Passion of The Game of Bridge

Bidding Problem: How Do You Stop ?

Bidding Problem: How Do You Stop ?

This is another checkpoint of how well your partnership system is. Analise the problem below with your partner and find some solution that you both agree. You will be thankful if it appears on your table real soon.

Before I start, I must alert that this problem should not be discussed if you are just starting as it will confuse your partnership. Come back to this page after you have bid and made 20 slam contracts on your real game… 🙂

The Hand

I receive and play this hand recently. The hand was balance 4-4-3-2, with 23 HCP. I open 2NT strong 22-24 HCP (no 5 card major). Opponent did not disturb. Partner responded with 3 (Stayman, looking for 4 card major) which I answered with 3. Partner then responded again with 4. So I guess partner had 4cd, 5cd with 8+HCP. This is what I had :

South West North East
2NT Pass 3(1) Pass
3 Pass 4
4NT(2) Pass 5(3) Pass
(1)Stayman, ask 4 card major
(2)Blackwood, Ace Asking
(3) No Aces
AQ4 Dealer: South
KQ73 Vul: EW

Oh, possible slam on 6NT. At least that was my feeling. Just hold one of the aces, Q plus 1 or 2 Jack will be quite easy slam. Even only with 2 Aces will still have a chance. So, I bid “4NT” (Blackwood, ace asking) and partner responds “5” – no Aces.

With 2 Aces missing, I can only play at level 5 safely.

What will you/your partner bid next if he/she were me:

  • Pass?
    With club fit 5-2 and the hand only have 2 AK, even if the Club break 3-3 it will be definite 1 loser (beside 2 Aces) and the contract is doomed already.
  • 5NT ?

    How to Stop?!

    Probably the best contract as as long as 2 Aces are not in the same hand, there is still possibility to made the contract.
    One big problem, though: 5NT will be recognized as “Grand Slam” force where the number of King is in question. So, how do you stop at 5NT ?
  • Make partner bid 5NT? But how ?
  • 6NT?

How to handle this?

The answer is really go back to the partnership and come from the convention  that you use. For example, some alternative of agreement:

  1. If I were holding all the Aces, should direct 5NT bid (instead of via 4NT) constitute King asking? If yes, then 4NT implies that I need Ace(s). If the answer is no Aces, then 5NT clearly a sign off. (Otherwise, why didn’t I bid 5NT directly?)
  2. How about “bid new suit after 1 or 2 Aces answer is puppet to the next NT” as sign off? So, in this case bid 5 (not possible play in this contract right?) and partner will bid 5NT automatically, in which you will then Pass. But you need to be very clear about “new suit”. For example: does bid 5 on this example “new suit” as partner has implied having Spade ? The risk using this convention is if partner forgot, then you will be left stranded playing 2-2 fit at 5 level as partner passes…
  3. Or alternatively, how about “King asking is not 5NT, but just the next step rather than agreed suit“? So, in this example, the assume agreed suit will be either Club or NT (mistfit Spade and Heart, no one mention  Diamond). Then 5 is asking for King, so 5NT will clearly a sign off.

Anything you think the best, make sure your partner agree and commit to use the convention.

Unfortunately for me, that day was the first day I met my partner so this bidding situation is really un-discussed. I bid directly 6NT in the hope that 2 Aces were not in the same hand. The subsequent bid was a kind of expected. The opening leader bid “X” and lead 2 Aces down. (Partner has everything else except 2 Aces). -100 but not at the bottom of the ladder – obviously some other people experience the same problem! (Shame of those  sitting at West who did not Doubled)

What do you think ? If you have some other elegant solutions/suggestion, show your expertise and feel free to submit it on the comment area below.

Happy Slam Bidding !

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