Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jennbridge: Count Your Losers!

Partner dealt and opened 1 spade at the club game yesterday (board 27) and I held:

♠ J74
♣ A964

What is your call?

While I had 13 points, I had 8 losers which meant the hand was not necessarily worth a game-forcing bid.  Therefore I decided to start with a forcing notrump and try to get more information from partner before my next bid.  I can always put the hand in game, make a 3-card limit raise, or perhaps even veer into notrump.

My fearless (reckless?) LHO came in with a double and Bob, my partner redoubled, showing a good hand.  RHO bid 2 hearts and it was decision time.  As I had hoped, I now had a lot of information.

For starters, the opponents were probably in big trouble.  Secondly, LHO had values.  Finally, my partner had a good hand as indicated by his redouble.  Clearly we belonged in game, but several factors pointed to a notrump game:
  • My hand was a balanced 4-3-3-3 with no ruffing values.
  • All of the suits seemed to be adequately stopped.
  • The partnership possessed extra values so that as many tricks were likely available in notrump as in a suit contract
  • With the heart bid on my right a heart lead was likely.
  • The omnipresent and overriding reason:  We were playing matchpoints! (so that making that 10 point bonus was all-important)
I decided against punishing the relatively inexperienced opponents and my 3 notrump bid closed out the auction. A heart was led and a suitable dummy greeted me:

♠ KQ1098
♣ Q1083

♠ J74
♣ A964

11 tricks were easily available and we were rewarded with a near-70% board.

My LHO held:  A/10742/9853/KJ52.

The keys to the hand were 1) staying out of slam and 2) bidding notrump.  My partner admitted that if I had started with a 2 club game-forcing bid, it would have been virtually inmpossible to stay out of slam, and nearly half of the field did, indeed, bid to the slam.  (One pair, remarkably, bid and made 6 due to an unlikely endplay.  Charlene stripped the red suits and threw her opponent in with the {lucky for her, singleton!} ace of spades who had to then lead away from the king of clubs.)

Don't forget to count your losers!

See you at the table!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jennbridge: Adventures with Abbe

Abbe (my bridge student, assistant and friend) and I stayed to play in the Marin Co. unit game after the losing trick count seminar Gene Simpson and I taught yesterday.  Here is one of the more memorable hands.

RHO dealt and passed and I innocently opened 1NT:
♠ 952
♣ A104

Abbe, with a flourish, responded 4 , a Texas transfer, and I duly bid 4 .  She now bid 4NT, keycard, and I responded 5, showing 0 or 3.  She now signed off (or attempted to) at 5.  I found this whole auction unusual, however, and couldn't really figure out what was going on.  It did seem to me though, that since I had 3 keycards rather than 0 that I should take another call.  So I bid 6 and everyone passed.

The king was led and I did my best to conceal my surprise.

♠ J76
♣ KQ3

♠ 952
♣ A104

"Good grief!"  I quieted my mind with the declaration that I wasn't down yet.  I saw that I could take a ruffing finesse against the queen and be down only one (for what that would be worth).

I drew a couple of rounds of trump and took the ruffing finesse--the 10 being covered by the queen and ruffed.  I drew a couple more rounds of trump and noted with interest as LHO, a very experienced player with thousands of masterpoints, pitched two diamonds.  For good measure I drew the last tump and played off the clubs ending in my hand. 

♠ J76

♠ 9


I cashed the  9 pitching a spade as both opponents followed.  Was there really a miracle at hand or had I miscounted?  I played the 2 and pitched another spade as eveyone showed out.  Making 6.  The 2 was my 12th trick!

Abbe was starting a small celebration in her seat and I hurriedly scored up 1430 and jumped up from the table for a walk out into the hallway.  Ha!  Perhaps I have been in a worse slam but, mercifully, I can't remember it!

LHO held:  Q4/ 97/KQ765/9762

See you at the table!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jennbridge: LTC seminar with Gene Simpson

It's not too late to sign up for the losing trick count seminar that Gene Simpson and I are giving next Sunday in Marin County.   Here are the details:

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 10:30A – 12:30P (prior to Unit 508 game)

Terra Linda Rec Center, 670 Del Ganado Road, Terra Linda

$40 per person, includes a copy of Jennifer's LTC booklet. 
Contact Jennifer for reservations & info at:

Losing Trick Count – an alternative method of Bridge hand evaluation guaranteed to improve your bidding.
- Take the guesswork out of bidding!
- Learn how to bid games easily and confidently with no more than 20 points!
- Learn how to stop at a low level despite high point count.

This seminar will present LTC theory along with approximately 20 hands on the benefits of LTC, including competitive bidding, game tries and slam bidding.

If you want to attend and you already have my LTC booklet the price is $30.

See you at the table!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jennbridge: The Curious Cuebid

From Jake, traveling bridge pro:  Jenn--We should come up with a name for the cuebid that the expert makes in the middle of an auction to try and create a game force and which the student or intermediate player always finds puzzling and invariably ends up ignoring which causes the auction to fizzle out before it reaches its climax.

At the Scottsdale Regional RHO opened one heart and I overcalled one spade with:

♠ Q10xxxx
♣ Kxxx

LHO passed and partner got my attention with a bid of 2 clubs.  RHO passed and it was my call.  What to bid? My hand has gone up in value with partner's 2 club advance and we surely have a game somewhere.  In spades?  Clubs?  Notrump?

As the only forcing bid I could create was 2 hearts, that's what I bid.  Partner bid 2 notrump which wasn't much help as I was still unsure where we belonged.

As it was a team game perhaps I should have jumped to 5 clubs as one of my friends suggested, but I hated to give up on spades.  So I bid 3 spades, praying that partner would take note of the fact that I inserted a cuebid into the middle of the auction before I rebid my spades. 

Nope--he passed.  Sigh.

♠ A9
♣ AQxxx

♠ Q10xxxx
♦ x
♣ Kxxx

It was disheartening to see ace-doubleton of spades in dummy and realize that we could make game in either black suit.  I actually made 6 as the spades were well-positioned and I was able to pitch my diamond on the queen of hearts.  

I finished the match in a funk, dreading the score comparison.  When our teammates read the score for the board they announced "Plus 200!"  "Win 10" I replied. (Whew!)

It seems that our counterparts had an even worse time of it as they wound up in 3NT, down 4!  So instead of suffering a big loss, we actually had an unexpected good result in a rather amusing twist. 

Keep Passing the Open Windows!

You too Jake--keep the faith!  Good idea--if we give the bid a name maybe that will elevate it to the status of a CONVENTION which can then be noted on the convention card.....

Here are some other suggestions:

Gratuitous cuebid
Conspicuous cuebid
Peculiar cuebid
Critical cuebid
Remarkable cuebid

Any suggestions readers?

See you at the table!