The HHI Bridge blog is dedicated to a better understanding of the game of bridge. Each mini-lesson (#0001-0016) focuses on one deal, one topic, one explanation (bidding, play of the hand, etc.).
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0015 - A Baby Grand

Minor Suit Slam #001 - Bidding minor suit slams is not the same process as bidding major suit slams - there are bidding space considerations. When bidding minor suit slams, often valuable bidding space is consumed exploring for major suit fits or notrump contracts before agreeing on minor suits. When bidding major suit slams systems are designed to find fits right away allowing bidding space to find secondary fits, bid out shape or bid controls. Finally, typical control responses to 4 NT use lower rank suit responses of 5  or 5  artificially where in minor suit slams responses often put the contract at slam level before controls can be established. Bidding space is a luxury not often afforded to bidding minor suit slams.

This deal (rotated for presentation) was originally played as Board 8 Monday night October 27, 2014 / The Common Game (TCG).  So how should this deal be bid?

In the write-up for TCG responder (North) used the Fourth Suit Forcing (4SF) conventional bid of 2  to make the auction forcing and explore for the best contract.

This write-up introduces the XYZ convention.  After the natural bidding sequence of 1x - 1y - 1z such as in this deal ... the responses are:

1  – 1 

2  = natural to play
2  = natural to play
2  = artificial (forcing 2 ) starting an invitational bidding sequence
2  = artificial game forcing

1  – 1 
1  – 2    XYZ
3  – 4    RKC Minorwood

3  is natural, denies 3-hearts and denies a stopper in clubs. On this deal North explores (via XYZ) for a heart fit or a stopper in clubs and a minor suit fit is NOT shown until 4 .

The bid of 4  shows a fit in diamonds and is RKC Minorwood (like RKC Blackwood) asks for keycards in the agreed upon minor (diamonds). Once all keycards are accounted for the next bid suit asks for the Q (trump) and opener gives a positive response by bidding his cheapest king the  K.

It is ok to bid small slams based on uncertain values or tricks (things often work out), but grand slams are different. You need to be able to count 13 tricks to bid grand slams. When opener shows the  A, North knows he has a place to park the  2. And when opener denies 3-hearts, and shows the  K North knows he can ruff his losing hearts in South's long diamond suit.

To obtain a printable PDF file of this deal click " 20141027 0015.

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