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Lackwood and the minors

Lackwood and last train

If I ask uncle Google about Lackwood, I get two references ( and both dealing only with major suit slams just as if minor suit slams do not exist.

Lackwood is defined as a bid of 5M asking partner to pass without control of the „critical“ suit. Consider a situation where s are agreed with a bid of 3 and the bidding continues …4-4. Obviously 4 denies a -control, but neither denies nor shows a -control. Now pard should pass without a control, bid 6 with second round control and show key cards with first round control.

Two way last train.

If a minor is agreed bidding space is scarce, but we can make use of the fact that there are two possible last train bids: one under (4N for and 5 for ) and two under (4 for and 4N for ). Now we play two under the „normal“ last train and one under as asking for the missing control, much the same way as Lackwood. After the real last train two under is still available and 5m is sign-off. Only later did I find out thatthe second part of my „two way last train“ actually is a Lackwood variation.

Why 5M as Lackwood?

Why should 5M be the Lackwood bid and not a bid in the critical suit? First aof all with 5M we lose the possibility to ask for trump quality and secondly a lower bid may give the extra bidding space to use spiral scan after the KC response.

Lackwood after splinter bids

Splinter bids are useful to find out about duplication of values, but use up a lot of bidding space. Especially after the „inconvenient“ splinter (one under) slam investigation starts at the 5-level. As there are only two potentially dangerous suits left, bids in these suits could be defined as Lackwood once we no longer use 5M.

More Lackwood situations

The principle can also be applied in sequences like 1m-1M;4m assuming this shows some strong 6-4 with honours concentrated in m and M. Going one step further we could bid 4M with this hand type and use 4m to show 5422 where we might need more bidding space.

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