Details for bridge - 6-19-2019


With no slam,
what’s four
By Phillip Alder

Eddie Kantar, two times a
world champion and all-around
great guy, liked to mention that
he once had a class in which
he started with the observation
that not all four-no-trump bids
are Blackwood. He said everyone
immediately stood up and left!
If only someone had been
curious, he would have learned
some good lessons. First, an
immediate raise of a one-notrump or two-no-trump opening to four no-trump is quantitative, inviting
a slam. If responder wishes to ask for aces, he jumps to four clubs,
the Gerber convention.
More useful, though, are four-no-trump bids when the auction
makes it obvious (or highly likely) that the bidding side does not have
the values for a slam. Then, the bid is for takeout, often showing at
least 5-5 in two unbid suits.
In today’s deal, for example, West opened one spade, and East
made a weak-freak raise to four spades. How could four no-trump by
South be ace-asking? It showed at least 5-5 in two of the unbid suits.
After West rebid five spades, North decided to sacrifice, choosing
another unusual no-trump bid to ask his partner to show his lowerranking long suit. Thus South ended in six clubs doubled.
The defenders took one spade, one heart and one diamond for
plus 300. Note that since five spades would have made for plus 450,
this was a good sacrifice. True, no big deal at Chicago or in a teams
match, but it would be a tied top in a duplicate pairs event.
In high-level competitive auctions, usually four no-trump shows a
two-suited hand.
© 2019 UFS, Dist. by Andrews McMeel for UFS


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