Theory and Conventions


M J Bridge



Reassessing the hand

We have already considered the assessment of your hand on a number of occasions.

When considering an opening bid we looked primarily at the shape of the hand and the point-count.

In the ongoing auction on a balanced hand points were still the underlying consideration, but factors such as good intermediates, points in long suits, and honours and intermediates held in sequences, leant themselves to a more optimistic outlook whereas minor honours in short suits, scattered honours, or a lack of intermediates, would lead to your assessment of the hand being downgraded.

Once a fit had been located on an unbalanced hand we took more account of shape - particularly shortages.  In this respect the Losing Trick Count became a valuable tool.

When opening with a preemptive bid suit quality was a consideration, and when raising such a bid, or a potentially weak overcall, the extent of the fit was of overriding importance.

As the auction continues all of the above will remain relevant, but there will be further considerations.

Sometimes it will be important to attach much greater significance to Aces and Kings rather than Queens and Jacks.  Never is this more important than when partner opens a weak two and you have hopes of a making game contract your way.

But as the auction progresses the emphasis will frequently be centred on specific cards.

Has partner bid two suits, and are your points in those suits or elsewhere?

Unless you have a solid running suit the points in partner’s suits will offer far greater potential trick-taking capability.  You should take a far rosier view in the bidding.  Not infrequently they will enable partner to establish his suits almost immediately for sufficient tricks.

This consideration will sometimes not be critical when the card is an Ace - it will probably make anyway.  It is particularly important when the card is a Queen, or to a lesser extent a King or a Jack.

Even when these cards are not in partner’s suit it may well be critical which of your opponents is more likely to hold any higher honours. On occasion there will be clues to this in the bidding.

Quite simply, a king lying behind an Ace is a likely trick whereas a King lying under an Ace may well be worthless.

These matters become particularly when bidding games or slams.

Note though that this final consideration will affect both offence and defence.  You won’t necessarily bid on just because your card is potentially well-placed.

Beginner and above

Context  -  the continuing auction.

This page last updated 16th Jul 2020