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Bridge made simple

Thinking Duplicate Bridge; Two Pictou County gals, Olive and Lynne take the Leap

OK, we were scared–at first! We knew we were venturing into new bridge territory. We realized it’s ok to be a little afraid because you can’t be brave or courageous without a little fear. As adult learners, it takes ambition as well as courage to delve into the unknown.

So we have a few tips we have learned on this marvellous venture that have proven golden, well “silver” for us so far, if you are counting ACBL points.

Tip #1: Choose your bridge partner with care. If you don’t share common goals and values, you could be heading for a rocky bridge divorce. In our case, we both love the game. We determined we both wanted to improve our skills and we carved out regular times to make that happen. The most important part of a good bridge relationship is respect and kindness every step of the way. Never point out your partner’s mistakes and she will never point out yours. If it is evident there is a storm brewing, discuss future strategies in private. Fortunately for us, respect and kindness comes easy

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Tip #2: Breathe and laugh! Remember, it is only a game. Enjoy your time with your partner and fellow players. Have some fun and remember to laugh at yourself. When you become frustrated, and you will, remember Tip #1.

Tip #3: You are not going to make every contract. You are going to go down, some days more than others. A kind veteran of the game told us many times “If you never go down you are obviously not bidding as often as you should.” Even experts go down, miss slams and screw up in general. Move on! It happens! Some of our best learning comes from our mistakes.

Tip #4: Persevere–play as often as you can. Read bridge books, Like and Follow http://www.thebridgeguru.com, play Bridge Base On-Line and listen to expert players who kindly offer suggestions to improve your game. The veterans of the game truly enjoy seeing new faces at the bridge club. Some expert players may agree to mentor you–don’t hesitate to ask.

Tip #5: Don’t high five at the table when you make that impossible contract –save your triumphs for a private moment so your opponents can save face.

Our experience has been, the more we play, the more comfortable we get and hence the more we want to play! That’s how we realized it’s not that scary after all!

Bridge made simple

Gerber Convention (Baby Steps) and Quantitativei

First you need to understand Quantitative:

After Partner’s OPENING 1 No Trump bid – 4 NO TRUMP by responder

– shows a balanced hand by responder; and

– invites Opener to raise to 6 no trump with top of range 15-17

SO GO TO 6 NO TRUMP (SMALL SLAM) WITH 17 POINTS

or Pass with low end of range

If Responder KNOWS THERE IS 33 POINTS BETWEEN THE TWO HANDS AND KNOWS NO TRUMP IS WHERE TO PLAY, RESPONDER BIDS 6 NT, JUST DO IT!!!

Partner opens 2 NT – SHOWING 20-21 POINTS & Balance

– 4 NT BID BY RESPONDER SAYS GO TO SMALL SLAM WITH TOP OF RANGE

SO GO WITH 21 POINTS!

OPENER opens 2 CLUBS – RESPONDER bids 2 DIAMONDS

OPENER REBIDS 2 NT opener’s range is 22-24 and BALANCED HAND

– 4 NT BID BY RESPONDER SAYS GO TO SMALL SLAM WITH TOP OF RANGE

– SO GO WITH 24 POINTS!

Opener OPENS 1 DIAMOND – Responder bids a suit at the one level

OPENER REBIDS 2 NT – opener’s range is 18-19 AND BALANCED

– 4NT BID BY RESPONDER SAYS GO TO SMALL SLAM WITH TOP OF RANGE

SO GO WITH 18 POINTS

Opener opens 2 CLUBS – RESPONDER BIDS 2 DIAMONDS

OPENER REBIDS 3 NT – opener’s range is 25-27 & BALANCED HAND

4 NT BID BY RESPONDER SAYS GO WITH TOP OF RANGE

SO GO WITH 27 POINTS

NOW, TIME TO INTRODUCE GERBER CONVENTION:

GERBER can be used to discover how many aces/kings the partnership holds when partner’s no trump is a natural bid –

REPLIES TO GERBER 4 ♣️

4♦️ zero or all 4

4♥️ one ace

4♠️ two aces

4 NT  three aces

IF ALL 4 ACES – 5♣️ asks for KINGS

5 ♦️ zero

5 ♥️ one

5🖤two

5 NT three

6 ♣️ four kings

Bridge made simple

Summer days

 

 

BLACKWOOD CONVENTION:

AFTER a trump suit has been agreed upon by the partners a bid of 4 NT is the Blackwood Convention asking partner how many ACES?

