Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Competing for the part-score

This page is not about methods -

it is primarily about judgement.

And it covers an area in which the judgement of the experts leaves me trailing woefully behind.

I am addressing the age-old problem of

pass, bid one more, or double?

This can be absolutely critical at pairs scoring - a little less so at imps scoring but still not infrequently worth a few imps.

The question can arise in many different sequences, but just to give it a little context consider the auction 1, (1), 2, (2), ? - do you bid 3 or not?

There are no clear-cut rules here.

But there are a number of critical considerations/principles.

First and foremost -

it’s not about extra points.

points are just as useful in defence as they are in attack - indeed, extra points will frequently be the reason for passing or doubling rather than bidding on.

It is about length.

An extra trump will frequently be a good reason for bidding on.

It is about a good side-suit.

If you have a fit and a good side-suit then it will usually be right to bid.

There is every possibility that your opponents will be able to make a lot of tricks in the other two suits.

It is not about scattered values.

A king here and a queen there might not add up to a lot of tricks when declaring, but they may well take the odd critical trick in defence.

It is about high cards in long suits.

Long suits with a good honours holding have considerable playing strength.  They won’t always add up to very much by way of defence.

It might be about well-placed cards.

although this can affect both attack and defence.

It is about your holding in the opponents’ suit.

Any sort of length in the opponents’ suit both increases your defensive potential and decreases your attacking potential (although matters might change if you can place partner with a pronounced shortage.

It is about your holding in partner’s suit.

If your hands are working well together you will probably want to bid on - if you have anything of a misfit then it will usually be time to stop.

Beginner and above

Context  -  the continuing auction.

This page last updated 7th Jun 2020