Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
- 1H (P) 2H (P);
- 1S (2D) 2S (P);
- 1C (P) 1H (P) 2H (P);
- 1C (P) 1D (P) 1S (P) 2S (P);
- (1D) 1S (P) 2S (P);
- (1D) 1H (2C) 2H (P);
Standard practice in this situation is the "help-suit game try" -- when the one of a major bidder has enough above a minimum that he wants to investigate game but not enough to just up and bid four of the suit (I'll call that player 1M for short) bids a new suit where he has some losers that need to be taken care of. In response to this, his partner (we'll call him 2M) can bid game if the "help suit" is well covered (with high cards or shortness), return to three of the major if the "help suit" is not at all covered, or bid three of another suit that he has "stuff" in when he's not sure if his holding in the "help suit" is enough for a game bid.
Let's show a couple of examples:
Partner has opened 1H, you raised to 2H, and he bid 3C as a help-suit game try. You hold:
(a) JT5 KJ64 86532 7
(b) JT5 KJ64 72 8653
(c) JT5 T94 KQ9 K942
With hand (a), your lousy five-count has turned to gold. Partner will lose a club but then trump any further club losers in the dummy. Bid 4H!
With hand (b), you still have a lousy five-count. You can't do anything about partner's club losers, and he probably has some spade-diamond losers as well. Bid 3H and hope he makes it.
With hand (c), you have a good raise to 2H, but that alone shouldn't make you bid game. You have some help in clubs, but not enough to go straight to game yourself. Here you should bid 3D. This tells partner, "Yes, I do have some help in clubs, but not enough to be sure of game. I do have some nice stuff in the diamond suit, too--- maybe that information will help you make the right decision."
Many years ago, some players turned the game try system on its head-- they bid the suit where they didn't want their partner to have high cards -- their singletons! This is called the short-suit game try. Partner will tend to bid game with no wasted values in that suit -- something like three small is a great holding here -- and sign off in three of the major when he has wasted high cards in that suit.
Which works better, help-suit or short-suit game tries? If I had to pick, I guess I'd say short-suit, but thankfully, I don't have to choose between them.
Eric Kokish came up with what he called two-way game tries. This structure has held up very well over the several years that I've been playing it.
Let's talk about the 1S - 2S auction first:
1S - 2S -
- 2NT = asks partner where he would accept a help-suit game try.
- 3C = short-suit game try.
- 3D = short-suit game try.
- 3H = short-suit game try.
When 1M relays with 2NT (asking for a help suit), 2M will bid the cheapest suit in which he would accept a help-suit game try. So if 2M has QT6 J84 KQ632 86, he'll bid 3D over 2NT. This not only tells partner about that diamond help, but since 3C was skipped over, 1M knows that 2M has a poor club holding.
So let's say the auction went 1S - 2S - 2N [asking] - 3C [showing goodies in clubs], but 1M wasn't interested in the club suit. He can now bid 3D or 3H, asking for help there. So, theoretically, an auction might go like this:
1S - 2S; 2N [asking] - 3C [stuff in clubs]; 3D [do you have stuff in diamonds?] - 3H [Not really, but I have some goodies in hearts!]; - 4S.
It gets just a bit trickier for a lot of folks when hearts are trumps. If we were to use 2NT as the "help-suit ask" over 2H, there would be no way to show spade help-- so we use 2S as the asking bid.
1H - 2H -
- 2S = asks partner where he would accept a help-suit game try.
- 2NT = short-suit game try in spades.
- 3C = short-suit game try.
- 3D = short-suit game try.
One more little space-saving maneuver: When partner asks with 2S, to show spade help we bid 2NT. So if the auction goes 1H -2H -2S [asking] - 3C [stuff in clubs], 2M has denied help in spades (the "cheapest" suit).
So there's Kokish's two-way game tries. Astute readers may have noticed the title of this post was three-way game tries. What's the third way? We use the re-raise (1H - 2H - 3H or 1S - 2S - 3S) as trump asks. If we've opened a 16-count with Jxxxx of spades, after partner's raise we certainly don't want to be in game if partner has a medium hand with Txx of spades. SO we make the trump-ask of 3S. Pard will pass with Txx but bid game with KQx or AT9x.
The re-raise can also tip 2M off that the values for game are there, but the trump quality may not be-- so if he holds 10 HCP but a trump suit of 854, the funny looking but highly intelligent auction of
1S - 2S - 3S - 3NT - Pass
can occur. How about that -- 10 HCP opposite 16, we take our nine tricks in 3NT when the rest of the field is losing three trump tricks and an ace in 4S. Go team!
