Social #19, Part 3, Opening Leads – Count, Inferences, Algorithms

With our lesson #19, Day 1 on Bridge hand evaluation (High Card Points, distribution for length and shortness) beyond us, probably the next most important factor to improve our game is… YOU!  On Day 2 we learned all about…YOU!  Self-awareness, situational awareness, focus, awareness and more.  And while everyone loves to bid, first let’s take a look at opening leads.

On average we defend half of all Bridge hands, so we make the opening lead 25 percent of the time.  That’s a lot – enough that it’s worth our time to make our best lead before the play of the hand is given to the declarer on a silver platter.

In this lesson we introduce the C.I.A.!  No not that CIA – we are referring to the opening leaders ability to consider:
Count,   Inferences,    Algorithms

When the opponents merrily bid back and forth, perhaps stopping in a partscore contract, game, or even up to a glorious slam contract, they are giving their best assessment of their strength and suit length to their partner.  So as a good “counter-intelligence” agent, it is incumbent on us to Look and Listen to each of their bids rather than pout about why we didn’t get cards with chunky honors.  After all, it doesn’t cost anything and we are happy that they are sharing lots of juicy details that will help us defend against their contract.

In this lesson, we will count, Count, COUNT – making an assessment of their likely honors as well as their hand shape, suit by suit.  And capitalizing on our prior lesson 2, it may pay handsome dividends to glance for the opponents gestures, mannerisms, body language, pauses, hesitations, utterances and whatever to possibly give us more “secrets” about their hand assessment and impressions of the auction!

But wait, there’s more!  Once you or partner makes the opening lead, now is a great time to turn your head 45 degrees and admire the dummy.  Do we agree with the dummy’s bidding?  Does it match our assessment prior to the opening lead.  Now how do we feel about the lead?  And the card the declarer chose from the dummy?  Was it a fast decision or slow after considerable consternation?   Okay, enough talk – its time to tune in to this two hour, 4 part lesson with a few dozen slides, punctuated by 15 hand of animated bidding and play.    Okay, let’s do it…

Part 1 – Beginning with lead basics and counting the opponents points – 17:03 minutes of video
Free, Premium, ULTRA, click here to view Part 2 on how to count the inferences – 31:32 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 on lead algorithms and more – 30:38 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 playing lots more hands – 29:23 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we play more hands with provocative play tips and strategies, as well as way to improve skills by critiquing student players. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire four-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

Social Lesson #15 – Bridge Suit Promotion Part II, Rule of 7, Hold Back, Endplay, Loser on Loser, Safety Plays, the Dangerous Opponent and more

Greetings Bridge Friends!

Here we go again with more on promotion plays and another 24 challenging yet glorious hands to quench your declarer thirst to bring home that game, slam or even a grandslam contract.  As always, we start off by considering our objective.  In a suit contract we begin by counting our losers, while in a Notrump contract we count our winners – desperate to first win our tricks before the opponents promote THEIR suit.  Depending on factors like our quick tricks, running suits, shortage, leads, bids and the like, after long (or even short honor-bound) suit promotion, we begin by considering ruffing and finesse plays.  As in our prior lesson, we will start off seeing the consequence when the declarer makes a quick play without evaluating the best line of play to make their objective.  Then we will carefully cover the best line of play declarer to proudly bring home our contract.

Part 1 – Promotion play for all audiences – click here to view 29 minutes of video
Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 34 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 35 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 – 41 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 5 – 40 minutes of video

[Read more...]

Social Lesson #14 – Bridge Suit Promotion, Rule of 7, Hold Back, Endplay, Loser on Loser, Safety Plays, the Dangerous Opponent and more

Between promotion, ruffing and finesse plays, certainly promotion plays gain us the most tricks hand over hand.  And when promotion plays are used in connection other plays, we rack up even more tricks.   In this two-episode MEGA lesson (Lesson 14 and 15), we will cover a whopping 37+ hands.  And if that is not enough, for each hand we will take 2 (or more) attempts, first illustrating the problem when we do not use our arsenal of suit promotion options, second where we us e one of a handful of suit promotion techniques .

As expected, you will see the Rule of 7 come into play on a fair number of Notrump contracts.  However, over the series of 16 hands (plus several warm-up hands) in Lesson 14 Day 3, we will learn that like all so-called “rules,” it pays to carefully consider other factors before blindly playing hands by rote.  Ditto on holdback plays when the opponent s lead a side suit where we have a 5 or 6 card suit – while we worry that the opponents may soon ruff the suit, when holding Ace-third opposite 2 or 3 little, sometimes we ought to duck winning the first trick.

Regarding safety plays, we will reinforce the wisdom of playing unfavorable odds (like 4-1 opponent suit splits) when we need to make a critical contract.   Then there’s the spooky “dangerous opponent,” the situation when our house of cards would fall apart (figuratively) should we let a certain opponent on the lead.  The consequence will likely lead the opponents to trap our finessable honors, promote THEIR suit, or both!

Loser on loser plays make sense when giving up a losing trick will gain more than one trick elsewhere (including avoiding a dangerous opponent).

Part 1 – Promotion play for all audiences – click here to view 40 minutes of video

Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 27 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 32 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 – 33 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 5 – 30 minutes of video on how to make challenging slam contracts and other tricky plays

[Read more...]