Bidding is about communication. One person tell the partner (and the opponent) about what kind of of hand he/she is holding. The partner then respond back with either further inquiry or also describe his/her holding. This is the essence of any bidding system. But not too many bridge player really realize that those 2 activities (making asking bid and describing hand) are in fact the one make a bidding a static bid or a dynamic one. Understanding of this basic will lead to much better partnership, guaranteed !
For sure, knowing only the opening bid will not be qualified as “have a bidding system” with partner. There are much more aspect that just knowing the opening bid. So, below is a starting point, a checklist to confirm that the aspect is covered. I don’t mean that below checklist is complete, but it should be something that you need to cover as minimum. Again have this checklist as starting point and expand further. You partnership will soon be above the average or even better….
To be frank, below items probably will only relevant for those of you that want to play competitive or serious bridge. I have to admit it could be overwhelming for casual player.
But remember this rule of thumb:
it’s better to have less convention but with solid understanding, rather than complete convention but with the risk of forgetting it on the table
So, do the whole checklists below maybe within 3-6 months while playing regularly. Don’t just memorize, understand the reason behind it is more important.
Bidding Related System
- Opening Bid
- Reverse Opening Bid: Opening Bid is a description of “which hand to have if you have this bid”, reverse opening bid is “which bid to do if you have this hand.
See this example for more detail. If reverse opening bid is pretty much in alignment with Opening bid, then your system is better than the one that have ambiguity,
- Subsequent of Opening Bid until at least rebid by both
- Double/ Redouble Bid:
- take out vs penalty vs special double vs responsive
- over natural bid vs over artificial bid, until what level
- Overcall characteristic: level 1, level 2, level 3 and above
- Competitive against NT strong: 1NT/2NT
- Competitive against weak 1NT (12-14 HCP)
- Competitive against Strong Unbalance (e.g: 1C Precision 16+ HCP or 2C Standard System, 23+HCP)
- Competitive against Preemptive : level 2, level 3, level4 and beyond
- Bidding Unusual/Special Hand: e,g: 2NT unusual jump to show 5-5 minors, Michael cuebid to show 2 suiter other major and 1 minor, etc
- Defensive Bidding: Partner Open 1 NT, Opponent Disturbs
- Defensive Bidding: Partner Open, Opponent‘s Pre-Emptive
- Defensive Bidding: Partner Open, Opponent‘s Double
- Defensive Bidding: Guard against Opponent’s Phycic
- Slam try bidding: Cuebidding
- Special convention and its complementary: ROPE/DOPE after Gerber, Grand Slam force, etc
Defense Related System
- Opening Lead against NT contract: partscore vs game vs slam
- Opening Lead against Suit contract: partscore vs game vs slam
- Attitude signal: encourage vs discourage from Opening Lead
- Count signal: even vs odd holding
- Discarding signal: suit preference
- Unblocking mechanism
- Bidding analysis for defense plan, make sure you and your partner based your defense from the same understanding
Share the technique of declarer play with your partner such as: when to drop, when to finesse, etc to align the principle between partners.
- Safety Play principles: getting the most of combine suit, which card to play
- Statistic of outstanding card: drop or finesse or squeeze
- Bidding analysis for playing plan, make sure you and your partner based your play from the same understanding
Feel free to let me know if there is any other important item should be on this list…
Have a good workout with your partner !
Like it or not, bridge is not individual game. You need a partner, period. Either the partner is your old buddy, colleague at office, fellow member at your local club or even your spouse, bridge partnership has been proven to be quite hard to maintain and a little bit delicate issue. Or not ?
Reason of partnership break-up
Unlike chess, bridge is not individual game. The smallest entity of playing bridge is a partnership. Playing bridge is essentially between your partnership against one other partnership as your opposition.
Therefore, to play bridge you need at least:
- 4 people: to form 2 partnership
- deck of playing card
- a pen and paper