analytical Q Le Bon Journal Journal entries Search Contact
Journal Entries

Bon Journal

Spades against hearts

In the game of bridge, partners signal what cards they have in the bidding process . A pass means that a player doesn't have enough points to lead a game. In other words, he doesn't have high cards (Ace, King, Queen, Jack) or voids (no cards in one suit). If his partner bids and he follows it with another pass, it usually means that she can't support him.

First time partners have to learn how to communicate. They are likely to bid on the low side or mistaken the other's bids for something else.

For example, a player begins with two spades. That suggests that he has a very strong hand, with the strongest in spades. He could have opened with one spade, yet he says two because he wants to signal to his partner that he has many high cards.

Now, suppose, his partner has only three cards in spades, not higher than 9. She should pass if her other suits are also weak. Let's suppose that she has an incredibly strong hand in hearts, A, K, Q, J, 9. And altogether, she has more than 17 points.

What should she bid to let him know that she has a strong hand?

If she bids three hearts, he knows that she is strong in hearts but not how strong she is, for she cannot bid less than three, after his two spades.

If she is strong in hearts and in other suits, she could signal this by calling four hearts, because that makes a game, and she could lead with hearts if he chooses to support her by passing his bid.

Let's suppose she calls three hearts. He then calls four spades. This signals that he is really strong in spades and wants to go for a game. She has more information than he has now.

If she has such a great hand, she should bid five spades or even a four no trumps, to signal to him that she can support him. By bidding five spades, she gives him an opportunity to bid higher.

If however, they are first-time partners in bridge, it's unlikely that they will optimise this opportunity, that is, to make the highest possible score.

She might bid on the conservative side and avoid the risk of losing. He might surprise her with his finesse. Alternatively, she might be misled by his bids. She might assume that he just wants to play spades and nothing else. He might think that she doesn't have good enough cards to support him.

There could be any number of possibilities, but the only way to be sure is to keep playing until they understand each other better.

Partners who have played together for a long time don't get confused easily in the bidding process. It takes time to get used to each other, even if the game of bridge has well defined rules for bidding and playing.

After all, a spade is a spade. And even the queen of hearts can't be fooled.

27 March 2004 Saturday

Christmas with cut-throat bridge
Like this entry?
Your comments:
Your e-mail address:
Tell your friends about this Bon Journal entry:
Your name:
Your e-mail address:
Your friend(s):
 (please separate additional addresses with commas)
Your message:

Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
Support the Bon Journal by keeping alive and free. Find out about Sponsorship.