Monday, May 28, 2007 2:31 AM

Serious 3NT - Trump




          Serious 3NT theory introduces many new concepts. Courtesy Q bids , last train slam try , fast arrival & if course the serious 3NT Q bid itself. Q bids are bid as a courtesy opposite an unlimited hand or a strong limited hand with a wide range. The last train concept is a bid just under the trump suit when you are still interested in slam but a flaw prevents you from bidding KCB. The serious 3NT is a Q bid to differentiate between a serious slam try Q bid and a courtesy Q bid.


          Quite often serious 3NT theory comes up in a splinter auction. You want to inform partner that the splinter improved your hand so you want to make a move towards slam. A Q bid also informs partner that there is no duplication of value but normally a Q bid is made on a weaker hand. Here is a hand that gives you the option between a last train slam try , a serious 3NT & a Q bid so upon what criteria should the decision be based ?


          You hold ♠Axxx xxxx Q10xx ♣K with partner opening 1. You respond 1 and partner bids 3♠ splinter. This is a limited bid but with a wide range and many many hand types. For the purpose of serious 3NT theory , we consider partners splinter as an “unlimited hand” . With this hand , the obvious danger signal is the trump suit. Even though this is a nice hand , I would downgrade this hand  to a 4♣ Q bid rather than a serious 3NT Q bid. Same hand & add the Q10xx of trump , I would bid a serious 3NT. I think a basic inference for partner is that a serious 3NT Q bid should not be done on a hand with horrible trump.


          Because of the diamond fit , I might even bypass the heart response with this hand. To make game in hearts , partner needs a heart reverse or equivalent anyway.  I would respond 1 instead and see what happens as I have a good diamond fit. If we lose the 4-4 heart fit no big deal as it is so weak anyway. Before the advent of 5 card majors , Bridge suits had to be “biddable”. 5 card majors changed all that so bidding on xxxx was correct to find your 4-4 fit. Change this hand to ♠Axxx xxxx K ♣Q10xx , I would respond 1 as there is a danger of a misfit . With the first hand if partner has a game going hand , my strong diamonds are an asset for an alternative game contract so I am “showing where I live” with my spade response. We do not have to sort out the choice of contracts issue later in the auction. Bridge is a game of suits so bidding “non suits” seem to complicate many auctions.