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Slam Bidding Made Easy - Marty Bergen


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Chapter 3 -

Control Bids

© Marty Bergen

Of course, on some hands, the five level is inevitable.  This is more likely to occur when a player makes a bid that uses up a great deal of bidding space.

6.     West          West         East       East

J 10 7 5 2     1         2NT     A K 6 4 3
A K 9 8 2     4         5      Q 6 4
A 4               5         7      8 7
2                  Pass                     A J 10

West’s 4 bid showed a 5-card heart suit with two of the top three honors. East was delighted to hear that, but without a diamond control, it would have been wrong for him to bid 4NT. West could have had a hand where a diamond lead would have been fatal in
, such as:

     Q J 8 7 2  A K J 4 3   J 2   3

Therefore, East control-bid 5. This bid promised a first-round control in clubs. Why is that?

Because 4NT is no longer available, a 5-level control-bid shows first-round control in that suit.  When West bid 5, he promised either the A or a diamond void. If he had second-round control of diamonds, he would jump to 6.

That was all East needed to bid the excellent grand slam. Not surprisingly, at the tournament where this  hand was actually played, many pairs only got to six.

Partnership Checklist – Control Bids

Use this checklist to firm up your control-bidding agreements. Check A or B on #1. Check Yes or No on #2-6. I recommend B on #1 and Yes on #2-6.

Keep in mind that this checklist does not address:

• Auctions where a minor suit is bid and raised;
• 2/1 Game Forcing auctions.

1. Each player’s first control-bid promises:

__ A. a first-round control in the suit
__ B. any control (Italian style)

2. Controls are bid up-the-line, so bypassing a suit denies a control in that suit.

__ Yes   __No

3. As long as slam is possible, always show a control below the game level.

__ Yes   __No

4. If partner has shown a 5+ card suit, a control-bid in his suit shows the ace or king.

__ Yes   __No

5. Once you have shown a short suit, only control-bid that suit with a void.

__ Yes   __No

6. A control-bid at the five level shows first-round control in that suit.

__ Yes   __No


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