Advanced Bridge

 

Lesson 14

 

Splinter Bids

 

 

A Splinter Bid is any unusual (double) jump of a suit guaranteeing a fit for partners last named-suit and showing a singleton (other than a Singleton Ace) or a void in the suit in which the jump was made. Such bids guarantee game and often suggest a slam. (Note:

All splinter bids are alertable.) Splinters bids can be in both Major and Minor suits. Splinter bids can be utilized in a variety of situations. The most common are:

 

1)  By Responder: North East South West

1H Pass 4D

South exhibits a game-forcing raise (13 or more HCPs) in support of Norths Heart suit (Willing to play in a 4H contract opposite what could be as little as a minimum opening bid), and a diamond shortage (Singleton or Void). Note: A 3D bid by South would have been a jump shift evidencing 19 or more HCPs (Weak with some partnerships) as opposed to the shown double jump in Diamonds which reads as a Splinter Bid.

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2)  By Opener: North East South West

1D Pass 1S Pass

4H

North exhibits a game-forcing raise (20 or more HCPs) in support of Souths Spades (Willing to play in a 4S contract opposite what could be as few as 6 HCPs), and a Heart shortage (A Singleton or Void).

 

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3) By Responder to an Overcaller:

 

North East South West

1C 1S Pass 4D (But not 4H)

 

Splinter bids are available when the opponents have opened, provided the bid is made below the game level, and is not in a Major.

 

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4) Following Stayman: North East South West

1NT Pass 2C Pass

2H Pass 4D

 

Here, South having invoked Stayman, liking Norths 4-card Heart suit, splinters in Diamonds in order to both guarantee game and to suggest slam possibilities in Hearts.

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Splinter bids suggest slam, not necessarily on the basis of high cards, but rather on the basis of fit and distribution.

North South North South

A9853 QJ742 1S 4C

KQ2 A84

K4 A1052

952 8

 

Note: Even with a minimum hand in the above-listed instance, North is encouraged to seek a 6S contract as a result of the fact that two of his previously-thought losers in Clubs are eliminated by Souths Splinter bid of 4C in support of openers Spades.

 

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Splinter bids may be in support of Minor suit bids as well as in support of Major suits as shown previously.

North South North South

1C 3H J108 A53

KQ10 6

A2 KJ97

KJ763 A9852

 

Here, South denies a 4-card Major suit holding, but shows excellent Club support (usually 5 or more pieces), opening bid values, and Heart shortage.

 

Note: North, Holding the hand shown above with strength and few losers in the Heart suit to begin with, will not be encouraged to consider a slam, and will bid 3NT, ending the auction. Reverse Norths Major suit holdings, however, as shown below, and North should easily get to a cold 6D contract.

 

North South North South

1C 3H KQ10 A53

J108 6

A2 KJ97

KJ763 A9852

 

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A Splinter bid at the 5-level, which automatically deprives the partnership of the use of Blackwood, should only be used to show a void in the Splinter suit.

 

North East South West

1H Pass 3H Pass

5D

 

Here, South is being asked to re-evaluate his/her holding for slam in light of Norths Diamond void.

 

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In some situations, Splinter bids can be in partners opening suit.

 

North East South West

1C Pass 1H Pass

1S Pass 4C

 

Here, South is showing at least 4-card Spade support, game values (i.e.,an opening bid or better), and Club shortage.

 

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Splinter bids may also occur in competition.

 

North East South West

1C Pass 1H 1S

3S

 

Here, North is showing Heart support, Spade shortage, and at least 20 or more HCPs. North guarantees game in Hearts, and suggests the possibility of a slam, should South have the appropriate holding.

 

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