Splinter bid

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In contract bridge, a splinter bid is a convention whereby a double jump response in a side-suit indicates excellent support for partner's major-suit opening bid (at least four cards), a singleton or void in the side-suit (but not the ace or king) and interest in slam.[1]

The idea was developed independently in 1963 by David Cliff, the first to write about it, and Dorothy Hayden Truscott; it grew out of two earlier bidding tools, the Fragment bid and the Void-Showing bid.[2]

Examples[edit]

For example, a four clubs (4) response to a one heart (1) opening establishes hearts as trump suit and indicates a singleton or void in clubs. Most experts agree that a responder should have 10-12 high card points (HCP) for a splinter. With a strong hand, a responder and opener may be able to make slam on sheer strength, so splinters by responder are normally restricted to hands containing 10-12 (HCP) and a void or a small singleton in the splintered suit. A singleton honor is frowned upon. Although they consume bidding space, splinter bids are very descriptive as they help partner to reevaluate his/her hand: soft honors (a king, queen or jack) in the splinter suit lose value, while honors in the other three suits gain value.

In some positions if a simple bid of the suit would be forcing then a single jump can be a splinter. For example, in a system where 1–2; 2 is a forcing sequence, 1–2; 3 may be used as a splinter. (However, this approach would require a specific agreement in advance—many players use this sequence to denote a strong two-suiter.) Some partnerships use certain single jumps as "mini-splinters" that promise less strength, allowing partner to choose between part-score and game rather than between game and slam.

The short suit in a splinter hand is preferably a small singleton, though it can occasionally be a singleton honor or a void. The idea is that partner can easily tell if he has wasted values in the splinter suit; for example, Axxx is ideal whereas KJ9x is almost worthless.

The four diamond bids in the following bidding sequences (with East-West passing throughout) are generally agreed to be splinter bids establishing spades as the trump suit:

North South
1 4
North South
1 1
4
North South
1 1
1 4

A splinter may occur at the three level. In the following auction, South is showing acceptance of hearts and a singleton in spades.

North South
1 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seagram, Barbara; Smith, Marc (1999). 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know. Toronto: Master Point Press. p. 89. ISBN 1-894154-07-X. , ISBN 978-1-894154-07-9
  2. ^ Manley, Brent, Editor; Horton, Mark, Co-Editor; Greenberg-Yarbro, Tracey, Co-Editor; Rigal, Barry, Co-Editor (2011). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (7th ed.). Horn Lake, MS: American Contract Bridge League. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-939460-99-1.