Our next problem centres around
the spade suit, or lack of it. Partner appears to have expressed some doubt
about notrumps, and although we have a possible stopper in the unbid suit, it is
far from stable.
A few people are happy to go with the stopper, even
if it is a singleton.
Margaret Reid: 3NT. Hope pd is asking for stopper?
Hoi-Ming Chan: 3NT. It's Matchpoints. The opps may lead away from the
ace, or partner may have
JTx as a stopper anyway.
David Flitton: 3NT. Partnership has at least 28 HCP
and North's 2NT bid shows a hand balanced enough to cover my
Others believe partner has already shown a stopper,
in which case our stiff king will provide ample assistance:
Lindsay Coker: 3NT. 2NT suggests a minimum with partner, as well as a spade stopper. Of course, this bid could be far too mundane.
Fred Altstock: 3NT. Happy to be in game. Partner should have a spade stopper with his 2NT bid.
Bill Bennett: 3NT. Single spade a hazard but North did bid NT and therefore
should be plenty of points.
Boris Richter: 3NT. Obviously partner is holding some sort of spade stopper for his 2NT rebid but he is not sure whether 3NT is the best game. Since we can help him in stopping spades from running, 3NT looks like a playable contract.
Duncan Roe: 3NT. Spades could be a problem, but partner opened opposite my 15-count so he may have the odd
spade honour. Anyway this is Pairs.
And then there is a compromise. A bid that doesn't commit to
notrumps, but doesn't rule it out either:
Ron Lel: 3. Assume that 3 showed a stopper, so I will bid 3 to show a half stopper in my methods.
Fraser Rew: 3. Showing half a stop, surely? Now if he bids 3NT on his half a stop of Jxx I pass and we are only one off. Opposite his 3442 13-count, 3NT will normally be best.
Occasionally some issues of system confusion creep into our
forum; on this occasion, we have a small group who are unclear
about who is asking whom for what:
Peter Riddy: 3NT. I assume partner is looking for a heart stopper.
Frank Campbell: 3NT. I think I will alert 3 and say I thought it was a stopper ask. AB Standard only cue bids first round controls so partner should not have slam interest after the 2NT bid.
Sam Arber: 3. 2NT and 3 appear non forcing; not sure of meaning of 3 so will bid 3 and let partner figure it out.
Ken Berry: 3. I wish I had some clue what was happening... not a suit, not a splinter?
A cue? 3 must be forcing,
I hope it means something.
But the majority are
seeking clarification of the spade position.
Tim Trahair: 3. Game may be on, but where? 3 is 4th suit forcing looking for a
spade cover and the possibility of 3NT.
Martyn Rew: 3.
Have you got a spade stop -- otherwise next query will relate to the level of the diamond contract.
Barbara Hunter: 3. Hopefully we can end up in 3NT or 5.
Dean Pokorny: 3. Intending to pass 3NT.
Ingerun Sjösvärd: 3. Please bid 3NT if
you have a stopper pd.
Leigh Matheson: 3.
According to Klinger, the third suit shows something in hearts (the 4th suit asks). The opponents are going to lead spades. Bid the 4th suit to warn partner, asking for a stopper.
Ron Klinger: 3S. Expressing
doubt without giving up on 3NT.
David Matthews: 3. 4SF to see if partner has acceptable spade stop for 3NT. We may still play in 5.
John R Mayne: 3. A good spot for a last shot at 3NT before heading into the murk.
Roger Yandle: 3. Asking pard for help with spades looking for 3NT.
Roger Watts: 3. I'm not quite sure about a
spade stop, despite partners 2NT bid. 4th suit forcing will find out. Another point - South's 3 was rather a limp bid
But perhaps we're playing 2 over 1 GF??
Roger suggests that 3 may have been non-forcing in
a non 2-over-1 system. I don't think this is the case. I would
take this as forcing in most methods -- in fact some would say
it's a bit of an overbid, and we should have bid 3NT instead:
Bridge Baron: 3NT. Partner has a minimum balanced opening. Bridge Baron has 15 HCP. Therefore we should be in 3NT. So Bridge Baron makes the same bid it would have made last round. It spares no thought for a possible diamond slam, especially as partner might still have only three diamonds.
Richard Morse: 3NT. Unlike hand 1, my hand has got less exciting as the auction has gone on. Slam seems unlikely, so I'm happy to settle for what I think will be the easiest game.
Michael Ware: 3NT. Not
sure why I was trying for a diamond slam opposite a weak NT at matchpoints.
Not everybody agrees with Michael's evaluation:
Rex Fox: 3.
Counter cue, should end up in 6NT. This hand is as good as it could be. Pard could have QJx-KQx-AQxxx-Ax.
Jack Lai: 3.
Explore diamond slam if possible. If partner cannot bid 4, then 3NT likely the final contract.
Paul Tranmer: 3. Keeping the ball rolling here, hoping to catch a club cuebid from North.
Damo Nair: 3. Can this convey a slam interest to North? If
North can make some noise in clubs slam
may be on.
