Splinter bids and general suit raises.

 

Introduction: The delayed game raise

 

A question: what sort of hand does East have after a sequence like the following?

 

West

East

1[

2}

2]

4[

 

Specifically, how many Spades does East promise?  If you think that East誷 bidding always shows four trumps and good Clubs how would you bid the following collection after partner opens 1[?  You respond 2} and opener rebids 2{.  Your go:

 

Hand 1. Dealer West.

 

 

N

 

[

K 5 3

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

Q 7 6

 

 

 

 

{

A Q

 

 

 

S

 

}

Q 10 7 6 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West

 

East

 

 

 

1[

 

2}

 

 

 

2{

 

?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4[ is the obvious bid but is dangerous if West is going to assume that East has four card Spade support, good Clubs  and is making a mild slam try. Bidding 2] (fourth suit forcing) at this point is also dangerous – if opener bids No-trumps wouldn誸 a bid of 4[ now suggest a stronger hand than this?  Might not West take you for a 3􊨩5 slam try as in the example below?

 

Hand 2.

 

 

N

 

[

A 7 5

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

A J 6 4

 

 

 

 

{

8

 

 

 

S

 

}

K Q J 7 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of these ambiguities the delayed game raise forms no part of Modern Acol.

 

 

The basic principles are these:

 

a.

No delayed game raise exists in the system.  In sequences such as the following:

 

West

East

1[

2}

2{

4[

 

 

East is showing a minimum raise to game with three-card support. The sequence is not encouraging.

 

b.

A corollary to part (a). Responder never responds with a simple change of suit over opener誷 major holding four-card support for that major. To emphasise by an example: 1] - 2} denies four Hearts.

 

c.

Direct raises to game are not constructive; ie 1[ - 4[ and 1] - 4] are pre-emptive in nature, almost certainly promising five (or more) trumps.

 

d.

To show a flattish raise with some values the bid is 3NT. Over 1] or 1[ the bid of 3NT shows four (maybe five)  trumps, no singleton and about 12 - 15 points. Note that the bid is not forcing (!) Over 1} and 1{, 3NT promises four-card (or five-card) support but is much more likely to be passed.

e.

Double jump responses to opening bids are splinters (ie singletons or a voids) and not cue-bids. Such bids promise four-card support or better but are limited (that is: they are not too strong).

 

f.

Systemic understandings are needed to show good support on hands other than those described in parts (c), (d) and (e) above. The possibilities are: to force in another suit, to play 2NT as an unlimited raise, to play transfer forces. These methods are described later.

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 

3.

N

 

[

K J 9 2

 

1[

Pass

?

3NT. This shows four-card Spade support, a balanced hand and round about the values for a weak No-trump, say 12 – 15 points.

 

W          E

 

]

A 10 7 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

K 8 6

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

Q 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 


4.

N

 

[

Q 6

 

1]

Pass

?

4]. You are protected by the Law of Total Tricks; if 4] fails then the opponents have a contract of their own (4[?). Partner should not be on a slam hunt after 1] – 4].

 

W          E

 

]

J 8 6 5 3 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

10 8 4

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

J 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 

5.

N

 

[

A Q 10 7

 

1[

Pass

?

4]. A splinter bid, showing a shortage in Hearts (a singleton or a void), four-card Spade support and roughly 10 – 14 points.

 

W          E

 

]

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

Q J 7 3 2

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

K 6 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 

6.

N

 

[

8 3

 

1]

Pass

?

3}. Follow with 4] to show a good side-suit and good trumps as a picture bid. As a response to 1], 2} is stomach-churning.

 

W          E

 

]

A K 10 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

7 2

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

A K 9 6 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 


7.

N

 

[

Q J 5

 

1}

Pass

?

3NT. You have the values and you are promising four or more Clubs. 3NT is likely to end the auction but partner does know of Club support if he is slam minded.

 

W          E

 

]

K 10 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

A Q

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

J 10 8 7 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 

8.

N

 

[

5 3

 

1]

Pass

?

4}. A splinter, showing shortage in Clubs and Heart support. 2{ would act as an emetic. How could such a witless response possibly help West value his hand? (See Hand 15.)

 

W          E

 

]

A K J 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

Q 10 7 5 4 2

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

West

North

East

 

9.

N

 

[

A 7 4

 

1{

Pass

?

3]. A splinter, showing shortage in Hearts and good Diamond support. Note, however, that a 3NT rebid by West would be non-forcing.

 

W          E

 

]

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

{

K Q 10 8 3

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

}

A 8 5 2

 

 

 

 

We will look at these ideas in more detail in a later article.