Chuck Arthur


Yes, that is our own Doug Markovic there in the title. He gets credit for suggesting a scheme for bidding hands with one or both minors as responder, after partner opens 2 notrump (or rebids 2 notrump after opening 2 clubs, whether or not one goes through Kokish). Watch this convention in action. NS are vulnerable as West deals at matchpoints.



West North East South
pass 2nt pass 3nt
pass 4 pass 4
pass 6 pass pass


I was West, simply a spectator on this deal. This is not how the auction went, for NS were not playing Markovic. This is how I am suggesting that the auction should have gone if they were. North might well have upgraded his hand to a 22-24 HCP 2 club opening, followed by a 2 notrump rebid. 3 notrump relayed to 4 clubs. 4 diamonds was a RKCB response showing 1 or 4 keycards with clubs trump. That is the neat thing with this scheme: we show keycards just as if 4 clubs was Minorwood, even though nobody really asked. On another hand, South might pass 4 clubs, or bid 5 clubs (to play, not a Minorwood response). North knows that they are off a keycard and that partner is interested in a club slam if we have enough keycards. He has a super maximim most of it prime cards. He simply bids 6 clubs. It may not be cold, but it will have to be quite unlucky to go down. Here, it could not fail. Visit for the hand record and for a peek at the virtual traveller.

There is quite a bit more to this scheme than just presented. For anyone interested in a complete write up of this convention, email me or comment on this blog that you are interested. I will email you a Word document that lays out this scheme. For my email address, read my profile by hiting the  About Chuck Arthur link near the top of this blog.


john cunninghamMarch 25th, 2010 at 7:31 am

One of the problems @ Hazel’s is that it is full of geriatrics. One pair of deaf folks consistently yammer at high volume concerning the hands just played: and they are usually late, so that loud conversation fills otherwise dead air as the next table encounters the boards. Further, these people are sitting at the turn, and of course, mindlessly persist, even having been admonished many times for their inconsiderateness.

At my table, we encountered this hand just after the foghorns played and discussed it.

The club hand passed, then checked for aces (4 clubs) and blasted 6NT.

Aggressive, but not so risky, with the radio on.

At least that had a chance of failing, but we did not find the diamond lead.

I think the feature of Doug’s treatment (responder shows key cards) has merit.

David LindopMarch 25th, 2010 at 4:36 pm

My experience is that methods using a raise of 2NT to 3NT as a relay bid are dangerous, often resulting in messy auctions that finish in 4NT…if the committee allows the partnership to stop there.

I prefer using 3S as a relay to 3NT to start both 1- and 2-suited minor slam tries. Danny Gerstman wrote an article proposing some followups in the Bridge World a couple of years ago that seem quite effective if both partners have good memories (sorry, don’t have the exact reference handy). After the 3S relay to 3NT, 4C shows a slam try in diamonds, 4D shows a slam try in clubs – improving the chances that opener will finish as declarer. With no interest, opener bids the cheapest suit, leaving responder room to keycard when still interested. With a good hand for responder’s minor, opener makes a keycard response, starting at the next cheapest response.

Chuck GallowayMarch 26th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

As a geriatric, I’d like to add to John’s comment that the people who describe some feature of the hand they have just played after I arrive att he table infuriate me a lot. Of course, by the time I get to the hand I have forgotten the comment – but younger players might be faced with an ethical problem.

I think Marcovic’s system is clever and carefully worked out. I wonder if he’s ever submitted it as a potential Bridge Wold article?

Debbie BennettMarch 28th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I’m getting too old to change my ways. I play that 3S is a relay to 3NT, whereby responder can show single suited minor slam try by bidding minor, and two-suited minor slam try by bidding major shortness. I like what David Lindop wrote regarding Danny Gerstman’s application, makes sense to have big hand on play. I’m not convinced with the hand submitted that I would insist on a club slam.

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