Tips on Sacrifice Bidding

The ideas here apply both when you are considering sacrificing, and when you are deciding what to do over the opponents bid.

Assess your defensive to offensive potential – offensive means extra length in suit(s), solid cards (KQJ1098), shortages; defensive is scattered values in side suits (Qx, J10x), and Aces in your suits. Shortage in their suit may mean your partner has a surprise for them. Be cautious about sacrificing with defensive assets, and be more inclined to double the opposition if it is your hand than to go on.

Weigh up the evidence – what do you know about your opponents ? Are they fairly steady or very aggressive ? What other bids could your partner have made ? Do you have more or less than you have already shown ?

Consult partner where appropriate, – but when you know what to do you must make the right bid immediately. If your side has opened, and then bid game, and they bid on, play forcing pass. When you have lots of defence, you should double. If you have unexpected offensive values, bid on. When you’re not sure, pass and let partner decide.

Co-operate with partner – if partner has bid suggesting a sacrifice – eg 1C P 1S 3D (weak) – only raise if you really want to encourage a sacrifice; don’t do it with defensive values or very weak trumps.

If you plan to sacrifice, do it immediately – don’t give the opponents a chance to exchange more information. In an auction such as 1H – 2S – 3H – ?, there is no point in bidding 3S: either pass (giving less information) or bid 4S (giving less room).

Be prepared to accept a small loss, but not a big one – sometimes it will be clear that one side is weak and the other strong. However, on some hands it will not be obvious who the hand belongs to. Then you should always be willing to bid one more at teams. Losing 100 in 5H against what would have been +100 for 4S-1 is a small cost, but gains so much against -620 that you should always bid 5H.

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