand of the Week which concerns the play of Board 21 at Nowra on Monday November 2nd 2015, and scroll down to "Trump Coups Again"Not one North/South Pair bid the Grand Slam in NT on this Board despite having a combined holding of 37HCPs. 

North will open 1S and South should bid 2C or 2D, as a waiting bid, not 4C or 4NT asking for Aces, since South should first be looking for more information about North’s hand.  North will jump to 3S. If you play a jump rebid in spades to show a good six card suit and 16-18HCPs then the Grand Slam is only two bids away once South has reassured herself that North has the missing three Aces.

If North only has six spades to the AQ, she must also have the AH, AD plus at least another Q and 13 tricks look probable. If you shade down a jump rebid in spades to show less HCPs but a good solid suit, then South should assume that North has AQJ at least to underpin that solidarity and that the spades should run. Once again the Grand Slam can be bid with some confidence after an Ace check.
-DC