By Val Rhead
There are many examples of how to handle big hands with 18-21 points. I have presented some of these examples in the past and will continue with more examples in the future. Today is just another version.
The problem with those big hands is that they occur so rarely that we don’t get a lot of practice bidding them. I got one of those hands recently. See below:
How to bid it? I was too strong for a One No-Trump opening bid that would show 15 to 17 points. I opened a “Better Minor”, One-Diamond bid intending next to jump to Two No-Trump to show 18 or 19 points. My partner responded One Spade showing at least a four-card Spade suit and at least 6 points. Maybe she has many more points than that, I cunningly thought.
Now what? I have 19 points. She has at least six. We need 25 points to have a good chance of making game. I want to make sure that partner doesn’t pass me before we reach a game contract.
If I raise the One-Spade bid to Two Spades, indicating a minimum opening hand, partner would likely pass. If I raise the One-Spade bid to Three Spades, that would be stronger, but it would be only invitational, and partner could still pass. If I jumped to Two No-Trump as I planned initially, it’s not likely, but once again it’s invitational, and partner could pass. Also, I was worried that my two minor suits were weak. I had only a King in my Diamond suit and a worthless doubleton in Clubs.
The only forcing bid then that I had at my disposal was a Strong Jump Shift. It would show 18 to 21 points, and would be forcing to game, and it is forcing. It is problematic however, because we have never played this sequence bid together before. I jumped from her One Spade to Three Hearts, a Strong Jump Shift.
Well then the problems started. Because we had not bid this sequence before, partner understandably got a little confused. She recognized a game demand but she started Cue Bidding before we had settled on a suit. Cue bids are used in various situations. In this case she is bidding the suits for which she has first-round controls, that is suits where she has either an Ace or a void. We were both flustered at this point. We ended up in a Six No-Trump contract, disappointingly, going down one. My partner felt that she should have made it, but we both felt rather unfocused because of our bidding misunderstandings.
We discussed the hand after the Bridge game was finished. We then decided what we should have done that would have prevented the confusion. I would have opened One Diamond. Partner would have replied One Spade. This would have quite delighted me, but I had to communicate to my partner how good a hand I had. If I had jumped, as I had first planned, to Two No-Trump I would have showed 18 or 19 points.
She would have known that my point count, plus her own opening-level points, were in slam territory. She is now the captain, but she doesn’t yet know about my Spade support. She would probably raise to Three No Trump knowing that we have a game. I would then show her my solid Spade support by bidding Four Spades. Now, that she knows we have a fit in Spades, she would begin a cue-bidding sequence so we could determine what first-round controls we have. This would have taken us to a slam in Spades which is makeable. And no one would be confused, because Spades had been established as our trump suit. As Barbara Seagram states in her book, 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know, page 118: “Before cue-bidding, you must explicitly agree on a trump suit.”
The moral of this story is that it is always a good idea to fully discuss your bidding systems with each of your partners. Many of us play with various partners, so this discussion, with each one, is important to avoid frustrating mix-ups.
If you wish to promote an activity in your bridge group or ask a bridge question, send the information to [email protected] and I will try to include it in this column.
NEW SOCIAL BRIDGE GAME IN HUNTSVILLE
Games are at the Active Living Centre on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room on the second floor (elevator) at the back entrance of the Canada Summit Centre. Just come – with or without a partner.
For information, please contact Donna or Peter Tikuisis at 647 471 1774 or [email protected]
For now, this game will be played following Chicago Rules (allowing both fast and slow games). You will keep your same partner for the entire evening. Cost is $1.50 per person. Parking is outside the north entrance opposite the Muskoka Heritage Place railway station.
PORT CARLING SOCIAL BRIDGE CLUB
Games for the Port Carling Social Bridge Club are Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey Street. Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes before game time.
For information, contact Andree or Scott 705-764-3827 [email protected]
Monday, March 4th, 2019 Winners: First: Irene Bond & Bruce Currie 5290 points, Second: Barb & John Brown 3410 points; Third: Joan & Len Frost 3160 points
HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Games at the Huntsville Club are Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m, Trinity United Church 33 Main Street (side door, three steps up in the Hearth Room). Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes early. For information and partnerships call Liz Graham (705)789-7187 or email at [email protected]
The following winners are for Tuesday, Mar 5, 2019 with 9 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 2. Helen Pearson and Jim Smith; 3. Vern Foell and Rod Dixon; 4. Val Rhead and Gail Lederer; 5. Joanne Garvey and Betty Rintoul
MUSKOKA DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB (Bracebridge)
Games for the Bracebridge Club are Mondays 7 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road. Please arrive with your partner 10 minutes before game time.
The following winners are from Monday, Mar 4, 2019 with 12 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Liz Barnes and David Bryce; 2. Mary Luke and Donna McIntosh; 3. Gail Lederer and Don Evans; 4. Gerry Flaherty and Ralph Hair; 5. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 6. Frank Vagnoni and Gerry Lawrence
Looking for more bridge tips? You’ll find them here.
Don’t miss out on Doppler! Sign up for our free newsletter here.