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Non-system Bidding Issues III by Frank Stewart

Source: ACBL

My Bridge and Yours: Non-system bidding issues — part 3

«Wasted» and «Working» Values

Most players rely on the 4-3-2-1 point count, but when you evaluate unbalanced hands, some points may be more useful than others. One goal is to discover whether your high cards and distribution mesh well with your partner’s. If a double fit exists, for instance, you can make game with fewer than 26 high-card points.

West North East South
  1 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass ?

(a) 7654 Q654 KQ3 65

(b) KQ5 Q654 6543 65

Prefer (a). North’s long-suit try for game lets South evaluate game chances based on the double fit and not on high-card quantity alone. Prefer to have your high cards in partner’s long suits.

His hand could be: 82 AKJ7 2 A872 A3. North may take 11 tricks with (a) as dummy, but only eight on a bad day with (b).

West East
K 9 3
K Q 6 5 2
A J 6 3
K Q 9 6
A 10 7 5 2
J 4
7 2
West East
1 1
2 2
3 3

This was a good auction. East learned that his spade honors lay opposite a singleton and signed off just in time.

West North East South
  1 Pass 2
Pass 4 Pass ?

(a) Q 3 Q 4 3 K J 4 3 2 J4 3

(b) 6 5 Q 3 2 A 4 3 2 4 K 4 3 2

Some pairs would treat North’s 4 as singleton-showing, but assuming he has a two-suiter with slam interest, your spade and diamond honors in (a) are probably useless. In (b) all your cards are working.

If North has:
A4 AK1065 8 AQ 1087 he can make 7 opposite (b). With (a), any contract above 4 is in danger.

West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass ?

(a) A943 K AJ4 A10742

(b) AQJ4 Q 1052 AK742

With (a) jump to 4. North has good diamonds and prime values; if he had a hand such as:

KQ J1095 KQ1063 Q3 he could have jumped to 3NT. With (b), bid 3. You have too few points in his suits to encourage a diamond slam.

West North East South
  2NT Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass ?

(a) KJ2 QJ32 654 A32

(b) K32 QJ32 654 AJ3

Since North denied a four-card major, he is likely to have A—Q or A—Q—x in spades, A—K—x in hearts, or both.

The J in (a) is worth less than the J in (b), and the J in (a) is devalued. Try for slam only with (b).

West North East South
Pass 1NT Pass ?

(a) A32 AQ2 A9532 A2

(b) A2 A32 A9532 AQ3

Prefer (b) to raise to 3NT. Since North is marked with length in clubs, your good club fit is the key.


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