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

Sunday, 11 April 2010

No Trumps & Negative Doubles - 5 Nov. 2009

In preparation for the upcoming series of teams matches the new Princess of Wales league team faces we played a series of 4 board matches last night just to get used to the scoring and the way a match works. There then followed some of the dullest hands I have ever seen in my life so I shall not be discussing any of them. Naturally, we still had LOTS of fun …

One of the key aspects of the Acol system I teach is the range for NT openings and rebids. These are well worth memorising while decorating the loo or washing the car. (“Make those dull jobs sparkle with shiny new, improved bridge lessons …”) SO …

When you have a Balanced hand your shape will be 4333, 4432 or 5332. You will most probably at some time in the auction want to bid NT, unless a 4-4 or 5-3 major suit fit appears before then. The way to deal with these hands depends on your point count. Remember – game is on when the partnership has about 25 hcp.

12 - 14 = open 1NT
15 - 16 = open 1 of a suit and ReBid 1NT
17 - 18 = open 1 of a suit and ReBid 2NT
19 - 20 = open 1 of a suit and ReBid 3NT
21 - 22 = open 2NT
23 - 24 = open 2C and ReBid 2NT
25 + = open 2C and ReBid 3NT

With this system you can tell partner about a whole variety of differing point counts in just two bids. When you limit your hand in this way partner has a much better idea of whether game is on or not.


This hand has no intention of being in game after the sequences:

1) ... 1NT - ? ............................ (14 + 8 = 22) No game - you pass.

2) ... 1H - 1S
...... 1NT - ? ............................ (16 + 8 = 24) No game - you pass.

But after

3) ... 1H - 1S
...... 2NT - 3NT! . you are happy to give partner the raise to game. (17 + 8 = 25!)

4) ... Just remember to close the windows before you hose down the car...

Negative Doubles (pt 1)

It’s extremely unlikely you’ll want to make a penalty double of an opposition contract in the early rounds of bidding. But Double is a legitimate bid you can make at any time in a competitive auction.

Fair enough. But ... if it’s not a PENALTY double – what does it mean and when can I use it? If you have a hand like this and you get the auction below:


1C - 1S - ?

you’re a bit stuffed for a natural bid, aren’t you? 1NT is possible but you don’t actually have the spade stop it would promise your beloved partner. Nor, as you don't have 10HCP, can you bid at the 2 level with 2D. Nor even can you bid 2H, as not only do you not have 10HCP, you also don’t have the 5 card heart suit you’d be promising. But you want to bid, don’t you? The 1S overcall has annoyingly done just what it set out to do – destroy your peaceful constructive conversation.

This is where the red Double card comes into its own. When you plonk it on the baize it says: “Thanks for opening, partner and I would like to assist you in your search for a suitable contract, but as you can see the opponents have stuck a wrench in the mangle and I can’t now make a natural bid. HOWEVER – I do have some points and what is more I have the two so far unbid suits Hearts & Diamonds, so if there’s anything you can do with that information to extract the wrench, good luck! Phew!”

It’s called a negative double because you don’t have support for partner and you don't have a NT stop in the opponent’s suit either. Doubles like this carry the message “I want to compete but I’m not sure where.” Normally negative doubles apply up to 3S, but do NOT apply after 1NT has been bid, nor when you and partner have agreed a suit.

See you next week


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