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:

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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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At the Bridge Table: July 3
Jim Kaplan

Bear with me, and we’ll get to bridge. First, I have to get some pet peeves off my chest.

The endlessly misused word “lay” tops the charts. It’s a transitive word, people. You lay an egg. You don’t “lay around,” you “lie around.” This misstep applies to people who should know better. Joan Didion’s novel Play It as It Lays matched a similarly ungrammatical golf term.

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At the Bridge Table: June 26
Jim Kaplan

Wikipedia defines an endplay in bridge as “a tactical play where a defender is put on lead at a strategic moment, and then has to make a play that loses one or more tricks. Most commonly the losing play either constitutes a free finesse, or else it gives declarer a ruff and discard.”

Here’s an example roughly based on an online deal. South is dealing, with no one vulnerable. Here are the North-South hands:

♠️ A K 9 4
♥️ K 9 7                    
♦️ J 8                 
♣️ A 8 6 4   

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At the Bridge Table: June 19
Jim Kaplan

The redoubtable Marty Bergen has created two online quizzes to carry you through the quarantine season. Labeled 1-20 and then 21-40, they ask questions about auctions that start:

Partner           You
1♦️                1♥️
1♠️                ???

Here are some cases that intrigued me.

Your hand:
♠️ A 10 4    ♥️ A 10 9 8 7 6    ♦️ K 10 3    ♣️ 3

Marty’s answer: 2♣️
“I love the distribution, intermediates [add a point for three tens} and controls, so am willing to force to game.”

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At the Bridge Table: June 12
Jim Kaplan

Paul Laliberte and I were sitting North-South, with no one vulnerable and East dealing, in an OK Bridge tournament:

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