Nancy Evins: It’s time for a pop quiz

Nancy Evins • Updated May 1, 2016 at 4:00 PM

I haven’t heard from any of you in some time, and I am curious if you have been using some of the easier conventions such as Jacoby transfers and Stayman and have added a couple of new ones. How is it turning out?  Or as Dr. Phil would say, “How’s it workin’ for you?”

Most bridge players, after a short time of learning to play this game, add Stayman and Jacoby transfers.

The next I would add is negative doubles and after that “Michaels.”

But there is much to be said with the basic bidding, and I’ve written about it a lot, so here’s your quiz and how would you bid them?

A. You are declarer and are holding: 

(S) 9 8 7 6 3

(H) A K Q J 10

(D) A 8

(C) 5

B. You are still declarer (Hasn’t anyone else had a chance?)

(S) A K Q J

(H) 5 4 3 2

(D) Q J 10 9 5 3

(C) —

C. (S) A K Q J

(H) A 4 3 2 

(D) A Q

(C) 8 7 6       

Now before we go any further, I am giving you time to go get a piece of paper and write down your answers because the next quiz questions are going to be using the same hands. Don’t peep. 

OK, your answer was anything but one spade on A., shame on you. Newcomers will fall in love with the stronger of the majors, but if you open one heart and your partner responds with two clubs or two diamonds, what is your next bid?

You have no support for the minors, and you can’t now bid two spades because that is a “reverse” showing at least 16 points and says that you have longer hearts than spades.

It is a reverse because if partner can match you in hearts, he would have to go to a higher level.

So if you bid spades first and partner bids two of a minor, you can now say two hearts. That is a 12-14 bid and at this time shows five spades and four hearts. If partner persists in a minor, you rebid hearts, which now says you have a five/five hand minimum. You could have six spades and five hearts or six spades and six hearts or any number that is equal in length or the first bid suit one card more than second. 

B. It can’t be anything but one diamond. No four-card major openings unless you are still playing Goren from the ’40s.

C. A perfect two no-trump opening. And, no, you don’t have to have stops in all suits.

The use of Stayman and Jacoby transfers will usually get you out of a mess. If your partner has either or both of a four-card major, he will be three clubs. You bid up the line so would say three hearts, and he responds three no trump, you know he has spades so you would correct to four spades.

Partner only has to have five or six points to get you to game. If he has neither four card major, he must have length in the minors so that takes care of that.

Pat yourself on the back if you knew all this. And if you did, make sure your partner also knows. And please don’t feel scared to try duplicate bridge as many are. Last week’s column was about the Bennett’s where Mrs. B. shot and killed Mr. B. That was more than 70 years ago. My title for that column was “Play Nice” and was changed, not by me, to “It’s Tougher to Play Nice Now” which is absolutely untrue. We have zero tolerance, and even newcomers will find most people polite and considerate.

When you both know what each other’s bidding means, it’s like dancing. I loved to dance. When I was a freshman at the University of Tennessee I went to the Baptist Student Center to join up, being a Southern Baptist, don’tcha know? When they pulled out a pledge card for me to sign that I would never dance at the University of Tennessee, I marched myself right out the door and headed for the Methodist Student Center.

Met a lot of wonderful people there and really enjoyed all those sock hops and the big bands that came to the school. I forgot to ask all those nice guys I danced with what denomination they were.                                                      

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

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