By Peter Rhead
On occasion, a partnership has done its best to get to the right slam contract. However, they have run out, or know they will run out, of bidding space before the final slam contract is established. Desperate for a probable slam, a shortage of bidding space can be a nightmare. Therefore, if the circumstances are right, you can do an evaluation and make a bid that will let you get to a slam without the frustration of possibly running out of bidding space.
Last week’s SOS Double Bid was a special bid to save your side from a part-score disaster. This week we look at the ability for one partner to ask the other partner to “Pick-A-Slam”. You would use this convention when bidding space is limited, but a slam is in the works. The bid to do this asking is 5NT, out of the blue. It is made when obviously the partnership does not want to play the contract of 5NT.
Suppose partner opens a weak Two Spades. This bid shows 7-12 points with a good six-card Spade suit and no four-card Heart suit. Responder, with a beautiful hand, has enough points and controls in his hand for a partnership slam. Responder has a void in Spades, and no five-card Heart suit to introduce on the way to the slam. However, responder now has enough information to know he wants a slam—but which one? The answer is to bid 5NT asking opener to Pick-A-Slam in No-Trump if he has the Ace and King of Spades. Otherwise bid the slam in his best minor suit and responder will be happy.
For more information, read “Pick-A-Slam 5NT” in Barbara Seagram’s 25 More Bridge Conventions You Should Know, page 189.
Next Week: Examples of Pick-A-Slam 5NT
Remember, as we all fight COVID-19 with social isolation, if you want your Bridge fix, online competition is available for all skill levels. From the ACBL Bridge website, you can hook up either to play live people or to play robots. Either way you test or consolidate various Bridge skills. At ACBL.org just click on “Play Bridge” and follow the prompts for various choices.
If you wish to promote an activity in your Bridge group or ask a Bridge question, send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to include it in this column.
Looking for more bridge tips? You’ll find them here.
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