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Game try

A game try (also called a game trial bid) in the card game of bridge is a bid that shows interest in bidding a game and asks partner to help in making the decision.

For example (using Acol or Standard American bidding) if opener, with around 16-17 HCP, bids 1 and partner responds 2 (showing 6 - 9 support points) opener is in a quandary: if responder has a maximum strength hand, with well-positioned high cards, then game will probably make; but the information revealed so far is not accurate enough for either partner to decide whether to play in game or only part score.

Originally, opener would make a game try by bidding 3 (inviting game) and responder would then bid game with maximum (8-9) points or pass with minimum (6-7) points.

Modern game try bids permit more accurate decision-making. Following a simple raise by partner (e.g. 1 - 2), opener bids a new suit to show extra values. By partnership agreement, this can be a long suit, short suit, or help suit game try. Whichever method has been adopted, responder will evaluate the additional information and make one of the following choices: sign off in three of the agreed suit; jump to game in the agreed suit; jump to game in notrump if the suit is a minor; or make a counter try in yet another new suit.

With a major suit fit

Prior partnership agreement is needed to determine which variety of game try is being used:

With a minor suit fit

Because 11 tricks are required for a minor suit game, most players prefer to investigate the possible optimum contract of 3NT before settling for a minor suit contract (game or part score) and thus a trial bid new suit shows a stopper in that suit for NT purposes, e.g.: 1 - 2; 2 shows game going strength and a stopper in spades

If opener has a weak hand

When using any of the above methods of game tries, it is common that a rebid of 3 of the agreed suit is not a game try, but simply an attempt to block the opponents from entering the bidding at a low level. Responder will then pass. As an example (1 - 2; 3 - pass)

If opener has a very strong hand

If opener has such a good hand that a slam seems possible even following a single raise by partner, then more information about responder's hand can be obtained by using a game try bid. If responder rejects the game try, opener can sign off in game. If responder accepts the game try, then opener can further investigate the slam.

Other methods of "trying" for game

Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy