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Technical control (Le Bridgeur Magazine n°888 – November 2014)

jerome750_en

Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur n° 888 on 15 November 2014.

In a slam sequence, bidding controls often poses difficulties. Here is an original option to overcome them.

We are working on the game engine on a daily basis. One of the biggest challenges is to programme slam bids as they require a considerable amount of judgement. Below is an example of a typical sequence that we have just prepared. For slam bids, when a control is skipped, what does bidding the next control mean?

SOUTHNORTH
1S2D
2S3S
4D4H ?

What about its corollary? What does the 4S bid mean?

Please note that in this sequence, over 3S, it has become common place to play 4S with a minimum hand, to bid a control with a positive hand, and to bid 3NT to make a small effort with all average hands (5-3-3-2, 13-15HCP), minimum but well split hands with 6 spade cards or 5-5 two-suited hands.

Subsidiary question: does the 4D bid expressly deny club control? Yes, except if partner bid clubs and you have shortness in that suit.

Let’s go back to the meaning of the 4H bid. Up until then, we had coded 4H as showing heart and club controls, 4S thus indicating a problem in one of these two suits.

There are other variants. Here is the one we have chosen: when a control is skipped, bidding the last one simply promises the one that has been skipped. So going back to the trump suit denies this control.

This seems both logical and practical to us since the focus is on the problematic suit. But you’d better be wide awake because bidding 4H to show club control is not natural at all.

S A Q 10 5 4
H J 5 4
D A K 3
C 8 2
SOUTHNORTH
1S2D
2S3S
4D4H
?

4S: No reserve and no heart control (let me remind you that partner’s 4H shows club control).

S A Q 10 9 5 4
H 5 4
D A K 3
C 8 2
SOUTHNORTH
1S2D
2S3S
4D4H
?

5D: This is a splendid hand. You will make the slam if partner has heart control. Repeating diamond control bid at the 5-level indicates that you have a problem in hearts.

S A Q 10 5 4
H K 5 4
D A K 3
C 8 2
SOUTHNORTH
1S2D
2S3S
4D4H
?

4NT: Partner reassured you on club control, the slam is now doomed to succeed. Let’s check aces thanks to Blackwood to know at which level you are going to play.

 

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Jack Nicholls
Jack Nicholls

This sequence if far to complicated for 75 percent of bridge players. Why can’t it just be kept simple? There is no decent Acol with 5 card majors or best minor system at present . Why not s strong NT throughout. This makes bridge much more interesting to beginners and intermediate players. Plus only Staymen with transfers and Blackwood for Aces and Kingd, I just can’t understand when the reply comment states either strong hand or stopper for NT or support for partners bid, just simplify it. Really I am playing guess work bridge, it is very frustrating.

Janet Alexander Davis
Janet Alexander Davis

After reading this article and the comment, I continue to suggest Goren’s as a way to simplify the bridge game. Please bring back the art of counting points and I believe you’ll add to your viewership. The game here seems to be more for competitive bridge players European style instead of just the joy of the game of bridge.

Deirdre Burton
Deirdre Burton

I’m with you, Jack. I play FunBridge for…dare I say…FUN!! When I play at home, my partner and I have our conventions, but you all are taking this to a level most of us are not at. AND, if there are members that are in that league, then give THEM these crazy hands and bids.

Sun 14
Sun 14

I agree with the previous comments. This bidding is way too complicated for my level. Why not have a blog for those at the 3 and 4 level in Funbridge? I am currently at 3Clubs. Many times I am amazing at North’s response. For example, when I bid 3 Spades as an invitational bid. North will response with ‘pass’ even when North has enough points to bid 4 Spades and game or even slam. 2 Clubs opening bid means more than 21 HCPs. Bidding this opener seems to cause North not to bid to game or slam even when North… Read more »