Bernard Magee

Take a look at these two hands:

Mano A Mano B
 A K Q 4 3  A K Q 4 3
 A 7 6     K J 5
 K J 5    A 7 6
 10 7     10 7   

The only difference is in the red suits; surely these two hands are worth the same? In isolation they certainly are, but in the light of a few rounds of bidding things can change. Give partner this hand:

 J 10 7 2   3   Q 9 3 2   Q J 8 5

Now the two hands yield very different results. Hand A fits beautifully with Hand C and should make ten tricks in spades,
but Hand B and Hand C do not get so well: a heart loser, two clubs and possibly two diamonds – you might not even make nine tricks. But how can we tell the difference between such hands? We cannot always do it, but there are various opportunities when rather than simply inviting game we can describe our hand a little further.

The Game Try

When an uncontested auction starts 1 – 2, then you can be pretty sure that your side is happy playing in hearts, so you have no interest in looking for another fit. If you want to try for game, you might just bid 3, but this would not be very descriptive and would not allow your partnership to see if the two hands fit together. Instead you should try to make a bid that allows your partner to see whether his hand fits with yours and thereby judge whether game is on.
All sorts of bids are now free for you to use: 2, 2NT, 3and 3; you have already found a major suit fit, so these bids are used as game-tries. The type of game-try I prefer, because I think it allows for the greatest accuracy is the ‘Help Suit’ Game-try. Choose a suit in which you need…

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