At the Bridge Table: Sept. 11
Jim Kaplan
Here’s an object lesson on the merits of pre-empting aggressively and fighting through pre-empts. South was dealing, with no one vulnerable:
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At the Bridge Table: Sept. 4
Jim Kaplan

Here’s a bidding guide for deciding whether to double an opponent’s contract. It’s called the Rule of Nine. It works as follows. Start with the number of cards you hold in opponent’s suit. Add any honors you hold in the suit. Finally, add the level of the contract. If the total is nine or higher, double to your heart’s content.

I was reminded about the rule when I made an inauspicious double in  a contract that looked beatable. I was sitting North and dealing, with no one vulnerable:

                                     NORTH

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At the Bridge Table: August 28
Jim Kaplan

Don’t help your opponents. That’s simple enough in concept but more complex in action.

• Don’t take a finesse for your opponents. Here you have the lead early in a 4♠ contract:

Dummy: ♠ A J 10 5

You: ♠ 9 8 7

Whatever you do, don’t play spades, hoping partner has the king. Here are the other hands: 

Partner: ♠ Q 2

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At the Bridge Table: August 21
Jim Kaplan
Have you heard about the Rule of One? I hadn’t either, until my playing partner Paul Laliberte showed me.
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At the Bridge Table: August 14
Jim Kaplan

Pre-empts can be fun for bidders and hellish for opponents. Here’s perhaps the most satisfying interference bid I’ve seen. In an OK Bridge game I played with Paul Laliberte, East -West were vulnerable and South was dealing:

                              NORTH (Kaplan)
                             ♠️ 4
                             ♥️ J 8 7 6
                             ♦️ 9 6 5
                             ♣️ K J 9 7 3

WEST                                                           EAST

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At the Bridge Table: August 7
Jim Kaplan
The traditional opening lead against a NoTrump contract is fourth from the top card in leader’s longest suit. Subtract that number from 11 to establish the number of higher cards in the other three hands.
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At the Bridge Table: July 31
Jim Kaplan
How many high-card points does a partnership need to bid 6NT? About 32, but fewer when there’s a running suit.
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At the Bridge Table: July 24

Here’s a series of bridge questions for you. If your left-hand opponent opens the bidding in one of a suit, your partner overcalls in another suit, and your right-hand opponent passes, you get a special name in bridge terminology. You’re the “advancer.” You have these choices:

     • Pass
     • Raise partner
     • Bid a new suit
     • Bid any level of NoTrump
     • Cuebid opener’s suit
     • Make a jump bid in a new suit

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At the Bridge Table: July 17
Jim Kaplan

The Count was one of my favorite characters on “Sesame Street.” Little did I know that another count — the bridge count of opponents’ points and distribution — would give me equal pleasure later in life.

In the spring issue of the American Bridge Association Bulletin, Vince Wilmot presents a pairing and an auction:

                                              NORTH
                                             ♠️ A K Q 10 9
                                              ♥ 8 7
                                             ♦️ A 3 2

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At the Bridge Table: July 10
Paul Laliberte

It would be nice if we always located the ever-desirable, eight-card “magic” trump fit with partner. Unfortunately, eight-card fits don’t appear in every deal.  There will be times when we settle for less: either a 5-2 or 4-3 fit. As the auction proceeds, responder may face a choice between them. Which is better?

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