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Bridge & other card games/Control card in slam bidding

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Question
My partner opened 1S

I have S AQx        Bidding:  P 1S  Pass  2D  Pass  
         H KJxx          3H  Pass  4C  Pass
         D AKQxx          4NT Pass  5H Pass
         C  J          6H   Pass  Pass  Pass

Partner said she had no idea that I had H and S, and said the 4C bid was not a contol bid.
What is your opinion?

Answer
Hi,

In any intelligent auction, the first obligation should be to set the trump suit as early as possible before making control bids. This does not necessarily need to be on the first round of bidding...your 2D response is fine...but your next bid should, if possible, clarify to partner what trumps will be. When you bid 4C, you might have intended it as a control showing bid with the intention to play in a major, but you are looking at your hand and can see all the good hearts and spades. Unless your partner can see through the backs of the cards, she does not know of your support. The 4C bid sounds like a natural suit bid. It sounds like you have diamonds and clubs.

I personally don't see the need for your partner to bid 3H. After your two over one response, a 2H bid by partner would be forcing. When your side has the preponderance of the strength and slam is a possibility then your side should try to give yourself as much room as possible to investigate and not waste bidding space with unnecessary jumps.

Having said that, after the 3H call that was made at the table, you can look at your hand and see that there are really only four cards you care about in partner's hand...king of spades, ace and queen of hearts and ace of clubs. If partner has all four of them then a grand slam should be an odds on favorite. Even Kxxxx,Axxxx,x,Ax, a bare minimum for partner, gives you a decent play. Therefore, I would just take charge with your hand and bid 4NT over 3H. You needn't waste time telling partner about your hand. You know what you are looking for so just ask for it.

Depending on what you play, 4NT is either regular Blackwood or else Roman Keycard Blackwood with hearts (the last bid suit) as trump. With Keycard, you can easily find out about all four of the important cards. With regular Blackwood you will have to guess about the queen.

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I can answer questions on bidding and on cardplay with the caveat that the former may necessarily involve some subjectivity. I have been playing tournament bridge for over 20 years and I have won several regional tournaments.

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