Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jennbridge: Better Than a Minimum

Here's another way to use losing trick count.  Playing in a team game the other night, as dealer with both vul.,  I picked up a nice hand:

♠ AKxxx
♣ J

I opened 1, LHO jumped to 3, partner bid 4, RHO bid 5 and it was back to me.  I paused to consider the implications of all of this bidding.

Partner must have a game-going hand as his 4 bid, which shows a good hand with a spade fit, would have forced me to bid at the 4 level.  I took a look at my losers.  I have 6 losers, or possibly 5, if you apply LTC adjustments and deduct half a loser for each ace.  Partner should have no more than 7 losers so we should be safe at the 5 level and may even have a slam.  How should I proceed?

Certainly I could bid 5, but, with this good hand--better than a minimum--I decided to take the opportunity to convey some potentially valuable information to partner, cheaply, by cuebidding 5.  

Sure enough, partner jumped to 6.  A heart was led.

♠ QJxxx
♣ Axx

♠ AKxxx
♣ J

I liked the dummy, and the (non-club) heart lead was quite likely a singleton.  The Q was covered by the king and I won the ace.  I drew trumps in 2 rounds and played the J, confirming the singleton lead.  I gave up a trick to the 10 and claimed, pitching dummy's small diamond on the 9.

Plus 1430 felt like a good score, but turned out to be a push.

Remember to take advantage of opportunities to convey useful information to partner.  In this case, not only did I announce that I had a high heart honor--just the message partner needed to bid the slam--but also that I had a good hand according to losing trick principles--better than a minimum. With a minimum opener (7 losers) I would have taken a different course.

Here are some nice comments just in from readers:  
  • I bought one of your books and loaned it to a friend.  Haven't seen it 
    since.  I would like to order vol 1 and vol 2. I loved your articles 
    in the bridge magazine.  They were useful, practical and easy to apply. 
    They have improved my game, but I would like to have the books to refer 
    back to and study.  Thank you!
  • I am excited about LTC. It has helped me immensely! Am looking forward
    to Vol. 11.   Thanks, Janet 
 See you at the table!

1 comment:

Jennifer Jones said...

Danny Sprung, a good player from Philadelphia, had this to say about the bidding: I liked your 5H bid but partner is absolutely barred from jumping to 6S with all of those aces. Your minor junk could have included the HK and 7S is cold.
Q: Do you suggest he bid one of his aces?
A. Yes, 6C, the lower one. If you cuebid 6H he can bid the grand for sure. As it is you would sign off at 6S and play there.

Thanks Danny!