RESPONSES TO BLACKWOOD:

4 NT – ASKS:

ANSWERS:

5 CLUBS – NONE OR ALL FOUR

5 DIAMONDS – ONE ACE

5 HEARTS – TWO ACES

5 SPADES – THREE ACES

IF THE PARTNERSHIP HOLDS ALL 4 ACES, THEN A BID OF 5 NT ASKS FOR KINGS? DO NOT ASK FOR KINGS IF YOU ARE MISSING AN ACE!

5 NT – ASKS:

ANSWERS:

6 CLUBS – NO KINGS

6 DIAMONDS – ONE KING

6 HEARTS – TW0 KINGS

6 SPADES – THREE KINGS

6 NO TRUMP – FOUR KINGS

RESPONDING TO BLACKWOOD WITH A VOID:

– with no aces, respond 5 clubs, AS USUAL, (DO NOT SHOW VOID)

– WITH ONE ACE AND A USEFUL VOID, JUMP TO THE “six” level in the void suit! If it ranks lower on the ladder than the agreed trump suit!

If it ranks higher on the ladder than the agreed trump suit – bid SIX OF THE TRUMP SUIT!

HOW TO BAIL OUT IF YOU ASK FOR ACES BY BIDDING 4 NT AND NEED TO STOP!!!!

ANY BID OF A NEW SUIT AT THE FIVE LEVEL BY YOU WHICH CAN’T BE MEANT AS A TRUMP SUIT ASKS PARTNER TO BID 5 NO TRUMP!

 

Bridge made simple

Bidding at its Simplest

HANDLING STRONG TWO CLUB OPENERS IN THE SIMPLEST WAY POSSIBLE

Opener – bids 2 clubs – shows 22 or more points and is 100 PER CENT FORCING TO GAME with two exceptions (see end of recap)

Responder bids 2 diamonds “automatically” – this is the waiting bid ‘ says nothing about points or suits and is FORCING –

Responder is the CAPTAIN in this auction and is responsible to investigate slam with more than 8 points (IF A FIT FOR OPENER’S SUIT PLEASE ADD DUMMY POINTS TO YOUR HIGH CARD POINTS) once the first consideration is found which is——WHERE TO PLAY — second part is— HOW HIGH – GAME OR SLAM?

AFTER RESPONDER bids 2 diamonds, opener either bids a 5 card or longer suit if she has one; if not with a balanced hand rebids no trump as follows:

22-24 pts – bids 2 no trump
25-27 pts – bids 3 nt
28-30 pts – bids 4 nt

Once opener rebids no trump, all systems are on – Stayman convention, transfers, gerber
If opener bids a suit and you (the responder) have three card support add DUMMY POINTS, the only question is game or slam!

No support for opener’s suit, you may bid your 5 card or longer suit or bid no trump with a balanced hand.

With 25 pts between both hands —-you should be in game in a major or no trump

With a minor suit, bid game in no trump or five of minor (need 29 pts for both hands to be in game in minor —-( if you rule out no trump)

If 33 plus points ——-get to slam in major, or minor or no trump.

Remember do not show four card suits, unless your partner has used Stayman asking for a four card suit.

