Learn to Play Bridge Like a Boss

Learn to Play Bridge Like a Boss
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About Me

H. Anthony Medley is an Attorney, an MPAA-accredited film critic, and author of Learn to Play Bridge Like A Boss,Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed, and UCLA Basketball: The Real Story. He is a Silver Life Master and an ACBL-accredited Director and the author of a bridge column for a Los Angeles newspaper.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

When you bid you must take into consideration how your partner will interpret it

In a recent game I, sitting West, had the following hand:

Although partner bid Clubs, and I had a doubleton, I led my Ace of Spades. I wanted to see Dummy and I wanted Partner to know I had the King of Spades. Here was Dummy:

Wow. I’m thinking my partner is sitting behind North with the AQ of Clubs. Why else would she take a free bid at the three level when she couldn’t open? She’s telling me what to lead when I get in, and she probably has six clubs and will not mind playing the contract in three clubs if she gets the bid. When I lead my Ace of Spades, she plays the Queen. This cannot be a singleton because if it were, it would mean that opponents held 8 spades between them. Since dummy only has 3 spades, if partner’s Queen were to be a singleton, it would mark opener with 5 spades. Clearly, from the bidding, that was highly unlikely, so partner was initiating a high – low discard to show a doubleton. Declarer must hold four spades. So the question was, should I lead the King and then give partner a ruff?

Since she bid Clubs freely at the three level, what is she telling me with her club bid? When I see the KJ on the board, the only conclusion I could draw was that she had to have the AQ. Otherwise, why bid Clubs? I wanted to maximize our tricks. If I give her a ruff right off the bat, she doesn’t have a lead back since if she sets up their diamonds, our club tricks will go away as declarer sloughs the clubs in her hand on her diamonds. If she takes her ace of clubs it makes the King on the board a trick. So to lead my King of Spades and then another spade for her to ruff at this point would be to end play my partner. The only lead is to switch to a club immediately, let her take her ace and queen and get back to me with her last spade to my King to give her a ruff. That would give us the first five tricks.

So I led a Club and the trick was won on the board with Dummy’s jack! I was stunned. This was my partner’s hand:

When you bid, you must realize that your partner is going to hear you. My partner did not have a bid with this hand. She only had one trick. Her club suit was horrible. If I’m on lead, unless I have a better lead in my hand (which I did), I’m probably going to lead it. What’s the point of bidding Clubs? It doesn’t describe her hand and it misleads her partner. She’s not in the passout seat, so she’s not balancing. Opponents could be moving on to game or slam. This isn’t a good enough hand to open. It’s not a hand to preempt in first seat, and it’s not a hand to overcall. It’s as weak an 11 HCP hand that you will ever see.

Because I listened to her overcall and didn’t give her a ruff, we only took our two aces and my king, so they made four. Had she kept quiet and passed, we would have taken the extra trick, because I would have had no reason to switch to Clubs and I would have given her her ruff, which is what everyone else who played the hand did.

The moral is; don’t bid unilaterally, especially in a situation like this when you are interfering in what is basically a noncompetitive auction. Your partner is listening to you. Before you make a bid, think of the conclusion your partner will draw from your bid. If it’s not the one you want, don’t make the bid.

For my next column I will be discussing the following hand I opened sitting first seat nobody vulnerable:

How do you bid this hand? Give me progressions of the anticipated bidding to the final contract. You don’t know the other hands, so you have to plan this before you make your first bid. Please answer by blogging in this blog.


  1. why did she play the SQ? That shows the J
    or a stiff.


  2. She was starting a high-low sequence showing a doubleton. If she first plays her low card, it denies a doubleton and discourages the lead of the king.