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Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th February - The difference between a TOP, Middle or BOTTOM score.
Is it Declarer Play, is it Defender play or indeed is it the Opening lead?
There are 2 superb hands to discuss this conundrum. Hand 20 and Hand 1. Hand 20 is a NT contract and Hand 1 is a Trump contract.
One of my first suggestions, re ETIQUETTE, is that at the end of a hand, we should not make a comment about the play, since we are likely to be wrong. Yes by all means congratulate the Declarer, when contract is made or congratulate the Defenders, when contract is defeated, but do not have any post mortem, since we are unable to see all the possible permutations and their consequences.
Lets look at the traveller for Hand 20
Why did Pair 7 as East West get a top? East made 9 tricks was it East's brilliant play, or was it some aspect of Defence or was it the ♠ 5 Opening Lead. ♠ 5 lead is a standard lead, and was used by 3 of the pairs, where as ♣ 10 & ♥ Q, were used by the other pairs. I must admit that it is unusual to lead top of a doubleton against a NT contract but in both those cases the Defenders defeated the contract or was it a decision made by Declarer?
Why did Pair 6 & 10 as North South share a top, since they did defeat the contract by 1 trick. How?
I would like to suggest that we all press "Play it again" and try the different Opening Leads and see what conclusion we come to. Give it a go!
Well the fascinating piece of infomation is that Bridge Solver Online immediately informs us that a lead of a ♣ enables the defence to win 5 tricks. Any other suit lead the Defenders may only make 4 tricks! However on this occasion I start with the standard lead ♠ 5. After winning 2 spade tricks BS is suggesting I lead a ♣ ! Yes the clever South works out that they are unable to develop their long suit of ♠ s, so attempts to help their partner develop one of their long suits, ♣ s.
Whilst the Defenders are doing their planning, the Declarer is thinking I only have 3 winners of the top, which makes it tricky, to decide how best to get the remaining 5 tricks. Long suit in ♣ s, ♦ s, and ♥ s may all provide some extra tricks! Good idea to try the 5 2 ♦ suit, and lead low to high, etc
Well lets try and see what happens with the ♥ Q opening lead. Well the Declarer plans to develop the long ♦ suit and also cash the 3 ♥ winners, etc. When I play BS, after having won the first trick with the ♥ Ace, and lead ♦ 4, BS is suggesting that if Dummy ducks the first round of ♦ s, then Declarer can win 9 tricks! Well I never.
What I am really hoping to achieve is not neccesarily to solve the conundrum of this one hand but to encourage you to use BS to examine the issues of Declarer Play, Defender Play and Opening Leads.
Lets look at Hand 1
The difference between a TOP, Middle or BOTTOM score, yes there is a spread of 8, 9, 10 or 11 tricks!
On this hand the Auction may influence the Defender play and Opening lead:
West North East South
Pass 1♥ Pass
2♣ Pass 2♥ Pass
3NT Pass 4♥ All pass
I can understand the ♠ 6 singleton lead hoping to get a ruff, however this may mean that the ♥ Q falls beneath the ♥ ACE, King.
I can understand a ♦ lead from the longest suit. Standard lead ♦ 8.
If one does not like the above then ♣ lead, middle of rubbish ♣ 3.
Well lets have a look at BS and see what the consequences are:
We immediately see that the Defenders can win:
5 tricks with a ♠ lead
4 tricks with a ♣ lead
3 tricks with a ♦ lead
2 tricks with a ♥ lead
Wow, with the ♠ lead one can get a trump promotion. Have a play with BS and see how the scenarios work out. Good luck
Tuesday 5th February - How to bid the slam Board 23
Brenda and Liz have requested information on how to bid the slam on Board 23?
The technique of slam bidding usually involves Hand Evaluation.
South 4 6 1 2 shape, unbalanced (6 & 4 GO MORE) , LTC of 6, need a LTC of 8 from partner to make a possible game, need a LTC of 6 from partner to possibily make a small slam. 11 points.
North 0 4 6 3 shape, unbalanced (6 & 4 GO MORE), LTC of 4, need a LTC of 8 from partner to make a possible small slam. 15 points. Need to find out if partner has ♣ Ace to safely bid Blackwood, however Blackwood needs to be used carefully since there is a void!
When South opens 1♥ , North thinks we may have possible Grand Slam 7 losers + 4 losers, how best to find out information required. One can agree the suit and find out about the ♣ Ace by using a splinter bid in spades, therefore North jumps to 3♠ , South bids 4♣ .
