By Val Rhead
Most people play Bridge for the fun and challenge of the game. But their time is limited by the demands of babysitting grandkids, walking granddogs and chasing granite rocks across frozen ice surfaces. They would like to play more Bridge and better Bridge, but they don’t have the time to learn all its nuances.
They are frustrated when they are asked to remember point-count ranges and suit lengths for such inanities as opening with the bid “Gambling Three No Trump” that comes up once in every three years. However, there are requirements in the game of Bridge that are worth remembering. They will help you win, and doesn’t winning increase the fun of the game?
In a social game recently, at the next table, I overheard a player say “with seven points I felt I had to bid”. The remark came from a responder to an opening One No Trump bid. She was confused. If her partner had opened One Heart, she could have bid her seven-point hand. However, when responding to a One No Trump opening with her seven points, the partnership was on its way to a bad result.
It generally takes about 25 points to make a game in No Trump or in a major suit. The required point-range is very exact. These players opened One No Trump with 15 to 17 points. The points required for a response of Two No Trump is 8 or 9 points, an invitational bid. If the opener holds 15 points and her partner bids Two No Trump, 15 plus 8 or 9 points equals 23 or 24 points. Opener will pass. However, holding a maximum opening bid, this opener bids Three No Trump, calculating 17 plus 8 equals 25. However this partner did not have eight points; she had seven. Seven plus 17 equals 24. It’s close, but close isn’t good enough. She failed to make her contract. This is not nit-picking. This is likely to cause her to go down. She is not having fun.
I was tempted yesterday. My partner opened One No Trump. I studied my hand, and studied my hand. I had four Hearts and four Spades with seven points. The devil on my shoulder told me that it would be a great hand to play Stayman. Partner likely had a four-card major so we would have an eight-card fit. But, perhaps she wouldn’t have a four-card major. Then what? Dwelling on this conundrum, I passed. My partner made Two No Trump with her 17-point hand. She would have taken us to the failed game with her 17-point hand if I had bid. But I passed and we made the satisfying part-score contract. That was more fun than going down.
Bridge is a partnership game. If you can rely on the bids of your partner, you usually make your contracts. If you or your partner often stretch your bids, neither can rely on the bids of the other, and you get into trouble. In today’s example, there may be occasions where the seven-point response might be worth the risk. An Ace-King combination is worth more than the seven points consisting of three Queens and a Jack. You can count length points in No Trump—one point each for the 5th or 6th card in a suit.
A seven high-card-point hand with six Spades could be legitimately stretched to nine points because of the two length points. Such a hand is worth a bid of Two Hearts which is a Transfer bid to Two Spades and perhaps subsequently to a game contract in Spades. So if you are going to stretch your response, make sure that there is a reason to upgrade your hand.
If you keep these points in mind, you will have a more enjoyable game, and yes, you will have more fun. Who wouldn’t agree with that? Perhaps, our grandkids, I guess.
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.
IMPORTANT NOTICE – BRIDGE LESSONS – SAVE THE DATES STARTING APRIL 9
Tips on Bidding and Playing To Bring Success At The Table
These lessons by Marilyn Kalbfleisch of Orillia will be for all interested players who have some knowledge of the game. Both men and women are welcome, so bring your Bridge playing spouse as well as all your Bridge partners. No partner is required for the lessons; singles will be accommodated.
Lessons will start on Monday, April 9 and will run Mondays for 6 weeks. They will take place from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at the Royal Canadian Legion 168 Muskoka Rd, in Bracebridge (Just South of the OPP Station, off Cedar Lane). The price is $75 for all six weeks, or $15 for single lessons by cash or cheque (payable to “Nancy Barber” at the first lesson). Contact Nancy Barber – [email protected] or at 705 375 3620. Attendance must be confirmed in advance of the first lesson.
HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Please NOTE: EVENING PLAY for the Summer begins Tuesday, April 3, 2018 7:15pm
The final Winter afternoon game for the Huntsville Club is Tuesday 1PM, March 27. Trinity United Church 33 Main Street. Please arrive 15 minutes before game time. For partners and information call Liz Graham (705) 789-7187
The following winners are for Tuesday, Mar 20 with 9 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Liz Graham and Dorothy Russell; 2. Heather Hockin and Chris Karn; 3/4. Val Rhead and Gail Lederer; 3/4. Mary Hogarth and Albert Eatock; 5. Jim Smith and Ralph Mitchell
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 [email protected]
The following winners are from Monday, Mar 19 with 11 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Liz Barnes and David Bryce; 2. Betty Fagin and Kelly Andresen; 3. Mary Luke and Donna McIntosh; 4. Gail Lederer and Don Evans; 5. Carol Anne Robinson and Nancy Barber; 6. Mary Hogarth and Albert Eatock
Looking for more bridge tips? You’ll find them here.
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