Save the dates for our upcoming Sectional and NLM Regional at the Hilton Doubletree in Williamsburg September 28-30.
1. Please refrain from cluttering the table with papers, notes, coffee, water, etc.
2. North hand keeps score, controls and handles the boards but may ask South to handle them. East-West should ask before handling boards
3. Fill out identical convention cards with your partner.
4. The only cards you may touch are your own.
5. Always count your cards before you look at them.
6. Don't touch or fondle the bidding box until you are ready to make your bid.
7. The only time you may ask an opponent what a bid means is when it is your turn to bid.
8. You must ask the partner of the bidder what a bid means.
9. If opponent opens with 2 or 3 of a suit, ask if it is pre-emptive.
10. If your partner opens 1NT, announce the point range you are playing.
11. If your partner makes a Jacoby Transfer bid, say “transfer”.
12. Know when to alert your partner’s bid. (Note: on the convention card, "alertable" bids are marked in red, "announceable" bids are marked in blue.) (By the way, if you "alert" a bid, and the opponents do not request an explanation, DO NOT explain the bid. Sometimes they may ask for the explanation at the end of the bidding.)
13. You may not alert your own bid or remind your partner to alert your bid.
14. If opponent asks you what your partner’s bid means, respond with expected minimum card and point totals.
15. If you jump a level in the bidding, play the “Stop” card before your bid card.
16. If you are to lead to the first trick, you should lead face down and ask the declarer "May I?" This also assures that there is no lead out of turn!)
17. If you are declarer, it is nice to thank your partner when she lays down her hand.
18. A player may ask to see the last trick played only if he has not yet turned over his own card.
19. When your partner fails to follow suit the first time ask, “no hearts, partner?” (or diamonds,etc.)
20. Do not declare that you have all the last tricks unless you are on lead. Be sure you have pulled all the trumps.
21. Be willing to play out the hand if opponents are not comfortable with your declaration of last tricks.
22. Do not discuss a board until after you have played all the boards on the table, and then only if there is time.
23. If you discuss your boards, please keep your voices down. Players at the next table have not yet played these boards.
24. Do not expose your individual score card to opponents. They may not have played those boards and should not inadvertently see the contracts played.
25. Remember, bridge is a partnership game that requires excellent communication skills. Develop your ability to share information with your partner.
26. Do not criticize your partner. If you make a mistake, just say, “sorry, partner”
27. Learn from your mistakes and most important of all, HAVE FUN.
28. Do not remove a card from your hand before it is your turn to play.
29. Try and bid all hands with a consistent tempo. Avoid fast passes, doubles etc.
In standard pairs scoring (MPs), you score 1 point for every pair you beat and .5 for every pair you tie. If yours is the best score, it doesn't matter if you beat the others by 10 points or 200, you still score a "top."
An alternative is to use IMPs (International Match Point) scoring. This is the type of scoring used in all team matches and can be played in pairs games as well. With IMP scoring, it is the amount by which you beat the opposition which is significant.
Here are a couple of examples:
In normal pairs scoring, pair 1 would get a top (2 points) and the others would receive .5 each.
At IMPs, this is a "flat" board. Everyone would score zero because the difference is only 10 points which is considered insignificant at IMPs.
In pairs scoring, this board would score exactly the same as the first one - a top for pair 1 and tied bottom for everyone else.
At IMPs, pair 1 beat both the others by 250 points which equates to an IMP score of 6. Pair 1 therefore scores 12 and the others both -6.
IMP scoring therefore calls for slightly different tactics:
Unless you fear an unstopped suit, or think you can make extra tricks by ruffing, it's better to play in No Trump than a suit contract. The extra 10 points could make the difference between a top and an average.
Always play in the safest contract. That usually means preferring, say, 4 Major to 3NT. The 10 point difference (assuming both are just making) is totally irrelevant.
Try to make as many overtricks as you can.
Overtricks aren't important. Never risk your contract for overtricks, no matter how likely they seem. If you make one overtrick, that may earn you 1 IMP. If you go off in a part score when everyone else is making, that will cost you in the region of 4 to 7 points (depending upon vulnerability etc.). Go off in a makeable game and you could be looking at a score of -13!
Be "trigger happy" with the doubles. If the opposition will probably go off, then double. It may even be worth doubling if you think they've found a game or slam which no one else will. If they are making, they get a top anyway so the double costs nothing.
Doubling a making contract can be expensive. For example, suppose they bid a non-vulnerable 4H and you double. If they go 1 off, the double buys you an extra 50 points, or 2 IMPs. If they make, the double has cost you 170 points or 5 IMPs. If they make overtricks, you had better resign yourself to the "also ran" list.
Generally, you stand to lose more than you stand to gain by doubling. A good rule of thumb is "only double if you have a trump stack and/or expect to set the contract at least two.” Be particularly wary about doubling part scores.
