# Balancing Jim Berglunds Bridge Lesson 17 BALANCING Definition

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Balancing Jim Berglund’s Bridge Lesson 17

BALANCING Definition: taking a bid other than Pass in pass-out seat - after two preceding passes. Balancing is an attempt to prevent the opponents from playing the hand. For example, 1 ♦ - Pass - ? Saying Pass here would end the auction, while bidding means there have to be at least 3 more bids. You'd better be right if you’re going to pass!

BALANCING over a One-Level Suit Bid If the auction proceeds one of a suit , two passes to you, what do you know about the hand? Opener has 13+ points Responder has 0 -5 Your side could possibly have 27 points. Partner's failure to bid suggests No five card suit A hand not suitable for a take-out double A hand not suitable for a bid of 1 NT. Partner could hold 13 or 14 points when there was no descriptive bid for her hand. For example, when they opened in her best suit.

BALANCING over a One-Level Suit Bid Example 1: 1♦ Pass ? You hold: ♠ AQ 4 ♥ K 6 ♦ K 632 ♣J 765 This hand has 13 balanced points, with no suit to bid. Nor do you have support for all unbid suits, so you can't make a take-out double. So do we have to pass? No, that would silly, you could still have a game. In balancing seat, use the bid of 1 NT to show any balanced hand of less than 16 points (less than a medium hand) that is worth reopening on (roughly 1114).

Balancing Options Bid Meaning Double 10+ points supporting all other suits, or 17+ any hand, or 16 -18 balanced 1 of a suit 4+ card suit and 8+ points 1 NT 10+ - 15 points and a balanced hand 2 of a suit (non-jump) 5+ card suit and 10 - 16 points cue-bid Michaels (shows both majors over a minor or the other Major and an unspecified minor over a Major suit bid jump in a suit approximately 8+ playing points and a 6+ card suit 2 NT Unusual 2 NT (shows 2 lower unbid suits)

Discussion Re-open with double whenever you have support for all the unbid suits and 10+ high card points. You can bid one of a suit with a four card suit and a hand worth reopening. Should you always reopen with 10+ points? You risk is giving opener a second chance to get to a better contract. Look at your major suit holding(s). Reopen actively when they've been left in one of a major. Think twice about it when they are in one of a minor (usually not their best spot), and you are not short in their suit.

W 1♦ N P E S P ? The bidding: A B. C. D. E. ♠ AKJ 2 ♠ KJ 3 ♠ QJ 4 ♠ J 107 ♠ QJ 5 ♥ 65 ♥ 84 ♥ QJ 2 ♥ K 865 ♥ Q 842 ♦ 873 ♦ Q 753 ♦ K 9742 ♦ KQ 4 ♦ 65 ♣ 98 ♣ KJ 84 ♣ Q 865 ♣ K 824 ♣ J 98 10 9 10 10 Pts ______ 9 Pts ______ 1♠ Pass 1 NT DBL ______ ______

W 1♠ N P E S The bidding: P ? A B. C. D. E. ♠ AKJ 2 ♠ KJ 3 ♠ QJ 4 ♠ J 107 ♠ QJ 5 ♥ 65 ♥ 84 ♥ QJ 2 ♥ K 865 ♥ Q 842 ♦ 873 ♦ Q 753 ♦ K 9742 ♦ KQ 4 ♦ 65 ♣ 98 ♣ KJ 84 ♣ Q 865 ♣ K 824 ♣ J 98 Pts 10 Pts 9 Pts 10 1 NT ______ Pass DBL 2♦ ______

Responding when Partner Balances Warning, when your partner reopens, 13 -14 points are only worth a game invitation !! This means that as responder you would bid your hand naturally, but play partner for a King less than an opener when deciding how high to bid. In other words, subtract 3 points from your hand before deciding if you are minimum, medium, or maximum. Conversely, partner should rebid as if there were a King more in their hand. Use the cue-bid of the opponent’s suit when you have a very good hand need to know more about partner's hand. Bid 2 NT with a good 12 to a poor 14 point hand that thinks the most likely game is 3 NT. Otherwise respond as if to an opening bid or a normal take out double, after subtracting the three points.

