Source: HAND EVALUATION: “Count covers, not high-card points”

DLR: South VUL: E/W

K 9 7 6   4   Q 8 7 5 2   J 5 3

Sitting north in a team game, your partner opens 1 and, after a pass by west, you trot out 1. East passes and south jumps to 3. West passes again. Do you carry on to game, or pass? What is your thinking?

West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 3
Pass ?

When partner opens a minor and jump raises your major, he either has an unbalanced hand with 14-16 HCP, or a balanced hand with 18 HCP, or a “semi” balanced hand (5-4-2-2 type) with 15-17 HCP. If he held a balanced hand with 15-17 HCP, he would have opened One No Trump! Basically he will have a hand with about 16-17 dummy points!

On this auction your partner is guaranteed to have at least four diamonds, and an overwhelming number of times he will hold a five-or six-card suit. You have a double fit with about FOUR COVER CARDS; (cards which cover losers); ONE DIAMOND HONOR, ONE SPADE HONOR, AND TWO HEART RUFFS. Think of it this way. If south holds just A Q 3 2  3 2  A K 9 4 3  3 2,

he has only 13 HCP, but ten tricks are probable in a spade game. STOP COUNTING HIGH-CARD POINTS! Start counting cover cards!

My partner passed, however, and we missed a cold game. This was the layout:

It was hard for E/W to get into the auction at adverse vulnerability, but as you see, they can also make 10 tricks in hearts! Bridge is a bidders game.