Advanced Lesson 9 – 3 Level Jump Bids in the Passout Seat

At long last, we have finally reached the final segment of our lesson on balancing seat bids in the passout seat.   Recall that with a good 7 or 6 Losing Trick Count hand including a Semi Self-Sustaining Suit (Suit Quality of 9 or a good 8), with a partnership agreement we can jump to the 2 level in our major suit – a highly invitational bid.  So what is up with a jump to the 3 level in a lower ranking suit with respect to your Left Hand Opponent?

Here is another highly invitational game-going bid, this time looking for a 3 Notrump contract when partner has a few cover cards (primary honors, Aces and Kings) including 1-2 stoppers in the opponents bid suit.  Remember in an earlier lesson that cuebidding the Left Hand Opponent suit at the 3 level shows “one-half” of a stopper, perhaps Q-x, Q-x-x or maybe J-10-x.  So lacking a half-stopper here is the rare opportunity to jump to the 3 level in your long minor.  Obviously, your minor suit should be 7 in length, at least a Semi Self-Sustaining Suit (Suit Quality = 9+) and a 5-6 Losing Trick Count hand.     Finally, we will explore the meaning of a 3 level jump in a higher ranking suit, particularly a major suit.  This time with our 5-6 LTC hand and SQ=9+, we are looking for a major suit game when partner has at least one trump and 2-3 cover cards.

Aside from discussing this peculiar bids (which require partnership agreements) and the associated hand evaluation, when it comes to card play be sure to hang onto your seat.  We have some tough hand to play, not only from the declarer’s perspective but also for the craft defenders eager to set wayward contracts.  And as always, we have a plethora of  Bridge hands here at BridgeHands.

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All audiences – Part 1 with theory, click here to evaluate several hands and play 3 hands – 30 minutes

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Advanced Lesson 8 – Balancing Seat bids in 2 of a Lower Ranking Suit

In our prior Advanced lesson, we looked at the mysteries of jump bids in the passout/balancing seat, with this episode devoted solely to the scenario when we make a 2 level call in a lower ranking suit.  Really, you may wonder – an entire lesson focusing solely on such a seemingly innocent call?

Well, as it turns out when we overcall at the 2 level in a lower ranking suit than our Left Hand Opponent, it turns out this is not your “garden variety” bid and deserves extra attention to the intricacies of what happens next.  After all, just like in life when we make an action (or inaction), the wise person always has a “Plan B” fallback position up their sleeve just in case things in life don’t always follow our plans!

After covering a few ground rules, we will evaluate a handful of Bridge hands here at BridgeHands before heading to the table.  And once we take our seat (or kibitz if you prefer), it’s time to sharpen your pencil, your sharp eyes and prepare for the test conquering the bidding and play of 11 hands.  And as always, there’s lots of twists and turns during the play of the hand for both the declarer and the defenders.

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All audiences – Part 1 with theory, click here to evaluate 4 hands and play 1 hand – 20 minutes

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Premium and ULTRA Members – Part 3, click here to play 6 hand segments – 17 minute video

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Advanced Lesson 7 – Balancing Seat JUMP Bids in the Passout Seat

As in our current Social Lesson 7, it’s also time for our Advanced players to step up the bidding in the balancing seat with extra values.   In this video lesson, sitting in the passout/balancing seat as responder we may have some opportunities to make a jump bid.   What would be the meaning here?  Better yet, would partner know what it means??? (or you, when partner does so)

Here are the three scenarios we will cover:

1. (1D) – P – (P) – 2S!
2. (1D) – P – (P) – 3D!
3. (1D) – P – (P) – 3N

Of course the fun has only begun during the bidding phase.  When we head for the table both the defenders and the declarer will need to have a few tricks up their proverbial sleeve to get their best result.  Hint – think transportation, not just for you but what’s going on with your opponents.  This episode runs 31 minutes.

