Improve Your Play

Slam Bidding


By Larry Matheny

Fort Collins, Colorado


Slam bidding can be difficult.

Blackwood and Roman Keycard Blackwood are two of the most popular conventions available, but they don’t always answer your questions.







♠QJ52                           ♠9764

6                                 754

Q10865                       J92

♣A109                          ♣764







              South    West     North     East

                            Pass      Pass      Pass

                2♣       Pass        2        Pass

                3       Pass       3NT      Pass

                4♣       Pass        4♦        Pass

                4       Pass        5♣        Pass

                6♥       Pass       Pass      Pass

Opening Lead: ♣A



South opened a strong 2♣ and North’s response showed game forcing values. South set the trump suit by jumping in hearts. This also asked North to:

  1. bid an ace if he had one

  2. bid 3NT if he had a king but no ace

  3. bid 4 with no ace or king. After the king-showing 3NT, South asked which king North held. The diamond response was of no help since South needed a club control. However, after South signed off in 4 North continued with 5♣ showing he also held that king. Knowing that they were missing the ♣A, South bid the small slam. Since this was a pairs event, he should have bid 6NT with every suit double stopped.


West led the ♣A and South soon claimed the remaining tricks. This result scored surprisingly well since many N/S pairs did not know how to discover if North held a club control. It’s clear an ace- asking convention would not help find out about the club suit.

If the bidding used above is not to your liking, then perhaps using Italian cue bidding, where both first and second round controls are shown, would help.

Discuss this first with your partners; this slam was too good to miss.

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