Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Upgrade or downgrade?

Playing at the club today, I had this feeling that we were having a very bad game. I misevaluated a couple of hands and that contributed to the general feeling of moroseness.  See if you can do any better.

I was sitting South on this hand when partner opened 1S.  What would you bid?

Dealer: N
Vul: NS
Pard (North)
♠ KQxxx

♦ Kxxx
♣ KQxx

Me (South)
♠ Axxxx
♥ xxx
♦ Qx
♣ AJx

 1S - P - ?
HTML Bridge Hand Layout Creator
How good is your hand with 11 hcp?  Since we are playing Precision, partner was limited to 15 HCP, so I just raised to 4S.  As you can see, 6S is cold.  Would upgrading my hand to bid Jacoby 2NT have helped us find the slam?

How about this hand?  What do you open? Now, bid out the N-S hands. What's your final contract?

Dealer: S
Vul: NS
Partner (North)
♠ KQ10xx
♥ J10xx
♦ x
♣ J10x

Me (South)
♠ Jx
♥ KQxxx
♦ KQx
♣ KQx

HTML Bridge Hand Layout Creator

If you open 1H and hear back 3H, what do you do? If you open 1NT, what will partner do? Did you stay out of 4H missing four aces?  We didn't. I opened 1C (Precision 16+) and were inexorably led to 4H.

But at some point in the evening, our luck started to change. How do you know your luck's changed?  When you bid unscientific slams and find that they are cold on any lead:

Dealer: S
Vul: NS
Partner (North)
♠ K10
♥ xx
♦ Jxxx
♣ KJxxx

Me (South)
♠ AQxxx
♥ Axx

♣ AQxxx

1C* - P - 2C - P
3C  - P - 3NT - P
HTML Bridge Hand Layout Creator
Can you find the slam scientifically?  No other pair did anyway and this top board and a few other lucky contracts toward the end of the evening enabled us to finish with a 60% game.


  1. the "modified swiss convention" (by max hardy) solves the bidding problem of the first hand, where a raise to 4d after a precision 1s opening shows 11-14/15 raise points and 5+ card trump support. after that partner can use exclusion keycard blackwood for hearts, bidding 5h. you would respond "two keycards, excluding hearts" bidding 6c, after which partner bids a confident 6 spades (almost cold) slam.

    my partner and me use super-precision style asking bids, the bidding would go: 1c p 1s p 1nt (asking nr of controls) p 2c (0-2 controls) p 2h (asking for type of holding in h) p 3h (showing xxxx) p 3s (pass or correct if max nr of controls held). partner would probably pass out 3 spades, having only one control, but might bid 4h, getting excited about his diamond singleton.

    the 3rd hand would be bid as follows:
    1c p 2c p 3c trump asking bid) p 3h (5 trumps and 1 top honor) p 3s (control asking for s) p 4d (2nd round control) p 4h (control aksing for h) p 4nt (3rd round control) p 6c all pass. knowing of the sure heart loser, i bid 6c and partner must pass this.

    greetings Martin

    1. We play that 4D is splinter, and I prefer that since it is far more descriptive.

      Asking bids are something I was avoiding -- we started doing Precision only so that we can safely get involved with light hands. Our system is almost wholly natural. But I suppose I have to grit my teeth and learn alpha/beta/gamma asking bids, etc. some time soon.

    2. you could use "concealed splinters", whereas a jump to the other major, e.g. 1s p 3h, shows a splinter bid with an unspecified singleton somewhere. this, in combination with jac 2nt, hardy swiss, forcing nt, 2/1 responses and combined bergen raises provides an usefull "arsenal" to distinguish between:
      - preemtive raises
      - constructive raises, inviting to game
      - gameforcing raises without slam ambitions
      - gameforcing raises with slam ambitions
      after partner opened a precision style 1s/h

      asking bids are not necessariliy part of a precision based bidding system. some like it, many don´t, saying, that they are very vulnerable to opponent´s interference. you might take a look on, where those asking bids are explained in depth, escpecially how to cope with opps interference.

      take care