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Slam Bidding Made Easy - Marty Bergen


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Chapter 6 -

5NT Pick A Slam

© Marty Bergen

In SBME, I gave the convention 5NT Pick a Slam my highest rating. I said, “Although it doesn’t occur as often as other slam conventions, it is still my favorite.” Why is that? Because both players are involved in the decision-making process, the partnership will arrive at the final contract only after mutual agreement.

Why is this convention necessary? Most of the time:

• Taking 12 tricks without a trump suit is not easy.
  It is much easier to take 12 tricks in a suit contract;

• Hands with a singleton play better in a suit contract;

• If you have the necessary strength and controls,
  12 tricks are available in at least one of the suits –
  even if it is only a 7-card fit.

The convention works like this: When you know you belong in a small slam, but don’t know where to play, a jump to 5NT asks partner for a suggestion.

After the 5NT Pick a Slam bid, partner can suggest

a suit he is willing to play in. Possibilities include:

• Mentioning a new suit.

• Showing mild support for a suit you bid.

• Rebidding one of his suits with extra length or
  strength in that suit.

• Bidding 6NT if he has nothing worth mentioning
  or is positive that the hand belongs in notrump.

When playing 5NT Pick a Slam, you must remember:

• The 5NT bid is forcing;

• 5NT denies interest in a grand slam.

5NT Pick a Slam is unfamiliar to many players, so I will illustrate the convention with several examples.

1.     West              West         East       East

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

East was delighted to hear West open 2. However, his heart suit was not strong enough to respond 2, so he contented himself with a 2 waiting bid.

The auction proceeded naturally through West’s 3 bid. East was then confronted with a crucial decision. Although his singleton spade was a liability, he did love his two aces. So, instead of bidding 3NT, he made the decision to play in slam.

Too many players who reached the same conclusion would have bid an inappropriate 4NT or an aimless 6NT. However, East was careful to bid a flexible 5NT, which asked partner to express his opinion. West did have a suit he was happy to mention, and that suited East just fine.

6 was easy – making six. When spades split 4-2,

6 and 6NT would also have been easy – down one.



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