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How is your slam bidding (with your wife)?


by Bernard Marcoux, Ste-Adèle






Are you good in slam bidding?  Yes, you say?  Well, I don’t really believe you J


In fact, people don’t know slam bidding.  Proof? 


They are familiar only with Blackwood, or any variation of Key-card.  You tell them Blackwood is not a tool to go to slam, but to avoid slam. 


You try to teach them that the 2 partners have to tell each other, before getting to game, that they are interested in slam.  You try to teach them to use cue-bids, before arriving to game, to show extra values.  You tell them they can’t Blackwood with 2 quick losers in a suit.  They don’t listen.  They continue Blackwood and continue to go down.  Or they stop in game, afraid to go down in slam.  And this is slam bidding with unopposed bidding.


So, I don’t know why I bother to ask: How is your slam bidding when opponents open?  Well…


LHO   Pd        RHO   You

1       1        p          ??







Do you know Fit-Showing Jumps?  No?  You play Weak Jump Shifts?  Too bad for you, I think you are playing poor methods.  You should always prefer constructive bidding to destructive devices.  So, my partner and I play FSJ.  A FSJ shows 5+ good cards (ideally 2 tops) in the suit you bid and a 4-card fit in your partner’s suit, with at least a limit-raise.  FSJ is used anytime in competition and by any passed hand.  Examples:


Partner           RHO               You

1                   1                    3/3 = FSJ


1                    X                      3/3/3 = FSJ


2                   2                    4/4 = FSJ


2                    3                   4 = FSJ



Partner                       RHO               You                 LHO

P                                 p                      1                   p

2/3/3 = FSJ         


Even if you play Drury, you can use FSJ, which tells much more to your partner.  FSJ is in line with the old saying: if you can tell all your hand in one bid, you must use that bid.  Hearing a FSJ, partner will be perfectly placed to know if you have a double fit, in which case he can bid on, stop or sacrifice.


So FSJ says: I have at least 9 cards in 2 suits, 4 with you and 5 good in my suit.  Always 5-4?  Well… if you are a purist or French… Oops J


Us, in Quebec, we speak French but we live in North America.  So we are not French.  We are French speaking North Americans. 


At bridge, we prefer the North American approach, practical, not dogmatic, realistic, not rigid, sensible, not strict.


Who wants to be a purist anyway?  At the table, you have to bid the hand you have and hands are never perfect.  Sometimes, once in 3 years, you will have the perfect hand to fit into the perfect bid.  So bid what you have, even if you sometimes bend the rules.


All this gibberish to tell you about my wife and partner.  The other day, she didn’t make a FSJ because she had a 6-3 distribution, not 5-4.  So I told her, gently (!):


-         You know, honey (I didn’t say honey), you could use a FSJ to show me what you had.


-         I didn’t have a 5-4, she replied, sternly.


-         I know, but nothing’s is perfect.  Except you, of course (I didn’t say that either J.)


So, last Monday, we came upon those 2 hands.


RHO               Me                  LHO               The Wife

1                   1                   p                      3

                        4                   p                      4

                        4                   p                      5

                        5                   p                      5NT




                        AQJ10xx                              6xx

                        Axx                                      R10xxxxx

                        3                                           A10x

                        Kxx                                      ---


After 3, my hand looks very good.  If she has KQxxx in Hearts and 4 Spades, we have a great double fit. 


 So I cue-bided 4: I like your hand partner


 Her next bid was music to my ear: 4.  I followed with 4, showing a top card in her suit (never cue-bid shortness in a natural suit bid by partner; you can splinter, but not cue-bid). 


She continued with 5.  I then bid 5, 2nd round control.  At that moment, she knew everything, except the quality of the Spades. 


But all those cue-bids obviously implied we had no problem in Spades.  But could we bid the grand?  We had bypassed 4NT, key-card. 


So she invoked Josephine, 5NT, the Grand Slam Force.  I concluded with 6: Partner, I don’t have AKQ.  I made 7, the only pair to bid that slam in the room.


After the hand, she said:


-         You told me the other day (women never forget nothing), I could make a FSJ with this type of hand.


-         Yes, dear (I didn’t say dear).  Your bid was perfect (women like to hear they are perfect).


-         I know, she said.


They like to tell it also, I said to myself J.