Quick summary

With 16+ HCP, Slam on ! Better tell partner. But how?

You must select a bid which forces your partner to bid again.

Let your partner know how strong you are, but not necessarily on the first bid.

Only "jump shift" to a new suit when you have a single re-biddable 6-card suit, but


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Bridge Venue

Example Deal
spade 10
heart K 8 6 4
diamond 9 6
club A J 10 9 5 4
Example Deal
You: West
Dealer: West
Vuln: unknown

Bypassing a Major game for Slam investigation - but how?
Go to quiz (& full page) of deal # 126057


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#1+<-- click the + to show/hide one possible Bidding Sequence
p p 1H p

#2+<-- click the + for explanation of relevant Bidding Techniques

«  0044  »

Responder 1st bids. After 1 Suit, Very strong

So "Slam" is distinctly possible, "Game" is certain. What fun !

44. Reply to 1 Suit opening. Very strong
Points 13+ 16+ 16+ 19+ 21+
balanced, with stoppers
bid 3 NT a new suit 6 NT
unbalanced, no fit
cards any <6 6+
bid new suit new suit jump in new suit ("jump-shift")
unbalanced, with fit, beginner
cards 4-card Major
bid 4 of the Major investigate slam
unbalanced, with fit, advanced
cards 4-card Major fit
bid Splinter or Jacoby 2NT investigate slam
unbalanced, with fit, advanced
cards 4-card Major fit, and a 5-card side suit
bid A "jump-fit" (but see "jump-shift", above, which denies a fit)
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The general principles:

  • let your partner know what is going on, but not necessarily on the first bid,
  • unless you go straight to Slam, (which would be unusual), you must select a bid which forces your partner to bid again

Your first bid. Jump-shift ?

A commonly used bid when you have 16+ points is the "jump shift", but this should generally only be used when you have a single re-biddable 6-card suit. This is code for “Partner darling, we're in the money. I have 16+ points, 6-card suit. Do your arithmetic, and get back to me ! With your 12-19 points, we could be in slam territory here”. 

If you only have a 5-card suit, simply change suit (bid at the lowest level available, i.e. shift, but don't jump) and show your impressive strength to your partner next time round. You will get a chance, because your change of suit was a forcing bid.

However, there are 2 other occasions when you can "jump-shift", again to show slam potential, and again because it's actually worth wasting one level of bidding to achieve a descriptive bid:

  • 5+ card suit, and 4-card support for opener's suit
  • 5+ card suit, and the ability to rebid in NT


Suppose you have a wonderful hand with 16+ points with a good long suit not bid by your partner, and suppose you also have 4-card support for the suit your partner opened with. Since you have found an 8-cards fit in your partner's suit, and tons of points, should you support your partner's suit, or should you bid you own long suit?

It might be best not to support your partner. Not yet, anyway. That's because supporting your partner's suit is not forcing. He might simply pass. So even though you might (hopefully) at least have raised to game, you could miss a Slam if partner stops bidding. However, shifting to a new suit is forcing. You can go on to support partner's suit next time.

Balanced hand

If you have a strong balanced hand (19+ points) you can make a strong so-called "quantitative" bid in NT (4, 5, 6 or even 7), giving your partner a very precise point count, which is important in NT.

Responder's second bid

Your partner (the opener) could have 12 HCP, or he could have as many as 19. These differences are profound, so listen carefully to his second bid. By then you will know his strength, his balance, and maybe his second best suit as well as his first.

Assemble this information, put it alongside your hand, and try to decide if Slam could be on in a suit or NT. If the answer is positive, use Slam bidding techniques, including cue bidding if appropriate and if you know how to. If not, then put an end to the bidding by closing off at the "game" level, usually 3NT or 4 of a major suit, spadeheart. And sometimes, if you must, 5 of a minor suit, diamondclub.



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