W 1♠ A N P E B. S The bidding: P ? C. D. E. ♠ QT 92 ♠ Q 97 ♠ 6 ♠ K 6 ♠ 432 ♥ KJ 5 ♥ AK 872 ♥ 3 ♥ 652 ♥ 843 ♦ AQ 75 ♦ AKJ 53 ♦ K 9742 ♦ KQT 74 ♦ 65 ♣ 42 ♣ K 8 ♣ 98 ♣ AJ 982 ♣ AQJ 84 12 Pts 14 Pts 12 Pts 15 Pts 8 2♠ Pass 2♦ 1 NT 2 NT ______ ______ Pts

BALANCING when the opponents have stopped in a low level contract When the opponents have stopped in a part score at the one or two level, should you pass it out or bid? It depends on what contract they have stopped in and what kind of hand you have yourself. E S 18 N 1♥ P P ? 2♥ P First of all, they have less than 26 pts, probably less than 25; their range is roughly 19 -24; this leaves plenty of high cards for your side. A golden rule of competitive bidding is not to let the opponents The mathematics of suit distributions indicate that if they have an play in two of a major if they have an eight card fit. 8 card fit, you usually have one as well. Thus if you have an 8 card fit and roughly half the high cards, perhaps you should try to play the hand.

Strongly Consider Reopening in This Auction Using One of the Following: W 1♥ P N P ? E S 2♥ P Double With shortness and support for the other three suits 2 NT with both minors 2♠ with 4+ spades (but prefer double if we can support all suits) 3 ♣ or 3♦ with a 5+ minor and no other 4+ card suit

Lebensohl? In Lesson 15, I discussed using Lebensohl over a 1 -2 Major-suit auction by the opponents and a double by Partner. The 2 NT response by you forces partner to bid 3♣, etc Partnership Agreement is essential if you are going to use this treatment

Note the Differences in The Following Auction: W 1♠ P N P ? E S 2♠ P Forcing partner to bid at the 3 -level is dangerous! if you are vulnerable down two is -200, as is down one doubled. These are very bad scores at duplicate. DOUBLE with shortness and support for the other 3 suits 2 NT 2 places to play at the 3 level, so it can include hearts 3♥ with 5+ Hearts (but prefer double if we can support all suits) 3♣ or 3♦ with a 5+ minor and no other 4+ card suit 2 NT shows two suits and can include hearts. Partner responds by bidding their best minor suit. If we don't have that suit, then we bid the next one that we do have.

When not to Balance The following auctions do not indicate an eight card fit, so you do not need to strain to balance if passed to you: A. RHO LHO B. RHO LHO 1 ♠ 1 NT 1 ♥ 1 NT 1♦ 1♠ 2 ♠ Pass 2♦ 2♦ Pass 2♥ C. RHO LHO � There is danger in passing partner's reopening double; partner has already bid your high cards for you, so four trumps are not an adequate excuse for you to pass. � Four very good trumps (at least three trump tricks!) and what look like five possible tricks for the defense might be enough.

W N E S 1♠ Pass 2♠ Pass Double Pass ? ? Responding Considerations How do you handle partner's balance on the other side of the table? Well, the most important thing to know is that 2 NT asks partner to pick a suit at the three level. You do not need 2 NT as a natural bid, but we desperately need to play in your 8 card fit rather than your 7 card fit. You Partner ♠K 76 ♠ 43 ♥AK 32 ♦ AJ 107 ♦ Q 987 ♣ K 932 ♣ J 65 Look at the above pair of hands, after partner doubles, if you bid 3♣♣you will be playing in a terrible 4 -3. However, if you can bid 2 NT asking partner to bid their lowest 4 card suit, you will get to your 8 card fit in diamonds

W N 1♥ P P ? E 2♥ S Exercise 1. P A. B. C. D. E. ♠ AJ 32 ♠ K 3 ♠ 65 ♠ Q 87 ♠ A 5 ♥ 65 ♥ 73 ♥ 74 ♥ 72 ♥ KQ 104 ♦ Q 973 ♦ Q 953 ♦ KQ 9752 ♦ KJ 74 ♦ KQ 6 ♣ Q 85 ♣ KQ 854 ♣ A 98 ♣ Q 952 ♣ 9854 C: 3♦ D: Pass A: DBL B: 2 NT E: Pass

W N E S 1♥ Pass 2 ♠ (weak) Pass Double Pass ? ? Exercise 2 What now ? A. B. C. D. E. ♠ AKJ 2 ♠ K 32 ♠ A 65 ♠ 87 ♠ J 9 ♥ 652 ♥ 732 ♥ AJ 74 ♥ QJ 1098 ♥ A 98 C: Pass ♦ QJ 73 ♦ Q 953 ♦ KQ 97 ♦ KJ 7 ♦ K 952 D: 3 NT ♣ Q 8 ♣ KQ 8 ♣ A 98 ♣ AJ 5 ♣ Q 854 E: 3 ♣ A: Pass B: 3♦ Reminder: when the opponents have 19 -24 pts, your side is not going to hold 26 pts. Therefore, unless you are wildly distributional, don't punish partner by bidding a game. In fact, don't punish partner by bidding again when the opponents take the push to the 3 level ! Not unless you are very sure that they are making and you're only one down (and you had better be right) - the job of pushing them up one level has been done.