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The Adventures of BridgeGoth and GIB S 13

Posted by BridgeGoth on October 11, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (6)

We're back!

After a very long break I am back to report another adventure of myself playing with GIB S. The simple truth is I have had so many projects going on in the Bridge world the last couple years I haven't really had the time or energy to do these. However, I have a few weeks of vacation so I figured it would be fun to try my luck again.

These hands have a couple very interesting adventures and as always some great teaching points. Hope everyone enjoys!

Hand 1

Well this could have been a huge adventure if GIB S ever had a clue what going on. I open a normal 1S and E makes a pretty silly double. You should refrain from doubling with 3 or more cards in the opening suit unless you're very strong. This hand certainly does not qualify. After the XX, all doubles are for penalty, and I have no idea why GIB S pulled 1NTx to 2D, or why he didn't smash 2H.

He bids 3NT which is pretty easy to play with almost all the cards marked from the bidding. A low heart might have created some problems but he went for a diamond instead. Once he is off lead, he can never get it again to lead a heart through the AJ, so 9 tricks are assured if the club suit is guessed correctly. Not that there was much chance of him misplaying, E led a club when in with the spade, and that was the end of that. He collects 9 tricks for a nice score of +400, but still leaves me wondering, oh what could have been. If only all mistakes results in 5 imp wins.

Score: +5.53 Total Score +5.53


Hand 2

Here the opponents make a normal start but questionable response of 1NT, skipping his 4 card major. I am forced to pass over 1D since bidding 2D would show both majors.

It is passed back around to me. If you're thinking about getting cute and bidding a natural 2D here, don't do that. We are vulnerable against not and partner has passed, it is very unlikely that we can make anything of note, and could easily go for 500 or 800 on a nothing hand. 

According to double dummy analysis, only a lead of GIB S's stiff diamond would set this, however that is not a logical lead and he selected a more natural heart. I win the king and see no real good play availbile. The hearts can't run because we can't possibly have enough spots to set up the suit, but with no good alternative, usually best to just return partner's suit. Maybe you'll have a better idea what to do next time.

The heart is won on the board and declarer makes a big mistake. Why is he trying to set up diamonds? Clubs offers much more potential if they are favorable, and less likely to get in trouble if they are not.  Now he switches to spades, which allows me to win my Q. Once the transportation is gone, the club suit is dead, and he tries diamonds again, which is a losing option. NOW i can finally play my long suit from the top, not that I'm getting in again, but he doesn't know that, plus it's safe.

He only manages 6 tricks while most took 8.

Score: +2.80 Total Score: +8.33


Hand 3

This hand will be a good example of 2 unforced errors. Lots of mistakes happen in Bridge, but some should not because there is just no reason for them.

GIB S opens 1H, it's close to a 2C opening, but I think 1H is ok.

West makes a horrible 2D overcall. 5332 hands should never overcall at the 2 level vulnerable unless there is just no choice. Balanced minimums really shouldn't overcall at all in 2nd seat vul. In this position, the deck is stacked against you, you're under the gun, and your penalties are much bigger if wrong, so you must have a good reason to enter the bidding. When you're vulnerable, down 1 is not good bridge, and down 2 is bad bridge.

If that wasn't bad enough, E tries to save his partner by bidding 2S on a 4 card suit. This is not a good bid at all, 2S should should a good 5+ card suit and either a fit in diamonds or enough to play game, he has none of the above. When partner overcalls and you are both weak and short in his suit, you must pass and hope for the best.

This plays about as well as you might expect and they go -300 for down 3 vulnerable. The real question is why did GIB S never bid again? I rate to have next to nothing given E/W's bidding, but even so that's quite a heroic pass, but it certainly worked out for him.

Score: +5.67 Total Score: +14.00


Hand 4

This hand is all about the Rule of 37.

I open 2N 20-21 and GIB S has 17HCP, thus giving us 37-38.

The Rule of 37 applies:

If you are sure your side has 37 or more HCP combined, Do not ask for suits, do not show suits, do not ask aces, do not pass Go, and do not collect $200. Go directly to 7NT!

Why is this? If you have this much power, you almost certainly have 13 top tricks! Why play in a suit and risk a bad trump break or a opening lead ruff? There is just no reason.

As you can see, we have 14 winners off the top no matter how anything breaks. As for East's double... yeah.... At least I can say I went +2490 in my comeback!

Score: +11.87 Total Score: +25.87


Hand 5

This hand wasn't too exciting. We have a basic auction to 1NT, and I cash my 9 winners for +150 after a heart lead. I can make more if I guess the spade, but why bother.

