I would like your advice about what I should bid in the following situation. Partner opens 1C, I answer 1H, he bids 2H. My hand is:

S : none
H : K Q J x x x
D : A K Q x x x
C : J

What should I bid now?

  • 1
    Please provide Dealer and Vulnerability. This is particularly important on wild distributional hands, for the inferences it provides about the opponent's possible hodlings, and he likelihood of bad breaks each way. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 3:22
  • Dealer is my partner, both sides vulnerable, opponents silent. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 5:03
  • What style of honour-showing cue bids and/or asking bids do you and your partner play? (As Blackwood/Gerber is no use with a void.) Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 5:11

4 Answers 4


My concerns are:

  • That the opponents aren't in this auction yet despite a ton of distribution, and so suits are likely to be breaking badly for us; and
  • My hand is far too strong to make a descriptive splinter call and appoint partner captain of the hand.

Therefore I wish to take advantage of the opponents silence to describe my hand, so partner can make an intelligent bid again or double decision on the next round. Therefore I bid a simple 3D.

This bid:

  1. Is forcing one round (by virtue of being a new suit by responder);
  2. Promises strength to play 3H or 4D, or better, safely;
  3. Promises a fifth heart (or slam interest, or both); and
  4. Promises either a fourth diamond or hidden club support.

It is intended to give partner the greatest possible room to complete the description of his hand, which so far sounds like the only balanced hand at the table with 3-4-2-4.

It sounds like RHO is long in clubs and diamonds, and LHO is long in hearts and clubs, and no-one is holding better than honour-fourth in spades. At least two, if not three or four, spades are missing from this deck unless the opponents are red against white.

What is the vulnerability, and who is the dealer?

Update From OP above, both vulnerable and partner dealt.

Continuation. Partner will take 3D for a game try and bid one of:

  • 3H to decline - you will continue with 3S game forcing, showing a control in spades, requesting partner to show a control. If partner shows the club ace you will continue with 5NT GSF as below;
  • 4H to accept, no extra values - you will continue with 4S control showing; if partner then bids 5C you will bid 5NT GSF and continue to 7 if he shows 1 with or without a side king.
  • 4C to show the club control - continue with 5NT GSF as above.
  • 3S to show the spade control then bid 4D to reveal the missing club control. If partner then bids 4H to deny it, you will have to guess - and rue not responding 1D originally.

Note how much easier the auction is if the original response is 1D receiving a raise; hearts can be cue-bid without ambiguity to locate the other missing card. Ease in correctly deciding between 5 or 6 r 7 is worth far more than the difference between a major or minor denomination.


There is a convention called "exclusion blackwood" (some call it "voidwood"). This way you can ask for aces, excluding one suit.

This call can be made by bidding your void suit, in a level above your fit suit, provided that a fit has been found.

In your example, all bids (4s,5c,5d) are exclusion blackwood.

Partner can respond in steps, just like steps on 4NT(depends whether you play standard, blackwood, 1430RKCB, 3014RKCB etc). No matter what kind of blackwood you play, you will get your desired info (this is the two round aces).

You can look here for a variation of exclusion blackwood.

  • 1
    If you didn't agree on this before the hand started, you cannot call across the table: "4S Exclusion Partner!". Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 23:18
  • well, if you play some serious bridge, the primal meaning for this bid is exclusion. If you are an amateur, you can improvise, but you will never be able to bid appropriate this hand. My answer is for the panel to learn this bid Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 11:43
  • 1
    @Thanos: Logically speaking, 3S splinter followed by 4NT over the expected 4H by partner should be keycard ask, without counting the Spade Ace (otherwise why not bid 4NT directly?). If partner bids 4D (likely singleton), you can still continue with 4S. So exclusion is not a requirement. There are many serious bridge players who don't play exclusion, so your comments about "amateur" seem to be misplaced.
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 2:56
  • @Aryabhata you misunderstood me. amatures for sure don't use exclusion. however, not using exclusion doesn't make you amateur. The problem with 3S is that maybe you have singleton in spades and Qx in clubs. so after 3S, you listen 4C (club control) so now you can ask aces with 4NT (which includes the Ace of Spades). Meaning, it's not sure that you will be able to ask 4nt without counting the spade ace. My conclusion is: since you are not using this bid for something else, you should use it as exclusion. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 9:53
  • @ThanosDarkadakis: I was going by your first sentence, "serious bridge implies exclusion", but I guess I did misunderstand you. Exclusion would be perfect here. I completely agree with you on that point. My point was that you can probably get by without it, though. Over 4C, you can bid 4S. +1 to your answer.
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 21:09

The things your partner need most to know about are your spade void and strong diamonds. So I would bid three diamonds [changed from spades], to show my stopper in that suit.

If partner has "nothing" to say, he'll bid hearts, but more likely, he'll bid four clubs to show his ace in that suit. Then you can bid four spades [changed from diamonds] to show your void [changed from ace].

You have the material for a small, or even grand slam. All you need are the ace of clubs and the ace of hearts for the latter. Since partner opened, he will have one or both of those unless he has a lot of wasted honors in spades. (Hopefully he has the two good aces, eight high card points, plus a few, but not "many" spade honors for his opener).

Edit: Based on the comments of others, I believe I got the original order of suits wrong. That is, I now believe that you should bid three diamonds first to show the stopper, then spades to show the void. That is, lower-ranking suit, then higher.

  • As Peter points out, 3S makes partner captain of the hand. Your partner will bid 4H even with both aces you care about with a hand like: KJTx Axxx Jx Axx. You can underwrite 11 tricks in hearts, so you can't afford to make a splinter.
    – ruds
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 5:26

From my comment to Thanos' answer:

Logically speaking, 3S splinter followed by 4NT over the expected 4H by partner should be keycard ask, without counting the Spade Ace (otherwise why not bid 4NT directly?). If partner bids 4D (likely singleton), you can still continue with a 4S bid and partner will know to take you further with the heart or club Ace.

So I would suggest bidding 3S, followed by 4NT over 4H.

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