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Bridge Corner: July 9, 2015

Hello and welcome to the Tidewater Bridge Unit’s series of duplicate bridge lessons. In lesson #4, we covered counting points, opening bids, responding to partner’s bids, overcalling, and takeout doubles. Are you comfortable counting your HCP (high card points), opening and responding to bids, and overcalling? If not, please review lessons #1, #2, #3 and #4. Also, please consider attending the free bridge lessons and playing in the bridge games being offered by the Tidewater Bridge Unit contact information is at the end of this lesson.

Lesson #5 covers the No Trump (NT) Opening bid and Responding to the No Trump Opening bid. Remember (S) = spades, (H) = hearts, (D) = diamonds, and (C) = clubs. Opening 1NT gives your partner a great deal of information. Opening 1NT says “partner I have 15 to 17HCP, I do not have a five card major (spades or hearts), I do not have a singleton in any suit, and I do not have a void in any suit.” This distribution of the NT opener’s 13 cards is called balanced distribution:

4-3-3-2 distribution

(S)A962 (H)K103 (D)AJ6 (C)A98

4-4-3-2 distribution

(S)AK62 (H)Q94 (D)AQ42 (C)63

5-3-3-2 distribution

(S)AK7 (H)K86 (D)AK532 (C)94

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Other Opening No Trump counts:

18-19 HCP with balanced distribution: jump a level on your rebid. With 18-19 points, opener has too many points to open 1NT and opener cannot open 11/2 NT. Opener will open with one in a suit. When partner responds with one of a higher suit, opener jumps to 2NT-this shows 18-19 HCP with a balanced hand. If opener likes partner’s suit, opener would instead jump in partner’s suit.

North is dealer; he starts the bidding holding (S)A43 (H)K3 ((D)AQ432 (C)AJ7

North: 1(D); 2NT

East: Pass

South: 1(S)

West: Pass

20-21 HCP with balanced distribution: open 2NT

Responding to No Trump Opening – Without 4 or more cards in a major suit

If your partner opens 1NT and you do not have 4 or more cards in a major suit, and you have:

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0-7 points Pass

8-9 points Bid 2NT. This bid asks your partner if he has 15 or 17 HCP. With 15 points, he passes, and if he has 17 points, he bids 3NT. With 16 HCP, your partner uses judgment he looks for other good “stuff’ like a 5-card suit or well placed l0’s to help him make his decision to Pass or bid, bid 3NT

10-14points Bid 3NT

15+ points Bid 4NT indicating to partner that you have 15+ points and if partner has 17 points, partner bids 6NT.

When you do have 4 or more cards in a major suit, it is worth finding out whether or not your side has an 8-card major suit fit. If at all possible, you want to play in your 8-card major suit fit. There are two artificial bids that can help you find out about your partner’s major suit holding-8tayman or Jacoby Transfer. In bridge, we call these artificial bids conventions.

Responding to No Trump Opening – Stayman

The basic premise of Stayman is that a 2 Club bid over 1NT promises at least 8RCP and at least one four-card major. When your partner opens 1NT and you respond “2 Clubs,” you are asking your partner, “Do you have a four-card major? If so, name it.” The 2C bid says nothing about responder’s clubs. The 1NT opener has only three choices:

• 2D – I don’t have a four card major

• 2H- I have four hearts, and I may have four spades.

• 2S – I have four spades, and I do not have four hearts.

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Responses to 2D-Bidding has gone North/1NT – East/Pass – South/2C – West/Pass


• 2H or 2S shows a minimum hand (less than 7 HCP) with five of the bid major and four of the other major. If you have 5 of one major and 4 of the other, you do not have to have 8 HCP to bid Stayman. You bid your 5-card major if partner bids 2D.

• 2NT shows an invitational hand with at least I-four-card major (8 or 9 HCP).

• 3 of a major shows five cards in the bid major and 4 in the other and 10+ HCP.

• 3NTshows a hand with at least one 4-card major and 10+ HCP.

Responses to 2H or 2S – Bidding has gone lNT-P-2C-P-2H or lNT-P-2C-P-2S. 2NT shows that responder to the No Trump opener has 8-9 HCP without four cards in partner’s major (you have the four card major that partner did not bid). Opener can pass with 15 or a bad 16 HCP or bid 3NTwith good 16 or 17 HCP.

• Raising partner’s major to 3H or 3S shows 8-9 HCP with four card support

• Bidding 4H or4S (partner’s major) promises four-card support with 10+ points.

• 3NT shows 10+ points but the other major (not partner’s). If the lNT opener has four spades and four hearts and responder has four spades and 10+ HCP, the bidding would go North/lNT – South/2C – North/2H – South/3NT – North/4H.

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Responding to No Trump Opening – Jacoby Transfer

The Jacoby Transfer bid is used after your partner has opened some level of No Trump.

With 0+ HCP, you bid the suit below your long major of 5+ cards. So, after partner opens INT, your response of2D or 2H says, I have at least a five-card major suit in the suit directly above the one named. If my bid is 2D, I want you to bid 2B. If my bid is 2H, I want you to bid 2S. I am ‘transferring’ you to my long suit first so you will be declarer at either contract (NT or major suit) and your big No Trump hand will be concealed from our opponents.” The 1NT opener must accept the transfer by bidding the next higher suit-the 1NT opener would bid 2H over 2D or 2S over 2H.

Jacoby Transfers are artificial bids, so ifyou and your partner play this convention, you will need to let your opponents know. After the transfer bid is made, the 1NT opener says “transfer.” This tells the opponents that the 2D bid doesn’t mean that the bidder has diamonds; the bidder has hearts.

American Bridge Association, Inc., 2015 Summer National

July 28- August 9, 2014

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

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