Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lead directing pass vs Dbl

When you begin to play bridge, the 'common sense' gets hammered in your head: pass when weak hands, bid with good hands. Ofcourse, like with most things, the reversed attitude is more successful. Look at the changes in preempting style over the years, strong pass systems are theoreticly superior for constructive auctions,... Here's another one: lead directing passes!

Basicly it's most used when you've opened, overcalled or supported a suit, and opponents ask for a stopper in your suit. Example:
1 - 1 - Dbl - 2
3 - pass - 3 - ???
There are many other situations.

Most pairs play "Dbl = lead my suit", which is technically inferior to "Pass = lead my suit", and here's why. First of all, opponents won't play in your suit anyway (usually at 3-level), so Double or Pass is equally safe (*). The difference is that Double gives opponents extra space (2 extra bids which are always welcome: RDbl and pass), while Pass doesn't do so.
- When do you want to give your opponents more space? When they don't have anything to search for, which is when they have stoppers, so when you DON'T want partner to lead the suit.
- When do you want to put up the pressure? If they need to find 2 half stoppers (Qx opposite Jxx for example) or a better suit, which is more frequent when you want partner to lead the suit.

(*) Ofcourse, when you showed a 5 card suit it's a lot safer than when you only showed 3+m with a 1m opening. So there are some basic rules on when the lead asking pass is on. You can summarize this to "when it's safe":
- When you or partner opened in a Major
- When you overcalled
- When your partner opened/overcalled and you supported (the example above)
- When your partner made a solid overcall and you didn't get the chance to support (for example: 1-2-3-?)
- When your partner showed 2 suits and you made a clear prefference to one suit, then it's valid to that one suit only (useful with FREEWILL overcalls for example)
- ... (I probably forgot some)

Once you've shown or denied your prefference for the lead, you obviously keep passing to keep opponent's bidding space limited.

No comments: