Duplicate Bridge results and tip: Useful conventions worth learning, part four

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By Val Rhead

Bidding No-Trump

Some Bridge players feel jittery when they make a One-No-Trump opening bid.  It is understandable.  It is necessary to keep track of all four suits, and if they are fairly new players, this may seem daunting.  However, a lot of contracts are bid in No-Trump.  After all, you can make a game by taking only nine tricks rather than ten in a major suit, or eleven tricks in a minor suit.  Of course, if the opponents then make an opening lead of the Queen of Diamonds (the top of a sequence) against your One-No-Trump contract, and that is the one suit that you hoped they wouldn’t lead, things can get rough.

Although No-Trump is opened initially, the final contract often ends up being played in a suit.  Next week, we will begin to look at a valuable toolkit of conventions that help players discover major suit games in Hearts or Spades, or even on occasion in long minor suits in hands that were opened originally in No-Trump.

In old-fashioned Bridge, No-Trump was only bid when the player had a balanced or semi-balanced hand with all suits stopped.  Like a lot of bidding in Bridge though, No-Trump bidding has evolved over the years to include some pretty distributional hands.  Recently, it’s even become OK to open a hand in No-Trump with a singleton as long as the singleton is an Ace, King or Queen.  Sometimes, I think I see players’ trembling a little as they contemplate making such a bid.  But remember, just because you open No-Trump, it doesn’t mean that you will end up playing the hand in No-Trump.  You may discover a potent suit contract.

Another distributional change that was made some time ago is to open One-No-Trump with a five-card major.  Quite a few players still adhere to not opening One-No-Trump (15 to 17 points) when they have a five-card major suit. The problem with this is that the opener’s second bid becomes inaccurate.  If he opens with a good five-card Spade or Heart suit, the partner knows about the distribution, but she doesn’t know the strength of the hand.  The hand could be a twelve-point squeaker or a seventeen-point wonder.  If the opener rebids One-No-Trump after his partner’s response, his partner may think the opener’s hand is worth 12 to 14 points which is weaker than it is, and she may pass.

If the opener’s hand is a gem, and his rebid is a jump to Two-No-Trump, his partner may think that the hand is worth 18 to 19 points, which is stronger than it really is, and she may go on to a game that cannot be made.  Many modern players prefer to first show their partner the power of their hand, and, if possible, introduce the five-card suit later in the bidding.  It is less confusing.  But whichever system you use, make sure that you and your partner are on the same wave-length.

Some players are very conservative when opening One-No-Trump.  If they have stoppers in three suits, but none in the fourth suit, they won’t take a chance and bid No-Trump.  Often their partner will have a stopper in the missing suit.  Sometimes the No-Trump bidding ultimately will reveal a strong major-suit fit, and the contract will be played in Hearts or Spades.   Sometimes their partner unfortunately doesn’t have a stopper, but the opener and his partner between them may have enough small cards in the suit that they can manufacture a stopper from the small cards and still make the contract.  Some players will not bid No-Trump on a hand that contains two doubletons, even if the two doubletons each contain an Ace or a King as a stopper.  What they may miss by not opening One-No-Trump is finding that they have a fit for one of the longer suits in the hand and miss a game.  Also, their partner may have good support for the opener’s doubletons, and a No-Trump contract is viable.

However, if the opponents have opened the bidding with something like a One-Heart bid and the opening player on the other side has a 16-point One-No-Trump hand, he should only bid One-No-Trump if he has the opponent’s Heart suit stopped.  It would be foolish to do otherwise.  Obviously, the opponents have values in the Heart suit, and obviously, the suit is likely to be led.  If he can’t stop Hearts, he will open a suit, (perhaps using the Better Minor convention as we discussed last week), or he may bid a Takeout-Double.

A lot of top Bridge players believe the statement: “The victory goes to the bidder.”  I haven’t seen documented statistics proving this, but I see it happen routinely at the table.  Go for it.

If you wish to promote an activity in your Bridge group or ask a Bridge question, send the information to [email protected]gmail.com and I will try to include it in this column.

NEW SOCIAL BRIDGE GAME in Huntsville

Games are at the SUMMIT CENTRE Thursdays, 7pm.

PLEASE NOTE that our NEW VENUE for Bridge DURING THE SUMMER is the Summit Centre “Don Lough Warming Area”.  This room is located on the second level of the Summit Centre accessible by taking the right-hand stairs (elevator) after passing through the main entrance and then proceeding straight past the doors.  The room does not have a kitchen; hence, please bring your own beverage (we will still provide snacks).

Just come – with or without a partner.  Please arrive 10 minutes before game time.

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.

PORT CARLING SOCIAL BRIDGE CLUB

Games for the Port Carling Social Bridge Club are Monday evening 7pm at the Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey Street.  Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes before game time.  NOTE:  There is no game Monday July 1.

For information, contact Andree or Scott 705-764-3827 [email protected]

There was no game July 1 but  Monday, June 24, 2019 Results: 1. Jeanette & Hans Heeneman 5,180 points; 2. Els Vandenburg & Peter Rhead; 4,750 points

HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB

Games are Tuesday 7pm Trinity United Church 33 Main Street.  Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes before game time.  For partners and information call Jan Roberts 705 635-2522 or email [email protected]

The following winners are for Tuesday, July 2, 2019 with 21 pairs playing a Mitchell movement. North-South 1. Mary Whitehead and Helen Pearson; 2. Barb Kuker and Peter Kuker; 3. Vern Foell and Rod Dixon; 4. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 5. Joanne Garvey and Kel Andresen; East-West 1. Andrea Killackey and Judith Arbus; 2. Yvonne Cox and Dorothy Russell; 3. Susan Marshall and Jan Roberts;  4. Liz Graham and Sandy Graham; 5. Gerry VanLierop and Ron Groulx

MUSKOKA DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB (Bracebridge)

Games for the Bracebridge Club are Mondays 7pm, Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road.  Please arrive with your partner 10 minutes before game time.

The following winners are from Monday, July 1, 2019 with 18 pairs playing a Mitchell movement.  North-South 1. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 2. Mary Luke and Donna McIntosh; 3. Frank Vagnoni and Gerry Lawrence; 4. Mary Whitehead and Helen Pearson; 5. Jane Froese and Hank Froese; East-West 1. Joanne Garvey and Bev Howard; 2. Liz Barnes and David Bryce; 3. Art Insley and Don Evans; 4. Kathy Kent and David Kent; 5. Joan Joel and Peter Joel

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