Minimum Loss (Le Bridgeur Magazine n°898 – October 2015)


Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur n°898 on 15 October 2015.

Should you bid higher when opponent bids game after a two-suiter bid? This is a tough decision to make and no one can pretend to never make mistakes…

Both on Funbridge and at a bridge table, messy situations resulting from two-suiter bids are widespread.

The deal below is a perfect illustration of such cases. It was played in Phase 1 of France Open Team selection process. I am East holding:

S J 9 6 3
H A 10 4
D A 9 8
C J 7 5

The bidding proceeds as follows:

Vinciguerra Combescure Bompis Rombaut
1S 2S(1) (2)

(1) 5-5 club-heart two-suiter.
(2) Hand with a spade fit, either invitational or game forcing (in that case hand is balanced).

I am now faced with a difficult choice because all the same, my two aces, club jack and heart 10 have high defensive potential. But a club queen and a heart jack opposite would be enough to defeat the contract.

On the other hand, the very favourable vulnerability encourages to be reasonably confident without risking too much. That being said, losing 300 instead of scoring 100 with 4♥-1 represents a difference of 400 points and 9 IMP!

Honestly, I had great difficulty making up my mind. The argument which finally convinced me is that the player who had bid 2♠ and then 4♣ was Marc Bompis, a player who is known for being serious and reliable.

I thus decided to say 4♠. I got doubled and we went down 2 tricks. I made the right choice since opponents would have made the 4♥ contract.

The full deal was:

S –
H K J 7 5 2
D 4 2 
C A K Q 4 3 2
S A K 10 8 4
H 9 8 
D K 7
C 10 9 8 6
NSEO_en S J 9 6 3
H A 10 4
D A 9 8
C J 7 5 
S Q 7 5 2
H Q 6 3
D Q J 10 6 5 3


Despite all that, this proved unsuccessful because results at other tables were not in our favour at all. Indeed, several 4♠ contracts were not doubled or went down 1 only.

To cut a long story short, we lost 37 IMP on this deal. But if I had let opponents play 4♥, we would have lost 68. So that was the winning bid anyway!

There is one thing to keep in mind about opponents’ two-suiters: define your defensive system carefully and choose something easy to memorise, where possible.