Friday, January 23, 2009

4-4 fits are not da bomb

One of the bridge blogs I read is Korbel Bridge Adventures by Susie and Daniel Korbel, two of Canada's young stars. (Daniel is also a poker player and I've played at the same table online with him.) In a recent post they discussed how we, as bridge players, are obsessed with finding 4-4 fits and that reminded me of a deal I played in Charlottesville VA a long, long time ago.

I held: A Q 8 6 5 J J 10 7 5 A Q 4.

My partner was Bob L. and he opened 1, I responded 1 and he rebid 2NT. I made a check-back bid and partner showed me a three-card spade fit. I checked on aces (we were off one) and bid 6 to give partner a choice. My reasoning is that we had 32 or 33 high-card points, and so because the slam is skinny, we might need to make an extra trick by playing in diamonds. Partner passed and the opening lead was a low heart. Here are all four hands (low cards are approximate):

A Q 8 6 5
J 10 7 5
A Q 4
J 7 3 10 4
7 6 5 2 A 8 4 3
Q 4 2 8 6
J 7 5 9 8 6 3 2
K 9 2
K Q 10 9
A K 9 3
K 10

East won the A and partner eventually took the diamond finesse for down one.

It was annoying to see that it made 6, and, in fact, makes 6NT. South's strong heart spots were tricks because of my jack.

Then, we looked again. We can make 6 in a 4-1 fit! Win any lead, drive out the ace of hearts, win the return and draw trumps. Because the East-West hearts split 4-4, you would take the rest of the tricks. So much for the magic 4-4 fit.


  1. Every time I read one of your bridge postings I am stunned, how little I actually grasp of that game!

    For instance, I didn't even know - until today - how many cards each player is dealt.

    It's like reading a foreign news paper or something, except I don't even get the illustrations!



  2. Its complexity is both the beauty of bridge and the curse of bridge.

  3. One of the beauties of bridge is that you can make a clear error but five minutes later a new hand comes along and you can start again.

    In chess you can spend three hours paying for that mistake.

    I guess poker is more like bridge in this regard. After all, it's only money ....

  4. How long does it take to play a hand/round/set - until you shuffle up and deal again, I mean?


  5. One bridge hand may take 4 or 5 minutes (or shorter or longer). How long a session takes depends (obviously) on how many boards.

    In live tournament play, you usually play 26 deals in one session and takes around 3 hours. In online tournaments, however, there are often only 12 hands and they take an hour and 5 minutes or so.