Greed is Good (Sometimes)!
February 24, 2018
How to change your bidding system
March 19, 2018

The Tortoise or the Hare?

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In competitive auctions, there are different schools of thought about how quickly you should bid to the final contract.

Graeme likes to bid game fast and leave his opponents guessing. It’s true, signing off in a spot that rates to be the right contract makes it hard for the opponents to compete, and it gives them no information about what to lead. On this hand, for example, a direct bid to game results in a friendlier lead from the defense.

That being said, some players prefer to bid more slowly, or constructively, so that they maximize their chance of finding the right contract. If you jump to game right away, there’s a chance you’re missing a slam or your side’s best fit. Which side are you on? The tortoise or the hare?

48 Comments

  1. When should you take it slow in the auction? When should you rush to game?

    In this hand, you probably know you’ll end up in game right away. What are the benefits of jumping straight to game vs. first responding 1?

    • pfredrix says:

      @skybridgeclub As I understand Standard, the double of partner’s opening bid changes the meanings of the responses. My first duty is to let partner know the hand belongs to us by redoubling with 10 or more HCP. Any other response denies 10 HCP. After the redouble,the bidding develops naturally.
      With respect to the specific issue, I generally favor the tortoise approach. The exception comes when “what strain and how high” is immediately apparent. In that case I bid it without further ado.
      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – 1 X XX
      2 2 P 3
      P 4 P P
      P

      • graeme says:

        Hi @pfredrix, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
        The redouble says 10+ but it also normally shows shortage in partner’s suit. The idea is that if you are short in partner’s suit then it might be a good idea to double whatever they bid for penalties. Redouble puts your side into penalty double mode.
        When you do have a fit, or a long suit, you can still just bid that suit even with more than 10 points. The logic is that there’s not point in messing up our natural bidding style just because they double.
        I have seen some pairs use redouble to show all 10+ point hands. It’s by no means universal and I’m not a fan but if it suits your bidding style then go for it. No right or wrong with many of these things.

    • birdlady says:

      @skybridgeclub After three tries (because I’m not smart) I made the four hearts but I had fun figuring it out.
      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – 1 X 4
      P P P

    • gus5421 says:

      @skybridgeclub A preempt bid of 3 spades produces 4 hearts from partner and bid was made.
      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – 1 X 3
      P 4 P P
      P

    • birdlady says:

      @skybridgeclub Everyone who plays bridge with me would kill me if I played Graeme’s way. However I sure got to game a lot easier. I’m not a great strategist but after several tries I made it the old fashioned way.
      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – 1 X 1
      2 2 P 4
      P P P

  2. baygon2014 says:

    I played the hand twice before noticing the video. The first time we ended up in 4 hearts the long way and went down one. The second time I went straight to four hearts and made it comfortably. I suspect that even going the long route I could have made it but it would have made it but cutting e/w out of the auction early meant that they were flying blind. It also gave me a free finesse for East lead a spade which I covered with the queen. Whereas first time around East lead a diamond.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  3. 3hearts made 9
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 2
    3 3 P P
    P

  4. snowwhite says:

    Going directly to 4H may not tell the opponents about your hand but it also doesn’t tell your partner. 4H here would be a signoff and would mean (to me) that there is no possibility of making 6H. When S bid spades and N responded with diamonds, it told me that North did not have a lot of spades and maybe none and that the likelihood of making a slam was small. Would rather have more info than less


    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  5. xinchess says:

    bid to 4H and took the second to make it. Tough positions of heart KQ and diamonds.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  6. nmein says:

    Playing 4 card majors you can’t really jump to game. No free spades finesse for me. One light 🙁
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  7. berryb says:

    Finally made it after several attempts
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  8. feltjen says:

    Second time made 11 tricks!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  9. redsquirrel says:

    Not the day to try Graeme’s go to game quickly routine as it didn’t work in any way! Second time went to 4H which made comfortably. Won AC on club lead, played AS threw 2nd club, then 8H round to E, who played AD then led QD taken by the K leaving J & 10D good. So lost AD and 2 hearts. Shame I didn’t do it the first time!!!! Will now look at the video.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 2
    3 3 P 4
    P P P

    • chance22 says:

      @redsquirrel

      redsquirrel

      “…played AS threw 2nd club…” That seems like a nice little play. Never occurred to me. Thanks for mentioning it.

      cc @zoomer2591

      Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
      Auction
      W N E S
      – 1 X 1
      2 2 P 4
      P P P

  10. vtrim says:

    Tried it 3 times and still can only get 9 tricks in 4H ! Just noticed video . Will seek help there
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  11. trump says:

