ABTA Applebasket Award Winner

The American Bridge Teachers Association collects teacher tips from the members every year which are voted on by the members attending the annual convention.  I won the award in 2012.
Kathy (on the left) receiving her crystal apple for the 2012 winning teacher tip.

Applebasket Entry, 2012

Submitted by: Kathy Rolfe

First Place Winner, 2012. (Of course I don’t teach Standard American anymore, so this isn’t quite so true, but still, my students know what to bid when I ask if they’re desperate yet?)

When I teach how to respond to an opening bid of one of a suit with 6 to 9 points (or 6 to 10) depending on which book I’m teaching from, I list the priorities to respond and 1NT is always the last choice.  I call that choice the bid of desperation!  It does not mean responder has a balanced hand.  It does not mean you actually want to play Notrump, although you may end up doing so!  It simply means, “Partner, I have to bid and this is the only bid available!”


How to respond to 1 of a major with 6 to 9 points:

1)    Raise partner to 2 of the major, (must have at least 3 card support)

2)    Can’t do that?  Then bid a suit of your own at the 1 level.

3)    Can’t do that?  Bid 1NT!

How to respond to 1 of a minor with 6 to 9 points:

1)    Bid a suit of your own at the 1 level.

2)    Can’t do that?  Raise partner to 2 of the minor, (must have at least 5 clubs, 4 or 5 diamonds)

3)    Can’t do that?  Bid 1NT!

When my students are practicing this concept, I’ll let them struggle with what to bid and if they can’t come up with the response, I’ll ask, “Are you desperate yet?”  Then they laugh and say, “Yes!  1NT!”

I was in 2nd place for the award in 2023 with this tip on hand evaluation, invitational or game forcing, how to decide:

How Disappointed Will You Be if Partner Passes your Invitational Bid?

When my students are having a hard time determining if they should make an invitational bid or a game forcing bid or game itself, I ask them the above question. 

If the answer is “VERY disappointed” then likely they are recognizing that their hand has been re-evaluated to be stronger than it looks if just counting points. They unconsciously perhaps have recognized that it is a game going hand even if they can’t put into words as to why.

If the answer is, “not very”, then they probably recognize that their hand has not gained enough from the information learned by bidding to force the partnership to game, and they would be correct to just make an invitational bid.