Slam Bidding Basics Over Notrump Openers

I. WHEN PARTNER OPENS 1NT- ADD THE POINTS UP

It takes 33 points to make a small slam and 37 to make a grand. Do you have them? When you have a good balanced hand of your own, add your points to partner’s possible minimum and maximum counts to see what the possibilities are. The following table shows your bids over 1NT, the point ranges assume a 15-17 1NT opener.

Bid Your HCPs Meaning
4NT 16-17 Please bid 6 with a maximum
5NT 20-21 Please bid 7 with a maximum, else bid only 6
6NT 18-19 This is what we can make (you may not raise)
7NT 22+ This is it.

Exercise 1. Partner opens 1NT, 16-18, make a bid with each of the following hands:

A. B. C. D. E.
A4 KQ6 AQ6 A98 KJ9
J109 KQ4 K7 KQJ AK43
AK63 K532 K432 KQ7 KJ32
KJ43 A75 AKQ3 AJ72 J6
Pts _________ Pts _________ Pts _________ Pts _________ Pts _________
Bid _________ Bid _________ Bid _________ Bid _________ Bid _________

II. USING STAYMAN WITH A SLAM TRY

When you have a four card major and a strong balanced hand, use Stayman before jumping in NT. The 4-4 fit will often make an extra trick for a better score. If partner bids your major, you can jump to 5 of the major to say “bid 6 with a maximum,” otherwise you can make the same bids in NT that were available immediately over 1NT. This means that 4NT is not Blackwood when partner opens in NT.

 

Partner You Meaning
1NT 2
2 4NT Says bid 6NT if you are maximum else pass (and shows 4 spades)
1NT 2
2 5 Says bid 6 if you are maximum, else pass

 

Exercise 2. Partner opens 1NT, 16-18, make a bid with the following hands. Should you choose Stayman, indicate what your next bid will be when partner bids your major and when partner does not.

A. B. C. D.` E.
A4 KQ6 AQ62 A98 KJ93
J1098 KQ42 K7 KQJ7 AK4
AK63 K532 K42 K3 KJ32
KJ43 A7 AKQ3 AJ72 J6
Pts _________ Pts _________ Pts _________ Pts _________ Pts _________
Bid 1 _______ Bid 1 _______ Bid 1 _______ Bid 1 _______ Bid 1 _______
Bid 2 _______ Bid 2 _______ Bid 2 _______ Bid 2 _______ Bid 2 _______
or 2 _______ or 2 _______ or 2 _______ or 2 _______ or 2 _______
or 2 _______ or 2 _______ or 2 _______ or 2 _______ or 2 _______

III. USING JACOBY TRANSFERS WITH A SLAM TRY

For those of you who have learned Jacoby transfers, a transfer followed by a bid in NT is the same as bidding NT directly over 1NT, except that 5NT after a transfer ask partner to choose which slam to play. So 6NT is used to ask for a choice between 6 or 7.

 

Partner You Meaning
1NT 2
2 4NT Asks partner to bid 6 or 6NT if maximum, else pass (5 is to play)
1NT 2
2 5 Asks partner to bid 6 if maximum, else pass
1NT 2
2 5NT Asks partner to choose between 6 and 6NT
1NT 2
2 6NT Asks partner to pick between 6NT and 7 or 7NT

 

IV. THE GERBER CONVENTION

You cannot use Blackwood in NT auctions, because 4NT is a quantitative slam try. Another bid is used to ask for aces, which is 4 , the Gerber convention. You must not alert it – no ace asking bids are alertable.

Suppose you hold a hand with a lot of tricks, such as:

 

3
KQJ109643
5
KQJ

 

This evaluates to 16 points, but it is easy to see that if partner has all four aces, you will make 7NT, that with three aces 6 will make, but with fewer aces, no slam will make at all. Therefore, all you really want to do is ask for aces.