I've also been known to use the "trump ask" of 3H or 3S as a preemptive action. I once held
AKQxxx x Qxx Txx
and the auction went 1S (X) 2S (P) to me. I bid the "trump ask" of 3S knowing full well pard wouldn't bid 4S. It was a slight risk that he would bid 3NT, but knowing my LHO had a big hand it seemed that the tactical bid was the percentage action. I turned out to be right (for once) -- lefty had enough values to take another bid over 2S but not over 3S. Down two, -100, against lots of -170s and -620s their way.
So, to sum up: When one of a major gets raised to two (no matter what bids came before those),
- the next step is an asking bid
- everything else between the next step and three of the major is a short-suit game try
- three of the major asks for good trumps.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
At the end of those Laws, there's an Etiquette section. This is very well done, and I'd like to share the first seven Rules of Etiquette. Modern bridge players could do well to take this to heart.
In Auction Bridge slight intimations convey much information. A code is compiled for the purpose of succinctly stating laws and for fixing penalties for an offense. To offend against etiquette is far more serious than to offend against a law; for, while in the latter case the offender is subject to the prescribed penalties, in the former his adversaries have no redress.
- Declarations should be made in a simple manner, thus: "One Heart," "One No-trump," or "I pass," or "I double"; they should be made orally and not by gesture.
- Aside from a legitimate declaration, a player should not give any indication by word or gesture as to the nature of his hand, or as to his pleasure or displeasure at a play, a bid, or a double.
- If a player demand that the cards be placed, he should do so for his own information and not to call his partner's attention to any card or play.
- No player, other than declarer, should lead until the preceding trick is turned and quitted; nor, after having led a winning card, should he draw another from his hand before his partner has played to the current trick.
- A player should not play a card with such emphasis as to draw attention to it. Nor should he detach one card from his hand and subsequently play another.
- A player should not purposely incur a penalty because he is willing to pay it, nor should he make a second revoke to conceal a first.
- Players should avoid discussion and refrain from talking during the play, as it may be annoying to players at the table oro to those at other tables in the room.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- Since this is Auction Bridge, you are given game and slam bonuses for making the right amount of tricks no matter how high you bid... one club making six still gives you the slam bonus.
- There are two ways to bid spades-- Spades, and Royal Spades or "Royals", Royals scoring more.
- To make game, you need 30 points "below the line"; No Trumps count for 10 per trick, Royals 9 per trick, Hearts 8 per trick, Diamonds 7 per trick, Clubs 6 per trick, and Spades 2 per trick. All this extra math means is you still need 3NT, 4M, or 5m to make the game bonus. You can never make a game in Spades.
- If your opponents revoke, giving you your 12th or 13th trick, you do not receive the slam bonus.
- The dealer cannot pass! If the dealer had a bad hand, he would bid One Spade (remember, this counts only 2 points per trick).
- The worst you can do in 1S is -100.
- To bid more than the current bid, you have to bid something worth at least as much in trick value. So if your RHO bid 3NT, you couldn't bid 4C -- you'd have to bid five!
- If you bid or double out of turn, either opponent can demand a new deal.
- When declarer revokes, the defenders automatically get 150 points.
- When the defenders revoke, declarer can take 150 points or take three tricks from the defenders.
- The revoking side cannot score (except for honors, of course).
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
No trump finesse necessary! Giorgio exited with his spade loser and had to take the last three tricks.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
(A) White vs. red
QT95 A63 4 T8762
Partner opens 1H in third chair, and righty overcalls 2D. You bid 2H, and lefty competes in diamonds. The auction:
P (P) 1H (2D);
2H (3D) P (P);
(B) White vs. red
Q5 AKJ764 T A954
Lefty opens 1D, partner passes, and RHO limit-raises with 3D. Do you bid?
(C) White vs. red
-- KQ762 AQJ974 73
You're first to speak.
(D) All red
AQT62 K3 852 432
Pard opens a 20-21 2NT. Your call.
(E) All red
52 AKJT843 J6 QT
You open 1H in first seat (at least, I hope you do). LHO jumps to 2S, which gets passed back to you. What's your call?
(F) White vs. red
QJ93 J6 A832 432
Pard opens 1H, righty bids 1S, and you bid 1NT. LHO raises to 2S, partner bids 3C, and RHO passes. What's your bid?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This hand from the first segment of the Buffett Cup, played this morning, interested me. This auction was repeated several times, and, of course, all declarers made at least six. The West hand, in my opinion, is way too good for a 4S call here.
Why preempt when you have such an immense hand?
Why preempt when you have spades?
Couldn't you have a hand more like AQxxxxx x x Qxxx?
Does the board-a-match scoring affect your thinking on this hand?
Several excellent players made this decision, so I may well be in the wrong here. Would you bid 4S on this? Why?
Monday, September 15, 2008
(A) All white
J9 K7 JT87653 J7
Do you preempt in first chair?
(B) White vs. red
32 63 8762 KQ764
(P) 1S (P) ?
