Distribution Points (for trump contracts
- Add 1 pt. for a doubleton (2-card suit).
- Add 2 pts. for a singleton (1-card suit).
- Add 3 pts. for a void (no cards in a suit).
- Add 1 pt. for each "extra" trump (see "Suit Length &
Count only high-card pts. for short suits with "unprotected"
honors (K, Qx).
Count full distribution points for short suits with quick tricks
(A, Ax, Kx, AK).
DON'T add in your distribution points until
you know you have a trump fit.
Suit Length & Strength
- Your hand goes "up" in value if you have:
- One or two long suits (5+ cards) instead of two or
three 4-card suits.
- High "spot" cards (tens & nines) in your
long suits. These intermediate cards solidify your suit and often
win the second or third tricks in a suit.
- Extra trumps. If you have greater length than promised
in your agreed trump suit, you'll often take one more trick for
each extra trump your side holds. Add in 1 distribution point if you hold
enough trumps to guarantee a 9-card fit (for example, if partner opens 1H and
you have a 4-card raise). Add in 2 distribution points if you know you
have a 10-card fit.
Honor Combinations and Positions
The ultimate value of your honors will depend on the "fillers"
partner has. In general, though, you'll win more tricks with hands
- Touching honor combinations. A hand like KJ32
Q107 is 17 pts., but it's impossible to determine the real value of your
king, queens and jacks. The same 17 pts. would be much stronger
if the honors were more concentrated -- AKQJ
offers 7 "sure" tricks because the honors are working together.
- Honors in your long suits. High honors in your long
suits help turn the suit's small cards into tricks. A holding
of KQJ is only two tricks, but KQJxx will often be four tricks.
AK is two tricks, but AKxxxx will usually bring in five or six tricks
(assuming partner holds xx or xxx in the suit).
- Honors in suits partner has bid. Even if partner opens
a "short" 1C or 1D, any honor you have (even a jack
or ten) may be a valuable filler.
- Honors with positional strength. Use the bidding to
pick up clues about whether or not your honors are located in
a good position. If your right-hand opponent opens 1S, your KJx
of spades (over his presumed AQxxx) is likely to be one or two
tricks. But if your left-hand opponent bids spades,
your KJx may not take any tricks.
When evaluating your hand for a suit contract, don't give
full value to your lower honors (queens & jacks) if they're
in the opponent's bid suit. Holdings like Qxx, Jxxx and QJx aren't
likely to help partner and may take tricks only if you're defending the
AT THE TABLE
You open 1D and partner responds 1H. What is your rebid?
- 4H. A "normal" 16-pt. hand would be worth
only a raise to 3H, but you have a strong side suit and good distributional
values here. Adding in 3 pts. for the void, your hand is worth 19 pts. in support of
hearts, so be sure you raise partner to game in his suit immediately.
- 2D. Your choice is between 2D, showing 13-15 pts.,
and 3D, showing 16-18 pts. With your poor suit and a singleton
in partner's suit, your best choice is probably the underbid of 2D. If
partner invites game, you can accept -- and be happy to contribute
more than promised instead of less.
- 3C. Your good suits and 3-card support for partner
make this hand worth a jump-shift to force to game. You may be
able to raise hearts later if partner shows more than 4. If he
had instead bid 1S, you should rebid only 2C to keep the bidding
low until you find a fit.
You open 1S and partner responds 2S. What is your rebid?
- 3D. This hand has minimum point-count, but once you find the spade
fit, it's worth 17 pts. -- 13 pts. in high cards, plus 2 pts. for the
singleton, 1 pt. for the doubleton and 1 pt. for the extra trump (partner
promised at least 3-card support, so you know you have at least 9 trumps). Your 3D bid
is a game-try bid that shows your second suit and invites partner to bid 4S if he has
help in diamonds.
- 2NT. You need general high-card strength from partner
to make 4S, so show your balanced hand with a game-try of 2NT.
Partner will return to 3S with a minimum response or bid 4S with
a maximum 8-9 pts.
Partner opens 1C, you respond 1H and partner raises to
2H. What is your rebid?
- Pass. With most 11-point hands, you would want to invite
game, but this one has such poor trick-taking potential that your
best choice is pass. The weak trumps, no aces and flat distribution
all make your hand drop in value.
- 4H. You could invite game by bidding only 3H (or making a game-try
bid of 3C), but partner
will pass with many minimum hands that could easily take 10 tricks.
Your extra trump and the singleton make this hand worth at least 12 pts., and
the fit in partner's club suit makes it even more powerful.
© Karen Walker