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|Slam Bidding at Buckland on 4th March 2010
| No slam was successfully bid and made during the whole of February.|
On the 4th March we fared a little better with two pairs each bidding and making one Small Slam, but slams were on offer on 4 of the boards including a lay-down Grand Slam on board 14.
Below are some suggested bidding sequences (probably not the only options). It is interesting that, when asking for Aces, Gerber has been preferred over Blackwood in 3 of the 4 cases. The rule is that 4C is always Gerber if your partner has bid NT. Gerber gives the opportunity of escaping into 4NT or 5NT if necessary whereas a Blackwood 5NT would be treated as asking for Kings, so there would be no way of stopping short of a slam. Another observation is how useful the NT bids are for accurately showing the strength of a hand, thereby enabling partner to judge when a slam is likely.
2H Acol strong 2 opener with 8 Playing Tricks.
4NT With 4 Playing Tricks a slam looks likely, so request Aces with Blackwood.
5H 2 Aces.
6H 1 Ace missing so bid the Small Slam.
6H makes on a spade lead. On any other lead 13 tricks can be taken off the top. In fact 6NT makes as well but this looks more risky at the bidding stage.
1C Some might prefer 1H.
1S Bid the major in preference to diamonds.
1NT Shows 15-16 points.
4C With 30-31 points and 2 long suits a slam looks likely.
4C is Gerber. Cannot use Blackwood after a NT bid as may need to sign off in 5NT.
4S 2 Aces
6NT 1 Ace missing so bid the Small Slam. (Could ask for Kings as well)
The contract needs the spades to divide 3-3. Given that, there is no need to take the heart finesse.
1H Open longest suit
2C Without a heart fit, take it slowly. A slam already looks likely.
3NT Shows 17-19 points. The clubs are covered, so best to show the strength.
4C With 34-36 points, the only question is Small Slam or Grand Slam.
4C is Gerber after a NT bid. There would no point in a natural bid of 4C here.
4NT 3 Aces.
5C Gerber asking for Kings.
5S 2 Kings
7NT With all the Aces and all the Kings and a long suit, bid the Grand Slam
There are 13 tricks off the top.
1S Open longest suit
3NT Shows 13-15 points. It is a good idea to make 2NT or 3NT show exactly 2 cards in an opening
major. This shows the hand very precisely.
4C West knows Spades is best contract, but must use Gerber as the last bid was NT.
4D No Aces.
5C Gerber asking for Kings.
5D 4 Kings. 5D shows 0 or 4 Kings, but it is not possible for East to have neither Aces nor Kings.
6S It looks like the only loser is the Ace of clubs, so bid the Small Slam.
The contract makes easily with both spades and clubs dividing 3-2. Trying to protect against a bad club distribution by ruffing a third round of hearts could backfire if either the spades or hearts were badly distributed, so drawing trumps then playing clubs looks like the best plan.
Does anyone have any better ideas? If so let me know at the next event or email email@example.com.
Geoff W 9th March 2010
|Last updated : 9th Mar 2010 10:59 GMT
|More on Slam Bidding 18th March 2010
| Last Thursday there were 3 opportunities for a slam, with only one bid and made.|
There are two interesting observations:
1) Gerber was again the preferred slam convention in two out of the three the cases. After a 1NT opener Acol treats 4NT as an incremental bid, and would not work as Blackwood, in any case, as there is no escape into 5NT. When bidding a minor suit slam, using Blackwood, will usually not work either as the response to 4NT will generally be above 5 in the minor suit making a slam inevitable.
What about bidding a slam in clubs? Is 4C Gerber or is it incremental? This will be by partnership agreement, but one alternative is to use the ĎOther Minorí convention, i.e. 4C for diamond slams and 4D for club slams.
2) In two of the cases Responder can see the slam possibilities immediately the opening bid is made. In the other case Responder initiates the slam after Openerís second bid.
It nearly always works like this. Because Opener describes his hand first, Responder is nearly always in the best position to judge the overall strength of partnership. As Responderís first bid in a new suit is forcing it is often better to play it slow with a strong hand. Opener is then given the maximum opportunity to describe his hand further before Responder takes the initiative and goes on to game or slam.
2S Jump shift showing 5 card suit
4S Go to game with 14-15 pts (3S would show up to13 pts)
5D One Ace
6S One Ace missing, bid the slam
On the bidding sequence 6S is the only contract, but 6NT will make as well.
Any suggestions on how to bid this?
The play is straightforward. Draw trumps, give up the Ace of hearts, then there are 12 tricks off the top.
This is a good example of the general principle that you should give up your losers while you still have control. The only way to fail is to play the clubs before the hearts.
2D Acol Strong 2 showing 8 Playing Tricks
4C Gerber, asking for Aces.
4NT 3 Aces
5C Gerber, asking for Kings
5H 1 King
6D All the Aces and 2 Kings, bid the slam
Play the Hearts immediately and ruff in dummy with the 10. Draw trumps and the remaining tricks are off the top. The strategy only fails if North has a singleton heart.
In the event, the play turned out even simpler. South led the K of spades which was taken in dummy.
Declarer finessed a heart to South who then, quite reasonably, continued with the Q of spades which was ruffed in hand. The spades were now set up in dummy so the heart ruff became unnecessary.
1NT Weak NT
4C Gerber asking for Aces. Game in hearts looks certain, but with the exceptional distribution there could be a slam as there is a guaranteed fit in two suits.
4H One Ace.
5C Gerber asking for Kings.
5S 2 Kings. (Could have signed off in 5H if only one King)
6H Bid the slam with 1 Ace and 1 King missing.
The strategy is to draw 2 rounds of trumps. If the trumps are 2-2 they will drop and diamonds can be played ruffing the 4th round if necessary. If not draw the last trump and hope the diamonds are 3-2.
In the event this strategy fails so the contract is one-off, but it had an 80% chance of success so was worth the risk. (Please let me know if you want to know how I worked out the 80%).
It is possible to make the contract by playing the diamonds whatever at trick 3. This depends on the long diamonds and the remaining trump being in the same hand, which is at best 50:50, so not the preferred strategy. In the event no-one bid the slam so 4H making 11 tricks was the top for the board.
|Last updated : 19th Mar 2010 12:18 GMT