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.

Newcomer & Novice #8: Orchestrating Notrump Contracts

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Do you look forward to bidding and playing a Notrump contract or do you fear Notrump enough to influence your bidding? Sure, we’ve all had an occasion of playing in a poor Notrump contact. Suits can split poorly, stoppers don’t always hold up, and declarer play can be challenging. Yet avoiding a makeable Notrump contract faces its own consequence.

In this issue, we will take a look at the basics of Notrump contracts: the hand shape, hand evaluation, opener rebidding considerations, and play fundamentals. Do you worry about a worthless doubleton? Are all honors created equal? Should you upgrade your hand with a five card minor suit?

The Rule of 5 provides a handy rule of thumb to consider in competitive auctions. The saying goes, “the five level belongs to the opponents.” Let’s consider the rationale behind this axiom and when your common judgment might prevail.

Intermediate & Advanced #7: The Street Smart Bridge Player

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How aware are you of what’s really going on at the Bridge table? Do you consider yourself “street smart?” There is a saying that goes, “There are three types of people – those that are the movers and shakers that make things happen, those that are close to the action that help things happen and learn as they go, and finally those that are entirely clueless about what happened at all !” How about you? Hopefully history teaches us lessons at the table and in life. This issue will begin exploring the attributes of the street smart Bridge player.

The results from the Chicago Summer 2006 NABC tourney are in, and BridgeHands has posted the tourney results, bulletins, and appeals. As always, most of the appeals deal with hesitations, changes in tempo, and unauthorized information. The remaining Laws rulings often provide interesting insights into the minds of the director and the appeals committee. How close is close when it comes to a played card from declarer’s hand? How about when it’s a change of call in the dummy from “ruff” to “overruff?” And what about when a Grand Life Master faces her 6 remaining cards, begins to describe the claim, retracts the faced cards and wants to continue play? Sometimes the interpretation of the Laws can work in strange and wondrous ways!

BridgeHandshas joined the “Web 2.0” crowd, adding multimedia audio and an interactive blog (that’s short for a weblog) to our site. We hope you will find these additions useful and enhance your stay at our site.