Welcome to Basement Bridge

Weekly updates from Kit Jackson offering hints and tips for the modern Bridge player. Enjoy!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Opening Hands – A Few Thoughts on the “Rules” – 15 April 2010

Some basic thoughts on “rules” for opening hands. As you all know I’m wary of the concept of rules in general as they have a tendency to stop people thinking things through at the table for themselves. But, that said…
  • What to do with a 4441 hand? Simple rule is: Open the suit below the singleton with a red singleton and the middle suit with a black singleton.
  • When you have a 4432 shape with both majors and 15+HCP, open 1H. If partner responds in a minor suit you will rebid NT.
  • When you hold a 4432 shape with 15+ HCP and where one of the 4-card suits is a major and the other a minor - use judgement. Personally I like to get the major suit into the auction as soon as possible. On the other hand… if one of your suits is 3578 and the other is AKJx it might tactically work out best to bid the worst suit! Now, if you declare 3NT, they might not know you’re crap in the suit you bid, and then go and lead your other suit away from their Q! This stuff happens …
  • If you have a 5332 shape with 12 - 14 HCP and where the 5 card suit is a major or a minor open 1NT. The reason is that you are either a) stuck somewhat for a good rebid and b) if partner responds 1NT the stronger hand will now be on the table, making life easier for the opponents. This is a Bad Thing.
  • If you have 5521/5530 shapes, bid the higher ranking suit first. This is so you have a sound rebid. (I might also bid the 5 card suit major even if I had a 6 card minor for the same reason!)

Big Hands

  • All hands that are at least 23+ HCP and balanced should open 2C and then rebid NT. But what if you have a hand of a few HCP less than 23 but you have an unbalanced hand with a big suit? These hands can also be opened 2C. Now the strength lies in the distribution as well as the HCP. What you don't want to happen is for your opening bid at the one level to be passed out and then find you could have made game as partner had 4HCP.
  • With a balanced 20-22HCP hand open 2NT. Sometimes you might be a bit fixed so don’t worry if the shape isn’t always as perfectly balanced as you’d like it to be (5422 say). Occasionally the “right” bid just isn’t there but you’d better say something!

    Opposite a 2NT opening bid partner should respond with as little as 3 HCP. You’re in the game zone so BE there.

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