Hello and welcome to the Tidewater Bridge Unit’s series of duplicate bridge lessons.
In our last Bridge Comer article, we introduced lesson #1; in lesson #2 (there are six lessons total), we will cover more of the vocabulary in the colorful language of bridge. We will also examine opening bids and simple responses to opening bid.
Contract – The final bid. Names suit or No Trump/NT and level to be achieved.
Declarer – Bids the final trump suit or NT first and plays the hand.
Book – First six tricks won by declarer (not counted in the bidding). If we bid 3 clubs, we contract to take nine tricks (6 for book + 3 for the bid). Four hearts contracts for ten of the thirteen tricks (6 tricks for book + 4 for the bid).
Making – You made the contracted-for number of tricks
Down – You did not take enough tricks to “make” your contract.
Boards – In Duplicate bridge, the cards are kept in a board. Each player gets 13 cards, which they take from the board and arrange into suits. The board indicates both the declarer and the seating direction of the players (North, South, East, and West).
Doubleton – A two-card suit
Singleton – A one-card suit
Void –A no-card suit
There are 40 high card points (HCP) in a deck of cards. Remember, spades and hearts are the major suits. Diamonds and Clubs are the minor suits. You take your thirteen cards from the board and count 14 HCP. You are sitting North, your partner is South and you are declarer (as declarer, you will play the hand). With 13 or more HCP, you will bid. Usually, you should open with 12 HCP. What should you be looking for? Look for:
a. An eight-card major suit fit (examples: 4 cards in a major suit in your hand plus 4 cards in the same major suit in your partner’s hand, 5 cards in your hand plus 3 cards in same major suit in partner’s hand, 6 cards in your hand plus 2 cards in partner’s hand in spades or hearts.
b. To play in No Trump (NT) – do not play in NT if opponents have bid a suit that neither you nor your partner has a stopper (A, Kx, QJx, 11 Oxx) in that suit.
c. A minor suit (Diamonds or Clubs)
You should open:
a. Bid 1 Spade or Heart with a 5-card (or longer) major suit (Spades or Hearts).
With two 5-card major suits, bid Spades.
b. Bid INT with 15 to 17 HCP and a balanced hand (no singletons or voids).
c. Bid your longest minor suit. If you have 4 Clubs and 4 Diamonds, open
1 Diamond. If you have 3 Diamonds and 3 Clubs, open 1 Club.
1. Can you open these hands? 2. How many points in each hand? 3. What is your bid?
Answers: la. yes; b. no; c. yes; d. yes; 2a. 19; b.9; c. 12; d. 17; 3a, 1 heart; b. Pass; c. 1 spade; d. 1 diamond
Your partner opened the bidding, you need 5 or more HCP to respond to partner. Remember the goals: try to find an 8-card major suit fit first, then try to play No Trump, or as a last resort, play in a minor. Use the minor suits as a way to find major suit or No Trump Contracts.
Responding to a bid by your partner of 1Club or 1 Diamond (promises at least 3 of the suit):
a. Bid your 5 (or more card) major suit, with two 5-card majors bid spades
b. Bid your 4-card major suits up the line. Bid hearts before spades if you have both
c. If you have 5 of partner’s suit, raise to 2 with 6-10 hcp; raise to 3 with 11-12 hcp
d. If you have 5 of the other minor you can bid it at the Ilevyl with 6-12 hcp, if you have to bid at the two level (ID-2C), you need 11-12 hcp
e. With virtually any other hand, bid INT with 6-10 hcp, bid 2NT with 11-12 hcp, or bid 3NT with 13-15 hcp.
Responding to a bid of 1Heart or 1Spade (remember this promises 5 of the suit):
a. If you have 3 or more of partner’s suit:
i. 6-10 hcp bid 2 of suit
ii. 11-12 hcp bid 3 of suit
iii. 13 or more, bid two of another suit, then bid 4 of partner’s suit at your next bid
b. With 2 or less of partner’s suit:
i. If partner bid IH and you have 4 spades, bid 1 spade
ii. If you have 6-10 hcp, bid 1NT
iii. Ifyou have 11 or more hcp and a 5 card suit, bid that suit at the two level
iv. Ifyou have 2 of partner’s suit and 11-12 hcp, bid 2NT
v. If you have 2 ofpartner’s suit and 13-15 hcp, bid 3NT
Lesson #2 has examined/explained opening bids and responding to opening bids.
Lesson #3 will cover rebids by opener and responder as well as overcalls.
For additional information on our mentoring sessions, lessons, or games, please call Delores Burney at (757) 321-0825 or Lawrence Owes at (757) 393-1853