Learn to play Bridge
Bid Lesson 1 - b
Assess hand shape
A hand is classified either as 'Balanced' or 'Unbalanced'
A relative even spread of cards in all the suits.
The shape can be described by the number of cards in each suit. The most balanced is 4,3,3,3.
Conventionally all hands are described in ranking order,
The following are considered as balanced.
2,3,5,3 (If the 5 card suit is either Clubs or Diamonds)
If your hand includes a Void (no cards in a suit), a singleton ( only 1 card in a suit) or 2 doubletons (only 2 cards in 2 separate suits) then it is unbalanced.
When deciding on an opener with 10-11 points you can use the rule of 20 to assess the value of the shape.
Rule of 20
Count the number of high card points and the number of cards in the two longest suits. If this totals 20 then it is a comfortable opener.
HCP = 11 +5 cards+4 cards=20 - a comfortable open
HCP = 10+6 cards+3 cards=19 - do not open
> popup window Examples of shape
© Mary Vale 2009
Learn to play bridge