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

Friday, 3 September 2010

A Hot Night For Bridge – The Importance of Going Plus – 1 July 2010

Bit hot down there but the bridge was steamy too, so… Welcome to the new faces lovely to see you all hope you had fun. Er, and learnt a bit too…

We had this ludicrous hand last night bit of fun, bit of fun, nudge, nudge…

S: KJ10xxx
H: -
D: AJ10xxxx
C: -

And starting on your right the bidding went:

1D! - pass - 3C - pass
6C - ????

So now what on earth do you do here? You can read as many text books as you like but none of them will tell you how to navigate in these perilous parlous difficult dangerous waters. The initial pass is probably “right” thoough 1S would not be “wrong” but you must surely bid here. The hand is a freak and there are no rules about freak hands but my rule of thumb is “just bid something!” So here, what does this hand do now? Answers on a ten pound note… ;-)

The POINT of it all: The cards are dealt. They’re in your hand. Before you even look at them – what is your aim? What are the possibilities? If you bid to a contract (at Chicago, Teams or Duplicate) you will gain anything from +70, for 1 C making, all the way up to 2980, for 7NT redoubled making. If they bid to a contract and go down you’ll get anything from +50, 1 down NV, to 7600 for 13 down redoubled and vulnerable.

Obviously – whatever you cards are – your initial plan must be to make the best score you possibly can given the 26 cards you and your partner have been dealt in this specific hand. If that fails you must then be especially careful to give away as little as possible ie WIN BIG, LOSE SMALL.

Realistically we can discount all the super massive scores because they only exist in dreamland. Though an International at last year’s World Championship did manage to go 5 off redoubled for -2800 rather cleverly. So what CAN we aim for?
  • Certainly any of the small slams should be a goal all the time. This is because they score so many points: 6N = 990 NV and 1440 VUL so you need to be alert to the possibility of a slam all the time.
  • Next up of course is the Game. 4S will get you 420 or 620. This is why sometimes you will stretch to bid the game because 3S + 1 is only 170.

Naturally when you do finally look at your hand you won’t necessarily see the 20 HCP rock crusher you’ve been fantasising about bidding all the way to slam. You may not even see your way to game after a few rounds of bidding; so slowly, gently, tired but happy, you’ll finally
settle in some measly part score and be pleased enough just to make it.

But what if the other side keep bidding? How do you improve your losing score? If they bid, vulnerable, to 4S and it makes, they will get 620. If you are not vulnerable and can go only (!) 3 down doubled they will now get just 500. At this form of scoring this is a winning strategy. (At rubber, just be a bit careful about gifting Vulnerable opponents extra points when the rubber was lost anyway!)

And the POINT of all this? Before you look at your hand - look at the vulnerability! Is it
favourable ie GREEN - RED? or dangerous RED - GREEN? Know this as you start to count the points in your hand – think about what your strategy should be in the upcoming bidding war. And your preferred aim? Well I think anything from 500 - 1000+ is always good news in my book!

The freaky hand we started with. If the opps seem to know what they are doing, you better pay your insurance premium by bidding 6S. At least you know partner doesn’t have many diamonds.

All the best


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