North considers how best to proceed, does North want to continue Cue bidding or does North want to find out about remaining Keys Cards. Suggest Key Cards, since North would like to find out about ♥ King. When South responds 2 Key Cards, North chooses to bid 6♥ , since with 1 Key Card missing, and not knowing which one, the Grand Slam should not be bid.
The interesting question, which no South achieved is how to play the hand and make 13 tricks safely.
Team Scoring Hand 12
I have selected a simple bidding hand to illustrate some of the aspects of Team Scoring. Your team does well if they bid and make a Game and the other Team does not make a Game.
Lets look at Hand 12
A copy of the Traveller is below, it shows a variety of contracts and a variety of scores:
Team North South are number 1 to 7 and their East West Team mates are number 8 to 14. Therefore on this hand:
Team 1 v Team 7
Team 2 v Team 6
Team 3 v Team 5
Team 4 did not play this Board
There was a large game swing between 1 v 7 since 1 bid 3NT but only made 8 tricks where as when 7 v 1 played, 7 bid 3NT and made the 9 tricks. There is a difference of 700 in the score which results in - 12 IMP for Team 1 and + 12 IMP for Team 7
A slightly different situation for 3 v 5, a small game swing, Game versus Part Game, since 3 bid and made 9 tricks where as when 5 v 3 played, 5 bid 2NT and made 9 tricks. On this occasion the difference is only 450, which results in + 10 IMP for Team 3 and - 10 IMP for Team 5.
Finally between 2 v 6, since 2 only bid 2NT and made 9 tricks and 5 bid 3NT and made 8 tricks there is only a difference of 250, resulting in + 6 IMP for 2 and - 6 IMP for 6.
On another occasion when we all understand IMP scoring I can explain X -IMP scoring at a later date.
When to bid and when not to bid a Slam? That is the Question!
In the majority of cases of bidding slams it is mainly down to initial hand evaluation, asking the question what do I need to know about my partner's hand, and what bidding sequence will give me the best chance of finding the information I need to make the decision, whether to bid a slam or not.
When the South person looks at their hand, they think 5 spades, 1 heart, 6 diamonds 1 club - very unbalanced LTC of 3, only 9 playing tricks, but if partner has the ♣ A, or ♦ K or ♠ Q, definite game but even if partner does not have those cards, there is a game, which may be dependent on a finesse. 21 HCP. Therefore definitely worth a 2♣ opening bid.
However always ask the question what is your 2nd bid going to be. Most players would bid their longest suit which is diamonds, however there is a school of thought which says always show your 5 card major before a 6 card minor. This principle help you find a fit in a major more quickly, which will give you a better score. Therefore I would plan to show my spades after my 2♣ opening. I can always continue to bid my diamonds after showing my spades and we will be in a game forcing situation anyway.
When the North person looks at their hand they think 4 spades, 4 hearts, 1 diamond, 4 clubs - unbalanced LTC of 8, 8HCP. Hopefully my partner South will make an opening bid and I can respond something! When your partner South opens 2♣ , you immediately think do I have a weak hand 0-7 points therefore bid 2♦ or do I have a strong hand 8+ points and therefore bid something to describe my hand other than 2 ♦ . This is the most difficult bid of the auction!! If you bid a suit you are usually promising 5 cards in the suit, if you bid 2NT you are usually promising a balanced hand. No matter what you choose you may mislead your partner, unless you have previously come to a Partnership Agreement to cover this possibility? In the absence of a Partnership Agreement I would prefer to bid 2NT so that I do not mislead my partner about a 5 card suit.
South then duly bids 3♠ and North agrees the suit by bidding 4♠
So far so good 2♣ P 2NT P 3♠ P 4♠ .... South then launches into Blackwood or RKCBlackwood and after partner North shows that they do have ♣ Ace, then South bids 6♠ . South does not contemplate 7♠ since South does not have information on the ♦ K or the ♠ Q, so it is best not to risk your certain small slam for a possible grand slam.
This was quite a challenging hand since the 7 tables produced 7 different contacts!
May I suggest that you all look at Hand 12 and use similar principle to determine whether to bid a slam or not on Hand 12.
Suggested Bidding for Hand 15
W N E S
P 2NT P 3♠
P 4♠ P 4NT
P 5♦ P 6♠
Tuesday 14th August - How to bid and make game after a Weak 2 Opening
West North East South
2♥ Pass 2NT Pass the 2♥ is weak, the 2NT is a Game Try since East wishes to find more about West's hand
3♠ Pass 4♥ Pass if playing OGUST the 3♠ is Good points and Good Quality, if playing features the 3♠ shows good points and a feature in Spades.
The East hand has a fit in the ♥ and since it has an LTC of 6 it is worthwhile doing the Game Try even with 14 points and East has no problems in deciding to go for a game.