Do not pass until at least game is reached ( you only need 3 points to be in game – add dummy points).————-

HERE IS WHEN YOU CAN PASS:

1- partner has rebid two nt and you have 0-2 points

2- you have bid your five card suit and partner has raised and you have 0-2 pts

3. Opener has shown a 5 card major , then Rebid the suit to show six of the major and you have 0-1 point – don’t forget you can add “DUMMY POINTS” –( 5 pts for a void, 3 for a singleton and 1 for a doubleton and 2 card support—if still 0-2 points pass)

Bridge made simple

THE RULE OF FORTY

So simple, so easy

There are 40 high cards points HCPS) in the deck !

– 4 aces -16points

– 4 kings – 12 points

– 4 queens 8

– 4 jacks 4

TOTAL 40 POINTS

AS THE BIDDING EVOLVES:

ADD YOUR HCP’S POINTS TO THE NUMBER OF POINTS INDICATED DURING THE BIDDING , FOR EXAMPLE

NORTH (N) OPENS 1 N0 TRUMP – 15-17 POINTS

EAST (E) – PARTNER PASSES

S (SOUTH) – BIDS 3 NO TRUMP – SHOWING 10+ POINTS

W (WEST) – YOU! – PASS – HAVE 6 POINTS

YOUR PARTNER (P) IS EAST – HOW MANY APPROXIMATE POINTS DOES EAST (P) HAVE?

THE ANSWER WOULD BE APPROXIMATELY 8 POINTS –

HOW DOES THAT HELP ON DEFENSE? – WHEN DUMMY COMES DOWN YOU WILL SEE EXACTLY HOW MANY POINTS SOUTH HAD – IF 12 POINTS IN DUMMY – DEDUCT 2 PTS FROM YOUR ESTIMATE OF EAST’S HAND! THIS HELPS DEFENSE TO DETERMINE HOW TO DEFEND. IF YOU SET UP YOUR SUIT YOU MAY NEED PARTNER TO WIN AT LEAST ONE TRICK TO LEAD BACK TO YOUR HAND.

THIS EXAMPLE WOULD NOT HELP DECLARER HAS BOTH E AND W PASSED.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE:

N OPENS 1 SPADE (12-21 PTS)

E(P) BIDS 2 DIAMONDS (12= OVERCALLED AT THE TWO LEVEL AND A GOOD 5 CARD+ SUIT WITH 2 OF THE TOP 3 HONOURS)

S BIDS 2 SPADES (6-10)* COUNTING DUMMY POINTS, ( POINTS -VOIDS/SINGLETONS/DOUBLETONS) – SHOWS A “SIMPLE RAISE

*W – YOU -PASS – HAVE 3 DIAMONDS BUT LESS THAN 10 POINTS SO CANNOT BID AT THE 3 LEVEL

ALL PASS

—————————————————————

2ND RND OF BIDDING:

N – PASSES – NOW SHOWING A MINIMUM OPENER 12-15 POINTS

E – BIDS A NEW SUIT OF 3 CLUBS

S PASSES

W?????

? EAST(P) IS SHOWING A TWO-SUITED HAND – MOST LIKLY 5 /6 DIAMONDS AND 5 CLUBS – AND IS ASKING YOU (W) – TO PICK EITHER SUIT – WITH THE 3 CARD DIAMOND SUIT AND 6-10 POINTS I WOULD CHOOSE NOW TO BID 3 DIAMONDS!

TWO-SUITED HANDS ARE VALUABLE WHEN YOU GET TO PLAY THERE AND SHOW SHORTNESS IN THE TWO REMAINING SUITS. IF P HAS 6 DIAMONDS AND 5 CLUBS THAT IS 11 CARDS – ONLY TWO LEFT BETWEEN THE MAJORS!

 

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

N 1 HEART (12+

E 1 SPADE – OVERCALL AT 1 LEVEL – (8+ UP TO MAX 16 POINTS)

S 2 HEARTS – 6-10 PTS

W 2 SPADES – 6-10)

WONDERFUL, A BIDDING WAR? MAYBE

IF NORTH IS A MINIMUM HAND, NORTH SHOULD PASS. IF NORTH IS 15+, RAISE TO 3 HEARTS

IF NORTH BIDS 3 HEARTS , WEST SHOULD PASS WITH A HAND THAT DOES NOT HAVE OPENING POINTS!

