Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 12th, 2022


Iain ClimieJune 26th, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Hi Bobby,

Isn’t the first hand (slam potential) ideal or some sort of exclusion RKCB where partner is requested to show cards outside a specified suit. So, after 1H 2H 4C 4D would 5C then mean that and partner can show how many of SA and HK he holds (won;t be both after the 4D bi, though, unless he cue bid a singleton D)?



bobbywolffJune 26th, 2022 at 7:17 pm

Hi Iain,

My answer would revolve around the wishes of that specific partnership.

Yes, there are partnership agreements
which can, in effect, create the exclusion BW this hand demands.

First, for the number of first round controls (excluding the opener’s void suit) and then for second round kings or singletons. However, (and this is where the hitch arrives) both partners need to never forget this once or twice in a lifetime occurrence, the number of times it may occur.

Because of that I was never in favor of delving that deeply, although my long time partner (Bob Hamman) was. Simply because he (1) was in favor of doing so, but more prone to forget, (2)
was so enchanted with bridge that he preferred to have nightly discussions which involved itself with infinite details in all facets of the game.

Some like chocolate, others vanilla, and although my heart belonged to the game itself, I didn’t want to spend every future minute thinking about it, to the possible exclusion of breathing.

Since time has gone by, I do believe, assuming bridge can survive both the pandemic and the cheating scandals (for more years than anyone can count), that the future of bridge bidding, not necessarily play and defense, will continue to use artificiality, using bids which previously had no specific meaning, forcing toughness on the memory, but in doing so, finally finding the holy grail.

More power to everyone who in line to be the first one to do so.

clarksburgJune 27th, 2022 at 12:07 am

General questions arising from the same auction:
Given that 4C is a splinter, presumably 3S is also a splinter. i.e. with trumps agreed, a JS is a splinter.
What if Responder bids a new suit? Would Opener’s JS be a splinter with Responder’s suit as trump? Why do I ask? Many play that a JS rebid by Opener is a GF with second suit shorter than first.
So the general question is, based on frequency-of-occurrence, is the splinter clearly more useful than the standard GF JS?

bobbywolffJune 27th, 2022 at 12:37 am

Hi Clarksburg,

It becomes difficult for me to be confident while attempting to answer your question(s) since advanced bridge bidding seems to be going through constant change.

Once a trump fit is found, shortness usually becomes the more valuable information, then next, showing side suit major honors (A&K) rather than length, finally followed, if necessary, trump holdings, especially affirming or denying the queen.

Finally, it is often just taken for granted
that the partnership is, at least, GF and therefore possibly in the slam zone.

Therefore, yes splinters are next in line, but for slams, not so for games, the difference between singletons and voids are huge for slams, often the difference between small and grand.

However, if partnerships get too specific, it then becomes vital to find the experience by both talking and practicing, rather than at the table.

Walking before running is the best advice I can give, but be prepared to discuss details, since the space during the bidding is often more limited than expected, especially if the opponents have come into the bidding.

However, even if a partnership decides mostly to be conservative, the candid and specific back and forth will be beneficial when playing against others who aggressively pursue no holds barred.

Good luck and please excuse me for not giving more information, but since I have not played nearly as much in the last few years, I likely have lost at least some touch on what is now the norm.