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KK wrote: Hello! While playing bridge the other day with my regular group, my partner bid two clubs, the next player bid two hearts, then I passed because I didn’t have any points (as did the next player).

A debate ensued as to whether or not I was allowed to pass vs. bidding.

What is your take on the situation?


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DC asked: My partner opened 1C (with two plus clubs) and I'm holding 4 hearts to the king, 4 clubs to the queen, 4 diamonds to the queen and a singleton spade, what would your response be?

I bid 1D, she said 2NT so I went 3NT and we made 7...

PG responded: Despite the most accurate bidding, you need to expect some hands not to make. Bidding systems cover the majority of hands not all of them.

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Terry H asked: When a responder changes suit, it is forcing on opener to rebid. However what happens if opener’s rebid changes the suit again? Is this forcing on responder to bid again?

PG replied: It is normally forcing when a responder changes suit provided they are not a passed hand. It is normally not forcing when opener changes suit unless it is a jump bid or a reverse bid (where the new suit at the two level is higher ranked than opener's first suit and responder's bid was at the one level). So 1C - 1H - 1S would not be forcing, while 1C - 1S - 2H is a reverse bid and is normally forcing for at least one round.

Terry H also asked: What if opener’s bid is passed by responder, but opener rebids and changes the suit.  Is this forcing on responder to bid?

PG responded: No it is not normally forcing unless opener bids the opponent's suit. However it does show a stronger or more distributional hand and so responder may now choose to bid to compete with the opponents.

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Terry H asked: When assessing your hand to open, you need 12+ opening points to open one of a suit, provided you have 5 or more cards in a major suit, or less for minors. Opening points are a combination of HCPs and length points. Length points are one point for a 5 card suit, two points for a 6 card suit etc. Then, when you find a fit with partner you can include shortage points (1 for a doubleton, 3 for a singleton and 5 for a void).

This raises 4 questions on points:

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Terry H asked: When you are declarer in a suit contract, you count your losers, then work out a plan to achieve your contract. (In a no-trump contract, you count your winners.)  What is the best way to count your losers?  Is there a quick way to do this?  Or is it just practice?

PG replied: There is a fairly standard way to calculate your losers during the bidding once you have found a fit. For the first 3 cards on every suit count one loser for each trick you would lose of the suit were played from the top. So an A singleton, any void and AKQ would be no losers, Ax and Kx would be 1 loser, Qx and Qxx would both be 2 and JTx would be 3. Don't count any cards beyond the first three in any suit as losers. This is a tough approximation but generally quite good.

When you are assessing your hands as declarer you can be more precise. You can take into account information that the opponent bids or opening lead indicates. You can also combine dummy's and declarer's holdings. Holding Qx opposite KJx would be 1 loser, Ax opposite Kxx would be no losers provided you have trumps to ruff with.

Planning the play is about maximising your chances while minimising your risks. And that certainly takes practice well as thinking it through.