Splinter Bids

Reference:  25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know


In an earlier lesson on slam bidding I presented the idea that successful slams require controls and a source of tricks.    Sometimes you get both when you have shortness in a side suit and a fair number of trumps.  For example, suppose you have a side suit with Axxx in your hand and a small singleton in a dummy that has 4 trumps.  In No-trump this suit produces only one trick but in a suit contract you get 4 tricks:  the Ace and 3 ruffs.  Dummy’s singleton in this suit produces second round control and the good trump fit produces the extra tricks.  Being able to identify situations like this during the auction can allow you to get to good slams lacking the usual 33 points.  This is why the splinter bid was invented.


  • A splinter bid is a bid showing:
    • a ____________ or a _________ in a hand
    • with ________ or more trumps and
    • values for _______.
  • Usually, a splinter is shown by a _____________ _________ – ____________ in a side suit.
    • This bid isn’t used for anything else.
    • The bid takes a lot of bidding room, so it needs to be very descriptive.

Example Sequences

  • After an opening bid of 1H, responder can bid 3S as a spade splinter, 4C as a club splinter, or 4D as a diamond splinter.
  • After an opening bid of 1S, responder can bid  4C as a club splinter, 4D as a diamond splinter, or 4H as a heart splinter.
    • With S KQxxx H Axx D x C Kxxx, after your partner opens 1S you respond ________.

Responder Splinters

  • After a major suit opening, responder should have ________ to __________ points, including distribution.
  • With more than _______ points start out by responding with _____________ ________ .

Opener Continuations

  • Opener should reevaluate her hand, focusing on the splinter suit.
    • Good holdings in the splinter suit:
      • ______________
      • ____________
    • Bad holding in the splinter suit:
      • ____________ because this has _________ ___________ .
  • With a minimum hand, opener should just ________ ___________ .
  • With wastage in the splinter suit, opener should just _______ _________ .
  • With slam interest, opener can either
    • _____ ________ cheapest control; or
    • Ask for ___________ .

Opener Splinters

  • Opener’s splinter requires _______ to _________ points, because responder might only have _____ points and opener is forcing the auction to game.
  • Opener splinters using a ________ ________-__________, just like responder.
    • Example:  you open 1C and partner responds 1S.  You can splinter with 18 points and a singleton diamond by bidding _________ .


As above, responder evaluates her hand and determines if slam seems likely.

Singleton Honor

Avoid making a splinter with a singleton ________ or _______, because:

  • Partner will misevaluate a holding like KQxx if your singleton is the _______.
  • Partner is expecting your values to be outside of the splinter suit.

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