All News

New To The Table

Reaching the Right Game.

“Never mind the quality, look at the length” is a bastardised version of a well-known saying of which bridge players should take heed. While it is nice to have the ace and king of the suit you decide to be trumps (especially in the slam zone!), you will usually make the decision what will be the trump suit, not by the number of honours in the suit but by the number of cards you have between your two hands.

Knowing the minimum number of trumps you need between the two hands for a fit (8) is also useful information and should guide South to the right contract on the following cards:

     
North Deals
E-W Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
K Q 4
K 10 8 7 6 4
4
Q 8 4

 

North opens 1Diamond-small and with the opponents silent, you make the easy bid of 1Heart-small. Your partner calls 1NT on their second turn. What do you know about their hand? We are assuming you are playing the Acol system.

The first thing you know is that your partner has a balanced hand (no voids nor one card, not even two two-card suits). We also know their high card point count which is 15-17 (perhaps you play a rebid of 1NT as 15-16). We can put these two pieces of information together and work out our next bid.  

Enough for Game?

The first question you must ask yourself is whether your partnership has enough high card points (hcp) to be in a game contract. You need at least 25. Your partner has at least 15 while you have 10. So, the answer is “yes”. You must be in a game as everyone else will be with your cards. Even if you do not make the game, you should not get too bad a score as long as you played the board reasonably, as others will fail too. 

Which Game?

Do you have a fit? A fit is 8+ cards in a suit between the two hands.  Certainly not in diamonds, the suit your partner opened. What about in hearts? You have a six-card suit. You know your partner has at least two because they have a balanced hand. You just said so!

Thus, even though your heart suit is not that strong, you want to make that suit as trumps. Do not invite partner to game in hearts by bidding 3Heart-small. Certainly, do not make a weakness take-out of 2Heart-small as your well-brought up partner will pass that bid. There is just one bid you need to make, 4Heart-small. Even if your partner produces the 2 lowest hearts in the pack, Heart-small3 and Heart-small2, your previous exchange of bidding tells you that 4Heart-small is the place to be.

A small word of warning. Say your long suit was clubs not hearts. Then, you would not be so keen to make that suit as trumps even if you have a fit. Needing 11 tricks to make game in a minor suit, you are much more likely to want to play in 3NT once you know your partner has a balanced hand…less tricks needed and your club suit should come in very handy.

It is time to see your partner’s hand because we are going to ask you to plan the play in 4Heart-small on the lead from West of the Diamond-smallJ.

North Deals
E-W Vul
A J 9
A 3 2
A Q 7 6 5
9 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
K Q 4
K 10 8 7 6 4
4
Q 8 4
West North East South
  1  Pass 1 
Pass 1 NT Pass 4 
All pass      

 

 See..a nice partner having three hearts headed by the ace! All we will tell you about the East-West hands is that East has 4 diamonds headed by the king. We will have the answer for you on Sunday.

Two more notes about the bidding. South knows after the 1NT bid not only that North does not have 0 or 1 heart but also that they do not have more than 3 hearts as with a 4-card suit, North would have raised hearts after 1Heart-small.

Also, your system may be based on a 15-17 1NT opening. On the above hand, North would thus open 1NT. South would know immediately that their partner has enough hcp for game and has at least 2 hearts. So, the bidding will be very quick, an immediate 4Heart-smallfrom South.  

Richard Solomon

 

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • JLT Logo square.jpg
  • NZB Foundation
  • JLT and Chubb Logo square 02.jpg
  • City Council square logo.png