Duplicate bridge results and tip: Cue bid first round control


By Val Rhead

The more traditional system of using Blackwood and Gerber (Four No Trump and Four Clubs) to ask for Aces when a partnership is investigating a possible slam has two major failings.  First, what do players do about voids?  Second, if a slam is to be successful, the question may not be how many Aces the partnership has, but which Aces it has.  If the partnership has just three Aces, it’s a major problem if the missing Ace in one hand is opposite a worthless doubleton in the other.  If, however, the missing Ace in one hand is opposite a void in the other, the void can prevent the loss of a trick in that suit.

Today’s discussion is about the convention that resolves both of these dilemmas.  “Cue Bidding First Round Controls” can be more exact.

What is a Cue Bid?  According to the Encyclopedia of Bridge (page 203 of the 7th edition), a Cue Bid is a forcing bid in a suit which the bidder does not want to play.  A common use of a Cue Bid is to show first round control of a suit.  In the discussion that follows, first round control is always an ACE or a VOID in the bid suit.

You have opened with a strong hand.  Your partner has replied showing some values and you have found a fit in a suit.  You know that you are going for game.  Perhaps, a slam is possible.  What do you do next?

The partner who suspects a slam is possible, and has the Ace of trump, becomes the Captain. She begins a cue-bidding sequence to check out the slam possibility.  She starts with the suit up the line from the agreed-upon trump suit.  For example, Hearts has been established as the trump suit and the partnership is at Three Hearts.  The Captain bids Three Spades showing first round control of Spades (and the Ace of trump).

If the partner does not have a first round control, he just bids Four Hearts.  If partner does not have first round control of Clubs, but he bids Four Diamonds, he shows first round control of Diamonds.  The Captain is not worried about Clubs because she has first round control of Clubs herself.  The Captain now knows whether they have a good chance of slam.  She bids the small slam or she bids game.

If the Captain knows they have first round control in three suits and a high point count, she may decide to continue the cue bidding sequence to look for second round controls.  These are protected Kings or singletons.  If she does not find the second round control they need, she bids Five Hearts ending the bidding.

If you’re playing Social Bridge, it will be fine to bid the slam in your suit.  However, if you are playing Duplicate Bridge, with its different scoring system, it will be advantageous to bid a No Trump slam where possible.  In this case, players may want to bid Four No Trump to check for Aces to make sure none of the first round controls are Voids which wouldn’t work in a No Trump contract.

As with all conventions, when players are using Cue Bids to discover controls, it is imperative that both partners are on the same wavelength.  They must make sure that they agree that, after settling on a suit, the next suit bid is a first round control.  Otherwise, they may have some unexpected and probably unfavourable results!

If you wish to promote an activity in your bridge group or ask a bridge question, send the information to [email protected] and I will try to include it in this column.

THE FALL LUNCH AND GAMES PARTY, Friday, Nov 3, 2017 at the Gravenhurst Senior’s Centre,
welcomed 109 participants and raised over $1100 for the Charitable Trust bursaries to support higher education of Muskoka’s young women.  It was a great opportunity to enjoy bridge or other games and companionship.   We thank you for your participation.


Games at the Huntsville Club are Tuesday 7:15 start, Trinity United Church 33 Main Street.  Please arrive 15 minutes before game time.  For partners and information call Jan Roberts 705 635-2522 or email [email protected]

The following winners are for Tuesday, Nov 7 with 9 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Jim Smith and Ralph Mitchell; 2. Val Rhead and Gail Lederer; 3. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 4. Ann Cassie and Bruce Cassie; 5. Beryl Clayson and Paul Clayson


Games for the Bracebridge Club are Mondays 7pm, Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road.  Please arrive 15 minutes before game time.  For information or partnerships, call Brian at 705-645-5340 [email protected]

The following winners are from Monday, Nov 6 with 16 pairs playing a Mitchell movement. North-South 1. Mary Mitchell and Susan Maddocks; 2. Mary Hogarth and Albert Eatock; 3. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 4. Val Rhead and Joanne Garvey; 5. Gerry Flaherty and Ralph Hair; East-West 1/2. Art Insley and Don Evans; 1/2. Gail Lederer and David Bryce; 3. Lynda Mochrie and Wayne Mochrie; 4/5. Kel Andresen and Jim Smith; 4/5. Ann Cassie and Bruce Cassie

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