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Grand Slam bid possible and in what contract?

The following hand occurred during a practice session at Hornsea Bowls Club from a random deal.

West (dealer) Spades - 9 7 6 Hearts - K 4 6 Diamonds - A Q 10 Clubs - A K Q 6
North Spades - 10 Hearts - J 10 9 8 Diamonds - K J 8 7 2 Clubs - 9 8 4
East Spades - A K Q J 4 3 Hearts - A Q 2 Diamonds - 9 Clubs - J 7 3
South Spades - 8 5 2 Hearts - 7 5 3 Diamonds - 6 5 4 3 Clubs - 10 5 2

1 C Pass 1 S Pass
2 NT Pass 6 NT End

Ann, my partner for the session, is an improver with approximately eight months experience of the game. Rather than jump initially, Ann bid just 1 Spade keeping the bidding low to enable me to make a natural rebid. My jump rebid in NT showed a balanced hand with 18 – 19 points. This rebid point range is the one recommended by Bernard and is the way I play with my regular partner.

The contract made 7 NT on a lead of 7 D. I don’t see how I could have bid the Grand Slam as my partner was only promising 15 points.
The question is then is 7 S biddable with a different bidding sequence after my jump rebid in NT? I am thinking an immediate leap to 6 S is correct with East’s thought process being: we are missing 5 points at the most ie an Ace and a Jack, a King and a Queen, two Queens and a Jack or a King and two Jacks. With my two aces and 3 trumps I can surely safely bid 7 S.

What do you think? Any comments and/ or suggestions welcome. I am at the club tomorrow morning, so any feedback today would be really appreciated

Thank you very much, Chris


  • Your partner has chosen not to make a jump change of suit response to conserve bidding space, but she then chose to eat all of the bidding space by leaping to 6NT. This is inconsistent, to say the least!

    I agree that the principle of preserving bidding space is important, but it can sometimes be useful to jump if you are giving a specific message. A response of 2S should be reserved for a 16+ hand with either (a) a very good quality 6+ card suit, in a single-suited hand or (b) a good (5+ card) suit and support for opener's suit. Partner's hand easily meets the first of these tests and could not be more perfect for a 2S response.

    In the actual auction, your partner had a second chance. The sequence 1C, 1S, 2NT, 3S should be 100% forcing and would be my choice if I were playing a system where I did not have a strong jump shift available.

  • Thanks for your input Tramticket.

    We had another look at this hand at the club this morning and concluded that the correct bid here for East is 5 NT! East knows all off my 18 or 19 points are in Clubs, Diamonds and Hearts with the opposition holding at most 5 points in those suits. 5 NT is an extremely rare bid that is a Grand Slam try and on this hand says “Partner we can make 6 NT but I’m worried about a missing Ace so long as we have all the aces between us we can make 7 NT”. With 2 Aces West accepts the invitation and bids 7NT.

    A Small slam in NT on average requires 33 HCPs and a Grand Slam 37 points. In this deal East knows that the maximum combined point count is 36 and the minimum 35, but she also knows that we have at most 5 Spades out against us and therefore 6 certain tricks there barring an unlikely 5 – 0 break. With this solid suit a missing jack or queen is immaterial and West can discard his losers on those spades.

    I think many players on club night would leap to 6 S taking into account the combined point score and knowing the defenders cannot take two tricks off the top. With the two aces West must then bid 7 S and the question remains would East then bid 7 NT?.
    As you can see this is a “lay down” in 7 NT on any lead from North.

    How would you see the bidding proceeding after the sequence you recommend (does 3 S promise 6?)and do you see us reaching the higher scoring 7 NT using that sequence?

  • I think that you are suggesting that your partner jump to 5NT as a quantitative invite to 7NT. This still uses too much bidding space needed for investigation, doesn't help you decide which suit to play in and will not yield the correct answer. A 5NT quantitative raise opposite a 18-19 HCP no-trump bid should show 18 HCPs (rather than the 17 your partner has) and should show a balanced hand. Opposite 5NT you should raise to 7NT with a maximum (19) and bid 6NT with a minimum (18). Your 4333 shape hand is not a particularly good hand, despite the two aces and I see no reason why you would accept a 5NT invite and bid 7NT. If you did bid 7NT you would have a combined 35 HCP, which is not enough to be in a grand-slam based on high-card strength and will not guarantee that the partnership holds all of thee aces.

    My suggestion (using the Italian cue-bidding style):

    1C - 2S
    3S (1) - 4D (2)
    4NT (3) - 5D (4)
    5H (5) - 6S (6)
    7NT (7)

    (1) West has a huge hand in support of spades. A holding of XXX is good support in context of partner's jump shift response and west has good working controls in all of the side suits. The bid of 3S here is forcing and agrees the spade suit (more descriptive than showing the balanced shape)
    (2) East's 4D is a cue-bid, showing first or second-round control in diamonds and showing that the jump shift was based on a six-card spade suit (a 4C bid at this point would imply that the jump suit was based on club support with a five-card spade suit).
    (3) West could continue the cue-bids with 4H, but west is so powerful that I would ask for aces immediately.
    (4) East shows 0 or 3 key cards (clearly 3). Note that some bid 5C to show 0 or 3, this works just as well if that is your partnership agreement.
    (5) West inquires about the queen of spades.
    (6) East bids 6S confirming the queen (and denying an outside king).
    (7) West knows that the spade suit is running and will provide at least six tricks and knows of six top tricks outside of spades. As little as the jack of clubs or queen of diamonds will provide a thirteenth trick and east still has at least three points unaccounted for. It seems reasonable for west to bid seven.

    Note: I would be perfectly content being in 7S rather than 7NT - bidding a grand slam is likely to score very well and both look equally safe.

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