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Intermediate Bridge
LESSON 12
The Game-try Double

 The Law of Total Tricks The Opening side The Defending side Deals 101-108 Bidding Guide : 8

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IBR 12.1 - The Law of Total Tricks

The Law of Total Tricks, as defined by the French Bridge theorist Jean-Rene Vernes says :

 When playing in a trump contract, the total number of tricks that can be made in the same Deal by the two sides (each in its best suit) is equal to the total number of trumps held in these two suits. Jean-Rene Vernes The following useful guideline is derived from above Law : When both sides have found a trump fit and the points are not too unequally divided, you should bid for as many tricks as your side has trumps.

For example if your side has (5 + 3 =) 8 Spades and the Opponents possess (5 + 4 =) 9 Diamonds, the total number of tricks that can be made with contracts in these two suits is 8 + 9 = 17 tricks.

The actual tricks makable need not be divided 8-9 (they may be 7-10 or 9-8 for example), as they depend on the favourable or unfavourable location of critical key cards like an Ace or a King. For example if a King sits over the Ace it will likely make a trick, but if it sits under the Ace it will probably be captured by it.

Nevertheless, it is a good rule of thumb (when competing for a Part score) to bid up to the 2 level with 8 trumps and up to the 3 level with 9 trumps. Or, when Not Vulnerable you might bid up to the 3 level with just 8 trumps, happy to go down one trick.

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IBR 12.2 - The Opening side

The Law of Total tricks applies to either side, to the Opening side as well as to the Defending side.
Here follow some examples for the Opening side

1.   WEST
♠ 8 6
♥ A Q 9 6 4 3
♦ A Q 7

♣ 4 2

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
3♥

East raised Opener's hearts, he must hold therefore at least 3 cards in the suit. West holds 6 hearts which makes a total of 6 + 3 = 9. West therefore bids 3♥.

But what if West only holds 5 hearts ?

2.   WEST
♠ 8 6
♥ A Q 9 6 4
♦ A Q 7 3

♣ 4 2

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
Pass - ?

As far as West knows the total number of hearts his side holds is 5 + 3 = 8. He should therefore pass!
His Partner (E) will have a chance to bid again, and if he holds 4 hearts (instead of the 3 he promised) East can raise to 3♥.

But what if West holds 5 (or even 6) hearts but is slightly stronger and has an interest in a Game contract ?

3.   WEST
♠ 6
♥ A Q 9 6 4
♦ A J 7 3

♣ K 4 2

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
DLB   ?

In such case West can make a Game-try double. This double replaces the normal Game invitation bid of 3♥. This way the raise of 3♥ can be a competitive raise which is not invitational.

 Game-try Double A double by a player whose side has bid and supported a suit is an invitation to Game in the agreed suit. As a consequence a further raise (at the 3-level) of the suit is merely competitive (non invitational) only.
After a Game-try Double Partner has two options :

a. Bid 3 in the agreed suit when minimum

b. Bid Game in the agreed suit when maximum

3a.   WEST
♠ 6
♥ A Q 9 6 4
♦ A J 7 3

♣ K 4 2

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
DLB - 3♥
EAST
♠ 8 5
♥ K 7 5
♦ Q 6 4 2

♣ J 9 8 6
With only 6 or 7 points East must make a negative reply, bidding 3♥.

3b.   WEST
♠ 6
♥ A Q 9 6 4
♦ A J 7 3

♣ K 4 2

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
DLB - 4♥
EAST
♠ 8 5
♥ K 7 5
♦ Q 10 6 4

♣ Q J 9 8
With 8-10 points East must make a positive reply, bidding Game.

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IBR 12.3 - The Defending side

Exactly the same principles and approach apply to the Defending side.
The only difference is that the points holdings of the two Defending players are different.
An Overcaller shows a decent 5+card suit and 8-15 points.
His/her Partner when raising the suit by one level shows 3+card support plus 9-12 points.

Here follow a few examples :

4.   NORTH
♠ A Q 10 5 4
♥ 7 2
♦ 8 4

♣ K 9 8

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
3♥ Pass ! - 3♠
SOUTH
♠ K 9 7 3
♥ 5 3
♦ A 10 5

♣ Q 10 6 4
North being weak and with only 5 spades must pass.
South with 4 spades can raise to 3.

5.   NORTH
♠ A Q 10 5 4 2
♥ 7 2
♦ 4 2

♣ K 9 8

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
3♥ 3♠ - Pass
SOUTH
♠ K 9 7 3
♥ 5 3
♦ A 10 5

♣ Q 10 6 4
North being weak but with 6 spades can raise to 3.
South should pass.

6a.   NORTH
♠ A Q 10 5 4
♥ 7 3
♦ 8 4

♣ A K 9

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
3♥ DBL - 3♠
SOUTH
♠ K 9 7
♥ J 4 2
♦ K 6 5

♣ Q 8 6 5
North, with only 6 loser makes a Game-try Double.
South, with only a minimum 9-10 points, should bid 3♠.

6b.   NORTH
♠ A Q 10 5 4
♥ 7 3
♦ 8 4

♣ A K 9

W N E S
1♥ 1♠ 2♥ 2♠
3♥ DBL - 4♠
SOUTH
♠ K 9 7
♥ A 4 2
♦ K 6 5

♣ Q 8 6 5
North, with only 6 loser makes a Game-try Double.
South, with better than minimum points, should bid Game.

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IBR 12.4 - Deals 101-108

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