03 June 2011

Passing splinters for fun and profit

Most system are pretty unambiguous on the subject of splinters. They're forcing.

But, like all forcing bids, there's a time and a place to pass them. The particular situation might not easily spring to mind but consider another important principle of competitive bidding. The best sacrifices are in their suit. If the opposition think you've got a genuine fit somewhere else they won't double and you'll be left to trickle 5 or so off.

Dealer: S
Vul: E/W
Q J 4 2
6 5 4 3
3 2
9 8 5
8 5
A K Q J 8
J 9 5
A 9 6
T 9 2
Q 8 6 4
K 6 2
K T 7 2
A K T 7
T 7 4 3
I'm South and I opened my quality diamond suit 1, 8 - 11. Left hand opponent doubled and partner wanting to prolong the magic bid 1. RHO passed so I, innocently figuring I would compete to 3 over 3 (I've got a max right?), splintered. I have no idea who has the values but we might find a magic game or slam here.

I gave it all away in the title but no one else bid from here on. The defense showed that the heart game might be on by rounding up ten tricks -300.


  1. "Partner" has to have a say here - 3H -300 went with 4H +620 from teammates (no diamond lead) for 8 imps in... 3SX is -500 (and might have been worse if it wasn't a splinter)...

  2. can't make 4 ht vs.good defense