Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Perfect Bid

Experienced bridge wags are fond of the saying "Bridge is an easy game."  But there is one situation where bridge really is an easy game.  It's when you're dealt a hand which is perfectly in the range of one particular bid, and not suitable for any other bid.  There would be no problem, right?  Just make the bid.

So why do we seem to go out of our way to make some other bid?  I don't know.  Sometimes, we just have a blind spot.  But I've seen quite a few examples lately. Take this one, for example.  ♠92 AQ96 AK62 ♣K73.  Red on white.  Partner passes, RHO bids 1♣ ("could be short").  There's one bid (and only one) into which your hand falls.  In fact, your hand is screaming "1NT, 1NT!".  We made 2NT.  Unfortunately, our side was on defense and our +100 did not score well when everyone else was +120.  I won't give any details, but the call chosen by the holder of this hand was, obviously, not 1NT.

Here's a similar one.  ♠AQ952 A8 K6 ♣AJT9.  Red on white, again.  LHO and partner both pass.  RHO opens 2.  Again, you have the perfect bid: 2NT.  This is especially true if you and partner play that 3♣ is looking for a five- or four-card major in this situation (e.g. Puppet).  Despite our 24 hcp, we ended up -800 on this board (in 3♠X).  2NT was in fact our par contract, although 3♣ also makes.

Sometimes, of course, we benefit from our opponents not seeing the wood for the trees.  ♠Q7 JT95 J964 ♣Q54 at favorable vulnerability.  Partner opens 1 and RHO bids 1.  Again, the right bid is staring you in the face: 2.  When I was the 1 bidder, this hand passed.  At Kim's table, this hand bid 1NT!

I hesitate to mention the next case, but in my role as intrepid reporter seeking out the truth, I feel duty bound.  ♠AKJ9 K965 T986 ♣2.  Nobody is vulnerable.  Partner deals and opens 1 (either a hand with distribution including 4+ diamonds, or a balanced hand with 15+ hcp).  RHO, somewhat surprisingly, bids 1♠.  While a trap pass could be right (although I think I'd rather be at favorable vulnerability for that action), I think there is one standout call here: double.  This typically shows four hearts and at least 8 hcp.*  That's exactly what we've got here, right?  If partner rebids 2♣, we can safely bid 2NT showing our spade stoppers, around 11 hcp, and the four hearts we've already promised.  If partner rebids 2, we have a more awkward decision.  In fact, partner has four hearts so we would presumably end up in 4.  Again, no details, but let's just say we never found our heart fit.

* in our system, we will occasionally have a good hand with a good suit of our own when we double.


  1. Was there a typo in the third example? A non-forcing single raise with 18 HCP and only 2-card support? Shouldn't the auction start 1D (1H) 1S?

  2. Thanks, Barry. Glad to know someone is reading these. Yes, there was a rather significant difference in hands. I've fixed it now :)