Make ‘em Guess

Andrew Gumperz
Andrew Gumperz

Bridge is a game of imperfect knowledge. The information needed to form a perfect strategy is concealed from you (the opponent’s cards). In chess, the board is visible to both players so they can potentially foresee every possible move. In contrast, bridge players must draw inferences about unseen cards before formulating a line of play because the true lay of the cards is not known.

All bids, by their nature, allow the opponents to make inferences during the play. There are many opportunities to improve your results, particularly your matchpoint results, by transmitting less information in the auction.

Major Suit Raise Auctions
One area where people give away too much information is with game tries after a single raise. Contrast these two auctions:

Auction 1
1 — 2
3 — 3
3 — 4

Auction 2
1 — 2

In which auction do you think the opponents will make a more effective lead? Auction one gave them more information and their defense will often be better as a result. So should you just jump to game on hands worth a game invite hoping you get a bad lead? If the single raise can have anywhere from 6-10 support points and 3-5 spades, you will often get overboard by overbidding. A better approach that allows you to bid game more often without a game try is called constructive raises.

A constructive single raise promises a good 8 to a bad 11 points. After a constructive raise, opener can jump to 4S more often because 2S showed more values and was more narrowly limited. This method has side benefits:

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