    I was carried away by yesterday’s successful ‘get straight to game’ bidding that I did the same today – but rashly in Spades!! Don’t try it at home, it wasn’t pretty! So I composed myself and bid sensibly and slowly, ending up in hearts but went down one. Then tried again bidding straight to 4H, which is also sensible but gives less away, and this time made 10. Quite a few lessons in this hand for me.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  12. taoguy68 says:

    Bd slow would not have thought to jump strait to game with my 3 low harts so wanted to explore options made 10 in harts so ended up with everyone else.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  13. monty27dog says:

    I bid the slow way and made contract!
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 2
    3 P P 3
    P P 4 P
    P 4 P P
    P

  14. johng says:

    crazy – went for 6H but made 10 tricks
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4N
    P 5 P 5N
    P 6 P 6
    P P P

  15. mary711 says:

    Made 4 hearts quite easily – only problem was I was in 5! So one off.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 2
    3 3 P 4N
    P 5 P 5
    P P P

  16. Went down in 4 spades but made 4 hearts. Didn’t take the bidding in to account first time played, big mistake.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 2
    3 3 4 4
    P P P

  17. debdaniels says:

    All is fair in love and war. If I bid 1S in club, my partner repeats hearts– why go to a minor with no spade support, but that is my partner. Hint did tell me to support hearts. Guess should go with hint as hint probably knows what N has!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  18. debdaniels says:

    Got it. Get best chance with this auction!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  19. wadkin37 says:

    wadkin37 There are times when it pays off to heed @graeme’s bidding approach and times when it pays off to proceed in a Standard manner.
    Graeme’s approach keeps opponents in the dark and partner as well. On this hand it made a guessing game for East’s opening lead.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  20. holley says:

    Made 4H on my second attempt (down 1first time). Dont know why S would bid 4H and not show spades. Especially with only 3 small hearts. Unless N plays 5card majors.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 3
    P 4 P P
    P

  21. kbalagopal says:

    ooh whee i was so entranced w my spades I didn’t notice the heart fit…. real partner would have been a tad perturbed eh @chatch?
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 3N
    P P P

  22. jb4400 says:

    Down 1
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  23. judyjunkin says:

    Played hand twice. First time, I went to 4 S right off and that didn’t work! Down 2. Second time, used slow biding to check things out and ended up in 4 H. Down 1. There has to be a way. Will try again.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 2
    3 3 4 4
    P P P

  24. ymetjp says:

    I bid two spades after East’s double. When North bid diamonds I knew it was safe to bid four hearts.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 2
    3 3 P 4
    P P P

  25. judyjunkin says:

    Bid again (3rd try) and ended up in 4 H. This time I did not draw trumps at first and ended up making 4 H.! I trumped some small Sades and it worked like a charm.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 2
    3 3 4 4
    P P P

  26. romey78 says:

    This was cruel – I can understand going straight to game in spades but not in hearts since you don’t know partner has more than 4 ( playing 4 card majors) but having tried bidding slow – down 2 with a club lead removing access to S – and fast with a spade lead which made things much easier but in the long run would it pay off?
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  27. sockstevens says:

    Bit of a sore distn for me.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 2
    3 3 P 4
    P P P

  28. cgray says:

    Tried four times, could only make 3
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 4
    P P P

  29. cgray says:

    Tried jumping straight to 4 and made it! What a difference the lead made. Got the spade finesse and was able to put East on lead by getting out the K and Q of hearts and the Jack of diamonds won the last trick.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  30. jeff321 says:

    Pretty happy with this one, 4H making. No reason to mess around in the auction when we have a fit and game points.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 4
    P P P

  31. nahid says:

    What is wrong with redoubling. You will see what the apponent will say. You have always chance to bid or go for 4 H or 4 Spade Nahid

  32. zeke10077 says:

    I like to overbid shapely hands like this one, cant see why 4 hearts didn’t make.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 2
    3 3 P 4
    P P P

  33. waxing2 says:

    @graeme: Ouch!!! Who wrote that slowly make your way up was bidding “more constructively” rather than your no mucking around approach? What have you done to Bajir/Tina to get offside????? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  34. I guess there is always a possibility of missing slam one of my parmers hates it when I don’t go low and slow but I much preferGraemes approach will try it out a few times and see

  35. Partnership agreement key here. Best, DMor

  36. jbrown says:

    Loved watching you guys doing the video. I learnt quite a lot from it.
    My bridge is improving on sky bridge with makes me very happy.
    I would have really enjoyed watching Graeme play the hand, disappointed I dint get to see this.

  37. pne2nw says:

    After the expected and only sensible lead – a small club, the ONLY way to make 4H, against best defence, is to play a spade – BUT NOT THE ACE! The par score for this hand is 5Cx by West: 1 down for -100.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – 1 X 1
    2 2 P 3
    P P P

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