By Peter Rhead
Examples of Pick-a-Slam 5NT
Last week we looked at the ability one partner has 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.
You sit with this beautiful hand on your way to a partnership slam in three cases below. When does one partner bid 5NT Pick-A-Slam in each of the following three cases? In each case you hold this hand:
Case One: Partner opens One No-Trump showing 15-17 points and a balanced or semi-balanced hand. Your right-hand opponent passes. You first bid the normal Stayman, Two Clubs, to start your slam adventure. Your Stayman bid is forcing and guarantees at least 8 points with at least one four-card major. Opener bids Two Diamonds denying a four-card major. You know you want a slam when opener has guaranteed at least 15 points. You want the slam in No-Trump if opener has both the Ace-King of Spades. Otherwise you want the slam in either of the minors.
After opener’s Two Diamonds, you bid 5NT Pick-A-Slam. Opener now knows you do not have Spade support. Opener then will bid the No-Trump slam or a slam in his best minor and you will be happy. In fact, you might take partner’s slam bid to a grand slam (your partnership does have a total of about 37 points)!
Case Two: Partner opens a Weak Three Spades. His bid shows a hand with 10-12 points (at the three level), a good seven-card Spade suit, and no four-card Heart suit. Your right-hand opponent PASSES and you sit with the same beautiful hand above. What do you bid?
You bid 5NT Pick-A-Slam. You know opener does not have four Hearts. If you had five hearts, you would bid a forcing Four Hearts on your way to the slam. But now you know Hearts and Spades are not the contract. Opener will bid a slam after your 5NT. The slam bid by opener would be 6NT if opener held both the Ace and King of Spades (he has said already that he has a good Spade suit). If he does not have the Ace-King of Spades then he has to bid the slam in his best minor and you will be happy.
Case Three: Your nuisance right-hand opponent in first seat opens a Weak Two Spades. You double and left-hand opponent PASSES. Your partner, forced, bids with a jump to Four Clubs to show 8 points or more. He can jump to Four Hearts only with five. So Clubs is his best alternate suit but he might have only three! Remember he was forced. The bidding comes back to you and you bid Five Clubs. Your partner now knows that you doubled and then bid, so you have a big hand. And he has enough points himself to try for slam. He bids 5NT Pick-A-Slam. You sit with the same beautiful hand above. How do you respond?
You bid Six Clubs. It is the safest bid!
For more information, read “Pick-A-Slam 5NT in Barbara Seagram’s 25 More Bridge Conventions You Should Know page 189.
Next Week: Stayman Two Club Response to 1NT.
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.
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