Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do you count points, or losers?

1st seat, vulnerable, in a team game, you have:

This is the final of the annual Montreal-Toronto friendly match which dates back to 1967. Montreal leads 23-22! The match plays at Irving Litvack's Regal St-Clair in Toronto. Irving has been a warm and perfect host for the Montrealers since Friday night. This is the Sunday morning session.

You play against Canadian champions. This is the 3rd of 4 quarters (24 brds per segment). You are behind by some 40 imps, which is not too big a deficit. If you can win this 3rd segment, you will be within striking distance in the 4th segment.

Board 21

1♠ with only 4 points, some would say? Yes, bridge is a bidder's game and you are behind. So bid first, think later. What do you do over 2♠?

If you were already shaking from fear when you bid 1♠, you will pass in a flash. But then you are not playing bridge and you lack some knowledge about re-evaluation. Maybe you don't read bridge books and magazines. If you did, you would have read Bergen's "Points Schmoints" and also a book called "The losing trick count". I won't enter into details but, when you partner raised you to 2♠, your hand, losing trick count-wise, is worth an opening hand. So what do you do?

First, how many points partner has? Can he have only 12 points?

No. Knowing you have already passed, there is no point in bidding 2♠, even with a fit, if there is no hope for game. So partner must have a good hand, like 14 points, to raise you to 2♠. You might have passed in first seat with 10-11 points. 11 + 14 is 25. But if opener in 3rd seat has only 12 points, 12 + 11 is 23, he would pass 1♠ and raise later if opponents compete.

So you are sure partner has a good hand. Do you still pass 2♠?

If you know the losing trick count and listen to Bergen's preach, you have to bid 4♠! With only 4 points, you still ask? Yes.

The lead is 8 of .

Told you partner had 14 points. You go up Ace, play the Ace, ruff a , play small spade: King pops up. You make 5, losing one diamond and one club.

You feel good? I hope so. You think this might even be a swing board? Get real. You are not playing against Mom and Pop. No offense intended.

When you compare, you find out you LOSE 8 imps. Your partners doubled them in 4♠! Opponents were also in 4♠. They are champions, I told you. First they bid game and then they try to make the hand. In the long run, bidding game first and then look if the contract is makeable is the winning strategy at imps.

If you had not bid 4♠, you would have lost 13 imps. Will you pass the next time you have 4 points?

By the way, you win the 3rd segment by 11. So you manage to stay in striking distance for the 4th segment.

(WE lost in the end :( ).

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