Intermediate & Advanced #12: Cover Cards, Losing Trick Count – Part II

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In issue #12 of our Intermediate-Advanced newsletter, we continue our exploration of advanced hand evaluation using Losing Trick Count (LTC).  Having looked at opener’s LTC methods, we will turn our attention to responder’s hand evaluation methodology and opener’s follow-up bidding.  Recall that making suit contracts is all about suit length and quick tricks with primary controls (Aces and Kings).  While LTC calculations still works for responder, we will learn using “Cover Cards” is a far quicker method to effectively evaluate bids. And Cover Card hand evaluation is particularly effective when considering game and slam bids.

Quiz yourself here on Cover Cards. (a 4MB music audio is attached – please allow time to load)

Also in this newsletter, we will check out an Appeal at the Washington DC NABC.  And like our last newsletter, again we will focus on what can go wrong when declarer makes a generalized claim without stating a specific line of play.

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Newcomer & Novice #15: Forcing Bids – Part II

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In this issue, we continue our exploration of forcing bids. As we learned in Part I, categorically we have three types of bids: forcing, invitational, and signoff calls. We learned that when responder bids a new suit, it’s forcing for one round. In this issue, we will explore bidding in competitive auctions, balancing bidding and other challenging auctions. We should caution you that this newsletter may be too advanced for our newcomers. In fact, many of our novice players will be challenged with some of these bidding scenarios. No worry – you can profit from those auctions that meet your comfort level and save the tough ones for later in your Bridge career. We have underlined the bids we believe are the most challenging, including bids that likely require a partnership agreement before you begin playing. But as long as you are up to speed with Part I of our Forcing Bids newsletter, you should have a sound bidding foundation. And hopefully you’ll take solace knowing from time to time we will ponder forcing/non-forcing bids in our fair game.

Quiz yourself here on forcing bids.

Also in this newsletter, we’re up to the Rule of 13 in our “Rules of” tips. Oops, we are not aware of such a rule but fear not, we’ll wing it and come up with our own variation of how to use the number 13. Sometimes 13 is a “lucky” number after all.
Quiz yourself here on forcing bids.

Newcomer & Novice #14: Forcing Bids, Part I

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In this issue, we begin our exploration of forcing bids. Categorically, there are three types of bids: forcing, invitational, and signoff calls. Generally, we know that when responder bids a new suit, it’s forcing for one round. Unfortunately, there are many scenarios where partnerships are not of the same mind on some auctions. And of course without harmony and trust, miscommunication can result in a missed game when partner mistakenly passes.

Quiz yourself here on forcing bids.

Also in this newsletter, we’re up to the Rule of 12 in our “Rules of” tips. In a competitive auction, sometimes it’s unclear whether to double the opponents for penalty. Using a bit of math and subtracting by the number 12, we can quickly determine if it’s appropriate to double the opponents.

Intermediate & Advanced #10: The Street Smart Bridge Player: Part IV

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Welcome back to our fourth and final installment of our series on the Street Smart Bridge Player. It has been a dark winter outside so perhaps it’s fitting we wrap up this segment by examining the dark side of Bridge.

No, this issue isn’t intended to give players tips on how to pull off dishonest acts at the Bridge table! Yet we should all be aware of common situations that constitute the ethical violations for the proprieties of Bridge. Perhaps our partner has unwittingly encroached on the Bridge Laws. Or worse, maybe an unscrupulous opponent is deliberately cheating and trying to get away with the caper. While others do not try to segment such infractions, we will divide these violations into three categories:

1. Inadvertent Laws Violation

2. Soft Cheating

3. Hard Cheating

Newcomer & Novice #13: Preemptive Bidding, Part 3

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In this issue, we conclude our multi-part discussion devoted to preemptive bidding. In the second issue of our series, we explored responder’s hand evaluation and forcing bids after opener’s 2 level preempt bid. We also touched on interference bidding by the opponents.

