Thursday, May 03, 2007 11:53 AM

Serious 3NT – Splinters




          Serious 3NT theory was built for splinters. Splinters show at least a 4 card major fit and are unlimited. Serious 3NT theory conflicts with “old fashioned” splinter theory as splinters originated in the 1970’s. . Before serious 3NT was invented , fast arrival to game after a splinter was common meaning we have a shot at game. 3NT was showing duplication of value with extra and suggesting a contract. Ditto with Jacoby 2NT & singletons. Serious 3NT changed all that. Fast arrival with splinters now shows duplication of value with a good hand. Duplication of value with a minimum meant a retreat to the trump suit a the 3 level.  Courtesy Q bids apply if you have no duplication , as partner’s splinter is unlimited. Leaping to game should be a picture bid.


          Going to the 5 level after a splinter or Jacoby 2NT to try for a slam is just as disgusting as with 2/1 auctions after finding a major suit fit. Partners fast arrival bid is misguided. The serious 3NT as a Q bid conserves useful space & allows courtesy Q bids which are so valuable when the other hand is unlimited. Partner opens 1 & you have ♠Axxx x KJ10x ♣AQxx so you splinter with 3 or ( 3 with masked splinters) & partner bids 4 not playing serious 3NT. So you bid KCB or worse a 5 level Q bid so you go down in 5♠ as partner holds ♠KJ10xx AQxx xx ♣Kx and the diamonds are located poorly and the trump are 3-1.


          Same auction and this time partner holds ♠KJxxxx  xxx Ax ♣Kx  and +1430 is cold but partner did not move with her good hand 9 splinter ) . This hand is built for a courtesy Q bid in case partners splinter is unlimited. Jacoby 2NT is the same idea. Do not waste the 3NT bid to show duplication of value. This treatment  blows away serious 3NT theory. That is 1970/s thinking or modern matchpoint thinking at best. It does not allow courtesy Q bids and encourages the evils of fast arrival with slam tries at the 5 level. Horrible Bridge thoughts in this day and age.


          Partners splinter or Jacoby 2NT is a variable range bid. Serious 3NT helps sort out this wide range & complies with the useful space principle. 3NT as a Q bid shows your intentions immediately and allows for a cheap  Q bid from the other side. Partner does not pre-empt you by bidding game and forcing you to use KCB as a “slam try”. Keeps slam bidding and the game of Bridge as a partnership game.