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Aggressive Bridge by Bob Crosby

Source:  Thursday, February 10, 2005 1:05 AM

The “meek do not inherit the earth” in Bridge . There is a “poker” element of the game that involves bluffing and risk taking. If you do not take risks , the opponents have an easier time getting to their contracts and have a “free ride” . There is stupid risk taking also . Bad gamblers take bad risks and usually get appropriately punished. Vince Nowlans partner overcalled a heart vul with KQx Axxx KJx xxx after Nancy (my partner) opened 1 . This is silly risk taking or gambling . I bid a spade and Vince bid 2 and around to me again . I re-opened with a double and Nancy had xx K10xx Axx AQxx and put the red card on the table. When the smoke cleared we were +800 against a partial our way.

O.K. that was bad gambling . Here is an example of good gambling. The opponents are vul and you are not and Susan opens 1NT. Your partner overcalls 4 not vul and the opponents bid 4. You hold xxx xxxx KQ9x QJ so how do you evaluate this hand ?  This is a time to apply patterns during the bidding to assist you with your bidding decision. Partner showed 8 clubs or on a bad day 7. You fill in his club suit with your clubs and you have a diamond trick for partner. So you can count 9 tricks in clubs which is only –300 in 5 doubled. If he has the worst hand possible ( only 7 clubs  and nothing else ) you have 8 tricks which is –500. Since partner has nothing else they make +650. Say partner had another trick and they only make +620  then 5x only goes 1 down and that even beats major suit partials their way. Bidding 5 has a poker style bluff element in that they may go wrong and bid 5 which might go down. Opponents rarely make perfect decisions in high level competitive auctions. They do if you pass and do not put pressure on them though.

In match points it is important to get in early and describe your HCP’s at a low level or you trap yourself. A pass signifies to partner that you may have nothing. Hoy Chow made a “hoyiable” bid and got away with it against Nancy & I tonight. The culprit again was not being aggressive and passing. Nancy held Jx AJxxx 10xx Kxx and with everybody vul I opened 1 in 1st seat and Hoy doubled. Hoy was vul and should have hearts for his double so Nancy decided to pass. Steve Willard bid 2 and I held KQxxx Q109 AKJx x and was forced to pass as they may have the remaining 25 HCP for all I know. Hoy now bids 3 and goes down 1. He does not have a double but a mere 2 overcall 1-4-2-6 and 13 HCP. We can make +620 or +170 in hearts our way and we get a zero. If partner ignores the double and bids naturally with 1NT ,  I get put into the picture .  Willard bids 2 because he is Willard and I now double that for penalty. Hoy bids 3 and that gets doubled and with the marked diamond lead we get +800. I win the diamond and return a trump and Nancy gets in with her heart and plays the king of trump and another. We get 4 heart tricks , 2 diamonds and a club for +800.

Bad gambling vrs good gambling.


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