I am currently teaching a class on slam bidding. We have studied Blackwood and Gerber and defense against slams. The next class is on play of the hand at slams. I haven't yet told them that sometimes it's inconvenient or inappropriate to ask for aces and you just have to jump to slam! That is often the case when you have a void. If you ask for aces, you often won't know whether partner has an ace in your void or a useful ace!
I had two example hands tonight at the local team game. If you're playing at home you can relax and score up your game bonus, but if you're head to head with another team, you better bid your slam if you have one. If they bid it and you don't, you will suffer a big loss--often enough to lose the match. Conversely, if you bid your slam and they don't, they will be the one with the big loss and you will likely win the match!
Partner opened 1♠ and I responded 2♣ (game forcing) with this hand.
Now I figured he would bid 2♠ and I would have a bid of a problem
with my rebid. But no, to my surprise, he rebid 2♦! As we were already
in a game force I raised to 3♦. He now bid 3♠. This could be a cuebid in
support of diamonds. It could show extra length in spades. He could be looking for a cuebid from me. Rather than
do anything to confuse the auction, I just jumped to 6♦!
Here are the two hands:
heart was led and he won in his hand with the Q♥ and played the A♦ and
another diamond and LHO won the K♦. Partner won the club return with the A♣,
finished drawing trump and claimed. He only needed to ruff one spade
and could pitch two spades on dummy's hearts. We won 11 IMPs (and the match) as our
counterparts only bid 5♦.
Hand 2. Very next match
I loved this hand. (No wonder--it's a 3 loser hand!) As I was admiring it, partner opened the bidding with 1♣! Wow! RHO bid 2♠ and I cuebid 3♠, showing a good hand with club support. LHO bid 4♠ and partner doubled! Next hand passed and I thought for a moment and jumped to 6♣!
didn't want to sit for 4♠ doubled and Blackwood would be of no use. I
needed to know WHICH ace(s) partner held, not how many.
I breathed a sigh of relief when he won the opening spade lead with the A♠. He drew trump and gave up the A♦ and claimed.
This time our good score of plus 1370 was matched at the other table and the board was a push.
As I tell my students: "Be brave. Bid your slams!"
See you at the table.