REMEMBER – THESE BIDDING WARS ARE ALL ABOUT VULNERABILITY! IF NOT “VUL” AND OPP’S ARE “VUL ” – YOU CAN RISK IT! BE CAREFUL IF YOU PUSH THEM TO GAME VULNERABLE ——-YOU BETTER MAKE SURE YOU DEFEAT THEIR CONTRACT!

 

ENJOY OUTDOOR BRIDGE THIS SUMMER!

Bridge made simple

PART 5 – DEFENSE -CREATING TRUMP TRICKS

Leading a short suit in hopes of getting a ruff is one of the most prevalent lines of defense and as such is often abused.

“CONDITIONS” FOR CREATING TRUMP TRICKS

  • 1.  RUFFING DECLARER’S TRICKS 

A.  YOU ARE SHORT IN ANY UNBID SUIT

B.  YOU ARE LONG IN OPP’S SIDE SUIT,  BOTH BID AND RAISED

C.  YOU HAVE A WEAK HAND AND NO BETTER DEFENSE

  • 2.   PROMOTING TRUMP TRICKS OF YOUR OWN

A. TRUMP PROMOTION

B.  TRUMP UPPERCUT

When conditions 1a and 1c exist then YOUR BEST LEAD IS A SINGLETON

BE ‘CAREFUL’ WITH THIS LINE OF DEFENSE AS YOU ARE OFTEN LEADING INTO ONE OF DECLARER’S BETTER SUITS AND COULD BE SETTING UP THE SUIT FOR HER.

THE BEST DEFENDERS TEND TO GO FOR A RUFF UNDER THREE (3) CONDITIONS:

  1. When they have no natural trump tricks of their own
  2. when they can reasonably expect an entry to get their ruff (ie. they have a high trump honor – Ace or King)
  3. when the situation is desperate and there is no better line of defense

When the conditions of 1b above exist then LEAD THE OPPONENT’S SUIT TO GIVE PARTNER A RUFF

IN a trump promotion play, declarer is put in a position where he must ruff high and in doing so promotes a trump trick for the defenders.

In an uppercut situation, the defender ruffs with his highest trump to weaken declarer’s trump holding hoping that it will create a trump trick for partner.

 

Bridge made simple

PART 4 – CUT DOWN ON DECLARER’S RUFFING POWER

The “old saw” when in doubt lead trump has been disproven decades ago.  However there are conditions that should automatically trigger a trump lead.

When you know these conditions exist, you have to lead a trump regardless of how much it hurts/

CONDITIONS FOR CUTTING DOWN DECLARER’S RUFFING POWER:

1.  There is a partial or total misfit –

a.  Mere suit preference taken by declarer

b.  Your side has a trump stack

c.  Misfits in general

2.  Bidding suggests dummy shortness

a.  Dummy denied notrump due to shortness

b.  Dummy bid two suits and raised a third

3.  You are strong in the other suits

a.  You control the opponent’s side suit

b.  You control all other suits

c.  Opponent’s are SACRIFICING (STOLE YOUR BID!!!!)

WHEN THE ABOVE CONDITIONS EXIST ——

YOUR BEST LEAD IS A TRUMP!

ANY partial or total misfit is a prime candidate for a trump lead.  Misfits that come up most often are mere preferences taken by declarer’s partner in a partscore contract or in auctions that show two suits (ie. Flannery or Michaels) —these auctions practically scream for a trump lead.

When your side has a trump stack (ie. partner leaves in a one level takeout double for penalty by passing) you MUST LEAD TRUMP.  Since partner has a trump stack, the only way declarer can make extra tricks is by ruffing in dummy.

When your side controls three suits and the opponents sacrifice, again YOU MUST LEAD TRUMP to cut down declarer’s ruffing power.

Sometimes trump leads are unpredictable and you can still inflict damage by leading a trump once dummy is exposed.