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Tricks not points

Which is the better hand, (a) or (b)?

Hand a) Hand b)
♠ Q J
A J 7 3 2
 K J 3 2
♠ 8 6
K Q J 10 2
A 2
 K Q J 10

Hand (a) has more points but hand (b) is far stronger because it contains more TRICKS. Never ever forget, Bridge is a game all about tricks, not points. Your point-count means absolutely nothing once play begins, point-count is a guide only to bidding, nothing else. If partner has a flat “Yarborough” ie no points at all, you will make eight tricks with hearts as trumps with (b), yet barely two or three tricks with (a).

I should say, however, that you must always have a flexible mind-set at Bridge. If your partner is bidding spades and diamonds very strongly, suddenly you’d rather have Hand (a); if partner holds AK5432, 4, Q109872, -, you can make 6 opposite Hand (a) yet may not even make 4 opposite Hand (b).

Exercise: Right hand opponent opens 1. Would you overcall with these?

Hand i) Hand ii)
♠ Q J 2
A J 2
K J 7 4 2
Q 2
♠ 3 2
♥ 2
K Q J 10 9 2
Q J 10 2

With Hand (i), the answer is no. You have NO TRICKS. With Hand (ii), yes, facing a bad dummy, you have seven likely TRICKS. Note, your point-count in no way tells the story.



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