. When the Opponents Open
Annoying, isn’t it? You had just decided that you were going to open the bidding with 1, when your opponent opens 1 in front of you. What to do?
When both sides are bidding, your objective is to get the best score possible. Game is unlikely, unless there is a good distributional fit. Finding an eight card major suit fit is still very important, since playing in a major will usually produce the best score.
Having a hand you would have opened is no reason to bid now. Your strategy has changed. There are only four reasons to bid once the opponents have opened:
- Balance of the Power. Our side might have most of the strength.
- Lead Direction. It could be important to tell partner what to lead.
- Sacrifice. We may have a good sacrifice versus their game, slam, or partscore.
- Obstruction. Our bidding may make it hard for them to get to the right spot.
The tools at our disposal for competing once the opponents have bid a suit are:
- The no-trump overcall
- The simple suit overcall
- The take-out double
- The jump overcall
- Various 2 suited bids
I. What Is Your Objective?
One of the primary objectives of bidding is to find an eight card major suit fit to play in. The other main objective is to determine how many points the partnership has. These are the two questions you should ask yourself every time it is your turn to bid:
- Do we have an 8 card or longer major suit fit ?
- Do we have the 26 points needed for a game ?
Once either partner knows that there cannot be 26 points, it is that player’s job to stop in a makable contract. This usually means passing, or making the cheapest bid in a previously bid suit. Conversely, if you know your side has enough points for a game, do not make a bid that your partner can pass!
In Albuquerque, NM, we started a Bridge lessons in the schools program in the Fall of 2002 with five schools, three middle schools and two high schools. So far, it appears to be easier to get into the middle schools. They need after-school programs and can give us an hour and a half every week, while high schools seem to have more trouble fitting it in. One of our schools gets 30 minutes, the other 50 minutes but low attendance.
Anne Kanapilly, the “boss” of After School Initiative for the city of Albuquerque, visited Felix Reid’s middle school class. She was most impressed and has since put her thoughts in writing. Here is a quote from that:
“Eight eager learners sat around a card table learning the complex game of Bridge. The American Bridge Association provides enthusiastic teachers and is beginning to infiltrate the middle schools. The students were totally engaged in learning the game and with time not only will develop strategies for winning but are as well potentially acquiring a lifelong pastime.”
Read on for the step-by-step action plan we used.