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Helping your partner bid better

#1 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2003-March-05, 01:08

Wouldn't it be great if you could help your partner bid better without (ahem) yelling at him when one of his bids go awry? There are ways you can do this during the bidding.

A thread entitled "doubling part scores at imps" discussed the auction, where there was a division over whether or not a double was right with a particular hand on the following auction (IMHO, it was).

1N-(P)-P-2H
P-(P)-(3C)-3H
X

In one of the early post in that thread, Easy made the comment that "but I have a tuff time understanding why when pard gets us to a plus position (assuming 3c was going down) we need to punish him for his efforts. Wouldn't you say that this is a similar situation

1h p 2h 2s  
p   p  3h 3s
?  

Must we double here after pard has done his job and gotten them in a minus position?"


First, of course the opener doesn't have to double. I am sure what Easy meant was opener should not punish responder for his clever pushing the opponents one level higher. Wouldn't it better if you could help opener decide if it is ok for him to double? In fact, the way this specific auction should be played, the double should be very rare, but not impossible, at imps. At matchpoint, the double would be a little more frequent. The reason is the way responder choose to reach 3Hs.

Here is how you might think about this auction. Opener's pass over 2S denied a good offensive type hand, or he would have bid again. I believe that an immediate double of 2S (instead of pass) would be co-operative suggesting a good defensive hand by opener and a poor offensive hand. Responder would have been expected to leave in with good defense and pull without it. So surely responder didn't bid 3H expecting them to bid 3S so you could double. What could partner have done in fourth seat after you, the opener, choose to pass 2S (rather than bid 3H yourself or double 2S?)

1)      He could pass
2)      He could double
3)      He could bid 2NT
4)      He could bid 3 of a minor
5)      He could raise to 3H

Partner should pass with 3 card support and minimum, and maybe some non-minimum hands with 3 trumps but with three or four little spades. If you and your partner are law of total trick (LOTT) advocates, then opener most likely does not have 6 hearts (with 6, based upon LOTT he would bid 3H over 2S himself).

Before responder competes to 3H, it is incumbent upon him to consider the possible consequences of the opponents outbidding him at the three level. I separate these based upon offensive or defensive hands.  A 3H bid is both an attempt to buy the contract and a warning of he holds very little defensive values, while 3C/3D are not game tries but rather showing values in bid suit (expecting partner to bid 3H) and setting defense (and a lead other than a heart) if the opponents bid above our 3H. 2NT shows a generic raise to 3H with no interest in partner leading either minor against 3S (if they bid that).

So on the given auction, I would wack 3S only with the tricks in my hand. I might have S: KQT8 H:Axxxx D:AT9 C:T7.  If partner bid 3C instead, I would double 3S with a minimum like S:QTx H:AQxxx D:KQTx C:Jx, but pass if partner bid 3H over 2S.

So if responder choose to reopen with a DBL rather than bid 3H? What does that show? And what does a 2NT bid by partner show?  Many play 2NT as part of the good-bad 2NT, then when they correct back to 3H they show bad (an immediate 3H would show good hand, but no willingness to bid a new minor). Since I already play 3H on this specific auction as weak, I play 2NT as a defensive-oriented hand with poor four card heart support (I do not promise a spade stopper, but I do not have a singleton Spade or I would have bid 3H over 1H) but no good holding in either minor. I expect partner to bid 3H most of the time and if they bid 3S, well I have described my hand. The rest will be up to opener.

I probably should have some funky meaning for the DBL, but I don't. [i]It is not for takeout, since we have found a fit after the 2H raise [i](Again, I play doubles for takeout until we have found a fit) and we have both limited our hands (one by bidding 2H and one by passing 2H). And logically, the weak 2H raiser can not have a good enough hand to double for penalties on this auction. So I play this double shows a good defensive hand for the bidding so far (in fact that is virtually true of all double after a fit is found), and probably 3/4 spades. This can happen fairly commonly playing constructive simple raises, with up to 10hcp, but much less frequently on weaker simple raises.

I suspect that people who get into trouble too often (yes I have doubled things that have made) with part score doubles because they don't have a clear understanding of trying to consider partner's problem before they make their bid. If you have partners who will bid 2H then 3H on all the following hands, how can you ever know when to double unless you have five tricks in your own hand?

