The best bridge advice I was ever given
The day before my first congress I was lucky
enough to bump into the club expert in the supermarket. I wanted to be sure I
was fully prepared so I thought I would take the opportunity to check a few
points with her.
“My partner and I have always played a weak no
trump,” I confided. “But I wonder whether this is the best approach. Would we
be safer using a variable no trump? Or should we be ultra-safe and play a
strong no trump all the time?”
The expert pursed her lips.
“Maybe you’re right. We should be more aggressive.
We could play a mini no trump not vulnerable. Or some combination of all
The expert raised her eyebrows. Before she could
say any more and confuse me I continued, “There again, I think we ought to
consider our strategy on overcalling. We play strong jump overcalls at the
moment, but perhaps weak would be better at a congress. Or even strong and
weak, depending on vulnerability?”
“Or….” began the expert.
“Or depending on the level of the overcall,” I
agreed hastily. “Of course, if we do play weak jump overcalls, we should keep
things consistent and open with weak twos.”
“I see what you mean, of course,” I said, pleased
with the expert’s ready acceptance of my ideas. “Acol may not be the best system
to play at a congress. I shall have to discuss alternatives with my partner. We
should have a few minutes before the congress starts.”
“Oh I do so agree,” I continued. “We should think
about carding methods too. We play ace from ace king, fourth highest and
McKenney discards. Perhaps revolving would be better. Or vary according to
whether it is a suit contract or no trumps.”
I fell silent and the expert looked slightly
“Do you have any final thoughts,” I asked
earnestly. “It’s my first congress and I am really grateful for your advice.”
The expert regarded me thoughtfully as I waited
expectantly for her words of wisdom.
“Stick to what you understand and wear comfortable
clothes,” she said, and departed in the direction of the meat counter.