Score: +1.47 Total Score: +27.34


Hand 6

One might ask why would I include a hand like the last one where the auction was so simple and the play was even simpler? Well in the real world, most Bridge hand aren't that excited when bid/played properly, not every hand has a major problem or is worth putting in a book, but we still have to play them as best we can!

This one the opponents bid incorrectly, but ended in a normal contract.

Everything until after the 2S bid. I like a rebid of 3D, to show 5+S 4+D and game forcing hand. This does not promise a slam try, it just simple says you are looking for the right game. You would feel pretty silly if partner has 3 little hearts and you jump to 3NT and watch them cash 5 or 6 rounds of hearts while your diamond slam dies on vine wouldn't you? 4S as he bid it should show 6+ spades an a mild slam try and tends to deny shortness. With only the desire to play 4S, one should bid 4H over 1NT as a transfer to 4S and then pass.

Over the 3D I suggest, E should bid 3S showing a good hand for spades, and W will bid 4S to end the auction.

E needed to count potential winners here, He has 2 hearts, AC, 2D, therefore he needs 5 spade tricks or 6 spade tricks and only 1 diamond.

With the 5-0 trump break, he needs to score both little hearts on the dummy by ruffing hearts and ruffing the last diamond high. He did not do that, and went down 1 to give me a nice +100. Quite a difficult hand and I am not surprised almost no one made it. We had the obligatory -1100 on the bottom of the score sheet to give me some imps.

Score: +5.20 Total Score +32.54


Hand 7

Beyond this door is a dimension where with many voids, 8 card suits, and even 13 card fits...

You are now entering... The Goulash Zone!

These next couple hands get very interesting!!

We start here with W with a powerhouse and opens 1H, a normal bid. East bids 3C intending as a weak jump shift. He's a little strong but this, but it's probably ok, since if he starts with 1NT he's really unlikely to be any better off next time.

What West should do next is anyone's guess, I might have just bid 4H since my hearts were so nice (not that that was going to work), but he tries 3S and East keeps bidding clubs he eventually raises to 6C and I have KJx of trump. Should I double this? NO!! That would most certainly qualify as a Dumble. What is the possible upside of doubling here? I score an extra 100 points? Wow... What is the downside?

A: I alert him where the clubs are, what if dummy has a club and he can finesse me?

B: Am I sure 6H is going down? I have no tricks vs any other contract but clubs. I really don't want them running.

C: Why can't this contract be completely cold? I have no reason to think I have 2 tricks with my trumps in front of the long suit.

I collect my 2 clubs and throw the hand in for +100.

I don't like the raise to 6C, if East had a good club suit he would have started with 2C or 5C rather than 3C. This was about the best case he could have had.

This time we had the not quite as obligatory -2300 for 5Sx, I am glad I don't do things like that...

Score: +1.53 Total Score +34.07


Hand 8

It's a real rarity on BBO when your opponents make game and you win imps. But that is what happened here.

I open a normal 2S, and East doubles, GIB S advances the preempt to 4S.

West bids 5D and East... passes? With 20 points and 5 card support he can't find a bid?

I would have bid 5NT, that should deny the ace of spades and show a hand that wants to play at least small slam.

Normally I would tell people you MUST draw trumps before claiming, here I would make an exception since their side has all 13 diamonds!

6D of course is completely cold, as the only trick I can ever take is the ace of spades I cashed on lead. I won't even get that if I don't lead it.

Score: +5.93 Total Score: +40.00


Hand 9

One might ask is it really that easy to average 5 imps per board on BBO? In some ways yes, just play normal bridge and don't do anything crazy and the opponents will usually keep donating. However even in top events this theory still holds true. If you don't make many mistakes, your score will almost always be good even if you don't do anything special.

Here the auction should go 1S 3S 4S, not that it really mattered, we take our 2 tricks, -650. Next

Score: -0.67 Total Score: +39.33


Hand 10

Here is another case where the opponents simply gave us a board without us really having to do anything.

East opened 1D and GIB S bid 2C. Earlier we discussed that 5332 hand do not overcall at the 2 level unless they have to. With a strong 16 point hand, this one has to.

West however certainly did NOT have to bid 2NT, if he wanted to bid anything he needed to make a negative double, but I really don't like that either since he has no answer over a 2S bid from opener.

2NT should show 10-12 HCP, a club stopper, and (usually) deny a 4 card major, his hand fit... none of those...

Some might be tempted to lead a low spade, but really.... partner stuck his neck out there to bid 2C vulnerable, you should lead his suit unless you have a VERY good reason not to, and this does not qualify.

