Making a loser a winner

SACRIFICING is bidding and playing in a contract that is expected to fail but where the penalty is less than the score made by the opposition playing in a successful contract.

It is an integral part of duplicate bridge.

Knowing when to make a sacrifice bid is the difficult part. Getting it right will result is a big, fat, high score.  Getting it wrong will give an outright bottom score.

If most of the opposition field is in a part-score contract, while your partnership has pushed your opponents into game that may fail, the odds do not favour a sacrifice. Let them play it in a contract that should fail because you have pushed them too high.

On the other hand, if the opponents have bid confidently to game, vulnerability is favourable and you have a hand that is appropriate, sacrificing should be considered.

Suppose you have this hand:

  • Spades J85, Hearts 862, Diamonds J7, Clubs KT764

and the auction has been:

  • [North/South: Vulnerable; East/West: Not vulnerable]: North bids 1H, you pass, South 3H, your partner bids 3S and North responds with 4H. What do you bid?

In this confident auction the opposition is expected to make 4H most of the time for 620 plus points.

Our partner has shown length in spade so we should bid 4S. Even if we only make seven tricks, failing by three tricks doubled, we will give the opposition only 500 points.

Suppose there are 12 tables and six allow the opposition to play in 4H making 10 tricks, while the other six tables sacrifice in 4S doubled failing by three tricks. Those who allowed the opposition to play in 4H will score three points, while those sacrificing in 4S will score nine points - a much better result.

So, watch the opposition’s bidding.

If they appear to be struggling into an uncertain game, be wary of sacrificing. But if their bidding is confident, consider sacrificing when you have an appropriate hand.

Winners are grinners

CONGRATULATIONS to Kevin Wilds, John Cox, Liz Scorer, Anne Hunter, Belinda Mansell, Mary Warren, Trish Burke, Pam Stuart-Brown, Chris Rosevear, Karin Le Roux, Elaine Walker, Libby Tink, Allan Adcroft, Bill Kierath, Jenny Hector, Robyn Pearce, Val Irvine, Elaine Walker, Sheila Thompson, Jenny Paton, Di Kajons, Anne Elliott and Lyn and Bob Dillon.

These members of the Bathurst Bridge Club all won recent duplicate Bridge events in both the outright and handicap divisions.