Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 3rd, 2022


clarksburgJuly 17th, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Good morning Bobby
In fourth seat, after three Passes, you hold:
AK AKQJ1032 873 Q
Partner held:
QJ87 74 6 A87652
so only a Club lead can hold it to 11 tricks.
This was played about 70 times in an ACBL on-line Pairs game.
The majority opening was 4H, almost always passed out.
At 25 Tables it was opened 2C, nearly always stopping in 4H.
What to open? And what should 4H mean?
Should Responder pass the 4H? (assuming 4H means “I’m bidding what I what I think I can make”).

bobbywolffJuly 17th, 2022 at 1:38 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

This hand is almost a classic 2C opening, having nine sure tricks in a heart contract, with (my guess) partner 85-90% to cover at least one of the minor suit 4 losers.

If spades are no worse than the expected 4-3 distribution with the opponents, no lead (except incredible adverse distribution) will defeat 6 hearts.

It is not just totally game in hand deals which should be opened with game forces, but rather including those who lend themselves with partner, at the very least, providing something if only s. xxxx, h. xxx, d. xx, c. xxxx on your layout, which then becomes an almost lay down heart game.

Of course, sometimes it becomes a bridge game with a poker element of surprise to use against certain aggressive opponents in order for them to “sneak up” and eventually bid a heart game (in a competitive auction) hoping to get doubled) rather than defend against their opponents best suit contract, especially if that suit is spades.

But for classroom and discussion purposes your 13 card combination could be a poster child picture for a GF start.

Yes, at least to me, that is your answer.

Finally, the average universal bridge player, relatively inexperienced, but beginning to love the game still makes up most of our tournament bridge population and their prime instincts definitely ride with loving making bids which almost surely (perhaps 95%) will come home.

That avoids criticism later, except of course when slam is not bid (but sometimes is almost laydown), since an opening 4 hearts should also be always bid with, s. x, h. KQJxxxxx, d. xxx, c. x when NV, especially when the opponents are.

IOW, there are always very intelligent opening bids made, regardless of their chances of success, but to win the battle at the table against decent opponents who are also well aware of their bridge responsibilities (which usually accompanies experience).

Good luck and always keep in touch.