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The Splinter Bid

  by Richard Pavlicek

A bridge first will take place Saturday, June 14 — the World Simultaneous Pairs. Precisely at 2:00 P.M. local time this one-session worldwide event will begin. This means that players in Hawaii will have a morning game; players in Europe, an evening game; and players in the Far East — well, sorry. The simultaneity is needed to protect the integrity of the event, as the hands are prearranged.

The organization required to run this is mind boggling; but the World Bridge Federation is confident of a complete success. Special booklets which analyze the deals have been printed for all the players. Local participating clubs include the Ft. Lauderdale Bridge Club, Tamarac Bridge Club and Pompano Beach Bridge Club. Anyone can play.

Today’s deal illustrates a modern bidding gadget, the splinter bid. North’s jump to four diamonds, by prior agreement, showed a singleton or void (a “splinter”) in diamonds and the strength for a normal jump raise in spades. Observe that three diamonds would be a jump shift response, so a bid of four is scarcely needed as a natural bid.

6 S SouthS K J 9 2WestNorthEastSOUTH
E-W VulH A 10 8 31 S
D 3Pass4 DPass4 NT
C Q J 7 2Pass5 DPass6 S
S 6 4TableS QPassPassPass
H 9 7 4H Q J 6 5
D K J 9 7D Q 10 5 4
C A 10 6 5C K 9 8 4
S A 10 8 7 5 3
H K 2
D A 8 6 2
Lead: S 4C 3

The effect of a splinter bid is that partner can better evaluate his hand with regard to slam prospects. South could picture his line of play at once — his diamond losers could be ruffed in dummy and partner’s high cards should account for no more than one loser in the other suits — hence, the immediate Blackwood four-notrump bid. When North showed one ace, South confidently bid the slam. Six spades is an excellent contract despite only 23 combined HCP; and three of those points (Q-J of clubs) are unnecessary.

The play was as predicted. West found the best lead of a trump and East’s queen was captured by the ace. Declarer went about his ruffing chores: diamond ace; diamond ruff; heart ace; heart king; diamond ruff; heart ruff; diamond ruff; etc. Only mild care was required to avoid a heart overruff by West.

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© 1986 Richard Pavlicek