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Copyright 2003 by John Strichman (all rights reserved)

John Strichman is the author of
by JohnGalt Strichman

Valley Publishing - Boulder, Colorado


Score: Your Team 472 (2bags)
Opps 395 (5 bags)

    North 3      
West ?         East 3  
    SOUTH ?

2 4 10 K A
5 9
3 4 7 A
7 J
If you bid anything other than 3 in this situation, you are making a mistake.


You are bidding third, and your team is in the lead and not concerned about bags. If you do not bid just high enough, when safe to do so, to prevent the opponents from winning the game if West bids Nil, you are needlessly leaving the door open, and you and your pard are losing more Spades games than you should.

When playing a last hand, if your team is behind you must ask yourself, "how can we either keep the game alive or possibly win”, and then bid and play the hand based upon your answer to that question. Conversely, when your team is ahead in the game, you must ask yourself, "how can the opponents possibly keep the game alive or win”, and then do everything that you possibly can in order to prevent them from doing so.

In the case where you are bidding third, you must determine if there are any possible bids that the pone sitting to your left can make that could steal the game from you, and then act defensively so as to eliminate that opportunity.

In most cases, the danger lurking in the shadows is that West will bid Nil in an attempt to gain enough points to win the game. In this example, the opponents have 395 points and East has already bid 3. If West was to bid Nil and the opponents were to make their bids, they would wind up with a score of 525 points (plus any bags taken on the hand).

Your team has 472 points, and your pard has already bid 3. This will bring your point total to 502 plus whatever you bid. You must be sure to bid enough, not to just get over the 500 point barrier, but to get over the potential maximum score that the pones might be able to achieve if West does in fact bid Nil. Since the opponents currently have more bag points than does your team, you need to bid your team up to the 530 point level in order to slam the door on any hopes the pones may have of winning the game.

In order to accomplish this you must bid 3. This will bring your team bid to 6, and result in a score of 532 points plus any bag points you acquire on the hand. You should not bid any more tricks than is necessary in order to reach this unbeatable score, because doing so would simply be adding needless risk to your team bid. You need enough points and only enough points to put the game out of reach.

When there is a chance that your opponent might throw a bomb (bid Nil) in an attempt to steal the game from you and your pard, you must anticipate this move, and prevent any chance of such an attempt succeeding by using this impenetrable defense.


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