Better Basic Bridge: Edith Ann and the bridge group

Nancy Evins • Updated May 14, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Many years ago, a woman in Lebanon, plus three men and I, all loved the game of bridge and enjoyed learning more about it together.

I’ll call this lady Barbara, and Barbara preferred the four of us to play at her house. She always had a vat of navy beans or some other pot of food that whenever one of us were dummy, we could go help ourselves.

The second choice was to sit behind one of the players and observe his or her technique, style of bidding, etc. as we sometimes played together in tournaments.

The third choice, and it was hardly a choice, was to remove Edith Anne from the couch where she had sneaked in and tried to make it her comfort zone.

The trouble with getting Edith Ann off the couch was that Edith Ann was a pig.

She had grown up with Barbara’s dogs, left somehow an orphan, I think and took up the dogs’ habits, namely of jumping on couches.

I can tell you I kept a wary eye on that couch whenever I was dummy.

When I wasn’t dummy, I was just learning about reverses.

A reverse is when you make a bid and your second bid is in a new suit and higher than the first bid. This is not bidding up the line when a new bid would be higher…such as if you open one diamond and partner bids one heart and you, with four spades, bids one spade.

It is like the following example.

You open one club. Partner bids one heart. You then bid two diamonds.

You have denied four hearts and four spades and said that you have about 16-17 points.

Another example is where you open one heart, partner bids two clubs or two diamonds or one no-trump and you bid two spades. Partner has said he does not have spades but you are showing five hearts, possibly only four spades (unless you started out with six hearts and five spades) but the same 16-17 points. It makes it easy for partner not only to know point count but distribution and he will usually rebid his suit if that is correct or go to either two or three no trump, depending on his count.

If I have six hearts and five spades, I do not worry about the point count, particularly, as my distribution is going to contribute to my hand as I am pretty sure I am going to be playing it in either of the major suits. I have opened with as little as nine points with something like, spades – A x x x x x and hearts – K Q x x x x . that only leaves one card in either of the other suits and makes this hand more valuable.

As opponents, you should listen carefully to this kind of bid, and you will practically know everything in your partner’s hand as the dummy comes down. The only problem is when someone who doesn’t understand reverses does this, you lose count, as well as your temper (keep it inside).

As I struggled with reverses, the partner I had drawn for the next hand suddenly removed his coffee cup from the right side to the left and his score pad from the left to the right.

I commented that if I could get all my partners to do that when they made a reverse I would truly understand.

These were entertaining evenings in all respects.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]

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