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Advanced Lesson 6 – Balancing Seat Overcall and Double Bids

In our last episode, we explored situations where we should overcall 1 Notrump in the fourth seat – either that or double.  This time  on half of our example hands we have a 5 card major suit so our primary task is to determine whether we should simply overcal, or make an initial  double and then bid our semi self-sustaining suit (“type 2″ double).  And as with all calls in the passout seat, we must remember to value “borrowing a King” from partner when considering our options.  So after adding a virtual 3 High Card Points to our hand, it’s time to make our best call.

Of course, the bidding doesn’t stop there!  Now it’s up to our passed hand partner to respond, considering our bid was predicated on the “borrowed King.”   In today’s session we will be shooting to bid game and beyond, so be careful and on your toes to make every available trick.   And when you and partner have most all of the High Card Points other than the opening opponent, carefully count out the points in their hands.  In a few of the hands, as declarer you will be able to determine whether or not to finesse a key honor from a marked opponent – especially critical when you are stretching to make a slam contract!   This episode runs 30 minutes.

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Advanced Lesson 5 – Balancing Seat 1 Notrump and Double Calls

To date, our balancing bid quest in the passout seat has focused on 1 level overcalls or simply passing.  But the fun has just begun and in this and the next episode it’s time to address situations where we should overcall 1 Notrump in the fourth seat – either that or double.  And the meaning of the double?   In scenario Type 1, we are making a traditional takeout double when we are short in the Left Hand Opponents suit with good support in the remaining three suits.  Point-wise, in the balancing/passout seat we are permitted add a virtual 3 points from partner – i.e., “Borrowing a King,” striving to keep the auction alive.  That leaves the Type 2 double, where we hold a hand with around 6-7 playing tricks (6 Losing Trick Count with a great trump suit, Suit Quality 8-9+).  Again, we’re able to borrow a King from partner when making our call – first doubling, then rebidding 1 Notrump or our long/strong suit bid.

But the bidding fun has just begun, and we will have to be on our toes during the play of the hand to make our ambitious game contract (especially after partner FORGOT that we borrowed a King when making our call in the passout seat!  For this lesson we have two segments.  Part 1 and 1b are 25 minutes and 23 minutes, respectively.

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Advanced Lesson 4 – More Balancing Seat Bids for Duplicate Bridge Players

By the way, Premium and ULTRA members are welcome to enjoy prior Advanced Lesson segments as well as the Social Lessons (covering Major Suit Raises in the first 4 lessons).  Better yet, check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive by clicking
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For our Advanced players sitting in the passout seat, we will compare and contract three bidding variations.  Sure, in the balancing seat we always strive to be partner’s hero and rummage up a bid after “borrowing a King” from partner.  Yet with questionable values, sometimes we will not have the anticipated story book ending.  And how about you – do you feel lucky?  One way or the other, let’s see how this story turns out for the declarer and the would-be defenders.

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Advanced Lesson 3 – Balancing Seat Bids for Duplicate Bridge Players

Next up on our journey navigating competitive bids, we switch gears and turn our attention to balancing seat bids.   Sometimes your partner has a nice hand but simply does not have the correct shape to make an overcall (suit bid or a takeout double).  In situations like this as well as followup bidding, when you are in the passout seat it’s often time to “borrow a King” from partner and keep the auction alive and competitive (two passes so far and the auction goes to the opponents unless you make a call).   Just remember that when partner made a call in passout seat, resist the urge to punish partner by then advancing the bidding to the 3 level.   In this lesson we also demonstrate the inadequacy holding a Jack-doubleton (including Ace-Jack).   We will also take a look at competing when Left Hand Opponent opens 1 Notrump and you are in the passout seat – time to use Mel Colchamiro’s “Rule of 2″ (guideline), responder’s “Stayman double” after RHO overcalls 2 Club, a tip on how to avoid an endplay when LHO has a trump stack sitting behind you, as well as the classic distribution when to try a “strip and endplay.”