Go for game, small or grand slam if you think it is more likely than not to succeed. Vulnerability makes no difference.
Go for "thin" games, particularly vulnerable. If you bid a NVgame and the others don't and make it, you gain +6 IMPs; if it goes off you only lose 5. Vulnerable, the scores are +10 if it makes and -6 if it goes one off.
The odds are roughly as follows:
If the odds are
Non vul. game
50% or better
40% or better
At least 50%
At least 66% in your favour. If in doubt, settle for small slam.
2 over 1 is a more sophisticated version of SAYC and is used by a large percentage of duplicate bridge players. When partner opens a minor suit at the 1 level, the bidding is essentially identical to SAYC; however, whenever that opening bid is 1 of a major, the response of a new suit at the 2 level requires an opening hand and is therefore forcing to game. Conceptually, there is now no rush or fear of partner passing a bid that, in SAYC, would be non-forcing since the partnership cannot pass until a game level contract has been reached. So:
1S – P – 2C 1H –P- 2D 1S –P- 2H are all forcing-to-game bids.
The 2/1 rule above leaves a number of hand types, nearly all invitational, that can no longer make a natural and forcing two level response. Each of these type hands, having 6 to 12 points, has given rise to the Forcing 1NT response. Forcing 1NT is an integral part of the 2/1 system and is forcing (announce) for 1 round. So, 1H –P- 1NT and 1S-P-1NT are forcing; 1D –P-1NT and 1C-P-1NT are not. Playing 2/1, each of the following hand types must go through 1NT Forcing:
1S P 1NT - 94 2 AKJT972 QT6 Single Suited hands w/invitational values
1S P 1NT - KT4 2 AQ976 JT93 Unbalanced 3-card Limit Raises
1S P 1NT - KT 92 AQ975 QT83 Semi-balanced hands w/invitational values
With hand #1, jump to or bid 3D after hearing partner’s response. (Invitational)
With hand #2, jump to 3S to show delayed 3-card trump support. (Invitational)
With hand #3, you must decide whether to raise partner’s second suit or bid a slightly offshape 2NT. Neither of these bids is forcing, merely invitational.
In the 2/1 bidding system, a bid of 1NT in response to partner’s 1H or 1S opening is forcing (announce) for one round and typically shows 6 to 12 HCPs. After hearing partner’s response, you will clarify the auction by making a sign off bid, inviting to game or occasionally bidding game. The forcing 1NT is helpful on many hands where you have no convenient response to the major suit opening bid.
Partner opens 1S:
2 KJT8762 Q6 642 Bid 1NT and signoff by next bidding 2H.
52 3 943 KQJT954 Bid 1NT and signoff by next bidding 3C.
53 KJ62 T62 AKT3 Bid 1NT and then 2NT (Invitational).
KJ3 43 A543 KT92 Bid 1NT then jump to 3S (Invitational)
43 KJ3 K872 JT95 Bid 1NT; next bid, if any, depends on pd’s response.
Most partnerships in the 2/1 system do not consider a 1NT response as forcing if the responder has previously passed. In this case, it is deemed to be semi-forcing (announce), meaning that opener may pass with a minimum hand (12 or 13 points).
Responding After Partner Bids Forcing 1NT
The responses are pretty straightforward:.
With a minimum hand and a 4-card or longer minor, bid your minor.
With a 5-3-3-2 distribution, bid your 3-card minor.
With 3 cards in each minor, bid 2C.
With AQJ43 AT74 QT4 4, bid 2H.
With AT54 AQJ43 QT4 4, bid 2D. (Rebidding hearts promises 6 and bidding 2S, a reverse, promises a stronger hand plus partner would have bid 1S with 4 or more and not 1NT).
With AT54 AQJ43 Q4 94, Bid 2C. (Stuck for a bid here; 2C is the least of evils.)
Rebidding After Making a Forcing 1NT Bid
The Forcing 1NT involves considerably more judgment than other conventions. Basic, most common, hands are only covered here:
With 5 AQT987 532 653, signoff with 2H. A new suit at the 2-level shows a 6-card suit and a weak hand.
With 87 AT93 J83 AQ65, Bid 2NT (Invitational).
With Q3 Q54 KT97 A976 after pd has rebid 2S, promising 6, Bid 3S. Invitational.
With KT5 84 KJ96 A643, jump to 3S. Invitational.
Raising partner’s minor suit response to the 3 level is invitational and should promise 5+ clubs, 4+ diamonds and 9-12 HCPs. Ex
1S P 1NT
2C P 3C 95 A75 T73 KQ864 (Partner may have only 2 or 3 clubs).
1S P 1NT
2D P 3D 82 A764 KQ95 J76 (Partner may have only 3 diamonds).
There are many excellent books in print describing the 2/1 and Forcing 1NT system bidding and rationale. Perhaps there is enough here for you and partner to get your feet wet, but additional study is highly recommended.