If he timed the hand properly, he can go down 1 by endplaying GIB S rather than himself, but that didn't happen so we collect +200.

Note what would have happened had he passed 2C, if it is doubled, 2C does not rate to play too well. Even passed out that would be a good score for them.

Notice no one had a fit on this hand? This is one of many bridge hands where whichever sides ends up playing it is going to go minus, so when you're balanced and it doesn't sound like anyone is fitting well, you should not compete so hard to win the contract, you will usually have buyer's remorse.

Score: +7.80 Total Score: +47.13


Hand 11

This hand was a snoozer.

GIB S open 1D, and I bid 1H and he shows 12-14 by bidding 1NT. Do not invite with balanced 10 counts when partner has a weak NT, this is a very poor idea.

This had 5 losers on a major suit lead, he made 9 anyway, a few people got to game and made it some didn't, but 1NT really is the proper spot.

Score: -0.07 Total Score: +47.06


Hand 12

I don't anyone's bidding much on this hand, including my own. We'll look at each one.

1D: Fine, normal opening

X: Not a big fan of this with only 3-3 majors and a minimum. What is he hoping to find?

1S: I don't really like bidding bad 4 card suits over double when I have enough to bid 1NT, but 1S is not bad.

1N: I should have a little more for this, but am fairly certain we have the balance of power, so wanted to take charge. I need not worry about a spade stopper since GIB S doubled, he has those.

2S: This is not a good bid, if he wants to continue he should use a support double to show 3 spades, not bid 2S

Now that we landed in 2S, the defense was quite nice. I chose a passive club lead and once I know W has the AQ of clubs, the hand is an open book. 

Also don't be tempted to cover the diamond, that would be horrific if the JD was a singleton. Since we know where every card was, the goal is to get as many ruffs as possible and score our trumps rather than his. We accomplished this for down 2 and a score of +100 for us. 

How would 1NT have faired if I played it there? Probably -1 or -2, all the cards are in the wrong hands and our transportation is very limited. So just like Hand 10, they took away our chance to go minus so they could go minus themselves.

Score: +4.53 Final Score: +52.59


Myll?ri over 1NT

Posted by BridgeGoth on October 3, 2013 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (10)

Hello all!

After getting many requests based on my profile on BBO, here is the basics of what Mylläri over 1NT is.

Assuming a strong 1NT (14-16 or better)

In direct seat:

X = 4 card major and longer minor (responder bids cheapest suit willing to play)

2C = Majors (normal Landy continuations)

2D = Hearts

2H = Spades

2S = 5+S and 4+minor

2N = minors

3m = natural

3M = preemptive

In passout seat:

X = Major/Minor 2 suiter

2C = Majors

2D/H/S = Natural

2N = Minors

3X = Natural, constructive

Vs weak NT (13-15 or less), the same structure can be used, except double is for penalty.

To Overcall, or not to Overcall...

Posted by BridgeGoth on July 25, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (10)

Many different styles of overcalling exist, however the goal remains the same regardless of how you play. Communicate information about your hand to your partner, while making it more difficult for them to do the same.

In this article I will be talking about what different things overcalls can accomplish, and when each goal is most important to focus on based on seat and vulnerability.

To begin by looking at a hand from this afternooon. J72 Q8652 K7 Q32

Nobody is vulnerable and your RHO opens 1D in 1st seat. This player decided to overcall 1H. Now many people will write on their convention hard that a 1 level overcall promises at least 7 or 8 points and a 5 card suit, some allow for 4 card suits, some do not. So on the surface this "seems" like it fits a 1H overcall, but it most definitely does not. To tell you why, I will use a great quote from trumpd, a Canadian bridge player on BBO was kibitzing at the time to tell you why.

"Overcalls should do one of 3 things, lead direct, announce the location of an opening hand, or take up space. This bid does none of these"

I cannot agree more with this, bidding 1H with this hand, as that player did, accomplishes none of those 3 things and thus is not a good bid.

I love this quote so much, I'm actually going to break it down piece by piece and talk about every situation that those 3 things apply to, and the best way to use them.

In general, a good overcall should 2 of those 3 things, and an ok overcall would do 1. If you are considering overcalling and cannot do any of those 3 things, then you should not be bidding.

Next I will break down hands that can do each of those 3 things individually, and discuss when it is ok to only be able to do that 1 thing.

1: Lead Directors

A lead director is overcalling a suit that you want your partner to lead. The goal of this is to make sure partner does not give away tricks leading their own suit by suggesting strength in your own.

This is best done at the 1 level, non vulnerable, when partner has passed.