Only two pairs bid a game!
Only one pair made a game and made 11 tricks!
What is the optimal play to make the 10 tricks. Why not use the Play it again feature. It is a lovely hand to practice your finessing!
Tuesday 26th June - How to bid a 5,0,4,4 shape - Board 9
Lets look at Board 9
North is the dealer and assesses their Hand:
2,5,3,3 shape, unbalanced, 7 LTC, 12 points, can open 1 ♥ and the rebid would be 2♥
South assesses their Hand:
5,0,4,4 shape, very unbalanced, LTC of 3, 18 points, wants to find a trump suit and thinkshow can I show all my suits to partner since do not want to play in NT.
1♥ P 1♠
P 2♥ P 3♦ the 3♦ bid shows 5in spades and 4 in diamonds and since new suit at three level is gam forcing
P 3NT P 4♣ the 3NT shows stop in clubs, the 4♣ , shows 4 cards in clubs, therefore South must have a 5, 0, 4, 4 shape
P 4♠ P P the 4♠ shows 2 cards in spades and prefers to play in a major at the 4 level rather than a minor at the 5 level
Even though North has opened with 12 points and South has 18 points, South needs to be very cautious about considering a small slam, since South knows there is not a fit. When there is not a fit one might lose a trump trick with a 4 2 break etc, as is the case with this hand.
Most pairs finished in a NT trump contract. How can you play the cards to make either 11 tricks with Spades as trumps or 11 tricks in NT. Answers on a postcard / in an email with a prize for the best answer.
Tuesday 24th April - How to bid and make a game?
Lets look at this hand, which looks innocuous but nobody bid and made a game! Why not?
South opens 1♦ with the intention of bidding NT to show its 15 / 16 point count.
North does not like this hand since it is also balanced with 10 points. Some thought I'll fib and just say 1NT showing 6 - 9 points, others thought 2♦ and some others bid 3♦ showing their 10 to 12 points.However you all know that it is difficult to make a minor suit game, so you should usually think about whether a game in NT is possible.
North should show its strength and its suits by bidding 2♣ . Yes it also complies with the RULE OF 14 since it has 10 points and 4 cards in the suit!
South then bids 2NT showing its 15 / 16 points and North then duly bids 3NT.
Lets look at the traveller to see everyones contract and result:
Both sides can make a slam
Board 23 was very unusual with a slam on for both NS and EW.
South has a marvellous hand with only 4 losers and opens 1S.
West doubles - can bid diamonds if partner doesn't have hearts.
East must show values with a jump to 3H.
South bids 4C.
West expects partner to have HK, and can see 11 tricks. A cue bid of 4D is the best option, but Blackwood is an alternative.
Now North must have the courage to show their club support - bidding to the level of fit - 5C.
East must bid at least 5H - the only risk is 2 spade losers.
South can see if partner has either CK or CQ the slam will depend on a finesse at worst, so bids 6C.
West has a very difficult decision now. South is probably void in one of the red suits, so getting 6C down is not certain. If partner has one of the black aces to get 6C down, then 6H will make, so go for it.
Board 19 Hand of the Week Tuesday 6th March
How to bid a small slam in ♥ or ♠ or NT or a grand slam in ♥ or ♠ or NT?
Always assess shape and the strength of a hand before the bidding starts. Always ask what information do you want to obtain from partner? What systems do you have to obtain that information?
6 4 1 2 shape, unbalanced, a Losing Trick Count of 4, point count 22. Initially North wishes to know is there a fit? and what Losing Trick Count does South have?
When South opens the bidding with 1♥ , North thinks assume a Losing Trick Count of 7, then there is a combined LTC of 11 take away from 18, we may have a grand slam. North need to knows more info about Ace ♦ , and King ♥ , Queen ♥ and Queen ♠ . It is possible that South holds all these cards!! It is relatively easy to find out about Aces and Kings using Blackwood or RKCB. What we really want to think about is that elusive Queen and the 13th trick.
North would also like to know about shape of South's hand.
Probably the most effective way of finding out is to create a game forcing situation where you exchange as much information as possible. Game forcing can be created by
1 a Responders jump bid to 2♠
2 a splinter bid to 4♦
3 a delayed game raise by bidding 1♠
North has to think what South may respond to each of the options:
1 Agree the ♠ s ? Rebid ♥ s bid another suit in this case 2♦ , showing a 5 4 shape. If ♠ s are agreed by bidding 3♠ then a cue bid of 4♣ will find out about Ace ♦ , then 4NT with answer of 5♦ , 5♥ now asks if South has Queen ♠ , South answers 6♠ . However you still do not know about King ♥ !
