Monday, April 23, 2012

Slam auctions in Gatlinburg

Jumps to a small slam such as 1C-1H; 1NT-6NT are not too uncommon but jumps to a grand slam without any ace- or control-asking bids are pretty rare. In the A/X Swiss yesterday, I got to jump to 7H. I was dealt AKJTx, AKJT9xx, A, void. Our auction: 2C-2D; 2H-4H; 7H-P. How do find out about a 3rd round spade control? I decided I couldn’t find out so I just bid grand. Alli had both major suit queens and nothing else so it was a trick 1 claimer.

Here’s another slam auction that came up. 1D-1H; 4C-4H; 5D. 4C is certainly a splinter but what does 5D mean? I assumed it was showing a control and basically denying a spade control. Therefore, I expected partner to go on to slam with a spade control. However, 5H should ask for a spade control. If you need good trumps, you can bid blackwood easily enough. At first thought, nearly everyone said that 5D should be asking for a spade control, but Capp Jr. brightly thought otherwise. You don’t need 2 ways to ask partner for a control of the unbid suit so 5D should ask for a diamond control. Since opener did not make the picture bid of 4D, which shows a very good 6+ card diamond suit and 4 hearts, it is not unreasonable to think that opener’s diamonds are not so strong, a hand such as AKx, AKQx, QJxxxx, void. Then again, with something like that, you could cue 5C to make it easy for partner to cue 5D.  Another lesser pro argued that 5D should have slam interest but lack both a spade control and good trumps, something neither blackwood nor normal cuebidding would help with – a hand such as xx, KJxx, AKQxxx, A. While that makes a bit of sense, I think if you need a spade control and a couple of heart honors for it to be a good slam, you should be passing 4H because partner did, after all, sign off over the splinter.

Another auction that people interpreted differently: 1D-1H-1S-1NT; X. Is this a penalty double or a support double? How about 1D-P-1S-1NT; X? In the second, more common auction, it is best for X to be support when 1NT is sandwich but may be good to have a penalty double available when they bid 1NT to play. Likewise, 1NT in the first auction is certainly to play so I think X should be for penalty (just showing some extra values) but Alli thought it was a support double situation. In this case, opener (my LHO) rebid 2D and nothing really mattered. We just made different inferences from opener’s lack of a double but it all led to 2D going down 1.

Anyway, it was a fun 3 days in Gatlinburg. Alli and I played great together and for the most part had teammates who didn’t screw things up. We won a KO Fri-Sat worth 30 points. Sunday we were in good position to win the Swiss if we beat the Lynch team but they blitzed us. I guess I finished with just under 50 points because I sat out 2 matches Sunday and therefore only get 5/7 of the masterpoint award. I was grateful for the 2 extra hours of sleep, though.


  1. You had good results considering you played in midnite games and probably drank a little beer.

  2. Here's one we had recently:
    I have ♠AJ6 ♥KQT6 ♦KJ764 ♣3 in third seat.
    Partner opens a multi 2♦, which can be: i) weak 2M, ii) 16-23 (4441), iii) 8+ playing tricks, 6+m5+M.

    So: 2♦-(p)-2NT [game inv.+]-(3♠); X
    Partner won't have doubled with a weak two, and would bid 3NT or 5x according to range with 4♠(441), so that's 16-23 1=4=4=4 or a monster with 5♥.

    Easy. 7♥.