As dealer, vul., I picked up:
Needless to say, I loved this hand and could envision a heart slam without any difficulty. However, when I opened 1H, Frank responded 1 spade! I had mixed feelings about letting go of my heart vision and entertaining a new vision of a spade slam. Although I pondered a few bids, one bid was a standout: 4 diamonds. This splinter was a telling bid--that I had a great hand, shortness in diamonds, and expected to make a game in spades opposite as few as 6 points and 4 spades. Let's see what he would do with this information.
4NT he bid, RKC for spades. I was happy...we were clearly on our way to slam and this lovely hand would pay off. I answered 5C showing 3 controls and he now bid 5NT. This is the interesting bid that both asks and tells. While we all learned early on that 5NT asks for kings, most experts also play it as a telling bid: It tells partner that the partnership has all of the first round controls, as well as the trump king and queen, and asks partner to bid a grand slam if her hand is suitable.
If responder isn't sure whether to bid the grand or not, she can respond with kings (number of kings or specific kings, depending on your agreement). The information conveyed by the king response may be enough to enable the 5NT bidder to bid the grand.
Looking at my hand, and armed with the knowledge that partner had at least 4 spades to the AQ, the DA and some other values, I bid it: 7 spades! My hand was so rich in entries, and it was very likely that the hearts could be set up if necessary.
As you can see, barring a terrible trump break, or a ruff on the opening lead, it would be an easy make. As it turned out, suit breaks were normal and the grand rolled home. Plus 2210 won us 13 imps.
*Asking or telling?*
Stayman is an asking bid: Do you have a 4 card major?
Transfers are telling bids: I have at least 5 of this major.
Some other asking bids are blackwood, new minor forcing, 2NT response to weak two bids and cue bids in response to overcalls (how good is your overcall?)
Jacoby 2NT both asks and tells:
- Tell me about your hand.
- I have a game forcing raise in your major.
It's getting late. I'll gather some good example hands and continue this discussion at a later time.
See you at the table!