Back to Basics
The only time I ever really review the fundamentals is when I am teaching them. It is always good to have a refresher course on beginning declarer play. All too often we get ahead of ourselves and fail to think about the most basic elements of the game because we are planning our next squeeze. The following will probably not be news to anyone as it is in most major beginner textbooks, but it will be useful to take a look at again.
In suit play:
- Count your losers
- Figure out how do eliminate the losers. This can be done by ruffing, finessing, or discarding.
- Count your winners
- Figure out which suits can promote the most tricks and play them immediately.
Yeah, I really meant basic. We all do step 1 consciously, but often step 2 is done subconsciously. I think this causes us, or at least me, to overlook some very basic things. So during the regional I am going to go over this list before I ever play a card on every single hand. Sound silly? Maybe it is, but if nothing else it will help my focus and concentration level and cut down on any blind spots I may have. I will modify the list slightly as well.
In suit play:
- Count your losers and winners. Sometimes for cross ruffing or dummy reversals, counting winners is more beneficial. Also for squeezes.
- Figure out how to eliminate the losers. This can be done by ruffing, discarding, finessing, endplaying, or squeezing. In cross ruffing cases, figure out how to get 10 winners (I assume I will be in game, lol).
In notrump it will be the same except counting losers as well.
It will be interesting to see whether or not this makes a difference in my game. It could have an adverse effect on my game, in which case I will revert to letting my subconscious take over.
Also, in accordance with my theme I will be following some great advice Mike Passell gave me once. I played with him in a sectional and he told me to always have a reason for every card that I played. This advice is absolutely wonderful, but consciously I still do not do this. So I will be thinking before every card "why am I playing this?" If I can actually do this it will force me to really focus and not be lazy or make any careless mistakes.
The last basic I will remember to follow is non-stop counting. Luckily I am used to this one so it won't be a problem. Counting is like breathing; even if I'm being lazy I count. I will still focus intently on doing this as it is easily the most important thing to do in bridge.
Some people have new years resolutions, I have regional resolutions. I am going to hold myself to these and hopefully will be able to see and think clearly. I have a good feeling about this one.