What should I bid? (December 2015)


What should I bid? (December 2015)

The best submission for December came from Susan Lipton. She wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

We are N/S, All Vulnerable, North Dealer



West North East South
1 Pass 1
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
All Pass

Basic system is Standard American.

1) How do we reach slam? The room was all in 3NT. All made 13 tricks.

2) Unrelated general question. After partner opens with a pre-empt, should a new suit by responder be forcing? (Except for 2NT response asking for a feature)

3) Another unrelated question. After a bidding sequence of 2 (strong) and a 2NT bid by responder, is Stayman and Transfer advisable?

Thank you so much for your anticipated help.

Hi Susan,

1) Getting to slam is a bit tricky, but not impossible. The 1 opening was normal, and so is the 1 response. The 3 jump rebid, whilst we’d like a better suit, is probably the best rebid available (other rebids would be a distortion). So the only bid left is South’s 3NT rebid.

Just looking at South’s hand, the 3NT rebid is actually fine. If South was feeling a bit aggressive, then he could rebid 4 as natural and slam try (better utilised as a slam try, rather than an invitation to 5). South does have four controls in the form of four kings, plus he also knows that the K is worth pot of gold to North’s long club suit. Move North’s A to the A and slam still looks great.

Having said that, North doesn’t need to have a full-blown 17 points. Quite often, North will just have 15 or 16 points such as






Where the maximum is 11 tricks, or slam is on a finesse.

Although South can “only count” 13 points, plus partner’s 15-17, the maximum is only 30 points, but South needs to appreciate that North has a long club suit, and that the four kings (controls) are bonuses to have for a potential slam.

All in all, I think bidding 3NT is OK, whereas a 4 bid to show a slam try is a tad aggressive. Having said that, it’s important to note that if this was a pairs game, then I think 3NT is definitely the best bid unless you can still stop in 4NT after responder bids 4 as a slam try.

2) This is highly dependent on your partnership’s style of preempts. Essentially, there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone, even the top players, can vary between forcing or not forcing. To keep things simple, I would probably just suggest that a new suit is forcing unless the next opponent interferes (including a double). So 2-(3)-3 or 2-(X)-3, both 3’s should be natural but non-forcing.

3) After a strong 2 opening, I would advise not to respond 2NT. Bidding 2 as waiting has much more going for you as it allows opener to describe his/her hand. Responder can still later follow it up with a slam try (or a quantitative raise to 4NT if opener shows a big balanced hand).

Hope this helps.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂


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