My partner, Mary Omodt, had an interesting decision yesterday playing at the bridge club. I opened 1♠ and she held:
We play Bergen raises in connection with losing trick count and she had an array of choices. Being thoroughly steeped in the principles of losing trick count, however, the first thing she did was count her losers.
Only 7 losers, but only 6 high card points. Hmmm...how to proceed? She took a middle-of-the-road action which I liked. She decided to jump to 3♦, which we play as a limit raise with 4 trumps (Bergen raise). This bid had several advantages. First, it showed me 4 trumps. Secondly, it indicated some values. Third, it was flexible, in that if I tried to sign off in 3♠, she could move on to game if it seemed warranted. Finally, it had some preemptive value in case the opponents were considering bidding the minors.
Here's what Mary has to say about her decision: It was mostly a matter of eliminating bids. 2H shows opening hand count,
2 spades could get passed, 3 spades (preemptive) is too weak, 4 clubs (splinter) too strong,
although I really considered that. With my 7 losers I even thought about 4
spades. None of that seemed right so it was between 3C or 3D, and again,
the LTC made the decision.
It was now my turn to make a decision with this strong 4-loser hand:
The losing trick count count was right for bidding a slam. The problem was how to learn whether or not we were off two cashing club tricks.
I couldn't bid 3♠ as that was non-forcing. I didn't have a convenient cue bid--4♦ wouldn't elicit the information I needed. Bidding blackwood may not get the information I needed either and might prompt an unwelcome lead-directing double. My reasoning continued...if partner had the values for a limit rasie it seemed likely that she had a club honor. After all, there weren't that many values outstanding. Finally, even if we were missing the ace and king of clubs, the odds were against the opening leader holding both of them and we might survive a jump to slam.
I jumped to 6♠ and received a diamond lead.
Dummy was a beautiful sight and it was an easy task to make 7. Spades broke 2-2 and I ruffed a club in dummy for my 13th trick.
Surprisingly we got a top board as no one else bid the slam.
Don't forget to use Losing Trick Count! It will help you get to superior contracts. How to use it with Bergen raises is described in my booklet, Losing Trick Count (Vol. I) available on this site.
See you at the table!