Duplicate bridge results and tip: The magic of bidding, part six



By Val Rhead


The Magic of Bidding continues in this, the sixth part of the series.  For the past five weeks, we have examined different ways of limiting your hand as soon as possible.  Now, miracles of miracles, what if a slam contract appears to be a possibility.  Usually one of the partnership’s hands has been limited on the first, second or third bid.  In that case, the captain will be the partner of the player who has limited their hand.  Otherwise the captain will be the player in the best position to direct the search for the best contract.

Books have been written on the subject of slam bidding.  If it’s a subject that interests you, I do recommend that you read one such epistle such as Slam Bidding Made Easier by Marty Bergen.  Otherwise, there are some fairly straight-forward methods that you can pursue once you have a fit established, and the captain knows that your partnership’s point-count is in the range of a possible slam.

The simplest way to get to slam is by asking for Aces. Bid Four No-Trump to ask for Aces in a suit contract. Bid Four Clubs to ask for Aces in a No-Trump contract.

However, another way that is more precise in a suit contract is to Cue Bid suits in which you or your partner have first-round control.  A Cue Bid is a forcing bid of a suit which the bidder obviously does not wish to play.  A bidder would have first-round control of a suit because he has the Ace, or because he has a void.

Consider the following Cue Bid example. You are the opener with a wonderful hand of 20 points and you open One Spade. Your partner limits his hand with a bid of Three Spades showing Spade support and 10-12 points. That makes you the captain. You have a 20-point hand so know you are in slam territory. You start a Cue-Bid sequence by bidding the next suit up the line in which you have a first-round control. Your first available Cue Bid after Three Spades is Four Clubs, but if you do not have first-round control in Clubs, you skip to Four Diamonds where you do have a first-round control.

If a suit is skipped, the player does not have first-round control in that skipped suit. Partner replies by bidding the next suit, up the line, for which he has a first-round control. A bidder shows no more controls by going directly to the suit in which you have discovered a fit, in this case, Spades. If partner has no other first-round control, after your Four-Diamond bid, he just bids Four Spades, the agreed suit, and that is where the contract is played. If partner does have the first-round control in Clubs that you were missing, he bids Five Clubs and you decide whether to go to Five or Six Spades.

It is a good idea to stay at the Small Slam level (bidding six) unless you are very, very sure that the Grand Slam is makeable. Why take a chance, and bid Seven Spades, going down one for a doubled score of minus 200, when you have a good chance of making Six Spades for a plus score of 1430?

Until next time, may you make most of the slam contracts you bid.  You will, if you remember to limit your hand.

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.


Games are at the Active Living Centre on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room on the second floor (elevator) at the back entrance of the Canada Summit Centre. Just come – with or without a partner.

For information, please contact Donna or Peter Tikuisis at 647 471 1774 or [email protected].

For now, this game will be played following Chicago Rules (allowing both fast and slow games).  You will keep your same partner for the entire evening.  Cost is $1.50 per person.  Parking is outside the North Entrance opposite Heritage Village Railway Station.


Games for the Port Carling Social Bridge Club are Monday afternoon 1 p.m. at the Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey Street.  Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes before game time.

For information, contact Andree or Scott 705-764-3827 [email protected]

Winners for Dec 31, 2018; 1. Mary Jane Rogers & Marnie Brown 2480;  2. Hans & Jeanette Heeneman 2430; 3. Els Vandenberg & Peter Rhead 2250

Winners for Jan 7th, 2019: 1. Kathy & Jim Haller 4240; 2. Hans Heeneman & Scott Staples 3400; 3. Joan & Len Frost, 3290


Games at the Huntsville Club are Tuesday afternoon 1 p.m., Trinity United Church 33 Main Street (side door, three steps up in the Hearth Room).  Please arrive at least 15 minutes early. For information and partnerships call Liz Graham (705)789-7187 or email at [email protected]

HUNTSVILLE CLUB, PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE:  The game is now on the Winter Season Jan/Feb/Mar afternoon schedule of 1pm.  Please arrive at least 10 minutes early.  The game will be held three steps up in the Hearth Room.

The following winners are for Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019 with 7 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 2.  Helen Pearson and Jim Smith; 3. Vern Foell and Rod Dixon; 4. Liz Graham and Dorothy Russell


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, Jan 7, 2019 with 9 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Mary Luke and Donna McIntosh; 2. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 3. Kel Andresen and Jim Smith; 4/6. Carol Anne Robinson and Nancy Barber; 4/6. Frank Vagnoni and Gerry Lawrence; 4/6. Val Rhead and Joanne Garvey

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