Slam Bidding Control-Bids

Control bids are a good tool for very precise and accurate slam bidding. Instead of using Blackwood or Gerber to find out how many aces partner has, control bids to tell partner exactly which aces you possess, as well as kings and other controls such as voids. A control bid for slam is often known as ‘cue bidding.’

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How can I prevent the opposition making quick tricks?

Definition of Control

A control is a holding in a suit which prevents the opposition from making quick tricks in that suit. There is a difference between first round and second round controls. A first round control is either an Ace or a void, meaning you can establish control in that suit the first time it is led. A second round control is either a singleton or a king meaning that the second time this suit is led you will be able to control the suit.

How to make a Control Bid

A control-bid is one of the most accurate techniques for slam bidding. It tells partner, that you are interested in slam in the agreed trump suit. In this situation your first bid is to bid at the lowest possible level a suit in which you hold a first-round control. The initial control-bid implies you hold an Ace or a Void In the suit you bid.

When to start Cue Bidding

Once you have agreed on a desirable trump fit, you then must decide how high to bid. 
Revalue your hand and count the points. If the partnership total may reach 33 points (distribution included), slam is possible.
Escaping from a Control Bid Slam Try

  • If you have minimum values or don’t like your hand turn to the trump suit at the cheapest level. Hopefully discouraging partner.
  • If slam is out of range, bid game in your suit (or 3 NT if desirable with a minor-suit fit). This is a sign-off attempt.
Requirements for Small and Grand Slams
To make a Small Slam you should have first round control of three of the suits and second round control of the fourth suit
To Make a Grand Slam you must have first round control of every suit