By Val Rhead
Recently I picked up an old Bridge manual. “Open One No Trump with 15 to 17 points if you have all suits stopped.” Wrong, wrong, wrong; this is not modern Bridge. I often run into players at social Bridge games that still adhere to this philosophy. Opener has a balanced 17 point medium strength hand but she is afraid to bid One No Trump because one suit is not stopped. Her extreme caution limits her options.
Holding a 15 to 17 point hand, Opener has no way to tell her partner the strength of her balanced hand unless she opens One No Trump. If she opens One Club and subsequently rebids Two Clubs, she has told her partner that her hand is a minimum opening bid (12-14 points) with a six-card suit. If she opens One Heart followed by a One No Trump rebid, she has told her partner that she has a minimum opening bid with a five-card Heart suit. If she opens One Club followed by a One Spade rebid after partner responds One Heart, Opener has told her partner that she has two suits but hasn’t said anything yet about her strength. Perhaps, her partner decides to pass before Opener has a chance to show that she has a medium strength hand.
Bridge is a game of playing the odds. For example, if the No Trump Opener has a worthless doubleton in Diamonds, the probability of her partner holding a stopper in Diamonds is fairly high. Also, there is a possibility that her opponent will decide to lead another suit. And, the probability is good that the seven Diamonds in the opponents’ hands will be split four – three which would allow a Three No Trump contract to be made if there are no other losers in Opener’s two hands.
These all are important reasons why it is safe to open One No Trump missing a stopper. Also, these hands might not be played in No Trump at all! Using the Stayman and Transfers conventions, these hands often are played in one of the major suits where a fit has been found. So the worthless doubleton in Diamonds will not be a major factor at all. If a player forgoes making these exploratory One No Trump opening bids, she likely would not have discovered these fits.
Now, I do admit that sometimes you can have a bad result opening either One No Trump or even Two No Trump with a partner who has next to nothing. However, the Transfer bid may allow you to escape these disasters if your partner has a longish suit even though he has no points. Sometimes too, the opponents will enter the auction and the resources of the No Trump opener will then be put to good use on defence. In other cases, it’s just the probabilities working against you this time. Maybe, the bathtub was pointed in the wrong direction. Some of the players who refrain from opening One No Trump harken back to that one (or more) times when they took a chance and it didn’t work.
To be successful in Bridge you have to realize that the odds will not always work for you. But an intelligent use of the odds will work in your favour more often than not. Most of the world’s most successful Bridge players play aggressively to their advantage, using their knowledge of the odds involved.
If you wish to promote an activity in your bridge group or ask a bridge question, send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to include it in this column.
HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Games at the Huntsville Club are Tuesday 7:15 start, Trinity United Church 33 Main Street. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. For partners and information call Jan Roberts 705 635-2522 or email email@example.com
The following winners are for Tuesday, Nov 14 with 9 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Fay MacDonald and Helen Pearson; 2. Liz Graham and Dorothy Russell; 3. Joanne Garvey and Barb Green; 4. Kel Andresen and Vern Foell; 5. Susan Marshall and Jan Roberts
MUSKOKA DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB (Bracebridge)
Games for the Bracebridge Club are Mondays 7pm, Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. For information or partnerships, call Brian at 705-645-5340 firstname.lastname@example.org
The following winners are from Monday, Nov 13 with 17 pairs playing a Mitchell movement. North-South 1. Val Rhead and Joanne Garvey; 2. Betty Rintoul and Hazel Bowes; 3. Bev Parlett and Vern Foell; 4. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 5. Carol Anne Robinson and Nancy Barber; East-West 1. Frank Vagnoni and Gerry Lawrence; 2. Kel Andresen and Jim Smith; 3. Gerry Flaherty and Ralph Hair; 4. Art Insley and Don Evans; 5. Kathy Kent and David Kent
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