Mike’s Bidding Quiz


Is 4♣ always Gerber? Should it be?

It might seem that you could simplify your bridge if you and your partner agree that when one of you bids 4♣, it is Gerber no matter what. That is an illusion. You will find that such an agreement will complicate your bidding.

Here are more examples of when and when not to play 4♣ as ace asking.


West North East South
2NT Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

A classic auction for Gerber.


West North East South
1♣ 1 1♠;
Pass 1NT Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

South jumped to 4♣ after a notrump bid, so it is defined as Gerber. South might have this hand:

♠ K Q J 8 7 5 4   K Q 8 4   5   ♣ 4

South intends to bid 6♠ if North has three aces. If North shows one or two aces, South intends to bid 4♠.


West North East South
1♠ Pass 2
Pass 2♠ Pass 3♣
Pass 3NT Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

4♣ is not a jump, so it is treated as natural. South has a hand such as:

♠ 3   J   A K J 4 3 2   ♣ A Q 10 9 8

South thinks that his good suits and good shape warrant looking for a slam in one of the minors. If South’s hand was more like:

♠ 3   J   A J 9 8 7 4   ♣ A J 8 7 4

he would pass 3NT. This hand is not strong enough to consider a slam, and in spite of the good shape, playing in 3NT should be successful since you have two potential sources of tricks.


West North East South
1NT Pass 2♣
Pass 2♠ Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

This auction is one the partnership should discuss. South’s 4♣ can be treated as a splinter bid, showing one club, spade support and slam interest. It can also be treated as asking for aces. You have to choose your meaning in this case.


West North East South
1NT Pass 2
Pass 2♠ Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

South transferred to spades and bid 4♣. For most players, 4♣ shows a singleton and slam interest in the major, spades in this case. It is not good bridge to play Gerber after making a transfer bid. There are better uses for 4♣ on these auctions. South might have:

♠ K J 10 9 8 7 4   A J   J 7 4   ♣ 8

South can imagine making 10 to 13 tricks facing different hands West can have. South’s 4♣, showing a singleton, invites North to venture an opinion based on that information.


West North East South
1 Pass 1♠
Pass 3♠ Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

This is clearly a cuebid. South is thinking about a slam and shows the ♣A. Perhaps North can do something useful. A possible hand for South:

♠ K J 8 7 3   Q J 8 4   K 3   ♣ A 9

South has a good hand but is worried about two heart losers, among other things. South hopes 4♣ will help clear up some of the issues. It is definitely not good to use this as Gerber. If North showed two aces, South would not know if there were two heart losers.


West North East South
1 Pass 4♣
See Mike's Advice

North did not bid notrump, so this jump is not Gerber. Using it as a splinter bid is excellent. If you do not yet use splinter bids, I suggest you give them some consideration.