The Slam Hunt, Chapter 15 from Do You Play Stayman? by Samuel M. Stayman (1965) New York: Odyssey Press
Another American bridge pioneer, Ely Culbertson, gave Americans asking bids, a somewhat controversial tool for locating key controls. In one form or another, they are used throughout the world, but rarely in America. Certainly Americans like to bid and make slams as much as anyone. But apparently they have always liked a free-wheeling, «go-as-you-please» approach instead of the intricacies of Mr. Culbertson’s brainchild.
We have no desire to belittle these slams; they count just as much as the slams that must be ferreted out. But we do wish to emphasize that there are other kinds of slams—slams that depend upon suit fit and key control cards—and that these slams can be bid.
And that is where fit comes in. Unless you hold a self-sufficient suit, you will need help from your partner to develop winners out of your small cards. Take this extreme illustration: Would you want to be in a slam, regardless of partner’s holding, with this hand?
|A K Q 7 6 5 2||A K||A K||K Q|
The correct answer is no—not if partner is void in spades. If partner has as much as a single spade, the odds favor a 3-2 break, so that you can bring in the suit without loss. But if partner is void in spades, you need a 3-3- division, which is against the odds.