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

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Mr Brown was regretting the punishment meted out to William. Having eaten the prize pork pie his mother baked for the WI, William's punishment was to make up a 4 for bridge instead of playing with the Outlaws. He responded by surreptitiously underbidding his hand at every opportunity. William knew this infuriated his father, as it does every bridge player. During the tea break Mr Brown took his recalcitrant son aside.
"Yes that's me."
"Will you listen?"
"I have a choice?"
"Stop it! Now, when you are dealt a hand at bridge your first instinct should be for you and partner to bid - and make - a Game."
"Oh Right. Why's that then, father?"
"The reason is a game attracts a bonus score of  of 300 or 500. All you have to do is make 3NT, 4H, 4S, 5C or 5D. The toughest games to make are 5C and 5D (11 tricks) so most of the time you try to constrict yourself to 3NT (9 tricks) or 4 of a major (10 tricks)"
"Oh I seee.  You want the bonus?
"Yes William I do."
"Isn't that a bit greedy? It's not really fair goin roun biddin and makin games all the time. Shouldn we jus bid a bit an play a bit?"
"Bridge, William, is a competitive game. The idea is to outscore the opponents as often as possible. To beat them. To win. The best way to do that is to bid the games you can make.  Occasionally it gets even better than that and you bid (and make) a slam. Occasionally it gets worse and all you can make is a part score. But Game is your primary goal. It follows therefore that when you and partner start to have a bidding conversation your initial notion is simply to try to discover whether or not you can in fact make one of these game contracts. That is your ambition between you. Slowly you gather together the pieces of the intellectual jigsaw and there comes a point when one of you - it is usually only one of you - knows for certain that game is or is not on. Whichever one of you that is must make now THE DECISION. You must, William, become more decisive. Bid up. Bid the games. Is that clear?"
"Oh yes father. Very clear..."
For the rest of the afternoon William resolutely bid slams as often as possible. When they failed William remarked "I thought you wanted the bonus father..."

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