 

1NT – 4 How many aces do you have?
4 0 or all 4
4 1
4 2
4NT 3

 

Rmember the following rule: 4 is Gerber is whenever you jump to it over partner?s NT bid. You can also play that 4 is Gerber when bid immediately after Stayman and after Jacoby transfers. This is particularly useful when your side has the requisite 33 or 37 points, but you have counted distribution heavily, so that you could easily be missing an ace or two.

 

1NT 2
2 4 How many aces do you have?

Note that after using 4 Gerber for aces, 5 asks for kings. and 4NT is to play

Exercise 3. Partner opens 1NT, 16-18, and you hold the following hands, make a bid:

A. B.
K2 Pts __________ KQJ3 Pts __________
KQJ987 Bid 1 ________ KQ98 Bid 1 ________
KQ98 Bid 2 ________ 3 Bid 2 ________
3 or ________ KQ72 or ________
or ________ or ________

VI. USE THE SAME CONVENTIONS OVER BIGGER NT OPENERS

When partner opens 2NT, again add your points to their minimum and maximum and if you are in slam zone you can use 4NT quantitative to invite a slam. 3 is still Stayman and 4 is still Gerber. So all the charts for bidding after 1NT apply. The exception is that after using Stayman or transferring, 4 is no longer a jump, so it cannot be Gerber. Many players use the leap to 5 to ask for aces, this is called Super Gerber.

The problem comes when partner opens 3NT, since 4 has to be Stayman, there is no ace asking bid unless you choose to play the Super Gerber convention and use 5 (after which 6 would ask for kings).

11 thoughts on “Slam Bidding Basics Over Notrump Openers

  1. eleni woosis

    How and where do I check to see whether or not my answers are correct,

    MY PTNR OPENS 1 SPADE, OPP. PASSES I HOLD 6 SPADES AND 1 ACE. SO I BID 4 SPADES.

    Reply
    1. DavidW

      When you lay down your Dummy, Opener will expect a “Weak Freak” hand. You may or may not have such a hand. The Weak Freak is approximately 5+ trumps, less than 7 HCP, and a singleton/void (which could be the Ace). If you have that hand, your bid is correct. If your hand is suitable for slam (your Ace is delightfully in Opener’s strong side suit or worthless singleton), go slower by forcing with a suit bid of your own. Opener will continue to explore for game or slam after your bid of a side suit. Opener’s next bid of 2D, 2H, 2S, 2NT, 3S, jump shift, or 4S will be revealing of your partnership’s combined holdings, fit, and Spade quality. In contrast, Opener will pass if your first response is 4S.

      Reply
  2. Kitty Cooper Post author

    I used to have the answers in the downloads section but when that broke, I did not get everything back

    I will email them to you

    Reply
  3. Jack Talley

    Hello Ms Cooper,
    I’ve read your material for years. I teach a small weekly class for the last few years. I really like your material and would like to use your 2 slam lessons in upcoming classes. Could you send me the answers? (I take it from the prior post) that they are not in the downloads section.

    Thank you for publishing your excellent teaching materials.

    Reply
  4. Kitty Cooper Post author

    I emailed what I found to you, let me know if that was it and I will put it in my downloads

    Reply
  5. FRAN WEISS

    JUST WANT TO KNOW HOW MANY POINTS YOU GET FOR MAKING 6 NO TRUMP… DO YOU GET ONLY 500 EXTRA
    DO YOU GET EXTRA 300 FOR GAME AND 500 FOR THE SLAM????? THANK YOU….

    Reply
  6. T hof

    Partner opens 2 nt. responder has11hcps and 5 spades to the jack.
    If I use jacoby transfer to spades and my partner transfers to spades can I say 3nt or should I go asking for aces. How do I get to slam?

    Reply
  7. Kitty Cooper

    To suggest slam you bid 4NT next, that is not asking for aces but rather a quantitative bid suggesting only 5 spades and slam interest, with 6 spades you could bid 5 as a quantitative bid, i.e. asking partner to bid slam with a well fitting maximum.
    So how do you ask for aces? You cannot after a Jacoby transfer but a Texas transfer and then 4NT is ace asking.

    Reply

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