Bid­ding agree­ments help some­times

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

“The Big Bang The­ory” has some funny lines. In “The Agree­ment Dis­sec­tion” episode is: “Ah! Mem­ory im­pair­ment: the free prize at the bot­tom of ev­ery vodka bot­tle!”

Bridge part­ners have agree­ments, mostly about bid­ding, but they are of no use if a part­ner for­gets one. In ad­di­tion, the ba­sic sys­tem in­tro­duces its own re­stric­tions. In today’s deal, for ex­am­ple, how should the bid­ding con­tinue in Stan­dard and in two-over-one game-forc­ing?

In Stan­dard, South would re­bid three hearts to show extra val­ues and six-plus hearts. North would take con­trol with (Ro­man Key Card) Black­wood and hope­fully get to seven hearts.

In two-over-one, South re­bids two hearts (be­cause three hearts prom­ises a solid suit). North raises to three hearts, and a twoover-one prob­lem arises. Nei­ther player knows the strength of his part­ner’s hand, ex­cept that it is worth an open­ing bid. When a ma­jor is agreed at the three-level, if South now con­trol-bids four clubs, it shows extra val­ues and the club ace -- a se­ri­ous slam-try. With a mid­dling hand, he con­tin­ues with an ar­ti­fi­cial three no-trump. With a min­i­mum, he signs off in four hearts. How should South play in seven hearts af­ter West leads the club jack to dummy’s king? De­clarer should play a heart to his ace, dis­card a spade on the club ace (do not draw an­other round of trumps), lead a spade to the ace, re­turn to the spade king, ruff the spade jack with dummy’s heart jack, draw trumps, and claim.

Fi­nally, al­though bid­ding agree­ments are great, you and your part­ner should spend much more time than you do now dis­cussing de­fense.

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