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Intended audience: Intermediate and up


Neither vul, matchpoints:


North: ♠AJ763 Q AK4 ♣K763

South: ♠Q95 A98Q10743 ♣AJ


Their auction:





























1 12-14

2 Transfer

3 Acceptance (super-accepts not played)

4 At least 5-4 in the blacks, slam try

5 Confirming 3+ spades, non-minimum

6 Cue bid

7 Non-forcing

8 Nothing more to say


Who is to blame for missing slam?



Constructive slam bidding is an area of bidding that all aspiring players should spend some time learning and discussing with their partner. Let‘s go through the auction, and I will comment and underline important lessons to take away from this column:



1 and 2: Weak no-trump and transfer – self-explanatory.


3. If playing a weak no-trump, do not play super accepts. Partner could have a zero count!!


4. Slam try – This slam try was dead minimum. Even though North has 17 HCPs, he should treat his heart singleton as an ‘x’.


If North had a little weaker, game forcing hand, let’s say no J, he cannot bid 3as it is a slam try. He must transfer and then bid 3NT, letting partner convert to 4♠, with 3+ spades.


South’s actions over a two suited slam try are:


  • Bid 3NT with two spades and either a minimum or no fit for clubs.


  • Bid a new suit. This shows the ace in that suit, with a hand that has 4+ clubs, and in which you are willing to cooperate with partner’s slam try. It sets clubs as trumps.


  • Over a two suited slam try Bid 4♣ with a hand that has 4+ clubs, and in which you are willing to cooperate with partner’s slam try, but do not have a convenient ace to cue bid.


  • Bid 4♠ with a minimum and 3+ spades.


  • Bid 3♠ with a hand with 3+ spades and willing to cooperate with the slam try. You cannot cue bid agreeing spades until the next round of the auction (see #2 above).


These are the only options.



  1. Cue bid. This shows the ace or a void.


  1. Cue bid. This shows the ace. Do not cue bid 2nd round controls.


  1. North signed off. This is close, but is the right call. He has a minimum. The only possible call is 5. Blackwood is wrong as North doesn’t want to show key cards, but try one final time for slam.


Bidding one more is wrong as you are not strong enough to jeopardize your sure plus in 4♠. Don’t reach for poor slams, especially at matchpoints.


  1. South, as the limited hand, cannot continue unless he has a perfect hand. An example:♠KQ5 A98 109743 ♣AJ, although with this hand South should ask for key cards directly over the 4♠ bid.


So the right answer is this pair bid this hand perfectly! Just because slam makes, or is odds on to make, it doesn’t mean it should be reached.




Note:Effective immediately my bidding problems will be published every two weeks.



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