If you choose to use 5♣ cue bidding kings instead of 4NT then you will find out about King ♥ , but you still do not know about Queen ♠ !
2 A splinter bid is not the route since North is trying to find out about Ace ♦
3 a delayed game raise of 1♠ obtains a 2♦ response. Follow this with 3♣ Fourth Suit Forcing , south should show the Queen x of ♠ s . Armed with this information North can now bid 4NT . When North knows they have all the Aces and all the Kings, North also know South is likely to have another Queen. That Queen provides the 13th trick when counting winners off the top.
There is no easy way to bid a grand slam which has 100% certainty of making. On this occasion you use your sytems to find out as much information as possible and then assess the likelihood of your partner South having the 13th trick.
Board 17 highlighted how important it is for the fourth in hand to try to keep the bidding open at a low level.
North opens with 1 spade. (This is ideal - raise a 2 heart response to 4 or bid 2NT over a 2 of a minor response.)
After two passes West must not let North get away with playing in one spade. With no 5 card suit a simple overcall is not on. West must reopen with a double, risking playing in a 4-2 club fit occasionally. This time it works well with E-W making 9 tricks in clubs.
By the way, Board 23 illustrated how the simple rules of thumb don't always work.
After 3 passes East must choose whether or not to open fourth in hand. The rule of 15 says fourth in hand should not open unless points plus number of cards in the spade suit is at least 15. (The idea is that the advantage lies with whoever holds spades when the points are fairly evenly shared.)
In this case the two of us who followed the rule were heavily punished, with 4 hearts on for E-W.
There was an important point in the defence to 3NT on board 10.
The bidding is straightforward: 1S - 2C -3NT. West leads either 6H or 10H (best).
South can see 9 tricks easily - 4 spades, 1 heart, 2 diamonds and 2 clubs. If East-West take A and K of hearts then clear the suit giving North the Q hearts, South can afford to play for overtricks. You can finesse in either clubs or diamonds into the West hand. If the finesse loses you can be sure you won't lose more than one more heart trick (if they break 4-4).
See what happens if South is allowed to win the first or second heart trick. There is still communication in hearts between East-West. Now South cannot risk a finesse because they will go down if it loses, and must just cash out.
At imps scoring this is less important, but at match point scoring it is the difference between top and bottom.
Hand of the week - Tuesday 7 November
Slam on board 10
Board 10 gave us an opportunity to bid a slam.
East has a lovely hand with only 5 losers, and opens 1 diamond. How the bidding should proceed depends on South's call.
After a 3 heart overcall, West must bid 3 spades with their 13 points and only 6 losers. East is now excited. After Roman Keycard Blackwood shows West has 2 controls and the Q spades East can call 6 spades confidently. (You can't bid 7 spades because the missing control may be an ace, and if it's the K of spades then a finesse would be needed.)
If South doesn't bid, West bids 1 spade. With only 5 losers East raises to 4 spades. Now West can see the slam is likely and bids 6 after checking controls with Blackwood.
Tuesday Hand Of The Week
On board 7 East had to decide how to bid their very strong hand after North had opened 1C before them.
If North hadn't opened East would have opened a strong 2S, or the equivalent if playing weak two's.
After North's 1C call the standard with a strong hand is to double first.
West will call 2H, showing 9 or more points. Now East can see game must be almost certain and calls 4S.
So the two key points are to double with a strong hand and jump in reply with 9 or more points.
Tuesday Hand of the Week
Board 9 provided a classic example of holding up to cut communication between defenders.
First we must get to the correct contract.
If South opens a weak 2S, West must double. As East I prefer a 2NT response to 3C on such a miserable suit, and then West will raise to 3NT.
If South passes the auction is IH, 2C, 2NT, 3NT.
Assume East is playing 3NT and South leads 6S. North plays QS and East must plan the play. The line is to finesse hearts through South twice, making 1 spade, 3 or 4 hearts, 2 diamonds annd 3 clubs. The risk is that North will win and lead a spade back. You must resist the easy option of winning with the KS; when North takes the KH the spade return will trap your J. Hold up and then South will never get in to take their spade tricks.
Hand of the Week - 12th September - Slam in Spades
Board 13 was a makeable slam in spades.
With the void in West's hand it is difficult to see the best way to check controls (cue bidding or Blackwood), but 6 spades should be bid. After 1D - 1S - 3S West can see 5 losers opposite 6 so should not stop until the slam is bid.
Now how is West to make it. There are 6 spade and 3 heart tricks; the issue is what to do with the 4 clubs. One must be lost to the ace and one can be thrown on the diamond ace - the other 2 have to be ruffed. You can test the trumps by playing the ace, but when North shows out you switch track. Play a club immediately then ruff 2 more clubs with the 10 and Q before drawing the 2 remaining trumps with the K and J.
