~Jacoby 2NT, 2/1, and Splinter Bid Slam Tries

There are three bids used in the Two-Over-One bridge system to show a hand containing 13+ points and 4+ cards in partner’s 1-lvl major-suit opening:
~A 2/1 raise in a new suit followed by a raise in partner’s major (a jump if playing   Standard American). 
~If opener bids a new suit at the 2-lvl, responder can jump to 3 in the major to show a stronger hand or to 4 with a minimum hand (1H-2C-2D-3H/4H).
~If opener raises responder’s suit to the 3-lvl, a bid of 3 of partner’s major shows the strong hand and a jump to 4 shows the minimum hand (13-15 points) (1S-2C-3C-3S).
~A splinter bid: a singleton or void in a side suit shown by a double jump shift in the splinter suit with 13+ total points. This bid is alertable. A splinter is shown by making a double jump shift in the splinter 
~Jacoby 2NT:
Shows the 4-card support and a fairly balanced hand–no splinter or 5-card side suit–with 13+ points. The 2NT bid asks opener to show a second 5-card suit (containing the AT or KJ) at the 4-lvl (1st priority) (1H-2NT-4C= a good five-card side suit in clubs) or a splinter (in that order). Note that if opener has a second 5-card suit, he must also have a splinter. This bid is alertable. 1H-2NT-3S would show a splinter in spades.

Suggestion: if holding both a 5-card side suit and a splinter, show the side suit first if it is a good-quality suit; otherwise, show the splinter.  

The priority for opener after the Jacoby 2NT response are
1. Show the strong second suit of 5 cards at the 4-lvl.
2. Show a splinter at the 3-lvl.
3. Show count (HCP): Bid:
~3 of the trump suit with 18+ points.

~3 NT with 15-17 points.

~4 of the trump suit with 12-14 HCP.
With a second 5-card suit containing at least a AJ or KQ, or a splinter in responder’s hand opposite a suit with no wasted honors, it is often possible to make SLAM with 26+ points if all honors are “working.” “Working” means there are no high honors other than at the A sitting opposite the splinter. The 27+ HCP hands that meet the criteria of working honors, fits in 2nd suits, and containing the appropriate honors in the trump suit make almost 90% of the time).
 With 18+ points, opener may choose to pursue SLAM even if responder denies a second suit if the hand looks right. This may be done by cue-bidding aces or kings below 4 of the major, bidding aces above four of the major, or by asking for keycards.  There are a few SLAM exploration bids that can be used to find out about 2nd-round control of un-bid suits. The situation comes up often, but rather than learn the inquiries, most players pass or take a flier, usually based only on intuition or hope, not firm information.  The Jacoby 2NT bid is designed to explore for SLAM based on distribution and suit fits rather than HCP by allowing both parties to show splinters or second suits and still stop at the 4-lvl if desired. The opener can have 21 points and still open at the 1-lvl. The distribution bids allow full exploration before committing to the ace-asking or keycard-asking sequences.  Most of the time when Jacoby 2NT or splinter bids are employed, SLAM will not be possible. You should not get carried away just because you have a “system” or “gadget.” However, getting to SLAM when it is possible due to fits will probably get you a high board, and 1 or 2 extra high boards per session may be enough to change your finish from 3rd or 4th to 1st! Here are some bidding sequences for the Jacoby 2NT response; assume the opponents pass throughout:
Opener                  Responder
1H                        2NT
4H        Opener has no strong 5-card side suit, no splinter, nor any extra points.

1S                         2NT
3S                         4C/4D/4H         The 3S bid denies a splinter, but shows 18+ HCP.  The bid asks responder to show aces up the line if a slam still looks possible. The new suit bid by responder shows slam interest and an ace in the suit bid.

1S                         2NT
3NT                      The 3NT bid denies a good 5-card side suit or a splinter but promises 15-17 HCP.  The 3NT bid asks partner to show aces up the line if a slam still looks possible.

1H                        2C/
The 2/1 is game forcing; the 3H bid shows 16+ points or 5 or less loser count; a bid of 2H would have shown only 12-15 points or 6+ loser count.


4 Responses to “~Jacoby 2NT, 2/1, and Splinter Bid Slam Tries”

  1. Wendy Haywood Says:

    If the bidding sequence is: 1D, P, 1S, P, 2NT, P, 4H, P, ?, does the 4H bid indicate a splinter bid with support in Opener’s D and possible slam interest?

    This happened to me today, I passed the 4H bid and we were left in 4H and went 4 down!

    Thanks for your help,


    • bridgetips Says:

      The 2NT bid as I play it would not be Jacoby 2NT because ~the bid was made by opener, not responder in response to an opening bid in a major suit. ~There is already a standard Two-Over-One meaning for the 2NT bid by opener over a 1-lvl suit bid by responder. The bid shows 18-19 HCP, is invitational, not forcing, and denies 4-card spade support. Any 3-level response to the 2NT bid accepts the game try. 3C would be New Minor Forcing, looking for an 8-card fit in hearts, and 8-card spade fit, or the best descriptive bid available. ~3D would show diamond support ~3S would show a 6-card spade suit ~Any game bid would a suggested final contract.

      So what would 4H show? ~It can’t be a splinter, because you have no known or inferred trump suit. ~By agreement, it could be a second suit of 5 cards, implying 5-5 shape in the majors and enough points for game, hopefully in one of the majors. Partner would have the option to pass 4H, bid 4S to play in a Moysian fit, or make some other appropriate bid (what?). ~Unless responder is 5-5 in the majors, I cannot imagine what 4H would show.

  2. Susan Says:

    inquiry: are responses to Jacoby 2NT alertable?

  3. bridgetips Says:

    yes, and the follow up bids also.

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