We had a full house at the Los Angeles regional mini lesson on Clues from the Bidding.  The discussion was from the declarer’s viewpoint.  So we analyzed auctions an found clues which gave us a leg-up on our declarer play.  

Click here for the Clues in the Bidding Handout

A player who opens the bidding suggests a certain number of high-card points.

Let’s say the bidding goes as follows:

South  West   North  East
1NT      Pass     Pass     2
AP

South has shown 15-17 HCP with the 1NT opening bid.  You are sitting East and are playing 2. You have the following club holding:

West
♣ K J 10

East
♣A 9 8

South leads out the ♠A, ♠K, A, K, & Q.  At this point you have seen 16 HCP come out of South’s hand.  You have a two-way finesse in clubs.  Now who are you going to play for the ♣Q?  Exactly! North.  Because if South held the ♣Q in addition to the other 16 HCP you have already seen come out of South’s hand, South would have opened the bidding with something other than 1NT.

Now, does your opponent just lay down all of their points in the first five tricks?  Not usually.  I had an older gentleman come up to me after the mini lesson and ask me how someone like him can think like this since is mind is a little old.  The key is to weed out all of the “noise”.  When you have a defender who has bid in the auction, pay attention to that defender’s hand.  When you know you will be looking for a queen later in the hand, take the clue from the bidding and put all of your energy in counting the points that come out of that defender’s hand only.  In other word, narrow your focus!

There are three other pointers in the handout.  Read through them and add them to your thinking process when you are declarer.  There are also four example hands in the handout.  Try to figure out each puzzle and then visit www.PlayBetterBridge.com for the answers.  Look for the tab that says, “Regional Lesson Answers”.

Let me hear your comments!

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