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Improvers Week 20 Week 20 Competing in the Auction Competing in the Auction

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Competing in the Auction 1969 1969 Frenchman – Jean-Rene Verne Frenchman – Jean-Rene Verne Article with a new theory Article with a new theory The Law of Total Tricks The Law of Total Tricks Greeted in the Bridge world with Total Apathy! Greeted in the Bridge world with Total Apathy! But Marty Bergen – a US international But Marty Bergen – a US international Tested the theory Tested the theory And found it worked And found it worked

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The Law of Total Tricks 1979 1979 Marty Bergen established a partnership with Larry Cohen Marty Bergen established a partnership with Larry Cohen They based their entire bidding strategy on the Law They based their entire bidding strategy on the Law Through the 1980s the most successful partnership in the USA Through the 1980s the most successful partnership in the USA 1992 1992 Larry Cohen produced a book called Larry Cohen produced a book called To Bid or not to Bid To Bid or not to Bid

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To Bid or not to Bid Took the Bridge World by storm Took the Bridge World by storm Nowadays accepted as the standard for competing in the auction Nowadays accepted as the standard for competing in the auction All top players use The Law or are aware of its implications All top players use The Law or are aware of its implications The Book is very heavy going! The Book is very heavy going! But there is a Ron Klinger flipper But there is a Ron Klinger flipper Which is easier to get your head round! Which is easier to get your head round!

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The Law of Total Tricks The Total Number of tricks available in any one hand is equal to the sum of the longest suit held by each side The Total Number of tricks available in any one hand is equal to the sum of the longest suit held by each side

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The Law of Total Tricks If 1 pair have 8 s If 1 pair have 8 s And the opponents have 8 s And the opponents have 8 s There are 16 tricks available There are 16 tricks available If 1 side can make 8 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 8 tricks in their suit The other side can make 8 in theirs The other side can make 8 in theirs If 1 side can make 10 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 10 tricks in their suit The other can make 6 The other can make 6 So: 8/8, 9/5, 10/6, 11/5, 12/4 So: 8/8, 9/5, 10/6, 11/5, 12/4

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The Law of Total Tricks If 1 pair have 10 s If 1 pair have 10 s And the opponents have 8 s And the opponents have 8 s There are 18 tricks available There are 18 tricks available If 1 side can make 10 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 10 tricks in their suit The other side can make 8 in theirs The other side can make 8 in theirs If 1 side can make 11 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 11 tricks in their suit The other can make 7 The other can make 7 So: 9/9, 10/8, 11/7, 12/6 So: 9/9, 10/8, 11/7, 12/6

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The Law of Total Tricks If 1 pair have 11 s If 1 pair have 11 s And the opponents have 10 s And the opponents have 10 s There are 21 tricks available There are 21 tricks available If 1 side can make 11 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 11 tricks in their suit The other side can make 10 in theirs The other side can make 10 in theirs If 1 side can make 12 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 12 tricks in their suit The other can make 9 The other can make 9 So: 11/10, 12/9, 13/8 So: 11/10, 12/9, 13/8

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The Law of Total Tricks If 1 pair have 7 s If 1 pair have 7 s And the opponents have 7 s And the opponents have 7 s There are only 14 tricks available There are only 14 tricks available If 1 side can make 7 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 7 tricks in their suit The other side can make 7 in theirs The other side can make 7 in theirs If 1 side can make 9 tricks in their suit If 1 side can make 9 tricks in their suit The other can make 5 The other can make 5 So: 7/7, 8/6, 9/5, 10/4, 11/3 So: 7/7, 8/6, 9/5, 10/4, 11/3

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The Law of Total Tricks Like all good Laws Like all good Laws An explanation of the obvious An explanation of the obvious The more unbalanced the hands and bigger the fit The more unbalanced the hands and bigger the fit The more tricks either side can make The more tricks either side can make But this gives us a basis to judge But this gives us a basis to judge Whether to compete or stop in the bidding Whether to compete or stop in the bidding

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Implications Profound Profound Length is everything! Length is everything! If the total tricks are low we should not compete very much unless very strong If the total tricks are low we should not compete very much unless very strong If total tricks are high we should compete to a high level even with weak hands If total tricks are high we should compete to a high level even with weak hands And perhaps sacrifice And perhaps sacrifice

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Calculating the Total Tricks The Auction goes The Auction goes Promising 4 Promising 4 Promising 5 Promising 5 Promising 4 Promising 4 Promising 3 Promising 3 Each side has shown 8 cards in their suits Each side has shown 8 cards in their suits So total tricks is at least 16 So total tricks is at least 16 1 1 2 2

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Calculating the Total Tricks The Auction goes The Auction goes Promising 4 Promising 4 1 side has 8 cards 1 side has 8 cards The non bidders must have 7 somewhere The non bidders must have 7 somewhere So total tricks is at least 15 and likely 16 So total tricks is at least 15 and likely 16 The next player should compete The next player should compete 1 1 PP? 2 2 P

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Total tricks is 16 Total tricks is 16 If they can make 8 so can you somewhere If they can make 8 so can you somewhere If they can make 9 you can make 7 If they can make 9 you can make 7 1 off would be a good score 1 off would be a good score Bid a 5 card suit Bid a 5 card suit Or a protective * without a 5 card suit Or a protective * without a 5 card suit Try to force them to 3 Try to force them to 3 Allowing opponents to play in 2 of an agreed suit is a losing methodology Allowing opponents to play in 2 of an agreed suit is a losing methodology 1 1 ? 2 2