Examples of 1S over 1D overcalls: 

You are in 3rd seat nobody vulnerable and partner passes, and RHO opens 1D

AQxxx xx xx xxxx You don't want partner leading a heart do you?

AKJx xxx Qxxx xx Again, do you want partner to lead anything but a spade?

As long as partner is a passed hand and you can come in at the 1 level, this is safe, partner should not bury you.

2: Annoucing the location of an opening hand

Sometimes even with weaker suits we must overcall in order to protect partner's hand, or to avoid having to come in at a higher level later. This is especially true in team games when bidding games is so important. It is important to make sure you do have full values however, going -800 is not fun. 

This is best done when vulnerable and partner has not passed. However, opening hands should rarely be passed when they can be bid at the 1 level.

Examples of this situation:

You are in 2nd seat everybody vulnerable and RHO opens 1D

QJxxx Ax xxx KQx   Bid 1S.  If you pass now, what will you do if they preempt? What if partner bids clubs or hearts? You might lose the spades.

You are in 2nd seat everybody vulnerable and RHO opens 2H

QT9xx x AKxxx Ax   This is dangerous, but 2S is necessary. If LHO jumps to 4H and it goes pass pass back to you, will you or partner have a clue what to do? You might collect 100 a trick when you are cold for 4S.

With a situation like the last one, to quote Larry Cohen, "It's dangerous to bid, but it's even more dangerous to pass." By that he is referring to the severe penalty for missing vulnerable games, vs the possibility of getting doubled.

3: To take up space

Preempting is very important for 2 reasons. It allows us to interfere with their bidding and make it more difficult for them to reach the right contract, and it also allows us to compete in the bidding and possibly win the contract.

This should be done any time it is appropriate, but it is even better when non vulnerable and partner has passed.

Examples of this:

You are in 3rd seat white on red, partner passes and RHO opens 1D

JT9xxxx xx xx xx  

If you bid 3S, they are not going to have a very easy time finding out where to play this. You know they are cold for game and possibly slam, so make it hard on them!

You are in 3rd seat white on red, partner passes and RHO opens 1D

Kxxxx Jxxxx xx x  

A Michaels cuebid of 2D doesn't take up a lot of space, but think about your partner. He might have a big fit and can preempt himself! How do you think they will do after 1D 2D P 3S?

If you know they have game! Don't let them find it! At the very least, make them earn it, or guess what to do.

To summarize:

Overcalls should either, suggest a lead, announce an opening hand, or take space away from the opponents.

If you can do 2 of these things safely, you have a good overcall.

If you can do 1 of these things safely, you have a good overcall in the right situation.

If you cannot do any of these 3 things, you should not overcall.

Quiz Time!

1-3 You are in 2nd seat everybody vulnerable and your RHO opens 1D

1: KQJxx Jx Kx xxxx

2: AJxxxx x Qxxx xx

3: xxx Kx Qxx AQxxx

4-6 You are in 3rd seat nobody vulnerable and your RHO open 1D

4: AQxxx xxx xxx xx

5: Jxx Qxxxx Kx Jxx

6: KQxxx xxxxx Ax x

7-8 You are in 2nd seat everybody vulnerable and RHO opens 2H

7: KQxxx xx AJxx Kx

8: xx xx AKxxxx Qxx

9-10 You are in 3rd seat they are vulnerable, you are not, and RHO opens 1C

9: xxxxxx xx xx xxx

10: Kxx Qxx Axxx Qxx


1: Bid 1S. You can safely suggest a lead at the 1 level, and if partner has a good hand, you have enough to not get in too much trouble.

2: Bid 2S. This suggests a lead and takes up space. This fits 2 out of 3.

3: Pass. This is not an opening hand, and going to 2 level freely is not the time to be making simple lead directors.

4: Bid 1S. You are not vulnerable and partner has passed. This is the best time to make a lead director. You don't want partner leading hearts do you?

5: Pass: Bidding 1H would accomplish none of the 3 goals.

6: Bid 1S. While this has the shape for Michaels, 1S would both suggest a lead and take up space, while 2D might get partner to lead a heart.

7: Bid 2S. This promises an opening hand, it is too dangerous to pass this and come in later when LHO raises hearts.

8: Pass. This is not an opening hand, and making only lead directors this high in 2nd seat is not a good idea. Partner will expect much more.

9: Bid 2S. They are cold for game, maybe even slam, make it as hard for them as possible. At this vulnerability in 3rd seat, anything goes.

10: Pass. This hand is lousy, nothing you can bid that makes any sense would suggest a lead, or take up space, and you not do have an opening hand.