WHAT'S THE SCORE SO FAR?

December 20, 1971

Bidding in part-score situations is one of the most difficult areas to master in bridge. Even the experts disagree on procedural tactics. The proper action often depends upon the caliber of the opposition, not to mention your partner, so the plain fact is that many decisions call for individual judgment rather than rules. Indeed, if there is any one hard-and-fast rule, it is: beware of axioms (a bid over game is always a slam try; an opening two bid is not forcing if it is enough for game). These rarely hold true. This quiz, which assumes that the competition is more or less equal, is designed to test your bidding judgment in some of the more frequently encountered part-score situations. Score 75 to 100 and you will win this game, and no doubt many others. Earn 50 or more and your part scores will still help you toward a profit. Below 50 you may be better off with a new game plan. On each of the following hands you are South, holding the cards shown under the scoring and bidding conditions described. How do you bid?

1
Both sides vulnerable Both sides +60

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

NORTH

2
Neither side vulnerable Both sides +40

[8 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

NORTH

3
Neither side vulnerable Both sides +40

[7 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Jack of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Spade]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

4
Both sides vulnerable North-South +40

[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 NT
2 [Heart]
?

WEST

PASS
PASS

NORTH

2 [Club]
3 [Heart]

EAST

PASS
PASS

5
North-South vulnerable North-South +60

[King of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

NORTH

2 [Heart]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

6
Both sides vulnerable North-South +90

[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Heart]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

7
Both sides vulnerable East-West +40

[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

EAST

1 [Spade]
PASS

SOUTH

PASS
?

WEST

2 [Spade]

NORTH

PASS

8
East-West vulnerable Both sides +40

[Ace of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

WEST

1 NT

NORTH

PASS

EAST

2 [Club]

SOUTH

?

9
Both sides vulnerable North-South +70

[King of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[10 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Heart]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

10
Both sides vulnerable North-South +80

[King of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Heart]

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

11
Both sides vulnerable East-West +30

[7 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

EAST

1 [Heart]
3 [Heart]

SOUTH

PASS
?

WEST

2 [Heart]

NORTH

DOUBLE

12
Both sides vulnerable Both sides +60

[Ace of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

NORTH

PASS

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

13
Both sides vulnerable Both sides +40

[7 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH

PASS

EAST

PASS

SOUTH

?

WEST

14
Both sides vulnerable Both sides +40

[2 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

WEST

1 [Spade]

NORTH

PASS

EAST

2 [Spade]

SOUTH

?

15
Both sides vulnerable Both sides +40

[Queen of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Diamond]
3 [Diamond]

EAST

PASS
PASS

SOUTH

1 [Heart]
?

WEST

PASS

16
Both sides vulnerable North-South +60

[Ace of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[6 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

NORTH

1 [Club]
1 [Spade]
3 [Heart]

EAST

PASS
PASS
PASS

SOUTH

1 [Heart]
2 [Spade]
?

WEST

PASS
PASS

THE ANSWERS

1
2 NT—7 1 [Diamond]—3 1 NT—2 2 [Diamond]—1
With a clear score, your point count would be subpar (22 points, minimum) even for a nonforcing opening bid of two no trump. But the requirements may be shaded with a part score, and here a mild overbid at the outset can prevent all sorts of headaches later on. Note, too, that your bid over game is not necessarily a slam try. Partner can pass, respond weakly or move cautiously toward slam. One diamond might be passed out, or it might leave you with a rebidding problem. One no trump is more likely to trap a strong partner than a weak opponent. And although the requirements for opening a strong (forcing) two bid may also be lowered slightly with a part score, opening with two diamonds on this hand would be too long a stretch.

2
1 [Diamond]—6 pass—2
Light opening hands should not be passed when you are the first to speak for your side. You would prefer to have greater strength in the majors, but it is better to bid than to pass in the ostrichlike hope that the opponents will fail to discover a major-suit fit if they have the balance of power. By bidding, you will also take the strain off partner, who may decide, with a minimum opening in fourth seat, to toss it in if you pass. Finally, it is usually safer to open than to try to compete later.

3
pass—6 1 NT—3 2 [Diamond]—1
Any bid at this point may lead partner to count on you for strength you don't own. Your best chance to buy the contract—and your game—for three diamonds is to pass initially. One no trump is not a contract you want to play, but if you bid it, the chances are that partner will not stop short of the 60 points you need to convert your partial. You hope he will not rebid two spades; you can pass two hearts or remove from two clubs to two diamonds. The award for an immediate two-diamond bid is for bravery.

4
4 [Club]—7 6 [Heart]—4 4 NT—3 5 [Heart]—1 pass—minus 1
Here partner's bid over score is clearly a slam try. Your hand is supermaximum (with a clear score, you would have opened one club rather than one no trump because your count is 19 points, including distribution). By cue-bidding your high-card strength now you may pave the way to a grand slam that you will surely miss if you leap directly to six hearts. Four no trump might be mistaken for a no-trump raise and passed by partner. Five hearts is overly timid but certainly better than a pass, which receives a one-point demerit.

