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Splinter Bids -- The Last of the "Full Suite"

Improving your Bidding

What Constitutes the “Full Suite”?

We have seen that the entire suite of conventions, utilized with the 2-over-1 variant of Standard American, render every supporting response to 1H or 1S a meaningful limit bid. Limit bids are the most powerful bids we can make -- they describe our strength down to a very narrow range, giving partner the opportunity to place the contract precisely. The “full suite” consists of:


2-over-1 game force

Forcing 1NT

Jacoby NT

Bergen Raises

Splinter Bids (aha! This is a new one!)


Splinter Bids -- Completing the Full Suite

Splinter bids are jump responses at the 4-level to a major suit opening. They show game-forcing strength, 4-card support, and shortness in the bid suit. For example:


1H - 4D The 4D bid promises 4 hearts, 13+ points,and at most 1 diamond.

1S - 1H Promises 4 spades, 13+ points, and at most 1 heartclub

1S - 1H Promises 4 spades, 13+ points, and at most 1 heart

1H - 4S NOT a valid splinter, as it takes us beyond our game-level bid in hearts!


The Power of the Full Suite -- Limit Bids

To illustrate just how pervasive the Full Suite is, consider that we open our hand 1S in first or second seat. If we employ all of those conventions, here are what every possible support response means:


1S -- 1NT -- 2x -- 2S Minimum raise, 6-7 points, 3 spades

1S -- INT -- 2x -- 3S Invitational raise, 10-12 points, 3 spades

1S -- 2x -- 2y -- minimum spade bid Game force (2-over-1) with 3 spade support

1S -- 2S Constructive raise, 8-9 points, 3 spades

1S -- 2NT Jacoby 2NT, 13+ points, 4 spades

1S -- 3C Bergen Raise*, 10-12 points, 4 spades

1S -- 3D Bergen Raise*, 6-9 points, 4 spades

1S -- 3S Bergen Raise, <6 points, 4 spades

1S -- 3NT Choice of games, 3 spades, 13+ points, balanced

1S -- 4C Game force, 13+ points, 4+ spades, short in clubs

1S -- 4D Game force 13+ points, 4+ spades, short in diamonds

1S -- 4H Game force, 13+ points, 4+ spades, short in hearts

1S -- 4S Weak and preemptive, 5+ spades


Note that we have limit raises that show 3-card support:


6-7 points (1NT-2S)

8-9 points (2S)

10-12 points (1NT - 3S)

13+ points (2x, 2S)


And we have limit raises that show 4-card support:


0-5 points (Bergen 2S)

6-9 points (Bergen 2D)

10-12 points (Bergen 2C)

13+ points (Jacoby 2NT, Splinter bids


Now, THAT is a powerful suite of conventions to get you to the correct major suit contract!

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