S: QT9x      
H: Kxxx      
D: QJx        
C: xx          

(playing Bergen I would have bid 3C over 1H, however. here I would probably either dbl 2S, or pass not bid 3H. If you double, expect partner to pull more than half the time, if he does not you crush 2S. )
And

S: x
H: QJxx    
D: QJTx      
C: xxxx      
(playing Bergen, I would bid 3H originally, but here a raise to 3H over 2S denying defensive hand. If partner doubles, he expects to that the trick in his hand)
And

S: xx        
H: J92        
D: AJT9      
C: Qxxx      
(I would bid 3D over 2S on my way to 3C. Partner will not lead away from say HAQ in 3S (doubled or not), and will lead a diamond, which has to be a better lead for our side)
And

S: xx
H: QJxxx  
D: Jxx      
C: Kxx      

(I would bid 3H originally - not my typical 4 because of my 5-3-3-2 distribution, if I had bid 2H, I would bid surely bid 3H here.)

In competitive auctions, too many people look at their own hand and try to figure out what they should bid without any consideration for trying to make the bid that will allow their partner the best chance to make the right bid (or play) at HIS next turn. If you think about your partners action before taking the push on auctions like this. If find a descriptive way to compete to your 3H contract, you will help your partner with his bidding problems, your own score will increase. Isn't it better to provide clues to him during the bidding that you are weak or strong offensively or defensively for your raise rather to berate him when he tries to guess which it is and gets it wrong by either doubling, passing or bidding on when one of the other options would be better?  And who knows, if you bid 3C rather than 3H on a hand where only a CLUB lead defeats 3S, you may help him defend better too.   
--Ben--

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Posted 2003-March-05, 10:56

Some points about the auction:
1h p 2h  2s  
p   p  3h 3s

The 3H bid is a poor bid, which is commonly made by weaker players who play a lot of matchpoints.
If you are going to compete to 3H do so immediately. You need to have a bid which shows 4 card support, a limited hand. Bidding 2 then 3 is losing tactics in the long term as the opps are not put to a guess. In these competitive situations you should try to put as much pressure on the opponents as possible - eg
1H (P) 3H (3S or X)
Is the last bid a balance, or does it show real vlaues - partner has to guess and will frequently guess wrong.

With regard to doubles by responder and opener:

1H (P) 2H (2S)
X
Should be a game try, max hand with general overall strength and no clear long suit trial to make; whereas 3H should just show extra length.

1H (P) 2H (2S)
P   (P)  X

Shows a max raise to 2H with scattered outside values and is a suggestion to defend. Obviously opener can pull with an unsuitable hand.
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#3 User is offline   dageaux 

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Posted 2003-March-05, 12:34

concerning wotan's post about the auction
1h p 2h  2s    
p   p  3h 3s  

i play the much maligned 2 over 1. opener knows responder has *exactly* 8 or 9 hcp and *exactly* 3 card support. i can't envision a hand that has responder bidding 3h here. double, maybe. now opener is a different story. but double by either has to be to play (not that it can't be pulled by either, but it's hard to imagine responder pulling a dbl).

i do agree with wotan concerning weakness and 4 card support. get it all off your chest at once and content yourself with pard's judgement.
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Posted 2003-March-06, 03:48

First, I realize that many people play an immediate raise to 3H aka Bergen style with four card support and weakish (I do too). I didn't propose the given auction, but picked it from a question asked by another person.  Realization that 2H bidder is unlikley to have 4H's is why I suggested that the raise to 3H would be most likely 3 card support and short spade. With a singleton Spade, responder with 3 hearts has reason to believe that both sides have 8 card fits (opener unlikely to have 5S). So, applying LOTT, with 16 trumps you want to get them off their comfort level. With 3 spades, it is much less likely that the opponents have an 8 card spade fit so passing is more attractive. And again, not everyone plays Bergen, so I disagree with both replies that the raise to 3H will only be made by a weak player.