Congratulations to Barbara for finding the right line.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 15th August - Strong Unbalanced Hands
What do you open when you have a stong unbalanced hand. Lets look at Board 7.
My suggestion is always assess the strength of the hand and look at your options:
3, 1, 5, 4 shape, unbalanced. Losing Trick Count 5. Point count 19, but only 5 Playing tricks, not really a very strong hand.
If you are playing Standard Acol you would open 1♦ and if partner responds with 6 points, plan to then bid a game forcing bid of 3♣ and see what partner desribes.
If you are playing Benji Acol you would also open 1♦ etc.
So lets look at the suggested bidding when partner has:
0, 6, 2, 5 shape, unbalanced. Losing Trick Count of 5, but slightly Queeny so consider it a LTC of 6. Only 7 points
3♠ X 4♠ 5♣
5♠ 6♣ P P
6♠ P P 7♣
7♠ P P P
This hand is a very good extreme case of continuing to make a sacrifice with the East West hands since the score will be better than allowing North South to play in a contract.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 4th July
Bridge is exciting since one hand can provide many different bidding sequences and as a consequence provide Declarer with a specific challenge and the Defence the opportunity of defeating the contract. This then results in a score and when playing teams a measure of how good your score is relative to the other scores. Yes Bridge is not always simple.
Let us look at Hand 5 from Tuesday
1♥ 3♣ 3♠
Pass 4♥ Pass Pass
The week jump overcall interfers and does cause difficulty for South and North. South does have the strength and shape to make a game forcing bid of 3♠ and North then chooses 4♥ .
East should not raise the weak jump overcall to 4♣ , since there is not extra length in the club suit.
even without the interference of 3 ♣ the bidding could have been:
1♥ Pass 1♠
Pass 2♥ Pass 3♦ a another game forcing bid
Pass 3♥ Pass 4♥
Pass Pass Pass
Now North has the challenge of deciding the Declarer play. The Opening Lead is ♦ 9
Congrats to Polly for finding the best line of play. North wins first trick with the ♦ Ace, and decides that there will be two losers in clubs and probable two losers in ♥ , but does not want to have a 3rd loser by allowing the defence to use a trump on the diamonds.
Therefore plays ♥ 3 to the ♥ Ace and returns the ♥ 5 . This eliminates the two hearts in East and if there were three hearts in East, the 3rd heart was going to win anyway.
On this occassion Polly and Barbara obtained the 2nd best North South score, since Nick and Judy obtained the best North South score by doubling the 4♣ .
Board 4 - Finding 6 Clubs
You can make 6C on board 4, but bidding it is difficult.
West makes a rule of 20 opening of 1H.
East intends to bid both suits, so bids the higher ranking first - 2D.
West is not strong enough to reverse, so bids 2H.
East now bids 3C (new suit by responder is forcing).
West shows the spade stop with 3NT.
East now bids 4C - taking partner out of 3NT must be forcing and showing probably at least 11 cards in the minors.
West shows their club support with 5C.
Now for the hard part . East has to decide how many clubs West has. They know W has more clubs than diamonds or they would have bid 4D. Can it be only 2 clubs? Then W must have at least 6 hearts and would surely have tried 4H instead of 5C. So with West having 3 clubs and therefore short in diamonds there must be a good chance of making the slam. Have a go!
Tuesday 9th May Sim Pairs- How do you win 9 tricks?
This is not straight forward, no one managed to win 9 tricks on Board 18. Please have a look and let me know how you can make 9 tricks on a 7♣ lead.
Answer will be provided on Thursday by clicking on answer!
We had a chance to use the fairly rare quantitative raise in No Trumps on board 24.
South will open 2NT or get to 2NT via a Benji 2C. North has 11 points facing a partner who might have 22. 33 points are enough for 6NT. A bid of 4NT asks partner to bid 6 if they are maximum. South only has 21 points and no 5-card suit so declines the invitation. This is the correct contract.
(12 tricks can be made but only if West fails to cover the Jack of Hearts or you make the unusual play of finessing the 10 of Diamonds.)
Hand of the Week - Apil 25th - A neat end-play
Board 1 needed an end-play to make 3NT.
The bidding (starting with West) would be either 1H - 2D - 2NT - 3NT or 1H - 2NT - 3NT.
Declarer can see 2 tricks in each suit and initially looks for the extra one in diamonds. Cashing the AK gives the bad news - a 4 1 split. The fifth diamond cannot be established without giving South their club tricks (assuming an opening club lead). Another plan is now required.