Also in this newsletter, we’re up to the Rule of 11 in our “Rules of” tips. On defense without an honor sequence, we’ve learned to lead the fourth best card from our honor suit (except when holding an Ace in a suit contract). So when partner leads a 2, what does that tell us? How about when leading a 3 and we are holding the 2 in that suit?

Newcomer & Novice #12: Preemptive Bidding, Part 2

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In this issue, we will continue our multi-part discussion devoted to preemptive bidding. As you will recall, the speculative nature of preemptive opening calls can lead to “creative” bidding. Better said, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure! In our last issue, we covered hand evaluation methods helpful to make sound opening bids. After all, if our preemptive opening bids are completely undisciplined, our poor partner is definitely against the odds facing a:

- Left Hand Opponent
- Right Hand Opponent
- Center Hand Opponent (please don’t let that be you!)

So our success making preemptive responses is built on opener’s proverbial house of cards. In this lesson we will cover typical responder scenarios:

- Responder’s hand evaluation
- When to pass
- When to preemptively raise
- When to explore game and beyond
- How to deal with interference bids by opponents

Counting up the numbers, we’ve reached the Rule of 10 in our “Rules of” tips. For the mathematically inclined, perhaps you’ll find this algorithmic approach useful to evaluate when to double opponent’s auction.

Newcomer & Novice #11: Preemptive Bidding

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In this issue, we will begin a multi-part discussion devoted to preemptive bidding. As the saying goes, Bridge is a bidder’s game. In upcoming issues, we will turn our attention to responder bids and beyond. Before we begin, we should warn our black-white thinkers that many preemptive bidders often see the preemptive bidding sport as more of an art form than a science. As we will learn, preempts are a balance between risks and rewards, akin to a highly speculative stock market where primary emotions are greed and fear. But our partners and opponents will still make preemptive bids, so like them or not, obstructive bidding is here to stay. Come to think of it, making a proactive preempt may actually help you earn respect among your peers. While opponents love easily bidding game or slam in unobstructed auctions, these days it’s unlikely they will extend the same luxury. Let’s say your Left Hand Opponent opens 3 Spades and the bidding passes to you with 17 points and four or five Hearts – you have a good chance for game, but where? And reflecting back on situations when opponents make preemptive bids, armed with new knowledge, you’ll be in a better position to know how to proceed (bid, double, or pass).

Counting up the numbers, our next stop is the Rule of 9 in our “Rules of …” tips. Actually, the Rule of 9 is more of a general guide to help us evaluate when to finesse opponents trump Queen when holding either an eight or nine card trump suit (“8 ever, 9 never”).

Newcomer & Novice #10: More Notrump Bidding Gymnastics

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Recall in our last newsletter, we established the foundation for Notrump basics, covering hand shape, strength, and hand evaluation criteria. In this issue we will conclude our discussion on Notrump bidding and responses with additional bidding scenarios.

Counting up the numbers, our next stop is the Rule of 8 in our the “Rules of . . .” The Rule of 8 offers a handy guide to help us find the best line of play finessing holding AKJxx in one hand opposite xxx in the other hand.

Newcomer & Novice #9: Notrump Bidding Gymnastics

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In this issue, we will focus on Notrump bidding and responses. You may recall two issues back we discussed captaincy and our last issue we covered material from Marty Bergen’s new book, “More Declarer Play the Bergen Way.” So let’s continue to build our Notrump bidding foundation by practicing our bidding and responses with some Notrump hands.

The Rule of 7 is our next stop progressing up the “Rules of . . .” When playing a Notrump contract with losers in opponents’ suit and insufficient quick tricks to guarantee the contract, considering the Rule of 7 is useful to disrupt communications between opponents.

Intermediate & Advanced #8: The Street Smart Bridge Player – Part II

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Welcome back to part two of the Street Smart Bridge Player. We hope you had an enjoyable winter – we took a holiday hiatus ourselves and are eager to resume our newsletters. In part one we focused on the technical side of the game, highlighting bidding and play gymnastics and touched on the psychological side of the game.

The results from the Honolulu Fall Summer 2006 NABC tourney are in, and BridgeHands has posted the tourney results, bulletins, and appeals.