Nancy Evins: More questions and comments from an ex-bridge partner, no foolin’

Nancy Evins • Updated Jun 10, 2018 at 2:00 PM

There was one more bridge question from my friend’s letter plus a lot of suggestions on how to be a better partner. That last part will come next week, though I wish I could embroider all of them and send it to him as reminders. 

This is just a fun hand to give you and me something to think about.

You hold 10 spades from ace and 10 down and one card each in the other three suits.

Should you open “seven spades, six spades, five, four, three, two or one”? he asks.

You are highly optimistic if you think your partner will hold all three outside aces, plus the king of spades – or just high. It would be nice if the three losing spades were each going to the three other players, but with my luck, the king, queen and jack would all be in only one opponent’s hand.

Also rule out six spades, which would require at least two of the aces and the king of clubs or all three aces.

It’s about the same for the five-spade bid minus one of the above. Dream on.

Three spades indicates a seven-card suit and less than 10 points.

Two spades is showing a five-card spade hand with five to 10 points.

I can’t even imagine why anyone would open one spade. Partner might not have enough points to respond, and therefore, opponents will jump in for probably a slam. My writer suggests this one spade bid as a possibility and says to keep bidding spades until game. He adds,” If you know where you’re going, you can do anything.” But anything can cause a disaster most of the time.

He also suggests after you open one spade, then splinter in whatever suit partner bids. I’m not sure if partner would even consider it a splinter but a huge bid in his suit. Actually, you only splinter in un-bid suits.

So why not make the most accurate bid…four spades. It will make it difficult for those pesky opponents to communicate, and it will tell partner exactly what you hold…at least eight spades and less than 10 points. Partner should know the rule of two and three, which is to be used after a pre-emptive bid such as this. If vulnerable, opener is promising not to go down more than two and if not vulnerable, not more than three. Partner counts sure tricks in his hand, and bids or passes accordingly. The vulnerability was not given along with the details of the hand itself.

The last possibility, says my ex-partner, is to open two clubs. Two clubs shows a huge hand but can also show eight and a half tricks. Not knowing which could get partner thinking you had the former and with a huge hand himself, might jump to seven no-trump after some intermediate bidding. Imagine his surprise when the hand in dummy shows only four points.

There is something I’ve seen on opponents’ cards, not really so much a convention, but a reminder to both, and that is KISS.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]


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