By the way, Premium and ULTRA members are welcome to enjoy prior Advanced Lesson segments as well as the Social Lessons (covering Major Suit Raises in the first 3 lessons).  Better yet, check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

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Advanced Lesson 2 – Freebids in Competitive Auctions in Duplicate Bridge

Continuing our journey navigating competitive bids, we take another look at what can go right and wrong when bidding in the direct and balancing seat.   When use wisely, freebids help us show partner additional length or side-suit values, while balancing seat bids in the passout seat are all about hand-to-hand competitive bidding – mano-a-mano.  In this lesson we also compare and contrast allowing the competitors to win the auction in the event they overbid, making a seemingly odd Notrump balancing predicated on the opponents and partners bidding, underscoring the difference between a chunky 5 card suit with top honors versus a hand with spread honors and much more.

By the way, Premium and ULTRA members are welcome to enjoy both lesson segments as well as the Social Part 2 lesson on Major Suit Raises, one hand which also touching on competitive bidding and freebids.  Better yet, check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

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Advanced Lesson 1 – Freebids in Competitive Auctions in Duplicate Bridge

As promised, we are beginning the new year with shorter, more frequent lessons for the social and advanced players.  Premium and ULTRA members are welcome to enjoy both lesson segments.

In our advanced lesson, we delve into competitive bidding – contrasting freebids from balancing seat bids in the passout seat.  We will explore when not to make a negative double, “The Law” of Total Tricks, misfits, using the Rule of 10 to consider penalizing mischievous opponents and other provocative topics.

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2010 Fall NABC: Senior KO, Board 57

Board 57 Senior KO Round 4 of 4

Going into Board 57, the Knock Out match was neck and neck.   But still waters can only last so long and on this hand the sparks flew on both tables.   With favorable vulnerability, how do you feel about a preemptive 2 Heart opening bid in first seat with 2=5=4=2 shape?  Well, Bob Hamman’s the bid ultimately drove the opponents to a 4 Spade contract they ultimately would not have chanced.

At least that’s what partner Zia believed when he doubled Bates 4 Spade bid.  When partner preempts but then leads another suit, most often it’s a singleton and pard is looking for an immediate ruff.  But recall Hamman’s shape was 2=5=4=2 so the lead of the Club 8 was from a doubleton.  Zia, believing Bob Hamman was short returned the Club Ace – but it turned out declarer Bates held the stiff Club, leading to a ruff of Zia’s Ace.  Ouch, any return other than the Ace or a Diamond sets the contract.   Playing double dummy is sooo much easier than only seeing half the cards after long hours of grueling play.  Do you think when Bob and Zia went to sleep that night they both wish the opening lead would have been the top of sequence Diamond 10?  Might that lead have come if Zia didn’t risk the double of 4 Spades?  Did the dark angel wisper for Zia to return the Club Ace instead of the neutral Spade Queen?  Questions, questions, questions – that’s what keeps us Bridge-types going…

So when the dust settled in the Open Room, Bates chalked up 790, 4 Spades doubled, making and vulnerable.  Let’s look at the action before going to the other table…

Board 57
North Deals
E-W Vul

♠ 9 6
♥ A Q J 8 3
♦ 10 9 8 6
♣ 8 6

♠ J 10 8 7 5 3
♥ 6 4 2
♦ A 7 5
♣ 7

N

W

 

E

S

♠ A K 4
♥ K 10 9
♦ Q 4 3
♣ K J 10 4

 

♠ Q 2
♥ 7 5
♦ K J 2
♣ A Q 9 5 3 2

West

North

East

South

Bates

Hamman

Wold

Zia

 

