Nancy Evins: Still confused...So what else is new?

Nancy Evins • Updated Jul 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Many times Bobby Wolff will give an explanation about a convention, which always seems to be different from how most people interpret it.

 But he doesn’t in this hand so I hope someone is out there who can explain one thing to me. When can a splinter bid be made when there is no room for the double jump?


North is the dealer and opens one diamond. East and West pass the whole way through. South now bids one spade, and North responds three diamonds. South bids three spades, and North bids four clubs, and it ends with South’s contract of four spades.

Here’s how North and South could interpret each other’s bids. When North opens one diamond, South knows he could have just three or four and probably no five-card major. It is always possible North could but only if it one card shorter than his first bid such as six diamonds and five of either major.

North has jumped to three diamonds with only 14 points but not unreasonable since he probably counts the extra diamonds from the six usually shown by this jump.

South now bids three spades, which made me wonder if he wasn’t promising more for him to come in on this level.

The next two bids are the ones most puzzling to me. North bids four clubs, and South goes to four spades without any, so it seems, support in that suit from North.

What does four clubs mean? I thought, at first, it was a control in clubs, which it isn’t. 

Then I thought North was describing his hand has having a club suit, as well as diamonds, and South should have then supported diamonds.

I know splinter bids are a two-suit jump in partner’s suit, but I had never considered it following a higher level, which would require a six-club bid.

I researched everything I could on splinter bids, and they all repeated it as going one spade, then four hearts as support for spades and a singleton heart and that the singleton wouldn’t be an ace. Why couldn’t this North simply raise South’s spades? I don’t want to ever play with this particular North no matter how high up in the bridge world he is, and I’m sure he’d feel the same way about me.

Then I went over the whole hand again, and I wondered why South wouldn’t have bid four diamonds over North’s jump to three. After all, he had two of the top five honors and knew that they had at least eight diamonds between them.

Wolff’s only comment about this was, “With only 22 points between them, you don’t waste energy about the missed excellent spade slam” Huh? Did he mean diamond slam? Then he goes on to say that now is the time for them to figure out how to take 10 tricks in spades.

And that wasn’t easy, but it was easier than figuring out the bidding.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]

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