ACBLO6 – General: Bridge by the Numbers        Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                   Dec 26, 2002

                                                                                                                   Page 1 o 4


Bridge is a game of numbers to be learned:


                 - high card points and distribution points

                 - opening points

                 - response points

                 - game points

                 - slam points

                 - and don’t forget scoring points


By The Numbers


      1. The First Trick


            Before the declare plays to the first trick, he should:


                  1. Count his winners

                  2. Count his losers

                  3. Analyze the opening lead: is it a singleton, doubleton, top of a sequence

                      (i.e., honors), top of nothing, etc.?

                  4. Plan the play of the hand


           NOTE: See ACBL16 - ARCH, Declarer’s Checklist


     2. Second Hand Low


          When the declarer leads a suit from dummy or hand, in general the first defender

          (second person to play to the trick) should play their lowest card in that suit..  An

          important exception is when the dummy has the ace or king of the suit and you

          have the queen-jack.  In this case you should split your honors and play the jack.


          Example:                          Dummy                   You

                                                   A 9 3                       Q J 4


                                                   If dummy leads the 3 or 9, you play the jack.


          Example                           You                         Dummy

                                                   Q J 4                       K 7 5


                                                   If declarer leads the suit (10 or lower) , you play the           


           ACBLO6 – General: Bridge by the Numbers          Dec 26, 2002

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3. Third Hand High


      When partner leads a middle-to-low card in a suit, you should always play your

      highest card in the suit.  The exceptions are:


           1. Lower of touching honors


               If you have touching honors, play the lower card to imply to your partner that

               you have the card(s) immediately above it.


           2. Partner’s card will do the job


               If you have the ace behind dummy’s king and partner leads the queen, don’t

               play the ace if the king isn’t played.


           3. You’ve got dummy or declarer covered


               Example:                        Dummy                      You

                                                      K J 9 3                       A Q 10 5 2


                                                      If dummy plays the 3, you only need to play the 10.


4. You Need All Four Aces To Ask For Kings


      When you invoke Gerber or Blackwood and get your partner’s response, do not ask

      for kings unless you have all four aces between the two hands.  A void in your hand

      does not count as an ace.


5. You Need All Five Controls To Ask For Kings


      When your partnership is playing Roman Key Card and you invoke Gerber or

      Blackwood and get your partner’s response, do not ask for kings unless you have

      all five controls between the two hands.  A void in your hand does not count as a.

      control ace.








         ACBLO6 – General: Bridge by the Numbers             Dec 26, 2002

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6. You Make Weak Two Bids With Six Card Suits


      If you do not have an opening hand, don’t give up right away.  Look to see if you

      have a six card diamond, heart or spade suit and 5 to 10 HCP.  If so,  then  open

      the bidding with a weak two bid.


      Also if you are about to make an overcall at the one level but have a six card suit,

      make a two-level overcall instead.


7. Avoid Suit Games or Slams in Seven Card Suits


     The initial object in bidding is to reach game in a major with 8 or more trump cards.

     Therefore, you should avoid game in a major with 7 or less cards in the suit.  Look

     for a notrump game instead.


8/9. Eight Ever Nine Never


     If between the two hands you have eight cards and the queen is missing, you

     probably should finesse for the missing queen.  That is, banging down the ace and

     king to drop the queen is not the high percentage play.  However, the choice is    .



     If between the two hands you have nine cards and the queen is missing, then the

     high percentage play is to play the ace and king to drop the queen.  In duplicate it

     is almost mandatory because that’s what everyone else with your hand will do.


10. Open in Third Position with Ten HCP


     We advocate opening any hand with 11 HCP and a five card suit.  Likewise, after

      two passes you should set your sights lower and open such a hand with 10 HCP.


11. Rule of Eleven


     If the declarer is in a notrump contract and your partner leads the fourth card down

     in a suit, you should apply the Rule of 11 to determine the number of higher cards in

     the other three hands.


     See ACBL11 on Rule of Eleven.



         ACBLO6 – General: Bridge by the Numbers             Dec 26, 2002

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15. Rule of Fifteen


     In fourth position after three passes, you should avoid opening the bidding without

     something to offset the opponents later bidding spades.  So you should apply this



             If the sum of your HCP and cards in the spade suit is less

          than 15, then pass.


             Example:            Q x    A x x x    K Q x x    Q x x


                                        13 HCP and 2 spades equal 15.  Open the bidding.


             Example             Q x x    A x x x x    K Q x    x x


                                        11 HCP and 3 spades equal 14.. Pass.


20. Rule of Twenty


     If you think you don’t have an opening hand, take another look to see if you can

     open using the Rule of 20.


             If the sum of the HCP and the number of cards in your two

             longest suits equal 20, then open the bidding.


             Example:             x x x x    A x    K    Q J x x x x


                                         10 HCP plus 4 spades and 6 clubs equals 20.  Open the             



             Example:             A x x x x x x    x    K Q   J x x


                                         10 HCP plus 7 spades and 3 clubs equals 20.  Open the