2 ♥

2 N

3 ♥

3 ♠

Pass

4 ♠

Dbl

Pass

Pass

Pass

4 ♠ x by West

Trick

Lead

2nd

3rd

4th

1. N

♣ 8

J

Q

7

2. S

♣ A

♠ 7

6

4

3. W

♠ 5

6

A

2

4. E

♠ K

Q

3

9

5. E

♣ K

2

♦ 5

♥ 8

6. E

♣ 10

3

♦ 7

♥ 3

7. E

♦ 3

J

A

6

8. W

♥ 4

A

9

5

9. N

♦ 10

Q

K

♠ 8

Meanwhile, in the other room, Drewski also opened 2 Hearts holding the 2=5=4=2 shape.  Does that make your head spin just a bit?  Again, this was followed by a 2 Notrump balancing bid by Ekeblad.  However, this time South (Krekorian) quietly passed.  And sitting West, Rubin, jumped to 4 Hearts – a Texas Transfer to 4 Spades by Ekeblad.  So this time the lead came from the other side of the table, with the Notrump bidder’s hand closed.

Normally, playing the strong hand as declarer is good for about a trick.  But not so on this hand.  Krekorian was not about to lead his unprotected Club Ace, instead leading the normal high Heart 7 from doubleton.   So this time, seeing the dummy’s exact shape (singleton Club and 5 red suit losers, the defenders got all their due tricks to set declarer Ekeblad by 2 tricks, down 200.

So much for still waters with a 990 point swing to the O’Rourke team over Meltzer’s boys.  Here’s the board in the Closed Room.

Board 57
North Deals
E-W Vul

♠ 9 6
♥ A Q J 8 3
♦ 10 9 8 6
♣ 8 6

♠ J 10 8 7 5 3
♥ 6 4 2
♦ A 7 5
♣ 7

N

W

 

E

S

♠ A K 4
♥ K 10 9
♦ Q 4 3
♣ K J 10 4

 

♠ Q 2
♥ 7 5
♦ K J 2
♣ A Q 9 5 3 2

West

North

East

South

Rubin

Drewski

Ekeblad

Krekorian

 

2 ♥

2 N

Pass

4 ♥

Pass

4 ♠

Pass

Pass

Pass

4 ♠ by East

Trick

Lead

2nd

3rd

4th

1. S

♥ 7

2

J

K

2. E

♠ A

2

3

6

3. E

♠ K

Q

7

9

4. E

♣ K

A

7

8

5. S

♥ 5

4

Q

9

6. N

♥ A

T

♣ 2

6

7. N

♦ 10

Q

K

A

8. W

♦ 5

6

3

2

9. N

♦ 9

4

J

7

And so as the evening went on, and On, and ON – the play was EXTREMELY slow.  Eventually even  the Director couldn’t resist chiding the players to do *something* with the play running late and hour our two after most mortals would finish.  But at the end of a critical and close team KO game, mortals are all tucked in their beds.   Yet the momentum began swinging with this pivotal board with the O’Rourke team winning the match by a modest margin.   And on the next evening, they outright clobbered their opponents to win all the gold.   Well done – great play to the team who seemed to defy gravity!  And who said the out-of-town “away team” gets sleepy, anyway?

Epilogue – While many viewers probably nod their head if partner makes a preemptive 2 Heart call with 2=5=4=2, top players use advanced hand evaluation and tend to “mix it up” a bit when conditions are right.  Here’s some of their considerations:

1. Favorable vulnerability – check
2. First seat (better than second seat) – check
3. Positive shape (5-4-2-2 better than 5-3-3-2) – check
4. Four card suit suit not a major – check
5.  Ideal strength (7-8 losers) – check
6. Top players in the world – check

And as we have witnessed in a top team game, it’s “mano-a-mano” which helps explain why both players opened 2 Hearts.  In fact it was Bob Hamman who once explained the following difference between an IMP and Matchpoint duplicate Bridge game (not an exact quote):

“… In a team IMP game, it’s like two prize fighting boxers going at it for 15 rounds with the best man left standing.   However, in a Matchpoint game, you put the two prize fighters in the ring with a bunch of lunatics…”