This conventional slam bidding method was published in The Bridge World in the February, 1960, Volume 31, Number 5, issue by Mr. M. M. Miller of Toronto, Canada. The original title of this contributed article is A Variation of the Grand Slam Force, which is a bidding convention in contract bridge that was developed by Mr. Ely Culbertson in 1936.

Principle of the Concept

The principle behind the concept is intended to be employed in generally non-competitive bidding auctions where the combined hands of a partnership are so strong that a small slam is an almost guaranteed certainty and a grand slam is a realistic possibility.

The concept behind this conventional method was to reach the slam try immediately upon finding first a suit fit, and especially after a 1 No Trump opening by partner, and also, added later, following a 2 No Trump opening by partner.

The 1 No Trump opening was considered to be a strong No Trump opening with a range from a strong 15/16 to 18 high card points. The 2 No Trump opening was considered to have a range from a strong 19/20 to 21 high card points.

This conventional method was designed and developed as an adjunct, which is defined as something attached to another in a dependent or subordinate position, to the Boland conventional method.

One No Trump Opening Bid

South   North
Spades AK8
Hearts Q97
Diamonds KQ74
Clubs KJ10
 
Spades Q73
Hearts KJ108
Diamonds A53
Clubs A96
South   Responder   Meaning
1 NT       Promises a strong 15/16-18 high card points
    5 Clubs   Asks partner to more precisely define the range between minimum and maximum.
5 Diamonds       Shows an absolute minimum of 15/16 high card points.
5 Hearts       Shows a moderate count of 17 high card points.
5 Spades       Shows a maximum count of 18 high card points. This response by the No Trump bidder is slam-forcing.
    5 NT   Following a response of 5 Spades, showing a maximum high card point count, the responder asks the opener to show the lowest-ranking 4-card suit headed by a Queen honor card. Otherwise, the opener bids the lowest-ranking 5-card suit, which can be on the six level.

It is important to remember that the responder may pass those rebids by the No Trump bidder if the responder has an absolute minimum of values in high card points. If the responder does not possess slam values, then the first response of the responder is not a slam try with the first response of 5Clubs. The responser finds another bid to reach only a partscore and/or a game contract.

Note: The bridge student recognizes that the so-called quantitative 4 No Trump first response by the responder retains its original meaning following a 1 No Trump opening.

2 No Trump Opening Bid

The Miller conventional method is also applicable following a 2 No Trump opening by partner. However, the general guidelines prohibit the partnership of employing the so-called quantitative 4 No Trump first response, since this first response has the same meaning as the first response of 5 Clubs following a 1 No Trump opening.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed to vary this feature to correspond with the version employed following a 1 No Trump opening bid, in order to more easily remember the conventional method. Both versions are valid.

In order to adhere to the original intention of the author and developer the 4 No Trump first response retains its meaning as being quantitative following a 2 No Trump opening. The responses and meanings by the responder following a 2 No Trump opening are as follows:

South   North
Spades AK8
Hearts AQ97
Diamonds KJ7
Clubs KJ10
 
Spades Q73
Hearts KJ108
Diamonds A53
Clubs A96
South   Responder   Meaning
2 NT       Promises a strong 19/20-21 high card points
    5 Clubs   Asks partner to more precisely define the range between minimum and maximum.

Note: Remember that some partnerships employ the altered version of using the 4 No Trump first response to ask for the high card point range. Some partnerships combine the 4 NT first response also with the quantitative 4 NT first response, which the No Trump bidder may pass with a minimum.

5 Diamonds       Shows an absolute minimum of 19 high card points.
5 Hearts       Shows a moderate count of 20 high card points.
5 Spades       Shows a maximum count of 21 high card points. This response by the No Trump bidder is slam-forcing.
    5 NT   Following a response of 5 Spades, showing a maximum high card point count, the responder asks the opener to show the lowest-ranking 4-card suit headed by a Queen honor card. Otherwise, the opener bids the lowest-ranking 5-card suit, which can be on the six level.
Continuance for the above example:
6 Hearts       The 2 No Trump bidder, in this example, will rebid 6 Hearts showing at least a 4-card Heart suit. The responder, knowing that the values for a grand slam are not present, will pass this rebid.

As the bridge student can imagine, if the 2 No Trump bidder, following a 5 NT asking bid by the responder, holds a 4-card Spade suit, and holding otherwise a 3-3-3 or similar distribution, then the 2 No Trump bidder is forced to bid 6 Spades, which exceeds the limit of any possible makeable suit contract. In such instances the responder, not finding a suit fit, is forced to bid No Trump, which then becomes the final contract. The partner must pass.

Note: The bridge student will recognize that the partnership has also no opportunity to reach the optimum contract in No Trump following the initiation of this conventional method. The reason for this non-feature is that it was, at the time, considered non-essential. The goal was to reach a possible slam and only speculation demands that the assumption of the developer is that if the partnership can bid a slam, then the partnership can also consider bidding No Trump instead of playing in a suit contract.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.

 


     
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