By Val Rhead
Pass, pass, pass! Now, what are you going to do in fourth seat? Of course, if you have a strong hand, you proceed in the usual fashion and force to a game or slam if your passed-hand partner shows some strength.
But if you are in fourth seat with a marginal hand the situation is different. One thing that you will not bid is Two-Hearts if you have a six-card Heart suit and less than opening points. What would be the point? Your hand is weaker than an opening hand. Your partner does not have an opening hand. You are destined to go down and give your opponents a score. Wouldn’t a pass-out giving you and your opponents a zero score be better than Two Hearts going down and giving your opponents 100?
However, you do want to bid if you have the right opening hand. A fourth-seat opening bid can be made with a marginal hand that contains at least fifteen points according to the Rule of Fifteen. The fifteen points are comprised of the number of high-card points (HCPs) plus the number of Spades in your hand.
Why is the number of cards in the Spade suit important? If your fourth-seat hand contains twelve HCPs, a Heart suit of sorts and just two Spades, you pass. The problem is that if you don’t have many Spades, which is the boss suit, the opponents may have a fit in Spades. The opponent may be able to stretch a point or two and overcall, One Spade. His partner may then support him with Two Spades. You and your partner don’t want to go to Three Hearts. The opponents make their bare-bones contract and collect the part-score.
However, if you have a marginal hand with Hearts and 15 points or more, you bid. With this opening bid, you don’t bid One Heart; you bid Two Hearts. This is a Two-bid with a difference. It is not weak. It is a legitimate opening bid for fourth seat. Now your opponent will be less likely to put in an overcall with his previously-passed hand. If he is frisky and sticks in a bid, he and his partner may get lucky and discover a fit that may allow them to make their contract. But, if you have put in your opening fifteen point Two-Heart bid and they still overcall, your partner will know that a Heart lead is called for, which with your strength, may help to defeat their contract.
So what do you do with a marginal hand in fourth seat? Wherever possible, players should get into the action. This is especially true in the Duplicate game. In the Social game, you might just as well throw in your cards and hope for a better hand on the next deal. I know though when I do that in Social Bridge, I am usually punished by getting a much weaker hand when the cards are dealt the second time.
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.
WINTER BRIDGE AND GAMES PARTY
CFUW BURSARY FUNDRAISER, ALL WELCOME
Lunch at 12 NOON Friday, Feb 16, 2018 $25 per person
Gravenhurst Senior’s Centre 480 First Street North
This fundraiser assists young women in Muskoka to attend post-secondary education.
Register your foursome and bring supplies needed for your table. To register, please provide four names to Mary 705-646-8881 or email@example.com
HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Games at the Huntsville Club are Tuesday 1pm start for the Winter Season, Trinity United Church 33 Main Street in the Hearth Room. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. For partners and information call Liz Graham (705) 789-7187
The following winners are for Tuesday, Jan 23 with 9 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Jim Smith and Ralph Mitchell; 2. Mary Simonett and Kel Andresen; 3/4. Mary Hogarth and Albert Eatock; 3/4. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 5. Vern Foell and Rod Dixon
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.
Game cancelled Jan 22 due to weather. The following winners are from Monday, Jan 15 with 14 pairs playing a Mitchell movement. North-South 1. Mary Luke and Donna McIntosh; 2. Mary Mitchell and Susan Maddocks; 3. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 4/5. Betty Rintoul and Hazel Bowes; 4/5. Val Rhead and Joanne Garvey; East-West 1. Liz Barnes and David Bryce; 2. Joyce Payne and Malcolm Payne; 3. Barb Forth and Vern Foell; 4. Gail Lederer and Don Evans
Looking for more bridge tips? You’ll find them here.
Don’t miss out on Doppler! Sign up for our free newsletter here.