We are going to hope South has the H king and North the S ace and make 3 spade tricks. Lead a spade towards the QJ and North cannot play the A without giving up 3 spade tricks easily. Now cash the remaining high club to remove clubs from North. Finesse in hearts and lead a spade towards East again. Now cash the H ace and play another heart. North can take their 3 heart tricks and A spades but must give up a trick to the K of spades.
Hand of the week - Tuesday 18th April
Subtleties of transfers
Board 11 provided an opportunity for West to describe their hand precisely if you use transfers.
South deals and everybody passes until East. With a balanced 14 points East opens 1NT.
West has 11 points and a 5 card suit so is worth 2NT. They explore a possible spade fit by bidding 2H (transfer).
East bids 2S dutifully. West now bids 2NT and East knows their hand perfectly - 11 points and 5 spades. With 14 points they are worth game, and so East bids 3NT. If they had had 3 spades they would choose 4S as the contract.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 21st Mar - Bidding a Slam in Spades - Is it possible?
Pass Pass 1♠
Pass 2♣ Pass 2NT
Pass 3♠ Pass 4♠ (North bids 3♠ since South may have a 5 card spade suit and 16 points)
Pass Pass Pass (North has a Losing Trick Count of 7 but since it does not have 1st or 2nd round control in Clubs, decides not to consider a Slam)
Just because the Double Dummy Analysis shows that 12 tricks can be made, it does not mean that a Slam in ♠ should be bid.
Finding the Game contract in Spades gives the best result See traveller below.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 7th February - Finding the slam on Board 3
Finding 6 Diamonds on this board is not easy.
South opens 1D, North responds 1S and South then reverses with 2H.
North wants more information. There is a diamond fit, but spades or NT may be better. North bids 3C, fourth suit forcing.
South has nothing better to say than 3D.
But now North can construct South's hand. They have exactly 4 hearts, 5 or 6 diamonds, and no more than 2 spades. They also don't have C king or they would have probably bid 3NT. The reverse has shown 16 points, so probably have 13 or 14 points in the red suits. So in diamonds you can count a maximum of one loser in spades and at worst a finesse to avoid any red suit losers. Six diamonds is the call.
In the play you have to ruff 2 hearts and a club in dummy.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 31st January - Fourth Suit Forcing
Board 15 provided a classic opportunity to use fourth suit forcing.
I expect all tables began the bidding with 1 spade from South, 2 clubs from North, then 2 diamonds from South.
North has 12 points and 7 losers so expects game is on - but which one. Partner must have 5 spades for this bidding, so 4 spades looks safe. In pairs, however, 3NT may score better, but Q 10 x in hearts is only half a stop, and the opponents are almost certain to lead them.
We have a tool to explore further, however. A bid of 2 hearts from North asks South for more information. (You should alert this.) With a heart stop South would bid 2 NT, but on this occasion they bid 2 spades. Now North abandons NT and bids 4 spades with confidence.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 24th Jan - 6 Different Scores
There are occasionally hands which are interpreted differently by all the pairs playing them, which result in different scores. On this specific hand which was played 6 times, there were 5 different contracts and 6 different scores. I wonder who did well!
Lets look at the bidding first. Suggested bidding:
1♦ 1♥ Most Easts would open higher ranking suit, but some may open 1♣
1♠ 2♥ ?? What does East Bid?? On 2 tables when North did not bid 2♥ (bidding to the level of fit), 1NT was bid, thinking that there is a balanced hand 15 - 16 points, but only a half stop in hearts. Lets hope partner has something in hearts!
On 3 tables when North did bid 2♥ , some partnerships would say "I was going to bid 1NT, but my bid has been taken away, I do not have the strength to bid 2NT implying 17 - 18 points, and I do not have sufficient stops in hearts so I have nothing else to bid and Pass" - GOOD RESULT
Another partnership could say "We have the majority of the points at least 22, we do not have a fit in a major to compete over the 2 ♥ bid, the oppostion are vulnerable, so if they do go 1 down it is 100" - GOOD RESULT
Another partnership could say "I was going to bid 1NT, but my bid has been taken away, I do not have the strength to bid 2NT, and I do not have a stop in hearts, but we do have the majority of the point, at least 22!, therefore I will ask my partner to bid again with the Double." - GOOD RESULT
If East Doubles West would bid 2♠ , so that if East does have 3 cards in spades, there will be at least a 7 card fit at the 2 level. Since East only has 2 spades, East has choice of bidding its next lowest ranking 4 card suit, which is clubs.
The aim is to find either a 7 card fit at the 2 level or an 8 card fit at the 3 level, when confronted with the oppostion bidding to the level of fit with a weak hand.