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Exceptions Do not compete over the 2 level with Total Tricks = 16 or less when: Do not compete over the 2 level with Total Tricks = 16 or less when: Opponents have not found an 8 card fit Opponents have not found an 8 card fit Opponents are known under-bidders Opponents are known under-bidders Opener thought before passing at the 2 level - bidding on was an option Opener thought before passing at the 2 level - bidding on was an option Your hand is 4333 shape – better to defend Your hand is 4333 shape – better to defend

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Competing at the 3 level Total Tricks is 17 (9s and 8s) Total Tricks is 17 (9 s and 8 s) With 5 s ?a should overcall at favourable vulnerability With 5 s ?a should overcall at favourable vulnerability With 6 s ?a should overcall at any vul With 6 s ?a should overcall at any vul With 4 s ?b should overcall at any vul With 4 s ?b should overcall at any vul 1 1 3 3 1 1 ?a 2 2 ?b

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Competing at the 3 level when weak With Total Tricks = 16 never bid 3 over 3 With Total Tricks = 16 never bid 3 over 3 With Total Tricks = 17 bid 3 over 3 with favourable or equal vulnerability With Total Tricks = 17 bid 3 over 3 with favourable or equal vulnerability With Total Tricks = 18 always bid 3 over 3 With Total Tricks = 18 always bid 3 over 3

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Competing at the 4 level 1 side have 9 or 10 s 1 side have 9 or 10 s The other have 9 or 10 s The other have 9 or 10 s Assume 9½ each Total Tricks = 19 Assume 9½ each Total Tricks = 19 If ?a has 6 s bid 4 at any vul If ?a has 6 s bid 4 at any vul If ?b has 5 s bid 4 at any vul If ?b has 5 s bid 4 at any vul If they bid 5 only bid 5 at fav vul If they bid 5 only bid 5 at fav vul 1 1 4 4 1 1 ?a 3 3 ?b

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Competing at the 4 level With TT = 19 bid 4 over 4 if you have 10 With TT = 19 bid 4 over 4 if you have 10 With TT = 20 always bid 4 over 4 With TT = 20 always bid 4 over 4 With TT = 19 bid 5 over 4 if you have 10 and fav vul With TT = 19 bid 5 over 4 if you have 10 and fav vul With TT = 20 bid always 5 over 4 With TT = 20 bid always 5 over 4 With TT = 19 never bid 5 over 5 With TT = 19 never bid 5 over 5 With TT = 20 bid 5 over 5 with 10 and fav vul With TT = 20 bid 5 over 5 with 10 and fav vul

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Competing after pre-empts If partner opens 3 of a suit If partner opens 3 of a suit And you have a weak hand And you have a weak hand And 3 of partners suit And 3 of partners suit Raise the pre-empt to 4 Raise the pre-empt to 4 Any time your pair have 10 of a suit Any time your pair have 10 of a suit Opponents must have at least 9 Opponents must have at least 9 Or 2 8s Or 2 8s So you should compete to the 4 level So you should compete to the 4 level And consider bidding 5 or 6 if necessary! And consider bidding 5 or 6 if necessary!

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Adjustments to the Law If your side has a double fit add 1 If your side has a double fit add 1 If you have a void in opponents suit add 1 If you have a void in opponents suit add 1 If you have a good suit outside trumps If you have a good suit outside trumps AKQxx or AKxxx AKQxx or AKxxx Add 1 Add 1 With freak distribution 6/5, 7/4, 6/6 etc With freak distribution 6/5, 7/4, 6/6 etc Add 1 Add 1 With Qx, Jx, Qxx, Jxx in their suit With Qx, Jx, Qxx, Jxx in their suit Subtract 1 Subtract 1

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Accuracy of the Law The Law is completely accurate 50% of the time The Law is completely accurate 50% of the time The Law is within 1 trick 90% of the time The Law is within 1 trick 90% of the time

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The Law in Practice Compete to the number of trumps held by your side Compete to the number of trumps held by your side Never let opponents play in 2 of an agreed suit with a fit Never let opponents play in 2 of an agreed suit with a fit In a competitive auction jump to your maximum regardless of HCP In a competitive auction jump to your maximum regardless of HCP With 2 suit fits for both sides compete more strongly and consider a sacrifice With 2 suit fits for both sides compete more strongly and consider a sacrifice Because you have little or no Defence Because you have little or no Defence

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Summary Strong hands make more than the number of cards in the trump suit Strong hands make more than the number of cards in the trump suit So, you can still bid game with less than 10 cards in the suit So, you can still bid game with less than 10 cards in the suit Weak hand make less than the number of cards in the suit Weak hand make less than the number of cards in the suit But the Law means you are normally safe to bid to the number of cards held But the Law means you are normally safe to bid to the number of cards held Going off can still be a good result Going off can still be a good result

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Finally Remember: Remember: The Law is as much about when to stop as when to bid on The Law is as much about when to stop as when to bid on With big fits compete With big fits compete With flatter hands only bid on with strength With flatter hands only bid on with strength

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