By Peter Rhead
You may recall an earlier discussion about responding Jacoby 2NT when opener bids a major suit. It tells opener that responder has four-card or better support for the major plus an opening hand point count as well.
The Splinter Bid is similar except that it shows one additional valuable piece of information.
Responder shows that he has not only an opening hand with four-card or better trump support but also a singleton or void that could be valuable for a slam investigation.
To show a Splinter Bid after opener’s One Spade or One Heart, responder does a double jump to the suit he has that has a singleton or void. The Splinter Bid is always a double jump. So, after a One Heart opening, there are three possible Splinter Bids: Three Spades, Four Clubs and Four Diamonds.
After a One Spade opening, the following three bids are the Splinter Bids: Four Clubs, Four Diamonds and Four Hearts. There are no other Splinter Bids than these six.
Because the Splinter Bid uses up so much bidding space, responder must use it also to limit his hand. Therefore responder should employ the Splinter Bid only with a minimum opening hand (13-15 points). He should respond normally with more points so that opener recognizes an unlimited hand that might be greater than fifteen points.
Following the Splinter Bid limiting response, opener is now the Captain. Opener has the information needed to pursue a slam (perhaps now bid Blackwood 4NT) or stop at Four Hearts or Four Spades for the probable game score.
Responder does not Splinter Bid into a suit with a singleton Ace or King. Such honours in the singleton are wasted values because of the good trumping capability. Opener expects to find such honours elsewhere in responder’s hand where they will be of greater use.
Note that Splinter Bid responses apply only to a major suit opening. And a warning! Remember, responder’s jump to a Four Hearts singleton or void might be mistaken by a forgetful opener as wanting to play Hearts. The forgetful opener passes and your partnership has a disaster!
For additional information, read Splinter Bids in Barbara Seagram’s 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know, page 89
Next Week: Example of Splinter Bid
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 mould your 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.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!