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Are We Too Lazy?

We all play bridge as a serious recreation. Some questions arose in my mind when I constructed a hand in response to a response to my most recent post. Some respondents made it clear that they are aware of these problems. I wonder just how many are?

Please consider these questions before you scroll down, and by all means comment on the conclusions that I have drawn.

You hold this hand and respond 1S to partner’s 1C. Partner rebids 1NT showing 12-14 points.

♠Kxxx

♥Ax

♦KQJ

♣AQJx

1. Would you look further than bidding 6NT?

2. How would you look?

3. What would stop you from bidding slam?

And please go one step further, how do you think others, whose methods you are familiar with, would proceed?

 

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I actually constructed two hands consistent with your partner’s bidding.

A.

♠Ax

♥KQxx

♦xxx

♣Kxxx

 

and B.

♠QJ

♥QJxx

♦Axx

♣Kxxx

 

As you can see, hand A should be played in 6C and hand B should be played in 3NT (or 4NT).

Any serious partnership should be able to get hands like these right.

 

My suggested means is simple. It applies to one balanced or quasi-balanced hand facing another.

If you are sure you have a combined 34 points play in 6NT.

In the range 30-33 points combined, a suit contract may provide a twelfth trick, not available in NT.

If you use 4NT as “quantitative,” you cannot be serious.

To find the fit, and to determine the suitability for suit play, you must have a means of establishing partner’s exact shape in these situations.

• Partner opens or rebids 1NT

• The first shape-descriptive bid is 2NT, a 2NT opening bid, or rebid following 2C-2D, the 2NT reply to 2C.

There are many other useful things you can do, as well, when you know the NT bidder's shape.

Having found exact shape, the next move is to ask for the number of controls held, A2 K1. The cheapest bid or 4C, according to your preference, should be set aside for this purpose. It is highly wasteful of bidding space to have to establish an agreed suit in order to initiate a cue bidding sequence or to set the scene for Blackwood. Key cards are largely irrelevant in this scenario. You cannot play KCB with no agreed suit. If you do bid 4NT as Blackwood, partner will assume an agreed suit is implied.

Missing three controls, stay out.

The suggested minimum reply, the control base, varies according to the point range. For 12-14 it is 0-3, for 15-17 it is 0-4 and for 18+ it is 0-5.

Does anyone do it this way? Perhaps you have a better way?

And what about the methods of your peers?

I suspect that an embarrassingly large number would answer “No” to question 1.  Am I wrong?

In a nutshell, with balanced opposite balanced, an ask for total controls is valuable, an ace-ask is useless.

There is no hurry to get to 6NT. To my mind anyone who simply bids it, or invites it is just lazy.

Does anyone (else) have a means of establishing the exact shape of a 2NT opener?

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