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!


G-Bear on BBO said...

I would never bid 1NT forcing with your hand, since I have a game forcing hand and I would never be able to convince pard that I have an opening count and may miss a slam. My 1'st choice would be 3NT (13-15 HCP, balanced 3-card raise 4-3-3-3 dist). Partner could then bid 4NT (quantitative) and I would pass. If your response is 2C, then partner would raise to 3C and I would bid 4S, showing no extras. If partner then bids 4NT (1430) I play two-suited keycard responses where the CK is a 6'th keycard. After my 5H response, partner knows that we are missing two key cards and would bid 5S. Unfortunately, even 4S should go down on best defense (CA, club ruff, SA, club ruff).

Anonymous said...

Liked your Bridge Bulletin article,
and, you have a great smile.

Several ideas which might be of interst to readers:

--HCP works well on bal versus bal.
--As hands get skewed it crumbles
and LTC shines

However, I find it more intuitive to teach WTC:

[subtract LTC from 13 to get WTC]

---Cover Card defined as an A,K or Q of partner's long suit

---basic formula:

[our WTC + partner's Covers] is decent estimate of combined tricks

---if opener shows 12-15 HCP in a balanced hand, that is about 4 Covers. Or, divide indicated HCP by 3 to get a guess at the kings.

---Rosenkranz in his Romex system
defines his major raises so every cover card and suit length is matched to a unique bidding action.

Hope you do not educate the public too well as we like the field to remain adding machines.


Rob VeVerka said...

Read your article in recent ACBL publication. I haven't used LTC, since I typically use: Rule of 20, open 12 point hands sometimes, and use 2.5 Quick tricks with 11points. Please comment on this. thanks. ..rob