April 20, 2005 4:59 AM
Serious vrs Natural 3NT
In order to get maximum effectiveness from the serious 3NT in 2/1 auctions you need some partnership understandings. A common 2/1 auction involving serious 3NT after a 2/1 is finding your 4-4 major suit fit. There is an understanding that why play 3NT as natural if you went to the trouble of finding your 4-4 fit so 3NT is a serious slam try Q bid. What about 5-3 major suit fits where a 3NT bid could be a suggestion that 3NT is a better natural contract. ? My opinion is that 3NT as a Q bid is too valuable a tool to not use it as a “serious slam” try in these auctions. A leap to 3NT is never a serious 3NT Q bid so that jump suggests an alternative contract. 1♠-P-2♣-P 2♦-P-2♠-P 2NT/3NT.
What about if NT rears its head in these 5-3 major fit hands ? I believe that you should not be able to suggest a NT contract twice in the same auction with 8 card fit major hands ( 5-3 or otherwise ). If you or partner have suggested NT as a contract and it has been rejected by finding a 5-3 fit , 3NT is now a Q bid. Klimo and Tom had an auction that demonstrates this nicely.
Tom ♠ 10xx ♥ x ♦ AJxxx ♣ AQJx
Klimo ♠ AQxxx ♥ AKQ ♦ Qx ♣ xxx
The auction goes 1♠-P-2♦-P 2NT-P-3♠-P ? Klimo bid 2NT as an either or bid . A hand that evaluates to 18 + or a minimum . Tom rejected a NT contract by finding a 5-3 spade fit. 3NT now must be a Q bid in support of spades and shows serious slam interest and the higher NT range. Tom now dutifully bids 4♣ and Klimo bids 4♥ denying a diamond control. Tom now knows the partnership is off the diamond King and his spades are not good. Tom accordingly signs off in 4♠ . Klimo is “all in” with his serious slam try so they avoid the 5 level which is precarious to say the least.
Say you bid the hand the so called standard way. Klimo bids 4♥ suggesting a slam try and Tom signs off. Klimo bids 5♥ and that does not help Tom’s hand since he had a stiff and duplication of value is present . Therefore Tom shows good hand evaluation by signing off again. However it is too late as we have reached the 5 level . 5♠ ended up with a 4-1 break and two spade losers so it’s a terrible contract . 12 IMPS thrown away for not using the “serious 3NT” tool . The 5 level is for the opponents for slam tries also J