One question I ask when teaching new players: "What do you need to make three notrump?" The answer I'm looking for is not 26 high card points, but rather nine tricks.
Today's hand came up in a team game at the regional tournament in Casper, Wyoming, and demonstrates that you can score a slam on a lot fewer than 33 points if you have the controls and fit that will allow you to take 12 tricks. My partner bravely overbid her hand by inserting a two clubs overcall at her first turn to bid, normally showing an opening hand. The auction indicated that my hand would be short in hearts because of the opponents' bidding, so she carried on to the slam in clubs after I leaped to game.
The east player thought long and hard about doubling at his final turn and decided against. He correctly thought that if we could not make the slam he had a good score and if we could make it in spite of his high-card holding, he did not want to give us even more points. The trap on the hand is failing to cash the club ace before the king, otherwise you will lose a trick to the queen after trumping two hearts in the dummy. My partner had no problem making 12 tricks, with eight club tricks, two aces, and two ruffs in dummy.
Good news for team players: The grand national teams finals next year will happen in Butte or Helena, a lot closer than Calgary. Plan to form a team and compete.
You can learn the game of bridge and experience the thrill of competition at the Boise Bridge Club, where we offer lessons at all levels and play six times a week. Call Craig Jones or Ian Martindale at (208) 327-0166.