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Mini-Maxi Splinters by Paul Lavings

Paul Lavingspor Paul Lavings

Some areas of standard bidding leave a lot to be desired. For example, 1- 1 : 3, opener’s jump raise, can be any of these hands:

Manos Mini Splinter




How does responder know how to value their hand? In Example 1, values in diamonds should be discounted, as should heart values in Example 2. In Example 3, a decent spade suit should be ample for 10 tricks. Using mini-splinters the bidding would be:

1 – 1 All jumps shifts by opener in response to a new suit are invitational values showing a shortage in that suit,
or a maxi(super) splinter. Responder now judges by the diamond fi t whether to carry on to game:
Manos Mini Splinter 2 Pass – the diamond values aren’t pulling their full weight
Manos Mini Splinter 3 4 – only 6 HCP but all premium values plus a few valuable tens
1 – 1 Invitation with a shortage in hearts.
Manos Mini Splinter 4 Pass – the heart values aren’t pulling their weight and there will be far too many losers elsewhere
Manos Mini Splinter 5 4 – only 7 HCP but all premium values
1 – 1 18-19 balanced with four spades.

In standard, 18-19 balanced with four spades is typically a 4 rebid. Responder sometimes fudges the 1 response for tactical reasons with short clubs, or a good fit in clubs, and does not want to be in 4 opposite 18-19 balanced. In this style responder can pass 3 with, say: Q10986, Q542, 872, 8 or Q1096, 2, 8743, J1052
With a stronger hand, the responder makes the normal game-force splinter bid:

1 – 1 game going values, short diamonds
Manos Mini Splinter 10
1 – 1 game going values, short clubs
Manos Mini Splinter 11

Sometimes the opener is even stronger, and this is where the maxi-splinter comes into play. If you opened
1, what would you rebid if responder replied 1:Manos Mini Splinter 12

These are all powerful hands but you are better to open 1 rather than 2, where you will likely be awkwardly
placed later in the auction. When partner replies 1 to your opening 1 you have an enormous hand, and if you make the normal splinter of 4 you may miss a slam when responder signs off in 4. Even opposite a sub-minimum response slam may be very close.
The solution is to make the mini-splinter bid of 3 for the moment. If responder signs off in 3 then carry on to 4, or even cuebid, showing the maxi-splinter. If responder accepts your invite by jumping to 4 over 3 then bid 4NT on Example 1, and cuebid 5 (inferring a diamond void) on Examples 2 and 3.

Paul Lavings Bridge Books & Supplies,
for all things bridge.



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