Last Train

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This article refers to the contract bridge bidding terminology. For the J-rock song, see knotlamp. For other uses, see The Last Train.

Last Train refers to a bid just below game level in the agreed suit. A Last Train bid is typically made in a bidding sequence in which one of the partners has already indicated slam interest.

A survey in the magazine The Bridge World showed a strong consensus approving the Last Train convention, with the following definition:

“Any time there is only one call that indicates slam interest or further slam interest without raising the partnership’s level of commitment, it is a Last Train slam-try, unrelated to the strain named (unless followed by an uninvited further action).”

The convention was both devised by Jeff Meckstroth[1] and named by him after the Monkees song "Last Train to Clarksville".

Because Last Train is a bidding convention with a special meaning under a partnership agreement, subject to National Regulatory Authority rules it must be alerted. In the absence of any partnership agreement, most players would interpret the Last Train bid as a control bid, showing a high card value in the suit named.


1 - 3
4 - 4

The 4 bid shows a club control and slam interest. If the partnership has agreed to use Last Train, the 4 bid indicates extra values (i.e., responder's hand is at the upper end of the strength range indicated by the 3 bid), and invites partner to continue exploring slam. 4 does not show a diamond control, although of course responder might have one.

1 - 4

The 4 bid asks responder to consider bidding slam with values beyond those already shown (4 is a splinter bid showing at least four spades and a singleton diamond).


  1. ^ 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. 295. ISBN 978-0-939460-99-1.