Only summaries are included below -
see book for details
Opponents Take the
Pleasing When You Start
Is Bridge a
Help Your Opponents Take the Bait
If you do not force your opponents to make mistakes, you
facts. Most bridge players are honor-coverers. When declarer
leads an honor through your average defender, he will
invariably cover it whenever he has a higher honor. This is
usually not best. A defender's mindset should be:
honor with an honor only when you have a realistic
chance of promoting a card in your hand or partner's.
if your opponent knows not to cover, he will usually hesitate
to mull it over. Declarer is certainly entitled to draw
inferences from the opponents' actions. In bridge, unlike
poker, a player is not permitted to bluff by deliberately
the most part, only very good players can duck smoothly when
an honor is led through them. Against these players, you
cannot make assumptions. With everyone else, it is reasonable
to infer that:
If your opponent has a higher card, he will usually either
cover or hesitate before playing.
If your opponent calmly plays low, he does not have a higher
Are you intrigued by this game within the game? Food for
thought. For now, I would like to concentrate on inducing
covers in long suits.
“Bridge mirrors every facet of life.”
Mollo, British writer
frequently asked about bridge hands and am more than willing
to answer. It is gratifying to help others understand the
nuances of this wonderful game. On the other hand, it is
annoying when the player:
Interrupts a conversation in progress.
Is not interested in learning but simply wants to hear that an
expert has agreed with him.
Asks what I would bid with partner's hand; then, if I happen
to agree with his absent partner, attempts to convince me why
I am wrong.
those lines: A player approaches a bridge professional to ask
a question. The pro answers, and the player thanks him and
days later, the player receives a bill in the mail for $100
from the pro. He is outraged and immediately calls up his
attorney. “What nerve! Can you believe him? All I did was ask
attorney responds, “I understand, but look at the situation
from his point of view. The man was at work, and you asked him
to render his professional services. I’m afraid you must pay
all right. I don't agree with you, but I see where you are
coming from. That will be the last time I ask a bridge pro for
his opinion. Thank you for your advice.”
reluctantly, he sends a check to the bridge professional.
Three days later our hero receives a bill for $150 from his
Life is Pleasing When You Start Squeezing
“A well-played bridge hand has as much power to thrill and to
satisfy as a Beethoven symphony.”|
Hugh Kelsey, prolific Scottish bridge writer
many players, the most fascinating and exciting of the
so-called advanced plays is the squeeze. It has acquired an
unwarranted mystique and is perceived as being too difficult
for the average player. There are some very complex squeezes,
but the truth is that the basic squeeze can be executed by
anyone. The best way to approach this topic is with
questions and answers. Let's do it:
When should a squeeze be attempted?
there is no other way to get rid of a loser. The outlook is
bleak, so there is nothing to lose by hoping for a squeeze.
opportunity for a squeeze knows no limits. Notrump and suit
contracts are both fair game. In addition, squeezes can be
applied whether the extra trick fulfills the contract or
produces an overtrick.
What must declarer do?
A. Take all his winners in the irrelevant suits and hope for
a miracle. The irrelevant suits are those in which declarer
has no chance of creating an extra winner. An example of an
irrelevant suit is one in which the opponents are void, such
Suppose you have a suit such as A9 opposite dummy's K5. If
either hand held a third card, perhaps A9 opposite K75, there
would be some hope of winning a third trick in this suit — now
it would become relevant. The third card is called a
threat card (or menace) because its mere presence threatens
the opponents. One of them must hold onto at least three cards
in that suit to prevent your seven from becoming a winner.
I have a menace — so what?
A. Keep the lines of communication open between declarer's
hand and dummy. It does not help you if the opponent's discard
establishes a winner that you cannot reach.
B. Keep an eye on the opponents' discards. Fortunately, on
most basic squeezes, you only need to keep track of what is
being discarded in the relevant suit(s).
What are you hoping for?
discarding mistake would not bother you at all. Discarding is
often difficult, tedious and annoying. The more discards you
squeeze out of your opponents, the greater the chance for an
error. The result of this discarding error is a pseudo
you cash your last winner in the irrelevant suit(s), you hope
that an opponent will be forced to discard a winner from a
relevant suit. These are legitimate squeezes.
How often do squeezes occur?
often than you think. I cannot tell you how often I have been
aware of an upcoming squeeze while watching as dummy — if only
declarer would cash his last winner. In addition, the
potential for a pseudo squeeze is present on every deal.
even possible for the defending side to execute a squeeze.
There are also occasions when one defender squeezes his
partner. By the way, squeezing your partner is definitely
Why are squeezes so difficult?
do not have to be. Remember:
Discarding is very difficult for everyone. Get into the habit
of making the opponents sweat.
Bridge is not like pinochle; you don’t receive a bonus for
winning the last trick.
Never give up. No matter how obvious your loser is, any chance
is better than none
Is Bridge a Mathematical Game?
“Fascinating in so many other ways, there is one aspect of
bridge that bores me intensely — the pursuit of hair-splitting
percentages and abstract probabilities.”
players believe that bridge is a mathematical game — not true.
While arithmetic is involved in many bridge decisions, the
numbers are rarely larger than 26. What bridge is all
about is logic and reasoning.
player passes his partner's opening bid of one in a suit, he
should have fewer than six points. If that player shows up
with an ace during the play, you will expect any missing
queens to be held by his partner. Higher math rarely enters
is one elementary mathematical principle, however, that you
must know — basic percentages. When you lead low toward the AQ,
the king will be located favorably half the time. A simple
finesse, then, has a 50% chance of success.
percentages play a significant role in understanding the
likely distribution of the opponents' cards. Do not fret —
this will prove to be an easy topic to learn. Here are the
When you are missing an odd number of cards, expect them to
divide as evenly as possible. If you are declarer with a
combined eight-card fit, the opponents have five cards. You
cannot expect them to divide 2½–2½; therefore expect 3–2. The
same holds true when your side has 10 cards. Their three are
probably divided 2–1.
However, when you are missing an even number of cards, do
not expect them to divide perfectly. If your side has a
total of seven cards, their six will only divide evenly (3–3)
35.53% of the time. It is unlikely that one player will hold
five cards. You should expect the suit to split 4–2.
Bridge mathematics is an overrated concern. Just remember:
number of cards usually divides evenly. An even number
usually does not.
Please keep in mind that these are not guarantees, only
recently told the following story by a tournament director.
One of my students called him to the table in a snit.
“What's the problem,” the director asked.
“There is something wrong with these cards,” the player
complained. The director checked the cards, and as expected,
they were okay.
is the problem?” asked the director patiently.
was playing 3NT, and the key suit divided 3–3. I didn't play
for that and I got a bad result. My teacher told me that
six cards never divide perfectly. It's not fair.”
well. My father always wanted me to be a lawyer.
CHAPTER 16 -
DO A LOT WITH A LITTLE