Can you think ahead yet?
It will make the bidding easier
As a good bidder you always consider your second bid before making your first call.
Pick up your hand and DO MORE than simply count your points and notice your shape.
Consider how you will use what you have learnt in bridge class and plan. How will express your values AND shape to partner?
Strive to ALWAYS think about what your second call will be before you make your first call.
Some phrases you might memorise are:
If my partner opens at the one level what is our side’s total high card point (THCP) strength?
If the combined strength is:
12 – 24 THCP your side should strive to find the best fit and then STOP bidding. Respond with ALL hands that have 6+ high card points. -Remember partner will have a second bid unless their opening was 1NT, a weak 2, 2NT or pre-emptive
25-32 THCP your side should bid to game – that’s 3 in NT, 4 in a major (hearts or spades) and 5 in a minor (diamonds or clubs)
33-36 THCP your side should consider that making twelve tricks is quite a realistic possibility
37+ THCP bid for all thirteen tricks!
If the opponents start to bid it becomes trickier to show your hand. If you have yet to add special counter tools to your bridge bidding toolkit, then do your best. Sometimes just bidding to the level of your fit, or remembering these ranges and just going for it works well 🙂
If I am the responder, will I get a second chance to show my points and hand shape completely?
This is a good question to ask oneself, because if you make a bid and partner passes (check out our next tip about forcing and non-forcing bids). Or worse, thinks you do not have a particular suit, it is hard to catch up later.
If they bid ahead of me, what might I do?
In summary, here are some rules of thumb you might practice to become more confident when you first assess your hand after sorting it.
0-5 HCP – only worth a response if partner makes me. Otherwise I pass throughout the auction
6-9 HCP – one bid that is as descriptive as possible
10-12 HCP – two bids to explore shape and show HCP (unless one bid does both)
13+ HCP – as many bids as needed to find the best game, slam or grand slam
Practice with this little quiz below to get you thinking about how you might think about the hands you pick up.
This is a very short quiz to start you matching the words to the hand you might pick up.
Examples of well-thought out actions in recent play.
Even if you do not have sophisticated bidding methods, assessing well to start with, will give you confidence to simply bid it when it is right, as this South has done.
North showed a minimum 12-15 with 6 diamonds (or 5 diamonds and insufficient values to show four hearts). South’s hand assessment was probably this: There is an excellent prospect for slam if partner opens 1D and I’m mildly interested in slam in spades or clubs so I will plan to offer my major and see what partner’s next bid will reveal to me.
On this next deal, West’s thinking is along the lines of, hmmm rather alot of rounded honours for my 15 count, I will show hearts and then diamonds to describe my shape but partner will either have to make an invitational bid or I will not go to game, or show very good hand to encourage me toward slam.
East will have been thinking, Game is a gimme, but in which suit? I might have to ask partner more questions to decide if spades or NT or even 5 of a minor is our best spot. And what will I do if partner keeps repeating hearts?
Notice that West uses fourth suit forcing to ask partner to describe their hand further in order to determine the best chance for a making game.
Plus. Deals which demonstrate what happens when you change your mind mid auction.
(Or don’t think it through before you open).
In another tip we will say one bid hands are just that. You make one bid and then stop. On this Board 10 East compensated for a shortness in HCP with an extra diamond to open a weak two in diamonds. And then decided that the seventh diamond was worth it’s weight after all. The decision was a poor one – North/South would surely have bid to 4H, which EW should defeat.
On this next, Board 8, South is thinking along these lines. With only a 12 HCP count with five hearts and four spades, it will not be easy to show both features. North should have assessed their 7 HCP with six spades as essentially a one bid hand – either to open a weak 2S, or make a weak jump overcall. If partner had opened 1NT (playing weak or strong style), then a transfer to spades and pass would have been appropriate. Instead our North did not do this thinking and propelled the side to a game that was doomed from the outset.