Slam bidding is an important part of bridge. Although they are infrequent, it is necessary to bid at least some of the good ones, especially in teams competitions. There are four basic types of slam. The ones with two flattish hands and at least 33 hcp can be bid by all but the most inept. The ones where one partner shows a shortage, often by a splinter bid, require the nous to realise they are, in practice, dealing with a 30-point pack and the point count requirement has declined to 28-29 when there are no wasted values opposite. The third kind is where one player has a very long, strong suit and needs to identify a few specific cards in partner’s hand. These are often very difficult since the auction may need to start with 2C and then need a jump to set a suit. Often 1C systems are better with these hands. The fourth type of slam hand is where there are two long suits with one in each hand. These can be easy to bid but only if you have good agreements.
Many pairs use jumps over a minor as a weak bid for dubious gains and regret it when they miss an easy slam like this one. When North makes the strong jump shift and South supports spades, an exchange of cue bids is made. South knows about the good spade suit, the 1st or 2nd round club control and the lack of a heart control in the North hand and invokes RKC. North shows 0 or 3 (clearly 3) key cards and then the QS and no side suit kings so South bid the slam and 13 tricks were made on the QC lead. At my table, they were playing weak jumps in the 5-9 range so that 1D-1S-2D-2S would be invitational and 1D-1S-2D-3S would be forcing but when South bid 4S neither had enough information to go on it seems. There is another class of two suited slams where each partner has a moderate five card suit and the other has support. These hands are often best expressed with a fit jump (in preference to Bergen) but that will be in a future column.
Teams, both vul, Dealer South