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Continuation Of The Bidding

After the completion of the first round, the situation of the bidder
becomes so complex that it is most difficult to apply general rules.
Some principles, however, should be borne in mind.

Bidding one Spade, or passing, places a player with two tricks in a
position to increase his partner's call; but when a bidder has already
shown the full strength, or practically the full strength, of his hand,
he should not, under any circumstances, advance either his own or his
partner's declaration. The temptation to disregard this rule is at
times exceedingly strong. For example, the dealer declares one Heart,
holding King, Queen, at the top of five Hearts, and the Ace of Spades.
The partner calls one No-trump, and the Fourth Hand, two Royals. In
such case, the original Heart bidder frequently advances the No-trump
to two, because he has the adverse suit stopped, without considering
that his partner, in bidding one No-trump, counted upon him for either
that Ace of Spades, or the equivalent strength, and, therefore, he
should leave the question of the continuance of the No-trump to the
player who knows its exact strength.

Another example of this proposition may be worthy of consideration. The
dealer holds

Spades X, X, X
Hearts Ace, X
Diamonds King, Knave, Ten, X, X
Clubs X, X, X

He bids one Diamond; Second Hand, pass; Third Hand, one Heart; Fourth
Hand, one Royal.

In this position a thoughtless player might call two Hearts, but such a
declaration would greatly exaggerate the value of the hand. The dealer
by his first bid has announced his ability to take at least three
tricks if Diamonds be Trump, and at least two tricks if the deal be
played without a Trump. His hand justifies such a call, but that is
all; having declared his full strength, his lips must thereafter be

His partner is already counting upon him for two high-card tricks,
which is the maximum his hand can possibly produce; should he call two
Hearts on the basis of the Ace, the original Heart bidder would expect
assistance to the extent of at least three tricks. He might receive
only one.

If, however, the dealer's hand be

Spades X
Hearts X, X, X, X
Diamonds King, Knave, Ten, X, X
Clubs Ace, X, X

a very different proposition presents itself. While this combination,
had No-trump been called, would not be stronger than the other and
should not advance the bid, with Hearts Trump it is a most valuable
assistant, and being worth at least three tricks, is fully warranted in
calling at least two Hearts.

The fact that it contains four Hearts is one material element of
strength and the singleton Spade is another, neither of which has been
announced by the original call.

One of the most difficult tasks of the bidder is to accurately estimate
the number of tricks the combined hands of his partnership can
reasonably be expected to win. It sometimes occurs, especially in what
are known as "freak" hands, that one pair can take most of the tricks
with one suit declaration, while with another, their adversaries can be
equally successful. This is most apt to happen in two-suit hands, or
when length in Trumps is coupled with a cross-ruff. In the ordinary run
of evenly divided hands, there is not such great difference in the
trick-taking ability of two declarations. The player who, except with
an extraordinary hand, commits his side to ten or eleven tricks, after
the adversaries have shown that with another declaration they do not
expect to lose more than two or three, is extremely venturesome, and
apt to prove a dangerous partner. In normal deals, a change in the
Trump suit does not produce a shift of seven or eight tricks.

Next: When To Advance The Bid

Previous: When All Three Players Have Made Offensive Declarations

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