PRACTISE BIDDING WITH YOUR PARTNER
Here are the six hands for this week, to practise bidding with (or without) your partner. They are the same hands as I've given you to play, and which I've reviewed above. If you’re working with your partner, print out one set by clicking on the button on the right (Person A Hands OR Person B Hands), and ask your partner to print out the other set. There’s nothing to enter into your computer, but get together with your partner, in person or via phone, Skype, email, or even on a walk! to bid the hands.
It’s not essential to see all 52 cards. Just reach the best contract with the two hands you and partner have. On some, you're the dealer, and on others, partner is. Vulnerability is not important. After you’ve practised the bidding, you (and partner) could do the lesson, play these hands and then watch the reviews.
Both Sides in the Bidding: Bid or Not?
It’s especially important for partnerships to work together when the bidding has become competitive, i.e. both sides battling for the contract.
The biggest message to convey to partner is the size of your trump fit, rather than the points you hold. Points become a bit murky when both sides are bidding, so the guideline for you becomes bidding more with a good fit, and LESS without it.
The more trumps you hold for partner the more you want to bid, and the fewer, the more you want to defend their contract.
Remember too that the opponents coming in have actually given your side more (new) bids to make, e.g with a good hand when they overcall you are able to “cue raise” by using their bid to suit your purpose to showing partner that you have a good hand with a fit. See the lesson on Overcalls & Responses for more about this. Having these understandings will free you up to jump with weak hands and a fit, to take the opponents’ space away, when partner won’t think you have points. So, partners must know the difference, and practising is good.
With doubles, the key to partner’s double being take-out rather than penalty is (a) the bids have been in spots rather than no trumps, and (b) your double will be interpreted as takeout if partner has not bid and you’d like them to. If your partner has bid in the auction, and you double later, you mean this as penalties. (c) Treat most low level doubles as takeout.
Gosh…it’s so hard to work these things out, but above all, be kind if your partner mixes up the meaning of your double!