Recurring headaches – part 4 By August Boehm

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Because bridge is a partnership game, players develop a laudable tendency to want to help partner by “telling him something” during the auction. Generally, …

By August Boehm
On 5 December, 2016 At 20:57

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Fuente: May 2014 ACBL Bridge Bulletin      

Because bridge is a partnership game, players develop a laudable tendency to want to help partner by “telling him something” during the auction. Generally, that’s a sound practice, but like most good things, it can be over-done.

You are dealt:  J102 AQ7 J8  AJ643. You open 1, partner responds 1 , and right-hand opponent intervenes with 1. What call will best help partner?

2, rebidding a five-card minor, should be reserved for emergencies, and no alarm bell has sounded. 1NT is risky. If partner does have a piece of the spade suit to provide stoppers, you have probably wrong-sided the contract. Picture partner with  A x or  K x x- a spade lead should come up to his holding, not through it. When we’ve rejected the alternate bids, what remains is pass.

Pass does tell partner something: It strongly suggests a balanced minimum without a spade stopper or a diamond fit or rebiddable clubs – in sum, a lot of potentially useful information.

Try another. You pick up:  A K 9 8 3  J 8 6  A J 9 3 7. At equal vulnerability, you open 1, partner responds 2, game forcing. RHO overcalls 2 . Back to you. You could show your diamonds, but what’s the rush? Allow partner to have his say. He may want to rebid 3 or 2NT. Why block his intentions? Besides, 3 ought to be saved for a true two-suiter, at least 5-5. Partner might even want to double 2 with a hand resembling: 5  A92  K62 AJ9652. This sort of double at a low level and under the gun (in front of their trump length) should be cooperative, neither purely penalty nor takeout – what S.J. Simon, the great British writer, years ago termed “a proposal to partner.” If faced with such an attractive proposal, you should accept with alacrity. Misfit deals are ideal to defend, and the penalty you reap will be substantial without a sure game your way.

In the next example, your hand is:  A Q 8 7 5  A K 4 3 9  J 8 4. Playing matchpoints, your side vulnerable, you open 1. LHO preempts to 3 . Partner bids 4 and RHO raises to 5 . What’s your call? Partner’s cuebid should show spade support and at least an opening bid: The cuebid contains more high-card points than a jump to 4, which is based primarily on long trumps and shape. 5 is obviously a sacrifice. The question is, can your side collect enough to offset your likely 4 game? Should you double, pass or take the push to 5? The bromide, “leave the five-level to the opponents,” is of limited use, like all bromides. Partner might hold something like:  AKJxxx  QJx  x  K Q x x, where 5 is a heavy favorite to make (a club ruff is the main danger) and the penalty versus 5 is apt to be 500 or
less.

On the other hand, partner could have:  AK J x  J xx x  Ax  A x x x, where 5 is in jeopardy: There could easily be a heart and two club losers. Holding yet an entirely different collection, partner could have slam intentions. Because you are in no position to guess what partner holds, why not pass the decision around to him? This pass is clearly forcing. Partner’s 4 cuebid established a forcing pass if the opponents continued bidding beyond 4. When partner has the first hand, with extra spade length and shortness in the opponents’ suit, he can bid 5. With an even stronger offensive hand, 5/5/5 on the way to 5 might help a partner who has slam on his mind. Holding the second hand, with short-er spades and a diamond trick, double stands out. The main point is that you don’t need to do anything over 5.

In fact, your pass “does something”: It indicates that your hand has potential for both offense and defense. Holding a hand with a high proportion of offense to defense, you would bid to 5. With a primarily defensive hand, you would double. The pass, taking a neutral position, is your most informative and flexible course. If you want to assist partner with competitive decisions, making a pass at him or her is often the most helpful course. At least, you won’t get your face slapped.

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