Second, I agree that with Wotan that responders double over 2S in the balance position is, for the lack of a better word, co-operative. I believe  he restated my views. My views however diverge from his openers double of 2S. This is worth exploring a little closer. Here is the where I disagree Wotan:

1H (P) 2H (2S)-X

Which has a kissing cousins in

1H-(P)-2H-(3D)-X
1H-(P)-3C-(3D)-X      (3C is bergen limit raise)

Many people play all the above auctions as showing game try in Hearts with 3H as mearly competitive [but some of the same people play 1H-(2C)-2H-(3C)-X  not as a game try but rather penalty, they would use a 3D bid as artificial game try and 3H competitive.]  I only play the double on one of these auctions as game invitational in hearts. Let's see which one and why.

The double as a game try in the first auction (over 2S), is redundant: welcome to the world of good/bad 2NT. That is, the double is not necessary to show the good hand. The way good/bad was devised was that good hands are bid directly and bad hands go through 2NT (or, of course, pass). I  reverse the meaning of good/bad after a fit has been found, so weaker hand bids 3H immediately, and 2NT is the game try, but reversed or not, playing good/bad 2NT the double is no longer needed for the game try as Wotan suggested. Instead, it is best played as co-operative suggesting a good defensive hand by opener and a poor offensive hand (just like the balance double wotan gave in his example). Responder would have been expected to leave in with good defense and pull without it. It is not a demand double.

Now lets turn our attention to the last two auctions.

1H-(P)-2H-(3D)-X
1H-(P)-3C -(3D)-X        (3C was Bergen Raise)

In the first auction, opener is out of room. So, here I play 3H bid by opener as simply competitive bid. If opener wants to invite game, he has no other option but to double. So the double of 3D is a game try in hearts.  But in the last auction, opener is not out of room!. Responder's 3C bid suggested a hand good enough to play in 3H. So the auction 1H-(P)-3C-(3D)-P-(P)-P doesn't exist. Here, opener's pass is forcing to 3H. So a 3H bid is the competitive bid, while a pass shows extra values, and game invitational. It also allows responder to reopen with a double with a defensive oriented hand (allowing 3!Dx to be played sometimes). So oddly enough pass is stronger than 3H. So on the last auction, if pass invites game, and 3H is weak, what is DBL? That is a defensive oriented hand. But once again, it is not a demand that responder pass. Partner has limited his hand with 3C bid, but if his hand is offensively shaped with poor defense, responder can still bid 3H... after all, he has shown values for 3H with his jump to 3C.
--Ben--

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Posted 2003-March-06, 10:00

I stand by the comments I made. A strong player will put his opps to the test by making them take the last guess. Raising and raising again is poor bridge.

I have found that g/b 2NT is not useful in an auction where such as
1H (P) 2H (P)
2Nt here is more useful as a natural bid suggesting a 3NT contract. (Usually based on about 6H and seeking to run 9 fast tricks.) However you pay your money and make your choice.
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#6 User is offline   keylime 

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Posted 2003-March-06, 10:13

Bridge is a bidder's game these days. There's many times where I simply bid game directly (Wolff said it best: " I don't believe in game tries") and score games that are borderline. Quite frankly a lot of players don't defend correctly and thus causes games to occur. There's a myraid of reasons: poor lead choice, poor signaling, etc. but it happens.

To be forced to bid last in a competitive auction is losing bridge when you haven't correctly evaluated the hand to begin with. That's where many of the problems begin.
"Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. " - M. Ali
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#7 User is offline   luis 

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Posted 2003-May-13, 06:20

This is a very interesting and common auction that I have studied in detail.

1h p 2h 2s  
p   p  3h 3s
?  

Even playing bergen 3h can be bid by experts.

Let's disect the auction
When opener passes 2s he manifest his intention of not playing 3h. So the 3h bid must show a hand with short spades and distributional values, not worth a game try but wanting to play 3h rather than defending 2s. Something like Kxx, x, QJxxx, xxxx.

3c and 3d can be used as game-tries in hands that improved after the 2s bid asking opener to bid game based on his holding in that suit.
Example: Kxx, x, KQxxx, xxxx after opps showed spade values I might want to try for a game in opener has the dA, for example:
Axx, Axxxx, Axx, xx (just a 5332 12 counter and we)
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