East does not wish to bid 2NT and definitely not 3NT. If they bid 2NT or 3NT - BAD RESULT
As you can see from the different interpretations there will be a variety of contracts and scores see the traveller below:
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 3rd Jan - 7 slams in one night.
What a night. Seven slams can be made, although on board 19 you have to play for a singleton K of trumps instead of finessing.
The play on board 2 is interesting.
Assuming E-W are in 6NT there are 11 tricks on top (3S, 3H, 4D, 1C). The twelfth can come from a 4th heart or a club.
So you try a low club lead from E. If you guess right and play the 10 from W you are home and dry - the CQ is the 12th trick. If you play the CQ instead, losing to the K, all is not lost.
Play out your winners to leave W with SQ, H5 and C10; E with HK7 and C5. When you play the SQ and throw your C5 South is squeezed, unable to keep CJ and 2 hearts. 6NT made.
Hand of the week - Tuesday 1 November - Finding 4♥ or 4♠
Only one pair found 4 of a major on board 9.
For those who play 19-20 2NT opening North's opening bid is obvious.
South has only 4 points, but also only 8 losers. North must have 3 cards in one of the majors, so we want to play in 4 of that.
If you play transfers South bids 3 ♥ , North 3 ♠ , and then South bids 4♥ . North now knows that South has 5-5 in the majors and can choose 4♥ or 4♠ . (With only 4 in one of them South would have used Stayman.)
If you don't play transfers South bids 3♠ , showing a 5 card suit. North bids 4♠ . (South is prepared for North replying 3NT if they have only 2 spades - they will bid 4♥ next.)
If North can't open 2NT they have to open 1♦ . Although South has only 4 points the hand has too much potential to pass, and should bid 1♠ . West will probably bid 2♣ . Qxx in clubs is not good enough for North to bid 3NT, so they bid 3♣ ( a Cue Bid) or a Double seeking more information from partner. South shows their hearts now, which let's North know that South has 5 spades. 4♠ is then bid.
Hand of the week - Tuesday 25 October - Slam and sacrifice
Board 8 shows the benefit of using the losing trick count, and provides south with some difficult choices.
West opens 1H and East responds 2C.
South may make a weak jump overcall of 3S, or may consider the 6-5 shape makes the hand too good for this and bid just 2S. The lack of any defensive values suggests that the preempt to 3S is better.
West counts their losing tricks - 6. So a bid of 4C is right whatever S has bid. (I know it's pairs scoring, but this doesn't look like a NT hand, and you're not strong enough for 3S.)
Now East counts his losers - also 6. 6+6 = 12, so 6C should be on. Blackwood is useless since a response of 5D commits you to 6C anyway, so bid 6C straightaway.
The computer says you can make 7C. It's an awful contract, but can be made double-dummy. Can you see how? (Hint - you need 3 heart tricks.)
Finally, should South sacrifice in 6S. Looking at their own hand they can see probably 5 spade tricks and 3 diamond tricks, so only 4 down. That's 800, better than 920 for the slam!
Board 14 provided difficult decisions for both North and South this week.
East opens 1NT and South has to choose what to do with their good hand.
With 15 points and a good suit South can see at least 5 tricks in their own hand. Double looks the right bid, rather than 2 diamonds.
West passes happily, and now North has a dilemma. Usually you don't take partner out of their double of 1NT, especially when they have the opening lead. On this occasion, though, North can see that getting 1NT down may be touch and go, but if partner has 15 points there must be a good play for 2 spades. So rescue.
The play is tricky. After East opens with A and another club (best), cash A and K of diamonds and ruff a third. Now A spades followed by a fourth diamond, discarding a club. Whichever defender ruffs it is with a winning trump, so you lose 1 club, 2 hearts and 2 trumps.
A plus score for North/South!
Hand of the Week - 4 October Defence Tips
When to win with the Ace of Trumps on the first Trump trick?
Board 10 - Typical Contract 4♥ Opening Lead ♣ Q
The defence starts with the Bidding. Lets assume you are South and sitting with the following hand:
East is Dealer and the Bidding is as follows:
2♦ Pass 2♥ Pass
3♥ Pass 4♥ All pass
South as defender says East has 14 - 15 points or a LTC of 6, with 5 cards in the heart suit. South has 7 points so can expect a maximum of 8 points from partner. South has 3 cards in heart suit, West has 3 cards in heart suit, so partner has probably a maximum of 2 cards in hearts.
South has 1 heart trick and may be able to get 1 or 2 club tricks. South will need a couple of tricks from North to defeat the contract.
South chooses Opening Lead ♣ Q.
