Slam bidding is a difficult area for many partnerships. Some of the difficulties arise from the choice of bidding system. The hand opposite was easy to bid when EW were playing 2- over1 game force ( 2/ 1 GF). West’s 2D response was game forcing and East made a minimum rebid. A 3C rebid would show at least a king more than a minimum in terms of high cards. In most simple bidding systems, West now has a problem since 3S is just invitational, 4S is an underbid and 4NT is a guess. Since this EW were already in an FG auction, West could simply agree spades at the 3 level and have a conversation about slam suitability at the 4 level. This is the point of 2/ 1 GF bidding which solves the ‘‘ partscore or game’’ problem with the first response and also creates room to solve the ‘‘ game or slam’’ problem. With a 7 loser hand, East would just bid 4S but, with 5 losers, East must show strong slam interest. By making a cue bid at the 4 level, East shows 6, or less, losers and slam interest.
♠The cue bid also shows a first or second round control in that suit. West, similarly, shows slam interest ( 6 or less losers) and a control in diamonds and East then shows a heart control. Since both players have now shown 6 or less losers, EW expect to make a slam contract. West uses RKC and bids the small slam knowing that there are 12 tricks no matter which keycard is missing.
This hand illustrates the problems inherent in Acol and Standard. In these systems, West would probably invent a 3C bid to make the auction game forcing before agreeing spades. However, partner’s raise to 4C would leave West with a problem. A bid of 4S would be passable and partner would respond to 4NT as if clubs were the agreed suit.
Despite working well on strong hands, 2/ 1 systems have two drawbacks. Actual 2/ 1 FG auctions are rare and the needed forcing 1NT response to one of a major contains a very wide range of hands.