Thursday, May 03, 2007 9:45 AM
Serious 3NT – Unlimited




          Playing courtesy Q bids opposite unlimited hands needs some clearer definition. Q bids under game as showing extra is ingrained in standard bidding. Serious 3NT theory is not standard bidding.  Unlimited in Bridge , does not have the dictionary meaning of unlimited. Unlimited means a bid with a broad range. A reverse can show a hand with just an Ace above an opener up to a gilt edged 21 HCP. In my mind , that hand is “unlimited” for serious 3NT theory. A 2/1 & an opener is unlimited as the range could be very substantial. Strong jump shifts , jump bids have a high end & a low end for the bid. These bids are “unlimited” as far as serious 3NT bids are concerned.


          If your hand is pre-emptive or defined within a very narrow range , serious 3NT theory does not apply. I opened 1 and the opponents overcalled 1♠ and BJ bid 3 . I bid 3NT so is this the serious 3NT ? Of course not , as BJ has limited his hand already so I am just offering a choice of contracts. A Q bid is an unlimited bid with a huge range . Same auction but this time BJ Q bids 2♠ & they bid 3♠ . I bid 3NT so is this the serious 3NT ? Of course it is , as we have a major fit & his hand is “unlimited” with the Q bid. I want to show my slam intentions immediately or make a courtesy Q bid in case he is unlimited.


          A T/O double and a D.S.I.P. double are unlimited hands. If with this auctions , we establish a 4-4 major suit fit , serious 3NT applies. Splinters & Jacoby 2NT are unlimited bids as far as “serious 3NT” theory is concerned. 1-P-2NT-P  3 has a wide range from a hand just a above a minimum to 21 HCP rich in controls. 3NT by partner is obviously the serious 3NT. If partner shows a stiff with Jacoby 2NT ,  it shows a hand just above a minimum to a huge 21 HCP hand. If partner now bids 3NT , it is a serious slam try as you want the Q bid to be “courtesy bids”. Same with splinters as their range is unlimited. 3NT is always serious & fast arrival shows duplication of value.


          The serious 3NT is a nice tool like D.S.I.P. doubles to give partner some idea of the range of your hand. If you make an overcall , T/O double or a negative double & subsequently make a D.S.I.P.  double , you are showing the upper range of your bid. Same idea with serious 3NT theory. By bidding 3NT ,  you are telling partner you are on the upper range & have serious slam aspirations. Once you have made this bid , partner can take control of the hand.


          You have ♠AQxxx AQxxx x ♣xx & partner opens 1 and you respond 1♠. Partner bids 3 which is a splinter in your methods. A splinter has quite a range as it can from invitational to a huge 21 HCP hand again. If partner now bids 3NT , it is not an offer to play the hand in that spot or showing duplication of value , it is a serious 3NT ( partners hand has such a broad range) . On these auctions , you want responder’s Q bid to be a courtesy as partners hand could be very strong. A serious 3NT is a depending on context bid which is predicated on partners bid. That is why it is nonsensical to say a serious 3NT shows 18+ HCP. Serious 3NT applies in all hands where partner has a high range or otherwise unlimited , you have a major suit fit so you would Q bid as a “courtesy” for partner. In this particular hand , you bid 3NT to find out under game if partner has a club control. Maurice did hold a club control and +1430 was cold.