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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

For Less Experienced Players.

Too Weak to Bid?

            We will try, on Thursdays, to look at problems affecting our less experienced players. For many, every hand of 13 cards is a new problem but it does get easier. Eventually! Definitely!

Let’s look at today’s hand.   

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

                 

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

;

You must decide what, if anything, you would bid as South with the above hand.

At more than one table, the problem of what to bid was resolved very quickly. The South players had learnt that you should have a decent hand and or a decent looking suit to make a vulnerable overcall, even at the 1-level. They saw two fairly average suits and only 8 high card points. They could not justify bidding and therefore passed, defending 1Diamond-small for what was an extremely poor score for North-South.

Shape

Bridge is not just about the number of high card points you hold but also the shape of your hand. You need high cards as they are more likely to win tricks than 7’s or 8’s but “shape” can make a huge difference, too. If you have a singleton in one suit, you can win the second round of the suit by ruffing, assuming you are in a suit contract.

Yet, take a look at the situation above. The opener cannot have more than 19 hcp (or else they would have opened at the 2-level). Their partner has less than 6 hcp or else they would have bid. That means at the very worst our partner has 8 hcp (40-19-5-8hcp=8) and normally will have a few more, even though they could not act over 1Diamond-small themselves. So, you will not be on your own if you bid.

Major suits are good to hold

It is better to hold long major than long minor suits. If you and the opposition can make 9 tricks and you have major and they have minor suits, then you will win the bidding as they will need to bid above your making major contract and will go minus…or such is the theory!

Why South must bid

  • Even though they only hold 8 hcp and 2 average suits, they hold the major suits.
  • Their partner must have high card points, too.
  • We have every chance of getting a plus score from making a major suit contract.
  • We can push the opponents higher than they would like to go!

How many tricks could we make?

Only 11 in both hearts or spades! Yes, game! We just had to bid. These were the four hands.

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

 

The first question you may ask is why North failed to make a take-out double after the 1Diamond-small opening. They passed because they did not feel they had a suitable hand if their partner bid clubs. With a minimum 12 count, this is a valid comment, though holding the major suits is so important that most would probably have risked a double. North’s initial pass made it harder for their side though game should still have been reached.

North made a value raise to 3Spade-small, aware that their partner might not be full strength for their 1Spade-small bid. South had only 8 high-card points but had good shape, a second 5-card suit. Another way to value their hand is, once the spade fit was established,  to add one extra point for a doubleton and three for a singleton. Suddenly, they had 12 points, not 8!

Notice South bid 1Spade-small, the higher of two five-card suits. Another alternative would be for South to bid 2Diamond-small, a Michaels Cue-Bid showing both 5-card majors. North would certainly have bid directly to game following that bid.

We could discuss further the East-West bidding at favourable vulnerability. East-West should be able to bid up to 5Club-small which is only defeated by one trick and, going against the guideline about the 5-level belonging to the opposition, might even find an excellent 6Club-small sacrifice over 5 of either major.

A hand with good shape

shape.png

In our auction, North-South did not get a top score by doubling 5Club-small but they got a much better result than the -130 from defending 1Diamond-small. Our South just had to bid. It is against the odds that you will bid and make game by bidding over 1Diamond-small but passing the board out is almost certain to get you a poor result.

Another shapely hand

     
East Deals
Both Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
K J 10 9 8
8 2
A Q J 10 6 5
West North East South
    Pass 1 
Pass 2  Pass ?

 

You are playing Pairs. Do you agree with the 1Spade-small opening bid? Whether or not you do, what is your next bid?

2Diamond-smallis natural and a 1 round force.

See you tomorrow with an interesting deal to play as well as bid.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

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