Bridge corner: Sometimes you just have to get in the game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2007

By JOHN RANDALL / Staff Writer

As my Hand of the Week shows, sometimes you have to look at a ratty hand, hold your nose and bid.

This concept is called “Balancing,” meaning it’s OK in third or fourth seat, after two passes, to mentally borrow a king (3 points) from your partner in order to open with marginal cards.

Of course, if your partner responds, you need to mentally give that king back to your partner and hold your horses.

If your partner responds by changing suits, then he should have 10 points or so. When added to your 12, this means you should be able to take eight maybe nine tricks in a suit contract. So, go slow.

Winners this week:

Monday: Jerrie Friar and Liz Milko, Shirley Woodruff and Boots Jennings, Marilyn Spacht and Peggy Graham.

Friday: Judy Hasseld and Jerrie Friar, Peggy and Gene Graham, Eddie McDanal and Joann Bashinsky, Helen Thrasher and Aileen Hill, Pam and Howard Furnas.

Saturday: Peggy Graham and Jerrie Friar, Arlene Owens and Frances Ubben, Peggy Olson and Janet Johnson.

Monday (10/1): Boots Jennings and Fay Prince, Kitty Griswold and Carolyn Dybvig, Judy Converse and Kathryn Howell.

Bridge tip of the Week: When not vulnerable against vulnerable opponents, it’s OK to overall an opening bid from right hand opponent when holding something like AKJxx and nothing else. This is a lead-directing overcall. If your opponents double you, don’t sweat it. They can make a game someplace else.

Hand of the week: Using “coded nines and tens” North’s lead tells partner that he has two higher cards above the 9; in this case the king and 10. The play is routine from there, declarer should get 4S on 22 high card points. South is the bidding culprit.

While this is a passable hand, holding two four-card major suits, South should get into the auction early with 1C. West passes and North bids 1H. East doesn’t have the shape for a double, can’t raise to 2D without a 5-card suit, so he passes instead. South raises to 2H and North passes. Declarer loses two diamonds, two clubs and a spade for a plus 110.

John Randall and his wife, Linda, began the Shelby County Bridge club a year ago and continue holding meetings at Christ the King Lutheran and Riverchase Presbyterian. For more information, call

451-5997 or e-mail