Un Misfit? Quit!

Less experienced players sometimes pick up their hand, count their points, find they have 13 points and no matter what happens during the entire auction, they continue to have 13 points. A bridge hand is like a living and breathing thing. When partner bids a suit that you like, your hand blossoms and gains in value. When partner bids a suit in which you have a shortage, your hand wilts and loses much of its lustre. We must learn how to evaluate our hand at all times and bid accordingly.

Take the following scenario:

This wasn’t an auction, it was a fight! Indeed, without the use of bidding boxes, the auction would get louder and louder as each player insisted on the right to play in their choice of trump suit! (Tip to the opponents: Always penalty double such an auction!. On a Diamond start by East, followed by a shift to aby West whenever he gets in, declarer will be down 2, losing three  and two trump tricks. What went wrong? Whose fault was this? Who should have quit first? The first person to recognize that there is a misfit should quit once they have adequately described their hand. In this case, South should bid H ’s first and then bid her’s next. South cannot really be faulted for bidding ’s twice but after that, enough’s enough. Let partner play this in 2or 3. Now let’s look at a much rosier situation!

Un FIT? Es un Hit!

This hand always makes 4. What happened? Back to hand evaluation. Those who count their points using the long suit count will come up with 17 points (always count some form of distribution unless you are bidding No Trumps). Those using the short suit method of counting distribution will also arrive at 17 points. BUT the minute partner supports your long suit, you should be glowing. Gone are the feelings of despair that we experienced on the last “misfit” hand! Your hand increases in value. Whenever partner supports your long suit, regardless of which method of counting points you have used, always add one extra point for the fifth card in the suit that has been supported and two extra points for each remaining card in that long suit. This is IN ADDITION to all the points you started with. Now you have 20 points. Partner promised you at least 6 points. Add this together and away you go! Your side has 26 points, South should have bid 4, instead of inviting partner with 3. (This method of revaluing has been around for many, many years and was popularized by Charles Goren. It is a very useful tool at all times.) As newer players, you don’t need the Law of Total Tricks or the concept of Losing Trick Count in order to make these bids. We don’t need fancy gimmicks. Just add those extra points every time partner raises your long suit and you’ll always get to your games and slams.