BRIDGE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

The de­vel­op­ment of bid­ding judg­ment seems tricky. You are taught all about point count and then a plethora of cor­rec­tions for short­ages, for length, for hold­ing no aces and for be­ing 4333. Then some­one tells you los­ing trick count is bet­ter. What is one to do? How do you get to bid like an ex­pert? For that mat­ter how do ex­perts judge things? The an­swer is sim­ple and hard at the same time. The ex­pert tries to look ahead to the play to judge how many tricks the hand is likely to make and chooses bids on that ba­sis. To­day’s hand came up when I was play­ing a club game with my sis­ter from Bal­larat. We could have bid it well but we were EW and had to watch NS botch­ing the bid­ding hor­ri­bly. The first three bids were fine. North’s leap to 4H is not good since this hand is strong but the auc­tion sounds weaker in high cards and more based on long suits. South just has to take a mo­ment to think now. North has bid 4H on their own and has ei­ther six solid hearts or seven of them. The KH tells us it is the lat­ter.

South has to look at the play. In par­tic­u­lar, how is the di­a­mond suit go­ing to be used? If North has two di­a­monds, the suit will pro­vide five tricks af­ter one ruff and four tricks af­ter two ruffs if they are 3- 2 or 4- 1 ( 96%). If North has one di­a­mond, one or two ruffs will pro­vide five tricks if they split 3- 3 and four tricks if they are 4- 2 ( 84%). If North has no di­a­monds, the suit will pro­vide four tricks if they split 4- 3 ( 62%). Thus, the di­a­mond suit is likely to pro­vide four tricks to go with seven hearts and the AS. So South can see 12 tricks and could bid 6H now but it costs noth­ing to check on the AC and then bid 7H. So you see the line of play is iden­ti­fied dur­ing the auc­tion. Sis led the QD and North con­tin­ued to un­der- im­press by not ruff­ing the di­a­monds. Af­ter tak­ing the spade fi­nesse, de­clarer dis­carded two spades on the AKD. More than half of the field failed to bid slam and half of them couldn’t find a 13th trick so we only got a 60% score. This hand is an easy ex­am­ple of how one can plan the play dur­ing the auc­tion and bid on that ba­sis.

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