Thursday, April 28, 2005 3:17 AM

Hand Evaluation  - Drill




          OK patterns once again for old times sake. How many patterns are there with 4 cards as the longest suit ? Answer 3 -  so name them 4-4-3-2 , 4-4-4-1 and 4-3-3-3 . These are the 4 series of patterns. These must be memorized. Question how many patterns are there with a 5 card suit as the longest ? Answer 6 - so name them 5-3-3-2 , 5-4-2-2 , 5-4-3-1 , 5-5-2-1 and two with voids ( not common )  5-4-4-0 and 5-5-3-0  so memorizing 4 patterns will suffice . These are called the 5 series of patterns. Question how many patterns are there with 6 card suits ? Answer 7 – so name them  6-3-2-2 , 6-3-3-1 , 6-4-2-1 , 6-5-1-1 and 3 with voids ( not common) 6-4-3-0 , 6-5-2-0 & 6-6-1-0  so memorizing 4 patterns will suffice. These are called the 6 series of patterns. Forget the 7 card suit patterns except 7-2-2-2 , 7-3-2-1 and 7-4-1-1 . Work out all other patterns with longer suits at the table.


          According to my arithmetic you only have to memorize 14 patterns out of the existing 39 to elevate your game to a different level. You should not be burdened with counting at the Bridge table . Counting is for computers not humans. Memorizing patterns is your way out. You can use your brain for other things at the table . The other alternate is not to count at all so just make educated guesses. This only works if you guess right. Counting with patterns works 100 % of the time so there is no guess work.


          Playing with a tormentee tonight in a 2 partial . AJ108 of spades on the board and declarer leads the spade queen . You have K9xxx of spades do you cover ? Experts do not use rote rules for covering an honour with an honour . They just apply patterns . The patterns with this holding ( looking at 9 spades ) are 5-4-3-1 , 5-4-2-2 so forget the pattern with a void as partner is ruffing anyway. If the pattern is 5-4-2-2 , covering is no use as declarer is getting 3 spade tricks whatever you do. If declarer has 3 spades , partner is ruffing the 2nd spade anyway. If declarer has the stiff queen ( 5-4-3-1 ) covering is a disaster as you give him tricks he does not deserve. Therefore you do not cover. The tormentee did not apply patterns & covered an honour with an honour . Sure enough the spade queen was singleton so he helped himself to two diamond pitches to make his contract.


What if you had 4 spades to the K9xx do you cover ?  Now the 4 card patterns come into play . There are only 2 of them  ( 4-3-3-3 is out ) so lets apply them. 4-4-3-2 you better cover as declarer has Qxx or Qx so you protect your 9. You only lose in one case 4-4-4-1 with a stiff queen. Against the odds so cover.


I see tormentees burning a lot of energy thinking when if they just applied patterns ,  a line of defense or play or lead will come clear . Thinking in patterns is the basis of all Bridge decisions.   Bridge decisions are made by applying patterns , deductive reasoning follows. Try it !!