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Beginnerīs query

#1 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 13:05

Hey guys

I was just wondering, when one team bids 1 of Spades, but their cards are way too better for 1S (Let us say they could score 11 tricks) but opponents´ cards are not good so they can do nothing but pass. How can these opponents with weaker cards make life harder for the first team? Like, force them not to play secure, but bid 4S for instance? Is there any way?

Thank you
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#2 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 13:17

Hello Lesh,

first of all, allow me to point you to our new Novice/Beginner forum. I think that would be an excellent place to post your questions.

Next, I think I need to clear up a misunderstanding. If your opponents can take 11 tricks in spades, it is definitely better for you if they play 1 rather than 4! After all, playing 4 will give them a very lucractive game bonus which they will surely be happy about no matter what form of the game you are playing.

Of course, if your cards are not so good, you won't know exactly that they can make 11 tricks - it might be 10 or 12. If they can take 12 tricks, you don't want them to find out about it, because then they might bid 6 and pick up an even more lucrative slam bonus. So, can you make life harder for them? It depends on your cards. If your RHO (bridge slang for "right hand opponent") opens 1 and you hold, say,


you do not have enough HCP (high card points) to make an overcall of 2. However, you have so many diamonds that it is quite safe to make a preemptive bid of 3 which is nowadays almost universally played as a "weak jump overcall". (In fact, many good players may even bid 4 on this hand - this depends however on circumstances which are too complicated to discuss at this point.) This will take away bidding space for the opponents, making it harder for them to find out which contract exactly is correct with their cards.

As you learn more about bridge you will learn when you can make this bid on even weaker or less pure hands, but for now you would do well to remember that for a weak jump to the 3-level you should have 7 cards in the suit and your suit should include at least 2 honors. Your overall strength should be about 3 to 10 HCP - with a stronger hand, overcall 2 instead.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
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#3 User is offline   Lesh18 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 13:37

Right, if I do a preemtive bid of 4, then I risk that my opponents will just let my team play 4 for which I am not confidant and will eventually lose. So doing a preemtive bidding always includes a risk ending up with the contract, you did not actually want? Or is there any way to prevent ending up with a preemtive bid?

Thanks
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#4 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 13:45

View PostLesh18, on 2012-March-28, 13:37, said:

Right, if I do a preemtive bid of 4, then I risk that my opponents will just let my team play 4 for which I am not confidant and will eventually lose. So doing a preemtive bidding always includes a risk ending up with the contract, you did not actually want? Or is there any way to prevent ending up with a preemtive bid?

Thanks


Great question.

Sometimes a preempt will 'push' your opponents into a game they would not have otherwise bid. Sometimes a preempt will serve to get you into a poor contract or too high when partner doesn't have good support. Last, sometimes a preempt will make it difficult for your side to find a better contract.

However, as long as you follow good guidelines for preempting, then a lot of these risks are lessened.

There is a saying in bridge, "preempts work". This is especially true against good opponents, when given a free run and no interference, will generally reach the correct contract. Your job when holding a long suit and not a lot of defense, is to take away this bidding space.

Think of bidding space like air - the more you take away from your opponents with preempting, the harder their life will be.
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#5 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 13:45

Hello Lesh,

this is where it starts to depend on what form of the game you are playing. Let's say you are playing matchpoints and neither side is vulnerable. If your opponents bid 4 and take 11 tricks, you will score -450. If you bid 4 and take only 1 trick, you will also score -450. Note that it is pretty much impossible to take only 1 trick in diamonds with the hand I gave. ;)

The real risk, of course, is that they might double your contract. If they do that, you will need to take at least 8 tricks - in that case you will score -300 (better than -450) whereas if you take only 7 tricks you will score -500 (worse than -450). So, mathematically, you will increase your expected value on the hand if you can make 8 or more tricks at least 50% of the time (always assuming they do indeed take 10 or 11 tricks in spades). I am quite convinced that this is the case. However one of the most important aspects of becoming a better bridge player is honing your judgement on how many tricks you are likely to be able to take with hands like this, don't worry too much if this seems difficult for you at this point.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
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#6 User is offline   S2000magic 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 13:57

Howdy, Lesh!

I was going to reply at length, but mgoetze pretty much covered everything I was going to say.

I had a perfect example of this on Monday evening. My left-hand-opponent (LHO) dealt and opened 1, the bidding proceeded:

(1) - 3 - (4) - ?

I held:

A K J x
x x
x x x x x
Q x

Partner's bid was the sort that mgoetze described: a long (7-card) spade suit and little-to-nothing outside.

I bid 4, figuring that it was very likely that our opponents could make at least a small slam in hearts: we'll get at most one spade trick, and probably nothing else.

The opponents let us play in 4, down 3. If they had bid 5 I would have let them play there (they don't get the slam bonus if they make 6), but if they had bid 6 I would have bid 6.

It turned out that they were cold for 6. Down 3 at 4 was an excellent score for partner and me.

You need to be careful that if the opponents double you they don't get more points setting you than they would get in their own best contract, but whenever you have a long (6+ or 7+) suit and very little defensive strength, you should consider jumping to the highest level you can afford, making it difficult for your opponents to communicate with each other.

You said that you were worried that you might get left in 4: a contract you didn't want to play. Here, I was thrilled that we were left in 4, even though I knew that we weren't going to make it: we saved a lot of points by going down 3.
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#7 User is offline   dwar0123 

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Posted 2012-March-28, 14:29

You can't expect to always get a plus score, often your opponents just happen to have far more high card points. One of the goals with a preempt often isn't to get a plus score, it is to get a smaller negative score. Going down in 3 as in Mgoetze example is often better then letting your opponents play in . Occasionally you hit partner with a great hand and can make it, that's even better, but going down can still be a good result for you.
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#8 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2012-March-29, 00:19

The goal is to do as well as you can with the cards that you have.

In general the reason to bid to a higher contract (other than being pushed there) is that you get a bigger score for bidding and making a game contract (or slam contract) than you do for stopping lower and making the same number of tricks.

Most forms of bridge compare your score against other people who held the same cards. So your goal is to do better than the other people who had your hands. This could mean getting a smaller negative score by taking an extra trick on defense, or because the opponents didn't bid high enough to get their game (or slam) bonus.

Even if you are playing rubber bridge (where you are not comparing scores with anyone at another table and no one else will play the same cards) you just try to do as well as you can with the cards you have. Hopefully the next deal will bring you better hands!
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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