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SCORING: At the end of each hand, points are awarded based upon the final contract and whether or not the specified contract was indeed fulfilled. Points can be earned in three ways:
1. Trick score for fulfilling a contract. ‑ for each trick bid and made (in excess of book), the partnership is awarded points based upon the specific denomination of the final contract.
a. 20 points per trick in Clubs or Diamonds (Minor Suits)
b. 30 points per trick in Hearts or Spades (Major Suits)
c. 40 points for the first trick, and 30 points for each subsequent trick in No Trump
2. Bonuses for fulfilling special contracts. ‑ An additional large bonus is awarded if the partnership bids and succeeds in making a contract worth 100 or more points. Thus, 5 of any minor suit, 4 of any major suit, and 3 NT are all awarded these special game points if contracted for, and made. Note: You do not get the game bonus if you do not bid the game contract, even if you take enough tricks. Bonus slam points are also awarded for bidding and making any 6 contract (SMALL SLAM), and for bidding and making any 7 contract (GRAND SLAM).
Using the Point Count System: the following special contracts can USUALLY be achieved if the partnership has a combined total of HCP's and distributional points:
a. 26 Points = Game b. 33 Points = Small Slam c. 37 Points = Grand Slam
3, Penalties for defeating the opponent's contract. ‑ If you do not make your bid or declared contract, your opponents receive points for defeating you. The penalty for GOING DOWN in your contract depends upon the number of tricks by which your contract is defeated, as well as whether or not your team is specified as being VULNERABLE or NOT VULNERABLE.
GUIDELINES FOR PLAY: The play of the hand, both from the declarer's and the defender's point of view is an exciting part of the game and poses numerous challenges as to which card to play on each trick. A few guidelines are as follows:
1. THE OPENING LEAD: ‑ The play starts with the player to the left of declarer making a lead. When leading against a no trump contract it is usually best to lead your longest suit, since long suits can be a good source of tricks. When choosing a card to lead, one leads the top card if you have three or more touching high cards, (Ex. QJ10 or KQJ), or fourth best from your longest suit (Ex. K9832 or A10963). When leading against a suit contract one might also lead the top of a sequence as just explained or else one may choose to take advantage of your trumps by leading a short suit of one (singleton) or two (doubleton) cards. You are hoping that, when the suit is led again, you will be able to win the trick by ruffing. When leading from a doubleton, lead the higher card first (Ex. 82 or 43).
2. SUBSEQUENT LEADS: ‑ The winner of the previous trick leads to the next one. If defending, it is often a good idea to return the suit that your partner led originally.
3. SECOND‑HAND PLAY: ‑ If the opponent on your right has led a card, and if not certain what to otherwise play, the generally accepted wisdom is to play a low card (second hand low).
4. THIRD‑HAND PLAY: ‑ If partner has led a card, you will contribute the third card to the trick. If it does not look as if partner's card will win the trick, it is usually advisable in third hand position to play a high card in an attempt to win the trick (third hand high).
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HAND VALUATION: ‑ The exchange of information between partners via bidding shows the combined valuation of the partnership as to both HCP's coupled with distributional points. The points in the combined partnership hands suggested as being needed in order to likely take enough tricks to make a game contract are as follows:
1. 5 Clubs or 5‑Diamonds (Minor Suits): 29 points (HCP’s + Distributional)
2. 4‑Hearts or 4‑Spades (Major Suits): 26 points (HCP’s + Distributional)
3. 3‑NT: 26 points (HCP’s only)
THE GOLDEN FIT: ‑ There are two parts to making a bid; i.e., the level and the denomination.. We have already discussed that the level is generally determined by the combined strength of the partnership. The determination as to whether the hand should be played in a suit contract or conversely in No Trump, however, is based upon the presence or absence of the GOLDEN FIT; i.e. whether or not the partnership has a combined majority of at least 8 cards in any one suit. If not, then No Trump is probably the best location as to the denomination of the final contract.
THE ROLES OF THE PARTNERS: ‑ You and your partner, working together, via the bidding, attempt to discover the relative combined strengths as to HCP's, distribution and relative presence or absence of a suit fit, so as to determine the level, denomination, and whether or not a game or slam bonus contract can be attempted.
1. THE OPENER: ‑ Each player has a role to play. The partner who opens the bidding gets the first opportunity to provide information to the partnership. The opening bid thus starts to paint a picture of his/her hand for partner.
2. THE RESPONDER ‑ The partner of the opening bidder is called the Responder. As responder, and having the advantage of having heard the opening partner describe his/her hand, he/she can thus takes the responsibility of guiding the partnership to the best contract as to both level and denomination. Remember, the level is decided by the combined strengths of the partnership; and the denomination is determined by the presence or absence of a golden fit; i.e., 8 cards or more in any of the four suits. The partnership can thus determine whether the team belongs in a part score, in game, or in slam through communication via the bidding process.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OPENING THE BIDDING 1 NO TRUMP
1. 15‑17 HCP's (Note: distributional points are not counted when considering a no trump contract.) In No Trump contracts it is not considered advantageous to have a doubleton, singleton, or a void, because shortness can never be trumped as it could be in a suit contract.
2. An evenly balanced hand; i.e. either a 4‑3‑3‑3, 4‑4‑3‑2, or a 5‑3‑3‑2 distribution (Note: There are no voids, no singletons, and never more than one doubleton. Also, the 5‑card suit in the latter example is always a minor suit, never a major suit.)
HANDS QUALIFYING FOR 1 NT OPENING HANDS NOT QUALIFY FOR 1 NT OPENING
J109 Q987 J73 J109 AQ87 J AK985 A9
A76 KJ AQ9 A76 KJ A1093 K87 A10
K872 AJ62 KJ1085 9872 AJ62 KQ1085 K95 KQ963
AKJ KQJ A9 AKJ KQJ AQ7 A6 K1095
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REQUIREMENTS FOR OPENING THE BIDDING 1 OF A SUIT
1. A combined HCP count and Distributional point count equal to 13 Points or more.
2. One of the following suit holdings:
a. With a 5-card or longer suit holding:
(1) Bid the longest suit
(2) Bid the higher ranking of any two 5-card or 6-card suits
b. With no 5-card or longer suit holding:
(3) Bid the longest (preferred) Minor suit (whether 3 cards or 4 cards)
(4) Bid the higher ranking of two 4-card Minor suits
Bid the lower ranking (Clubs) of two 3-card Minor suit holding
PLAYER NOMENCLATURE AND GENERAL BIDDER REQUIREMENTS
At least 12‑13 Points with a 5‑Card suit (May Open)
14 HCP's with a 5 Card Major or Longest Minor Suit (Must Open)
RESPONDER TO THE OVERCALLER
(1) At least 8 or more HCP’s May bid if:
(2) At least 3-card support for partner or (1) At least a 5-card suit or better
alternatively, a good 5-card suit of your own (2) At least 8 HCP’s at the 1-level
or 10 HCP’s at the 2-level
Both requirements must be satisfied or must pass
RESPONDER TO THE OPENER
Must respond with 6 HCP’s or more
(1) Should support Partner’s Major suit if feasible
(2) Must Bid “Up the Ladder” and Never Bypass a 4-card Major suit
(3) Must have four or more cards to mention a new suit ( at least 11 HCP’s necessary if forced to the 2-level)
(4) Bid 1 NT in lieu of any of the above (Default bid option)