- If you're strong, and feel you may reach an ambitious contract, it's usually best to get there slowly, finding out things about each other's hand on the way.
- If you're weak and therefore have no great ambition, and you know where you want to go, just go straight there. That's fast arrival.
Here are a couple of examples:
Your partner opens 1ª and you hold: ªK8642 ©753 ¨6 §AQ98
Only 9 points but just 7 losers - good enough for game. But it's extremely unlikely that you have any kind of slam. So just bid it. 4ª. Fast arrival. End of. 'Partner, I think we can make 4ª, but no more. So pass please.'
Turn that ©7 into the ©A and it's a different story. Now if partner's got a strong opening hand (say 18 or 19 points), there might well be slam possibilities. Now it would be misleading to fast-forward straight to 4ª.
Instead, bid 2§ first and then jump to game. Or, if you know it, use the Jacoby convention, which is designed just for this purpose. Either will tell partner that you've got not a weak, shapely raise to game, but a chunky, pointy 'sound' game raise that might merit a closer look.
Two more examples, this time after a 2§ opening
Partner opens 2§, you say 2¨ ('Tell me more, partner') and partner now bids 2ª (= a strong hand with 9+ playing tricks with spades as trumps).
You hold: ª842 ©Q73 ¨96 §J9842
Your hand is pretty awful, but unless you have absolutely nothing * you're in a game-forcing situation. And you don't have absolutely nothing: you have 3 trumps (a possible diamond ruff?) and a possible heart trick. A perfect hand for a 'fast arrival' 4ª bid: 'OK, pard, you want to be in game: here you are then. But I haven't got much!'
[* To show 'absolutely nothing' your 2nd bid is 2NT - a 'second negative' - and after that you're entitled to pass, even below game!]
Let's try again. Same auction but this time you hold: ªQ42 ©QJ3 ¨AJ942 §97
In this situation that's a virtual treasure-house. Extra tricks popping up all over the place. With this holding, you don't jump to game. Instead, you opt for a slower arrival: bid 3ª. This agrees spades and (bizarrely) shows a stronger hand, with slam possibilities.
Now there's room (if partner wants) for him to bid (say) 4§ (showing his A§), giving you the opportunity to bid ... that's right, 4¨, to show your A¨. And that might lead to partner bidding Blackwood to find out more ... and maybe get to a slam.
Here's an example of the kind of hand that partner might hold for his 2§ opener: ªAKJ973 ©K ¨KQ6 §AQ10
Combined with the weaker hand above, you should manage 10 tricks (just about!) but with the stronger hand you're surely making 12.
The HOTW for Wed 21 September 2022 uses fast/slow arrival to good effect.
cj 03 Jan 2023