SLAM bidding is understandably the most difficult part of a partnership’s game, because the occasions to practise arise so rarely.
Look at these hands from the latest Simultaneous Pairs event and you can see that a slam in hearts is odds on to make. Yet only 80 pairs out of 200 reached 6 ♥ . this dreadful statistic suggests that either the standard in these events is poor, or pairs need to improve their hand evaluation.
there are several straightforward routes to 6 ♥ and, because this is such an excellent illustration, I’ll discuss the options over the next couple of days.
First of all, when West makes the normal 1 ♥ opening, east should get excited and already start to think of slam possibilities. After a 1 ♠ response, West’s more constructive rebid is 2 ♦ , though I can understand those who will prefer to repeat their long, strong suit.
After 2 ♦ , east is much too strong to show heart preference at this stage and instead should make the Fourth Suit Forcing bid of 3 ♣ , asking partner to describe his hand further.
now, for his part, east must be careful not to make just a simple rebid of hearts — he must jump to 4 ♥ . the rest will then be easy!
When West decides to conceal his second suit ( ♦ ) and rebids hearts, he must jump to 3 ♥ to show his extra strength in the suit.
And again, east should respond in clubs, but this time 4 ♣ is a cue bid, showing ♣ A and implicitly agreeing hearts. West will then show his ♦A (4 ♦ ), and the rest will be a formality. there is even a danger of reaching the Grand!
You’ll notice that, in both cases, each partner has shown better than minimum values, thus making a slam inevitable (continued tomorrow).