Manuel Paulo: 3. With a hand like Axxx-Kxxx-AQx-xx, partner should rebid 3 NT; but with xxx-Kxx-AQxxx-Ax he can try slam. 3 keeps this alternative open.
Denis Haynes: 3. Fourth suit asking for cover in spades.
Next step Blackwood asking for Aces etc.
Peter Oakley: 3. I originally thought far enough, despite partner's interest in 6, and chose 3NT. But 3 doesn't cost, so let's co-operate in case he's as good as Qxx-Kxx-Axxxx-Ax and pray the diamond queen drops.
Eric Leong: 3. Looking for a spade stopper, not showing a spade stopper since I could bid 3NT. If partner doesn't have a spade stopper he should like his hand to play in 5 perhaps even 6.
Peder Linder: 3. Planning on bidding 4 over 3NT from pd, clarifying my spade shortness.
David Hester: 3. This horrible auction has left my partner with no idea of my strength, so I will have to make the final choice between 6 and 3NT. I am tempted to pot 6 (would 4NT agree hearts? I cannot consider 5), but I think 3 is slightly better, intending to pass 3NT and bid 6 over anything else.
Lots of votes for slam investigation there. Here
is another lot, not as delicate as the last:
Andrew Thompson: 4NT. Blackwood. Would have bid 4 (asking for aces) if Minorwood had been in the system.
Maha Hoenig: 4. RKCB
There are some other slam try
bids available; first, a couple of panellists who have never
seen a hand they didn't like:
Kate McCallum: 4. I
need to tell partner that I have extras with some slam interest
- the hand appears to fit well. (3 should be values in hearts
with weakness in spades.)
Bob Jones: 4. My first thought was to bid 4, proudly
bidding out my pattern. But isn't that what I would bid with xx Ax in the majors, pin-pointing the spade weakness? I don't think
partner will have trouble recognizing this as a splinter. If he
does, we're in for another long chat at the bar.
Pontus Silow: 3. Well, I
have decided to stop with the 4 bids in these situations. They have disappointed me too many times.
Yet another option is the 4 bid; most people
intended this as an offer to play rather than a slam try
(although many of the previous answers suggest that 3
is not even a real suit). Either way, a
few were happy for partner to misinterpret the bid:
Paul Freeland: 4. Bidding out my shape, or cue agreeing diamonds, I don't really care which. Partner can correct to 5 if need be.
Dan Baker: 4. Assume partner is showing some heart cards, moderate doubt about spades for NT. Probably 3=3=4=3 or 3=4=4=2 with three small spades. Not sure whether partner will take this as modest heart support (can't be four or I'd have bid them earlier) or a control bid, but either way it fits.
Nigel Kearney: 4. Choice of games. If partner cue bids next, I hope he will let me out at 5 since I'm not really worth a slam try opposite 12-14 balanced.
Mats Nilsland: 4. Difficult hand. I hope partner can bid once more over 5,
then I would venture 6.
Maurice Buxton: 4. Presumably he's 2-4-4-3 or 3-4-4-2 with weak spades and about 14
HCP, so the 4-3 fit is probably our best (only?) realistic shot at game -- and since it's not that easy to reach, will probably scoop a lot of
Matchpoints if it's on.
Joe Lentz: 4.
Partner has shown a 12-14 NT hand and concern about the spade suit for 3NT. I’m a little concerned about spades, so I’ll force to a minor suit game leaving open playing game in hearts with a 4-3 fit. Partner may have xxx-KQxx-AQxx-Qx.
Nigel Guthrie: 4. A bit nebulous but if partner has
four good hearts and passes that is likely to be a fair contract: Jxx-KQTx-Axxx-Qx.
Paul Gipson: 4. I am not interested in 3NT after the 3 bid, so a matter of the best way forward. A 4 cue bid may stymie partner, so I will lurk in wait.
True, 4 will avoid confusion about the 4 bid, but
not everyone is on the same wavelength with 4 either:
Alvin P Bluthman: 4. To play. My 3
forces to 3NT or 4, not to 5 (to say 5 is a common mistake I see in the US). If partner held strength in both majors, he would bid 3NT. His 3 denies strength in spades, and 3NT is impossible opposite, e. g. xxx, Jxx, 10xxx, or Qx, etc. Opposite all of those, my
king is wasted (and the
singleton will be exposed on the table), so I will downgrade to 4. A narrow target but at MP, I must maintain our plus score, even if it is a small one.
Michael Smart: 4. Too good for 5, so let's set
diamonds and start cueing. Want to cue 4 but dislike the ambiguity so I avoid it.
Niklas Andrén: 4.
No spade stopper, could be slam.
This deal is Board 4 from the 2009
Australia-Wide Autumn Pairs:
The board was played at about 1000
tables all around Australia,
so many of you might recognise the deal. Of the 48 tables at the
Grand Slam Bridge Centre heat, 17 pairs played in 3
(+130 or +150), 16 played in 3NT (half making and half one off),
and six were in 5
(again half making and half one off). Three pairs bid 6
(-200), and three played 4
(-100). At some tables EW competed to 3
for a poor score.