(C) White vs. red
AKJ AJT K9632 T6
(2S) P (3C*) ?
(D) White vs. red
A753 AJ76 A862 6
The opponents are silent. Partner opens 1C, you bid 1H, and partner bids 1S. What's your bid/plan?
(E) All white
AJ985 7 972 AJT3
Pard opens 1H. You bid 1S, and she rebids 1NT. What's your bid?
(F) Red vs. white
AQT2 875 K54 843
Pard opens 1H. What's your call?
The first Buffett Cup was played in Dublin, Ireland in 2006. The USA team was victorious. Europe led after the Pairs and Teams competitions, but in the Individual the Americans pulled out a last-minute win.
Every hand of this event will be broadcast on Bridge Base Online. Here's the schedule of the broadcasts.
This year's teams:
Sabine Auken and Marion Michielsen
Michel and Thomas Bessis
Boye Brogeland and Espen Lindqvist
Tom Hanlon and Hugh McGann
Tor Helness and Jan Peter Svendsen
Michal Kwiecien and Jacek Pszczola
Bob Hamman and Zia Mahmood
Geoff Hampson and Dick Freeman
Alan Sontag and David Berkowitz
Tobi Sokolow and Janice Seamon-Molson
Howard Weinstein and Steve Garner
Roy Welland and Bjorn Fallenius
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Buy Matchpoints at Amazon.com
Monday, September 8, 2008
3♦ - 3NT;
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
(a) What was West's percentage of the blame for the final result?
(b) What was the single worst call [or play] of the hand?
I liked this column a lot. It was discontinued about a decade ago, so I don't feel awful about 'borrowing' the format.
By the way, if I haven't said this before, TBW is the one tool that every bridge player needs. Looking back on my bridge life, the thing that primed my brain for high-level competition and brought my game from middling-intermediate to expert is reading my Bridge World every month cover to cover and reading any back issue I could get my hands on. I was thrilled a few months ago to be able to buy over 100 back issues from the 1950s to the 1980s. Hopefully in a few decades my collection will be filled in. Hardly a night goes by that I don't read at least one back issue in bed before falling asleep. If you don't currently have a subscription, get one. If you already have one, get one for your favorite partner.
So let's get judgmental!
3♦ - 3NT;
Playing a strong notrump based system, West opened a natural diamond. East made an invitational or better raise with 2♦. When West rebid 3♦, East bid 3NT and West let it sit.
3NT made 4 on a spade lead. Obviously, 6♦ is laydown unless an opponent has Axxxx of hearts, and would have made at the table, giving E-W some very nice neckwear. As it was, they 'settled' (happily, may I add) for 6th overall in the World IMP Pairs in Verona, Italy, in the summer of 2006.
So-- the two questions for you, loyal readers:
(a) What is West's percentage of the blame?
(b) What was the single worst call?
Monday, September 1, 2008
I would recommend this book to anyone looking to make the leap from Intermediate to Expert. Mike shows the reader lots of basic inferences available from bidding and play of normal, everyday hands. He then moves on to the technique of "discovery play", that is, forcing the opponents to show you their distribution and locations of high cards. The final chapter changes tone from the rest of the book-- it's all about reading hesitations and other tells from your opponents. I don't find this part nearly as useful as the rest of the book. Generally, when I'm playing against strong opponents (say in a Bracket I of a regional knockout), they don't show these tells, and when I'm playing against weak opponents (say at a club game) their hesitations and fumbles generally just mean they weren't paying attention. Maybe these tells were much more prevalent in the early 1970s... and just maybe my "sixth sense" doesn't work as well as it should. The rest of the book is spot-on, though.
Here's an example of a simple discovery play:
At IMPs, East dealer, E-W only vulnerable, a painless auction leads to 4S:
(P) 1S (P) 2NT  ;
(P) 3C  (P) 4S;
 Artificial; Game-forcing spade raise
 Artificial; Minimum hand, may or may not have side shortness
See my post on Modified Responses to Jacoby 2NT for more on this auction and for better ways to utilize your bidding space.
So our hero South plays 4S on the diamond lead. East wins two diamonds, and hoping his partner's fourth-best was from Qxxx, shoots a third back. South wins, and sees a simple way to make the contract-- play up to a heart and try to hook the king of spades on his right. But like all good declarers, once he's found a good line of play he looks for a better one! He tables the jack of clubs. East, suspecting what declarer's up to, holds up for a round, but is forced to take the second club. East plays a heart to declarer's ace, and South bangs down the ace of spades, dropping the king on his left! Mirrors? No-- South recalled East's first seat pass, and watched 11 HCP tumble out of his hand. South knew that East couldn't hold the king of spades, so the only way to pick up the suit for no losers was for West's king to be stiff, and play accordingly.
West held his cards much closer to his chest for the rest of the session.
Buy How To Read at amazon.com