By Peter Rhead
What happens when you or partner invite the other to bid game? Do we have a hand good enough to accept or make the invitation?
It is time to take a hiatus from the past few weeks. Well, not completely because today’s column still applies to everything we have done in the past few weeks.
Often I have referred to inviting your partner to bid game if he is at his maximum points with a “good” hand for his bid. We have never defined “good” hand. We have to know the meaning of a “good” hand in order to accept or make the invitation to go to game or to slam.
There are two parts to a “good” hand. One part is a hand that is at the top or near the top of its range when the bidder limited the hand. If the hand was limited to 6-9 points, the top of the range would be 8-9 points. If limited to 10-12, the top of the range would be 11-12 points etc.
The second part of a “good” hand is the quality of the holdings. In a top range 8-9 point hand, a hand with just two Aces is a good hand and bidder should accept an invitation and bid game. If an 8-9 point hand has four Queens, it is a bad hand. A bad hand should decline an invitation and just PASS. Both hands have eight points but the values of the two hands are very different. Do you see where we are going?
Using our point system for hand evaluation, we need to consider trick-taking capability as well. Two Aces probably will take two tricks. Four Queens, also worth eight points, might take zero tricks! What choices do we have for accepting or making an invitation to game.
Choice One: An 8-9 point maximum limited hand with AKQ in the same suit is a good hand. Accept the invitation and bid game. A poor hand is AKQ in three different suits. Just PASS; we have only one sure trick!
Choice Two: A 17-18 point maximum limited hand is a good hand if the points are in the same suits or if the points are in touching honours such a Kings and Queens. The two high honours together can be counted as one trick towards a good hand.
Choice Three: A 20-21 point maximum limited hand is a good hand to initiate an invitation to slam if the points are not made up of a lot of Queens and Jacks (also referred to as Quacks). Invite or accept game or slam only when the points are made up of touching honours, not honours splattered all over the hand without enough trick-taking possibilities.
Next Week: Examples of when to accept partner’s invitation to go to game or slam.
Remember, as we all fight COVID-19 with social isolation, if you want your Bridge fix, online competition is available for all skill levels. From the ACBL Bridge website, you can hook up either to play live people or to play robots. Either way you test or consolidate various Bridge skills. At ACBL.org just click on “Play Bridge” and follow the prompts for various choices.
If you wish to promote an activity in your Bridge group or ask a Bridge question, send the information to email@example.com and I will try to include it in this column.
Looking for more bridge tips? You’ll find them here.
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