By Peter Rhead
Examples of when to make a Bergen Raise
Last week we reviewed the Bergen Raises. The objective of the Bergen Raises is to allow the partner of a player making a major suit opening, to show his support in favour of the bid major suit. This can be done with just one bid that describes the major suit’s support length and the hand strength. In a jump bid to Three Clubs or Three Diamonds, responding partner’s Bergen Raises jump bid describes his hand and often shuts out the opponents from making a defensive bid.
This week we have examples of some hands where you must consider whether or not to use the Bergen Raises. You have the Reverse Bergen Raises agreement with your partner. (Three Clubs 10-12 points is the stronger bid over Three Diamonds 6-9 points).
Case 1: This is your responding hand. Partner opens One Heart. You have ten points and four-card Heart support. You bid Three Clubs. Opening partner is the captain. He considers a game in Hearts knowing you have Heart support and 10-12 points. If he has enough strength with 10 points from you, he goes for the game of Four Hearts. If he needs 11-12 points from you, he invites game, Three Hearts. In any event, holding nine trumps in your partnership, you probably will get a good score playing either Three Hearts or Four Hearts.
Case 2: You are the responder with this hand. Partner opens One Spade. You have 7 points including one length point and five-card Spade support. You bid Three Diamonds showing at least four-card Spade support and a hand strength of 6-9 points. Opening partner is the captain. He considers a game in Spades knowing you have Spade support and at least 6 points. If he has enough strength with your 6-7 points, he bids the game Four Spades. If he needs 8-9 points from you, he invites game Three Spades. Otherwise he settles for the part score Three Spades. Playing either Three Spades or Four Spades, your partnership probably will score well, even if you do not make your contract.
Case 3: You are the responder with this hand of zero points. You are not strong enough to bid Bergen Raises after opening partner bids One Heart. You bid Four Hearts… yes, Four Hearts, even if your right-hand opponent bids! It is known as the Law of Total Tricks. It is a pre-emptive bid. Your partnership has ten Heart trumps. You keep your opponents guessing. You know your opponents probably have the majority of points. Either you force them up or you go down but either way you probably end up with a good score.
For more complete information, check out “Bergen Raises” in Barbara Seagram’s 25 More Bridge Conventions You Should Know, page 21
Next Week: More examples of when you could use the Bergen Raises.
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