Page 0006

6 English Bridge August 2017 www.ebu.co.uk

I

encourage my students to see auctions as

conversations. Tell your partner about your

hand and listen to what partner is saying back.

It is often a pretty short conversation - you don't

usually get to say that many things! This means you

need to prioritise and give the most important

information as early as possible - so your choices of

whether to open and what to open are really

important.

The first consideration is whether you should

open the bidding. My usual advice is that you

should be opening most 12 point hands and can

open with 11 points if you have 'a reason'. This

might be a particularly good or long suit or some

other extra shape; often it's more than one of these

things. It is important to realise that passing does

not prevent you from bidding later - indeed, it can

make subsequent bidding much easier as partner

will know you aren't very strong.

The second question is what to open. Your first

priority should be 1NT if you can, and this will be

covered in the next article. Assuming that you are

opening one of a suit you should always open the

suit in which you have most cards - your longest

suit - which won't always be your strongest suit.

Don't be tempted to open a stronger, shorter suit -

you will just confuse partner as the auction

continues. A good general rule for bidding is that

telling partner where your long cards are is usually

more useful to them than telling them where your

points are.

With two five card suits you should open the

higher-ranking (spades, then hearts, then

diamonds - think of High Five). If you open the

lower you will sometimes find it difficult to make a

sensible bid on the second round of the auction.

With two four card suits open a major suit (hearts

or spades) if you can. A good rule is to open 1™, 1´

then 1® in that order of preference.

Have a go at these problems: would you open

and, if so, what?

1. 1™. With 16 points you should definitely be

opening and you should always start with your

longest suit - don't be lured in by the quality of

your diamonds! You can bid them later if it looks

like a good idea.

2. 1™. You only have 11 points but they are all in

your long suits, which is good; you have a

singleton and good intermediate cards (those

two 10s).

3. Pass. You have queens and jacks in your short

suits, which are not very useful, and you will

probably be able to overcall 1´ later when the

auction gets back to you. This will be a far better

description of your hand than telling partner

that it is worth an opening bid!

4. 1´. You are out of range for 1NT, which shows

12-14, so open your major.

5. 1t. With two five card suits open the higher

(High Five), even if it is the weaker suit. This is

because it makes it easier to show your shape

later. You may bid 2® next and partner can pass

or show preference for diamonds all at the

2-level. If you bid 1® first and partner responds

at the one level, you will now have to go 2t to

show your second suit and may end up playing at

the 3-level even if partner has a weak hand.

Opening the Bidding

ACOLytes - Know the Basics by Sarah Bell

click

link

Hand 4

´ A Q 4 2

™ A 5

t K J 7

® Q 9 8 5

Hand 5

´ K 6

™ A

t K 8 7 5 4

® K Q 8 7 3

Hand 1 Hand 2 Hand 3

´ Q 5 4 ´ 7 ´ K J 7 5 4

™ A 9 7 5 3 ™ A Q J 10 3 ™ Q J

t A K Q J t K J 10 7 t Q J

® 6 ® 8 6 2 ® J 8 5 4

Index

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