Welcome to Basement Bridge

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

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Back to Basics - Again! - 26 Nov 2009

Here’s something a bit more basic than normal for all you beginners out there who need a reminder or two!

Safe in the vaults of the British Museum lies an ancient runic inscription, scratched in granite, which in translation reads:

12 must open
6 must respond
25 must rule them all …

At first this seemed to scholars completely cryptic, and headscratchingly obtuse, but research established it could only be ancient rules for what we know today as the game of Bridge. The first line is self-explanatory: when a bidder comes to their turn and no-one has bid before them, they may “open” the bidding. In the rune, if they have 12 or more points they MUST open. We’ll just imagine the antique penalty for not doing so, but loss of livestock cannot be excluded.

In the second line, the rune instructs opener’s partner what to do when they have 6 or more points - they MUST respond. The penalty for not doing so is lost in the mists of time, but loss of limb could well have been included.

The third line reminds us that the “holy grail”, is the magical combined point count of 25 between the two hands that will, most of the time, give us a game score of either 3NT, 4H, 4S, 5C or 5D.

It follows from this runic wisdom that all bidding makes this unceasing quest - to discover whether or not the partnership between them has 25 points or not. When the magic figure is discovered then game MUST be bid, must rule them all …

When we open the bidding we do so in the hope that we can find game with partner’s help. The game on our quest is the major suit game (4H or 4S), based on an 8 card fit between you both. If an 8 card fit doesn’t exist then we can settle on the lesser game in NT. If there are problems with NT then we can finally, reluctantly, tired but happy, fall back on the dangerous minor suit game (5C or 5D.) And if we find no grail exists - that we have less than 25 points between us - then we STOP! As soon as we can, in the safest part-score we can find. So always tell your partner how many points you have and ALWAYS bid game if you can!

You know it makes sense...

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