Slam Bidding Made Easier is a 240 page book that presents the important slam bidding concepts. It contains information on how to evaluate your hand, general principles of slam bidding auctions, and details about the important slam bidding conventions, including Control Bids, general Blackwood principles, Roman Key Card Blackwood specifics, Jacoby 2NT, Splinters, and Marty's favorite slam convention, 5NT "Pick a Slam". To see the complete table of contents, click here. To read an excerpt from the chapter on control bids, click here.
Better Slam Bidding With Bergen is the companion workbook to Slam Bidding Made Easier. It contains much of the information from the main book in an easy-to-reference summary form. Additionally, it contains exercises to help you develop your slam bidding skills, and a series of checklists to solidify your partnership agreements. To see the complete table of contents, click here.
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Let’s begin a more in-depth discussion of control-bids. Take a look at this uncontested auction:
Regardless of whether you call it a control-bid or a cue-bid, everyone agrees that 3♠:
What kind of control does 3♠ show? There are two distinct points of view. Some players answer, “it shows first-round control,” meaning the ace (or a void). Others would answer, “first-round control or second-round control,” which means either the ace or king (or void or singleton). Both groups agree that the control-bid is much more likely to be based on the high card rather than the short suit. The intensity of their feelings towards each other sometimes resembles “the Hatfields vs. the McCoys.”
Do I have a decided preference on this topic? YES, and I will express it loud and clear. Before I do, I’d like to ask you about the hand on the next page. As always, I recommend that when partner raises your suit, you first add up your Bergen Points.
Hand A. ♠KQ6 ♥AKQ987 ♦9 ♣762
Counting Bergen Points:
Once opener showed 17-19 dummy points, you have points galore. Even a grand slam is possible. Before reading on, what would you bid?
I know that many players would bid 4NT. Suppose partner bids 5♥. Then what? If you bid 6♥ because your side has a lot of points and you’re only missing one ace, you won’t be a happy camper when your LHO leads a club, and partner tables:
♠A ♥J632 ♦AK876 ♣QJ4
But if you smelled a rat and passed 5♥, you deserve a dummy where 6♥ is cold, such as:
♠872 ♥J632 ♦AKQ86 ♣A
What would I have done? I would control-bid 3♠, promising a control in spades, and interest in a heart slam. Easy as 1-2-3.
I know some experts who make control-bids only with first-round control. They couldn’t bid 3♠, but definitely wouldn’t be guilty of bidding 4NT on Hand A without a club control. Frankly, I have no idea what they would bid with this hand, and I can’t even imagine how they or anyone else could play that way!
Although that may have come across as intolerant, that was not my intent. Ever since I began playing, I thought that when you wanted to make a slam try, you showed a control. It didn’t matter whether the control was an ace or a king. If/when partner wanted to know what you have, that’s what Blackwood is for.
Copyright© 2008 by Howard Schutzman. All rights reserved.