5
2 NT—6 3 [Diamond]—2 pass—minus 1
The fact that partner already has bid enough for game is no excuse for you to pass. Besides, even though partner may have been shading, an opening two bid in a suit is always forcing, so you must respond at least once. In this case, a conservative two-no-trump response is better than a positive answer in a weak suit. Thereafter, if partner rebids in either minor, your hand will be worth a move toward slam.

6
2 [Heart]—6 pass—2 1 NT—0
Partner might consider your two-heart response as a mild slam try, but if he does make a move in that direction, a three-heart sign-off should be safe. As for a pass, your defensive values are meager, so you must try to deter the opponents from outbidding you. If your side fails to make two hearts, a score of minus 100 may still be a kind of victory. One no trump would get a minus score from me except that it could have some value in keeping the opponents quiet. A contract of one no trump, however, is likely to be inferior to two hearts.

7
pass—6 2 NT—1 double—minus 1
Partner is presumably short in spades and well aware that two spades will give the opponents the rubber, yet he has failed to act. The opponents may have the rest of the deck, so any move you make can be disastrous. If your nature will not let you sell out, a bid of two no trump, suggesting a minor suit contract, is far better than a double begging partner to bid "the other major."

8
3 [Club]—7 pass—3 double—1
Although it is logical to double a contract you think the opponents cannot make, there is no chance that this hand will be played in two clubs. To double in this position is to call for a lead or to suggest a sacrifice if partner has help for clubs. But you don't want a club lead against a spade or heart contract, nor do you need help from partner to play a club contract. A pass earns a higher reward because it gives the opponents no warning of your freak distribution to help them play the hand—and you can always bid later if the occasion demands. An immediate bid of three clubs, however, is descriptive of your hand. It warns partner not to expect defensive power, and it may also help to uncover a profitable save.

9
2 [Club]—6 1 NT—2 pass—1
A bid of a new suit is not forcing when the score will complete a game. Therefore, you do not need 10 points or more to respond at the two level. Instead, such a bid promises strength in the suit rather than overall strength. One no trump gets more credit than a pass, if only because it may keep the opponents from bidding, but its reward is small because it may also leave you in an unmakeable contract. The award for a pass is for five-card majorites who, knowing that partner has opened with no fewer than five, hearts, prefer to warn him of defensive weakness so that he will not double the opponents later on.

10
1 NT—6 pass—2 1 [Spade]—1
One spade earns the lowest award here because it is not forcing and may land you in the wrong spot. One no trump gets the highest score because it should produce a better contract. A pass, despite your nine points, may leave partner in an awkward one-heart contract. However, a pass rates some credit because it also baits a trap that may snare unwary opponents.

11
double—6 3 NT—2 4 [Club]/4 [Diamond]—1
This is the kind of golden opportunity that arises when the opponents overreach themselves in trying to convert a part score. Unless partner has doubled on a distributional dishrag, you should collect anywhere from 500 to 1,100 points. Three no trump also gets an award because if there is a game your way it should be at that contract, since partner must have spades. The minor suit bids get a point merely to value them in relation to an unthinkable pass.

12
1 NT—6 1 [Heart]—3 2 NT—1
Partner has passed so hopes of slam are dim, but you might as well seize the opportunity to set a trap for opponents who may rush in where angels fear to tread. Opening with one heart assumes a needless risk in that partner may pass. Opening with two no trump is both unwise and unwarranted with a passed partner, but it is better than two hearts, so one point is awarded in recognition of that fact.

13
pass—6 1 [Diamond]—3 1 [Heart]—1
When partner has passed, you should not open minimum third or fourth hands in part-score situations, especially when you lack the master suit, spades. If you must bid, your long suit is preferred; however, you should not expect to rebid anything but one no trump if partner responds one spade.

14
double—6 3 [Diamond]—1
You must compete, and you will be much better off if you find partner's best suit at once, as you will when he responds to your double. Three diamonds risks losing the heart suit, or even a fit in clubs, but at least it is better than a pass, which merits no reward in these circumstances.

15
4 [Diamond]—7 3 NT—4 4 NT—2 pass—1
The most important card in your excellent hand is the king of diamonds, and by letting partner know that you have it and that you are interested in slam you will be setting him on the right track. Three no trump is also a forward-going bid, with the added advantage that it will not penalize partner if his three-diamond rebid was a slight stretch to score the 60 you need. Four no trump is too much of a take-charge bid in the event that partner is stretching. And finally, a pass is preferable to a rebid of three hearts, which might land you in the soup on a hand that should land you in gravy.

16
4 [Heart]—6 3 [Spade]—3 5 [Heart]—2 4 [Spade]—1
In part-score situations, bids past the game level should tend to be conservative rather than aggressive. In this case, partner has shown some interest in slam and you should confirm that interest. Four hearts is a mild forward-going move indicating that your hearts are better than your spades. If your two aces will be enough to produce a slam, partner can use Blackwood to find out about them. For you to use Blackwood, however, would be as inappropriate in describing your values as a pass would be inaccurate.

ILLUSTRATION

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)