December 15, 2011–With the first major tournament coming up in two weeks, RYB Teachers are preparing their students to compete in both Pairs events and in Mini Bridge games.
Middle school students have been focusing on learning the basic rules and techniques for play of the hand. Beginning with Whist and then proceeding to Mini Bridge, students have learned that Bridge is a partnership game and the objective is to take that number of tricks that one partnership has bid to take and thereby contracted to play the hand for.
One individual member of that partnership becomes the Declarer and his partner, after the opening lead, lays his cards on the table and is referred to as the “Dummy”. The defending partner’s objective is to deny the Declarer the ability to fulfill their contract.
The Teachers have used the Audrey Grant Texts “Bidding” and “Play of the Hand ” to provide instruction regarding how to reach the optimum contract and plan for and execute play of the cards so that they will win at least the number of tricks they contracted to win.
Scoring is based on making a game bonus requiring a specific number of tricks to be contracted and to win at least that number. If the bid is for at least a number of tricks equal to a game (nine tricks with no suit as Trump, ten tricks with a Major suit, Spades or Hearts, as trump, eleven tricks with a minor suit, Diamonds or Clubs, as trump) the declaring partnership receives a bonus of 100 points.
Bidding for less than the number required to make game is called a Part Score. If you bid and make a number of tricks less than game, you receive a bonus of 50 points. Your total score on each hand you play depends on whether you play no-trump, a major suit as trump, or a minor suit as trump, and whether you bid and make that number of tricks that earn a part score bonus or a Game bonus.
If you bid for and make 12 tricks (“small slam”) or 13 tricks (“grand slam”) out of 13 tricks possible, you get another bonus in addition to the Game bonus. To sit down and play the hand after bidding a specific contract, RYB recommends the use of certain basic guidelines or rules for playing the hand.
1. After the opening lead, and before you play any card if IN A SUIT CONTRACT, COUNT YOUR LOSERS!
2. After the opening led, and before you play any card, if IN A NO-TRUMP CONTRACT, COUNT YOUR WINNERS!
3. PLAN YOUR PLAY! Try to figure out a plan to reduce losers or force the timely creation of a winner(s).
a. Usually a good idea to PLAY YOUR TRUMP SUIT FIRST! to remove an y ruffing power by Defenders.
b. PLAY HIGH TRUMPS FIRST! then follow up with the next highest. Count the number of trump in all hands. Sometimes best to leave last trump in Defender’s hand if it is of higher denomination than your remaining trump.
4. Try to play trumps so that you end up in whichever hand (yours or the Dummy’s) so as to allow you to LEAD UP TO A SUIT HEADED BY AN UNSUPPORTED KING, AQ OR KJ!
a. If unaware which opponent has the A, or the K or the Q in these examples respectively, leading up to the high card or combination allows you to win the K or Q or to win or force the A if the higher card is on your left. This is called a finesse.
b. Another type of finesse is when you have a QJ combination opposite two or more cards headed by an Ace. To make this play, hoping the K is in LHO hand, you need the lead to be in the hand with the QJ combination.
5. TRY TO TRUMP LOSERS IN THE HAND WITH THE FEWEST NUMBER OF TRUMPS (Yours or the Dummy’s) In some cases when declarer has three small cards or two small headed by an Ace in a side suit opposite 2 of the sme suit in Dummy and Dummy has only 3 low cards in your trump suit, it is a good idea, after the opening lead, to play on this suit before pulling trump so you will be able to trump the 3rd small card held in your hand with one of Dummy’s 3 low trum cards thereby promoting a winning trick.
6. In a fairly balanced hand, Declarer can FORCE OR PROMOTE WINNERS BY PLAYING TOUCHING CARDS FROM A SUIT (KQ, QJ10, J1098) After one, two or the three rounds of play, respectively, if Declarer has controls in the other suits , it is possible to create a winner.
a. If Partner has bid a suit, usually best to LEAD PARTNER’S SUIT!
b. From hands with 3 or 4 cards in partner’s bid suit, if none are touching honor cards, LEAD THE LOWEST CARD!
c. From a hand in which you have touching honors, AK, KQ, QJ, or J10, LEAD THE TOP CARD IN SEQUENCE, no matter how many cards in the suit you hold.
d. If Partner has not bid a suit, you might try any of the following opening leads:
i. The LEAD OF THE TOP CARD FROM A SMALL DOUBLETON may work well if you are able to then trump the third round before your opponent pulls your last trump card.
ii. LEAD TOP OF A SEQUENCE in a side suit headed by the J or higher: KQJxx, QJ10x, J109x.
iii. LEAD A LOW SINGLETON IN AN UN BID SUIT.
iv. LEAD FOUTH HIGHEST CARD FROM A BROKEN SUIT with four or more cards: KJ952, Q9632, J8754.
v. LEAD ACE FROM AK, K, or KQ in the un-bid suits.
e. When Partner is on lead and leads a low card, after Declarer plays a lower card from Dummy than you hold:
i. Remember the rule-THIRD HAND HIGH!
ii. After partner leads and Declarer plays from Dummy, you must PLAY THE HIGHEST CARD NECESSARY TO WIN THE TRICK:
Example: Partner leads the 3 of spades , J95 is in the Dummy. You hold Q104 of spades. You must play your highest card or whatever card is necessary to cover the card Declarer plays from Dummy. In this case you play the Queen if he plays the J, the 10 if he plays the 9. If Declarer then plays the A of the suit and your partner’s lead was from the K, he knows that you have the Queen, otherwise Declarer would have played that card.
f. If Declarer is on lead:
PLAY SECOND HAND LOW.
When defending and Declarer leads from his hand to a suit in which the Dummy has KJ104 and you have A95, it usually is right to play a low card. Declarer does not know where the Ace is and possibly your partner has the Queen. If Declarer has to guess, he may play the Jack on which your partner may win with the Queen. In any event Declarer is going to win the King if you play the Ace so the only chance to limit the number of tricks is to duck and let him guess.
g. After play begins and you are on lead (and you have no logical alternative):
WHEN THE DUMMY ISON YOUR RIGHT, LEAD THE WEAKEST SUIT IN SIGHT!
WHEN DUMMY IS ON YOUR LEFT, LEAD THROUGH STRENGTH!