Welcome, reader from internet2.irs.gov! Incidentally, we've completely stopped playing rubber bridge for money, preferring the intangible joys of a running score tally instead, but I'm sure we're all planning to declare the small amounts we did earn.
In which some people who play bridge blog about it.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
If you like to play cards and want to learn to play bridge, then this might be for you. I teach a beginners bridge class for guys on Tuesday night. It is closes optional. Nudity is not required. It is clothes optional. It is NOT a sex group.
There are currently 7 guys in the group; 4 gay, 2 bi, and 1 straight. The purpsoe is to learn to play bridge in a relaxed environment. If interested drop me an email and I'll send you more information.
Who's to say it might not improve one's game? Unfetter the body and you unfetter the bidding! It also opens up a new range of ways that a bored dummy can pester the other players. I like Marya's suggestion though that they play with giant cards to maintain modesty.
For those of us who learned on the cheat sheet and want to keep abreast of the latest modifications, I've added a "printme" flag to all my posts here that directly refine our system.
Here is the collected works.
As always, everything is open to debate and discussion, but printing that one page might be handy if you forget certain conventional responses.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
One of the prerequisites for keeping an accurate running card count in your head is to become very conversant with the various hand shapes, so you don't even have to think about them:
4333 4432 4441
5332 5422 5431 5440 5521 5530
6322 6331 6421 6430 6511 6520 6610
7222 7321 7330 7411 7420 7510 7600
8221 8311 8320 8410 8500
9211 9220 9310 9400
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Or, a rousing turn on the Blackwood-go-round
Avid followers of the spreadsheet up there ^ will notice that Nils's score leapt up last night by a dramatic 3,000-odd points. That was due in large part to a lovely small slam that I pushed him into semi-unwittingly. I opened strong with 20 points and AKJxx of hearts. After his 2NT, I should have had the sense to stop us in 3NT, but I wanted to show my hearts, and then he jumped past the stopping-point with his next bid of 4C, which I understood to be denying heart support (in fact he had Qxx in hearts and was just temporizing to show strength). I bid 4NT hoping we would play it right there, but the idea of playing in no-trump was thus far only in my mind, and Nils heard the bid as Blackwood ace-asking in a to-be-determined suit contract. Maybe he hoped I knew his secret hearts and would land us there. He showed the missing club ace, and I deposited him in a vulnerable small slam in no-trump, figuring that asking about kings would benefit the defense more than us, and that he wouldn't pass 5NT anyway, just as he hadn't passed 4NT despite my hopes. I had my eye on Wendy, the diamond overcaller, for the missing points anyway. Marya led a middling spade, which dummy won with the doubleton ace.
I clambered around to look at Nils's hand, which was a little sparse-looking, with no kings and one ace. I have no confidence that I would have made the contract. Wendy indeed had the kings of diamonds and clubs -- an opening diamond lead through dummy's A-Q would have set us -- but Marya had long spades topped by that suit's king, and she hoped to establish them. But Nils played it carefully and like the pro he is, losing an eventual trick to the club king, winning the heart return (a spade would've killed us then for sure, but I don't think Wendy had one to lead), and then establishing the long club suit in his hand and squeezing Wendy like a delicious organic tangerine till her errant diamond king fell under the ace on the last trick, winning the slam and the rubber.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
After an interesting evening of exploring weak twos, I don't think we're at all ready to abandon the concept (as Caroline suggests) but one improvement at least is called for. The opener's rebid over a 2NT response to a weak-two opening, indicating a feature in a side suit, was not terribly useful. Mr. Harold Ogust agreed, and invented the Ogust convention (slightly modified below):
You open a six-card suit with a weak-two bid.
Your partner has 12+ points and likes the suit, and thinks you have a shot at game. To evaluate what a good final contract would be, she bids 2NT. This asks you to describe your hand as follows:
- Respond 3C if you have minimum points and a poor suit (only one of the three top honors [AKQ] in your bid suit).
- Respond 3D with minimum points and a good suit (two of the three top honors in your bid suit).
- Respond 3H with maximum points and a poor suit.
- Respond 3S with maximum points and a good suit.
- Respond 3NT if you have all three top honors in your bid suit.
That information should allow responder to pick an appropriate contract in which to play.
Monday, March 05, 2007
There's been a lot of buzz, but I believe it's time to give this a try for real. An opening bid at the two-level does not mean what it used to. Memorize what follows (or comment with quibbles and alternate suggestions).
Open 2D, 2H, or 2S if you have exactly six cards in the suit and
With a strong hand, open 2C. This promises 20 or more points (or a couple less with a great strong suit) and says nothing about your club holding.
Responses to a weak-two opening
You're not forced to respond.
- With a doubleton at least in partner's suit and 7-13 points, you can raise in the same suit. Opener should pass.
- With a longer fit and greater than opening strength, jump to game.
- With a five-card suit and good point count, bid that suit. To bid at the three level, you should have a six-card suit and/or 15+ points.
- To invite partner to game, bid 2NT.
This promises 14+ points and invites the opener to show a feature in another suit -- an ace, king, void, or singleton -- by bidding that suit at the three level. If opener has none of the above, she rebids the original suit. If the original suit is rock-solid -- headed by three honors, say -- she can rebid 3NT.See Ogust.
- To invite partner to slam, bid 4NT: Blackwood!
Responses to a 2C opening
You are forced to respond.
- With 7+ points and five diamonds, hearts, or spades, bid that suit at the two level.
- With 7+ points and balanced distribution, bid 2NT.
- With less than seven points and/or no particular suit you like, bid 2D. Opener will name her favorite suit. You are still forced to respond -- raise that suit to the three level if you like it okay and have five or more points, or bid 3C as a sign-off if you have very low points and nothing else to offer.