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More About Picture Jumps and Fast Arrival
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This is the second article in a series on Picture Jumps and Fast Arrival sequences after a 2/1 response.

In the first article, I showed 2/1 sequences where the partnership is better placed in a slam search after a picture jump than after a Fast Arrival auction. Now I will discuss:

  • Is Fast Arrival a dead concept?
  • How good are the trumps shown by a picture jump?
  • Are there other sequences where picture jumps can be used?

 

Fast Arrival, A Dead Concept?

My first article may have created the impression that Fast Arrival is solely for newer players. Not so. Fast Arrival has its place in every player's arsenal. In fact, we all use Fast Arrival routinely without using the name:

W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
4
P
P
P

4 is a Fast Arrival jump showing values for game, no slam interest, and 6+ spades.  

Here are some more Fast Arrival jumps:

W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT

W
N
E
S
1NT
P
4
P
4

W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
4

W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
3NT

What do these sequences all have in common? The partner of the jump bidder has narrowly limited his hand.   When opener's hand is narrowly limited, responder often immediately knows the correct level and strain. There is no point in painting a beautiful picture of responder's hand when responder already knows which contract to play. Far from being dangerous, a wide-ranging jump to game is an advantage. The less defenders know about your hand, the more often they go wrong on defense.   Picture Jumps are most valuable when the bidder is uncertain whether the partnership is in the slam zone. When one hand is tightly limited, the unlimited partner usually knows immediately whether the partnership is or is not in the slam zone so Picture Jumps are not necessary.   Rule: 1. Fast Arrival applies opposite limited hands 2. Picture Jumps apply opposite unlimited hands

 

How Strong Are The Trumps Shown by a Picture Jump?

Experts disagree on the trump quality requirements for Picture Jump raises. The big issues are:

  • Should a picture jump guarantee 4-card support? For me, 3-card support with 3 of top 5 or any 2 of top 3 is fine.  
  • Should a picture jump promise top honors? With only 3-card support, being rich in top honors is important. With 4-card support, it is less of an issue.

For example:

South
J10xx
xx
Qx
AKQxx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
4

Despite the lack of top spade honors, 2 ... 4 communicates your hand well. You have a club suit that will produce tricks, you are sure spades is the best strain, you do not control either red suit.

 

South
Jxxx
Q
AQ
AKJ10xx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
3

Once again, a picture jump communicates your hand well: spades is a fine trump fit, clubs are a source of tricks needing little support, you have strong slam interest. In an RKC world, there is little danger you will get to a bad slam missing top trump honors if you bid 2 ... 3.

Additonal Picture Jump Raises

There are many other sequences where responder or opener can make a picture jump.

South
QJ10x
Qx
xx
AKxxx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
4

Because opener has rebid his own suit, there is only one jump raise available: the jump to game. A Picture Jump to game always denies control of an unbid suit. When responder holds a stronger hand with great support, his options are to splinter, or to make a simple raise then bid strongly afterwards. 

 

South
KJ10x
xx
xx
AKQxx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
3
P
4

A Picture Jump can occur after opener raises responder's suit.

  

South
Jx
KQ10x
xx
AK10xx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
4

A Picture Jump raise does not have to occur in opener's first bid suit.

 

North
AKxxx
KQJx
xx
xx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
4

Opener can play the Picture Jump game too. As usual, a Picture Jump to game, shows good trumps and denies outside controls.

 

North
AKxxx
xx
KQJx
Ax
South
Qxx
Ax
Axxxx
QJx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

A picture jump to 4 of a minor always shows slam interest.  It promises outside control(s) as well as excellent trumps and a good suit of your own. Can you see why? 

 

North
AKxxx
xx
KQJx
xx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
3

When North holds no controls in an unbid suit, he does not want to go past 3NT, which is the most likely game contract. So a simple raise to 3 is best. To voluntarily bypass what is often our best game, a jump bidder must have strong slam interest, which implies outside controls as well as good trumps.

 

North
AQxxx
x
QJxxxx
x
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
5

A jump to 5m promises a freakish hand with sparse high cards and a huge fit. With a less freakish hand, you would want to explore 3NT. Only a hand with 5-5+ distribution can be so confident that 5m will play better than 3NT.

 

Picture Jump Suit Rebids

The Picture Jump concept also applies to jump rebids in your own suit, as well as to jump raises. A Picture Jump rebid promises a suit with at most 1 loser. 

 

North
AKQJxxx
Qx
xx
Qx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
4
Opener has a 1-loser or solid suit and no red-suit controls.

 

North
KQJ109xx
Qx
Ax
Kx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
3

Opener has a 1-loser or solid suit, one or more red-suit controls, and strong slam interest.

 

South
xx
Kx
x
AKQJxxxx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
4

Responder has a 1-loser or solid suit, one or more outside controls and slam interest

 

North
AKxxx
AKxx
xxxx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
?

By showing a suit that can play for at most one loser opposite a void, one can invite partner to cooperate with a good hand that lacks trump support.  For example, on the hand above, would you be eager to look for a slam with a void in partner's suit?  Of course not.  But after a Picture Jump, you will be delighted to cooperate.

 

Jumps In NTPicture Jumps do not apply to rebids in NT. Natural jumps in NT show extra values, and a hand that is NT-oriented.

W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2NT
P
4NT
P
?

Responder has shown a balanced or semi-balanced hand with perhaps 17-18 HCP. He is inviting opener to bid 6NT with 14-15 HCP of his own.

 

W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
?

Responder is showing approximately 15-17 HCP. His values are mostly in lower, softer honors. He has both unbid suits well-stopped.

Implications for Non-Jump SequencesNon-jump raises suggest that responder lacks exceptional trump support, has a mediocre suit, or both.

North
Jxxxx
AKxx
Ax
Kx
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
?

Despite his decent hand, opener has been warned to tread lightly in the slam search. Responder could not splinter or make a picture jump, so he is a big favorite to hold either 3 trumps or 4 bad ones. The 5-level will often be unsafe.

 

North
KJxxxxx
Ax
KQx
x
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
?

Opener has shown a long broken suit since he did not make a picture jump earlier. His suit needs supporting honors for slam purposes.

 

Picture Jump Summary

After a 2/1 sequence, any jump raise or jump rebid of a suit is a Picture Jump.

Jump Raises 

  1. A jump raise promises 3+ trumps and 2+ honors, plus a good 5+ card suit of your own.
  2. A jump raise below game promises 1 or more outside controls.
  3. A jump raise to game denies an outside control.

Suit Jump Rebids

  1. All jump rebids of a suit promise a 1-loser or solid suit, i.e., a suit that will normally play for at most one loser opposite a void. 
  2. A jump rebid to game denies an outside control in an unbid suit.
  3. A jump rebid below game promises one or more outside controls in unbid suits..

 

Historical Note

I was interested to discover on Bridgeguys.com just how long the picture jump versus fast arrival debate has been on going. Both principles were first enunciated in the 1930's. Fast arrival was described by Ely Culbertson at the dawn of the game. Picture jumps were first described by S. Garton Churchill in 1936.

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