Wednesday, November 19, 2003 10:04 AM

Distributional Hands




          The game of Ghoulie starts bidding at the 5 level with a method of dealing the cards that induces wild distribution. Bridge players can learn from that game . If you have distribution , jump many levels of bidding to describe your hand. The following hand was bid by Canada in the Bermuda Bowl.


QJ10x void x AQJ1098xx           You are in 1st seat with equal vulnerability so what do you open ? This is a time to learn from the Ghoulie players and open 5♣ . You are not qoing to ever scientifically describe this hand. The Canadian player opened this hand 1♣ and they got to 6♣ down one in a competitive auction . You can buy this auction at 5♣ if that’s the way the bidding starts and ends.


             Opening at the one level with 9 or 8 card suits is not a matter of style. It is plain wrong. Bridge does not have any defined rebids for distributional monsters. Opening them at the 4 level or higher brings partner into the picture in describing your hand and puts pressure on the opponents. Some misguided players think that opening these 8 or 9 card suits at high levels are a pre-empt . No , No and No. You are opening at high levels because the length of your suit is impossible to describe and this length takes away from your defense. Opening at the one level implies defense usually measured in quick tricks. Due to your severe distribution , your points are eliminated for defensive purposes and the 30 pt deck rule comes into play. Do not worry if you have some outside cards as the end justifies the means.


          You hold  KJ109xx void x AKQxxx  and open 1 with partner responding 1NT . Now what ? A jump shift to 3♣ is a distortion so you invent a bid of 4♣ ( unless you play auto-splinters ). Alternatively you could make a “prepared bid” of 1♣ and rebid 4 . Partner should figure out you have 12 black cards .The fact that you went even higher then a jump shift brings the “ghoulie” principles into play . You must have a distributional freak . Partner held Ax Jxxxx Axxxx x and should realize the Aces are golden with these types of hands and bid 4. This brings 6♣ which gets returned to 6 and you chalk up a well bid slam that makes.


          A good player held K10xxxx void x AQxxxx and broke every rule of handling distributional hands. Instead of opening 1♣ ( which is an ideal prepared bid ) she open one spade and rebid a simple 2♣ which resulted in missing a 50 % grand slam in clubs . This hand is unbiddable so extraordinary measures of “Ghoule principles” are needed. Not to be undone , her partner also violated Ghoulie Principles. Void Axx KQJ109xxx xx . There is no bid at the one level that describes this hand. You can never play “catch up” and describe this hand accurately by opening 1♦ . You also let the vultures in cheaply by opening at the one level. Who cares if you may miss a magical 3NT ! Open this hand 4 or 5 and put pressure on the opponents and give some semblance of describing your hand to partner. If you open 5 , the opponents do come in and they are at the +500 level and you can not make anything but a diamond partial. Make the best bid possible and not the best possible bid !


          You hold void x Axxxx AKJ10xxx and somehow this reaches you in 4th chair vul against non vul. Opening 1♣ is ludicrous as the non vul vultures are just waiting to pounce in the majors. One player chose 2♣ in an effort to buy the hand but it did not work as they came anyway . The winning bid was a 5♣ opening bid . 6 is cold but the opponents will never let you play it and they go for 300 in the majors. 5♣ bought the contract and the +620 was worth a lot of IMPS. Opponents are less likely to come in initially at the 5 level. Anyway with distributional freaks up the ante and level when you bid !!


          These distributional hands are impossible to describe with traditional methods anyway. You are in 3rd seat with AKxxxxx xx void Kxxx . If you open 1 and partner bids 1NT or some other bid what is your rebid ?  A 2 spade bid certainly does not show 11 black cards , a 7 card suit and a void. Open the hand 4 spades as it is semi-descriptive and puts maximum pressure on the opponents. Sure it might not work out but you only need QJx of clubs to make game if the spade suit comes in. I watched a veteran player bid a 7-5 like he had a 5-4 . AQ109xxx A10xxx void x  He opened one spade and partner bid 1NT . Following the lead of the Ghoulie players I would get this auction high very fast. I would rebid 4 knowing that its not the perfect bid but I do have 12 cards in the majors. He bid a quiet 2 and they ended up in 4 down one when 620 in either major works. If you have a hand that you can not describe anyway  leap before you look “ !


          The 7th or 8th card is not bidable in any standard system. Jumping the bidding is the tried and true method to show partner extra length in your suit. The key is to  show partner. You let her in on the decision making process. Here is a horrible way to bid a distributional 7-4 . AKxxxxx xx Axxx void. You vul open 1 and LHO doubles and partner bids a constructive 1NT. LHO bid 2♣ which is your void. Using the opponents as a stepping stone your hand has grown with them bidding your void. There is no scientific way of showing your 7th spade so the worst call you can make is to bid 2. Partner will never read you for a 7-4. Why not bid 3 right away and put partner in the picture ? Partner raises to 4 and all is well.