Friday, March 31, 2006 3:55 AM

Hand Evaluation - 4NT ( Minors )




            Playing minor suit KCB  ( minorwood ) frees up a very handy bid . 4NT is used as either a quantitative slam try or a place to play the contract after aborting a slam try. 4NT is never Blackwood when a minor suit KCB bid is available.  Partner had a hand that shows that advantage tonight ♠AQ9x Ax K10x  KQ98 . Hand evaluation determines what tool you use during the auction . I opened 1 , partner 1♠ & I rebid 2. What do you bid ? A jump to 4 is minor suit KCB , so a jump to 4NT is quantitative suggesting a 6NT slam. This hand is all controls rather than soft values suitable for NT so I might bid 4 KCB so an easy 6 is reached. If you want to right side the NT by protecting your spade tenace from the opening lead , you can bid 4NT. However , this  hides your diamond fit , so 4NT might be passed when 6 is cold.


            We play a special 4th suit forcing where 2NT by responder  is the “godfather” one round force. Partner has the best of both worlds by simply bidding 2NT. I attempt to play the hand in a 3 partial but partner will over rule & drive the hand to 6. What if partner’s hand had softer values ?  AQxx AQx Kx ♣KQ98 he can still bid the godfather 2NT . This bid allows us to explore a grand slam more intelligently if I show any sign of life after 2NT. After any 2NT bid we play a return to the minor as an escape. This is the option I would choose with my 11 HCP so we stay out of a very bad grand slam. Add a king to my hand , I would something else  after 2NT so we would be in a cold grand slam. Keeping the bidding low allows a partnership to exchange valuable information. Godfather 2NT excels in that department.


            Experts have a default understanding that a Q bid  after a T/O dbl shows a two suiter. I dislike the notion that a leap to 4NT after a dbl shows a two suiter in the minors. Both minors are like any other two suiter. You start with a Q bid  & use equal level conversion to find your minor fit. This frees the leap to 4NT as a quantitative bid saying I am too strong to bid 3NT . 1♠-X-4NT    says I have a 3NT bid but am inviting slam. 2♠-X-P-4NT   same , as is 3♠-x-P-4NT.  When you get jammed as responder , 4NT is quantitative after partners opens a minor. 1-3-4NT   means I am just too strong to bid 3NT. 4is KCB for diamonds.


            4NT is too valuable to waste as a T/O to the minors when you have a Q bid that does the same job. You are vul & they are not , you hold Kxx AK9x Ax ♣QJ10x . They open 3 & partner doubles . With any other vulnerability this is easy. You just say your lead partner. On this vul , a slam is just too tempting. A 4Q bid should show a two suiter. A 4NT bid is a 3NT bid that shows a slam try. Partner has 16 HCP for her double so she accepts your 4NT slam try & you make +1440. Bad defense allows them to escape for –800 in 3X.


            3♠-X-P-4♠         ♠xx x AJ10xx ♣AJxxx        partner’s hand is ♠x AKxxx KQxx ♣Q10x   despite the 5th heart , still bid your suits up the line with equal level conversion techniques. You get to your diamond contract. You just do not need 4NT for the minors.


When the opponents push you to the 4 level in a minor by pre-empting , their bid suit is KCB & 4NT is to play. 4NT as Blackwood for the minors is as archaic as you get it. You play into their hands by not having a natural 4NT bid available. An 11 trick contract in the minors needs lots of HCP’s.


3♥-4♣-P-4NT is to play & 4is KCB for clubs.



P-4NT      is to play & 4♠ is KCB for diamonds.


        Minor suit KCB & Kickback were both invented in part to conserve room but more importantly to free 4NT to play ! The minors & 4NT as KCB  just do not mix . 4NT is a “depending on context bid which requires you to be at the table & read the situation.  4NT is not KCB  when you have a minor fit unless in a ¼ cent rubber Bridge game where you are afraid that partner may screw up.  Having their suit as KCB with minors implied in competition prevents ambiguity & confusion.




4♣-P-4NT                        4NT is KCB for spades as you have 4as KCB for clubs. Use their suit as KCB when you have a minor suit fit. 4NT was invented as   


KCB for major suit fits. When you just find your minor suit fit at the 4 level , 4NT is to play. The next suit up is KCB for your minor ( kickback ) . Diamonds is KCB for clubs & hearts KCB for diamonds. This frees 4NT as natural . Kantar would approve as this is how he recommends minor suit KCB in his books. This is also the useful space principle as 4NT just takes up too much room with the minors as the responses may get you past your makeable game !!


The Italian’s have come up with another wrinkle for 4NT in a minor auction. They call it the “turbo 4NT”.  If you are jammed in a minor auction so you can not use minorwood & 4NT to play makes no sense, 4NT is a telling bid not an asking bid. The bid means with the minor fit , I have an even number of Aces. 4NT as a telling bid instead of an asking bid pre-dates Blackwood. 4 NT is conceptually a Q bid showing an even number of Aces.





4NT would be an even number of Aces & a 4♠ Q bid would show a spade control with an odd # of Aces on our way to 5 or beyond. The Italians came up with a good idea to keep 4NT away from KCB in a minor auction.



4-4♠-4NT              says ’s are trump but I have an even number of Aces. 4NT as KCB is silly in this auction as we may get past 5. 4NT should virtually never be KCB in a minor implied auction. 5♣ would show the ♣A with an odd number of Aces. The Turbo 4NT is an excellent addition to your minor slam bidding arsenal . Gone forever is the 4NT bid as ace asking with a minor fit. Good riddance to that silly waste of a good bid !!