M J Bridge

Theory and Conventions



The splinter bid

These bids agree partner’s suit with at least four-card support and show a shortage (void or singleton) in a side-suit.  They are forcing to game, but could conceal higher ambitions.

In the present context they consist of a double jump shift - e.g. 3 over partner’s 1 or 4 over partner’s 1.

It is a particularly helpful bid if partner is considering the possibility of a slam as well as taking bidding space away from your opponents.


Q J 9 7

A K T 5

J 8 6 4

Partner opened 1.

Four-card support and a side-suit singleton in a seven-loser hand.

Bid 3, showing precisely this holding and forcing to the heart game.  Partner must bid to at least 4.

Note in the example above that the hand has only eleven points one of which may well be useless.

A seven-loser hand with a void or singleton will frequently be just a little short on high-card values.

Bearing in mind that partner may well be encouraged to go in search of a slam it is important to have an agreement as to ‘how short?’.

The following agreement will serve you well at the present stage - alternative agreements will be discussed under ‘extending your methods’:-

with a seriously weak hand and long trumps jump directly to the game contract whether or not you hold a shortage.

Such a jump may be made on a hand which is weaker than seven-loser and is essentially preemptive.  It will not be the end of the world if it goes one or two down, and partner is in no way encouraged to set off in search of a slam;

Q 9 8 7 4 2


Q T 3

8 6 4

Partner opened 1.

This is an eight-loser hand.  Bid 4 - preemptively.

Do not splinter with 4 - partner might get carried away, and it gives your opponents an opportunity to get into the bidding.

Post-beginner and above

Opener’s first bid

Opener’s rebid

Context  -  Responder’s first bid - partner opened one major in first or second seat - improvers’ methods - support bids.

This page last revised 7th Aug 2019

any other hand with four-card support, a side-suit shortage, something in the way of high cards, and worth seven losers (or better) should proceed by way of a splinter bid (as in the first example above).

It is assumed that you will play this convention alongside a forcing 2NT high-card raise (either game-forcing or ‘limit or better’).

If your choice of high-card raise was ‘Jacoby - game-forcing’ then such a high-card raise will deny a shortage.

T 8

Q J 9 7

A K 5

K 8 6 4

Partner opened 1.

Four-card support in a seven-loser hand.

Bid 2NT - forcing to 4 and denying a void or singleton.