Dummy is placed on table. Nothing too revealing. ♣ A is played and north gives encouraging signal of ♣ 9, which indicates North has ♣ K. Declarer then makes the fatal error of not eliminating a loser in clubs by playing ♦ A followed by ♦ Q and discarding losing ♣ .
Instead Declarer is greedy and plays ♦ 3 to the ♦ K, then plays a low heart,♥ 7.
The South defender has to rise to the challenge, go up with the ♥ Ace, play a club to win 2 club tricks, and 1 spade trick to defeat the contract.
The full hand is below:
The traveller for last night is:
Hand of the Week - 13 September Bidding Slams
Bidding slams in a minor suit is often difficult due to two reasons:
1 players prefer to bid 3NT rather than a game in a minor, thereby not exploring further
2 often the slam convention will take you above where you can safely escape at the 5 level
Therefore the question has to be asked when do you bid above 3NT and try for a Slam in a Minor. Answer when the combined Losing trick Count is 12 or better. Lets look at Board 13 when the majority of players played in 3NT making 11 tricks.
East has a 6 1 2 4 shape, remember the saying 6 and 4 Go More, LTC of 6, points 14. Looking for a Spade or Club fit. Can open 1♠ and if Partner responds 1NT can bid 2♣ . If Partner responds 2♣ , what do you bid 2♠ or 4♣ ?
West has a 1 5 3 4 shape, LTC of 5, points 17. Looking for a fit in Hearts or Clubs. Should say to themselves if partner opens, we have 7 + 5 = 12 LTC , therefore possible slam.
The bidding proceeds accordingly
P 1♠ P
2♥ P 2♠ P
3♣ P 4♣ P
The west Bid is Game Forcing and therefore should have sufficient in hand to reach either Game in 3NT, therefore a Diamond stop, or a couple of spades in case partner repeats spades, or 16+ points in case partner has opened on rule of 20 and has a horibble 5 2 4 3 shape.
The East would consider the West bid and appreciate there is a typical 2 5 2 4 (a couple of spades), or a 1 5 3 4, (a diamond stop)or a 2 5 1 5 (a couple of spades) or a 1 5 2 5 (LTC of 6 or better or 16+) . The key aspect is that East has a shapely hand with trumping potential, West has also just said that its hand is shapely with trumping potential. East can trump the hearts and West can trump the Spades. It is worth agreeing the Clubs, since if West has a LTC of 6 or better, there is slam potential.
When East has bid 4♣ , it is easy for West since with its LTC of 5, there is definite slam potential.
Now we have to deal with the Aces!
Does West use Cue Bidding or Cue Bidding & Blackwood. On this occasion West only has 1 Ace and therefore needs partner to have 2 Aces! If partner has only 1 Ace and responds 5♦ , then one is above 5♣ so one safely can't escape!
Cue Bidding allows West to show Diamond Ace and for East to show Heart Ace.
However, since Balckwood will not help and since Cue bidding can't be continued, West now has dilemma do I safely back out and just bid 5♣ or do I risk the 6♣ . What are your thoughts???
Hand of the Week - How to Bid a Slam safely?
Lets look at Board 16. Several pairs thought to themselves, that there is Slam potential, but how can we bid it? A couple of other pairs decided that there was a possibility if partner held either the Club Ace or King, then they bid 6♠ and prayed.
However is there a safe way to bid 6♠ ?
North looks at the hand and says 4 0 5 4 shape, Losing trick count of 4, 17 points. The plan will be to open the longest suit ♦ and then probably bid ♠ to show the strength by doing a reverse bid.
North opens the bidding 1♦
When South bids 1♠ , showing 6 points, assumed Losing Trick Count of 9, North has a dilemma, how to find out more about South's hand and specifically to find out about the missing Club Ace or King or both? North can't do a Splinter Bid since it does not have asingleton, and can't Cue bid yet, since there is not a stated agreed suit. North wonders whether by making a Forcing Bid whether the South person will reveal any more information. So North jumps to 3♣ . This is a Jump Shift, which is game forcing, and showing typically 18 / 19 points.
What would South now bid?
South has a choice does it bid 3NT to show the stop in ♥ or does it bid 3♠ to show 6 spades?
When South bids 3NT, North can now bid 4NT Roman Keycard Blackwood with Clubs as the assumed trump suit. When South answer 2 key cards without the queen, 5♥ , North can now safely bid 6♠ .
If South answers only 1 key card, then North either stops in 5♠ or gambles in 6♠ .
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 16 February - Declarer Play
This is definitely the week for Declarer Play. Various Beginner groups are covering Declarer Play for the first time, a couple of Improver groups are examining Declarer Play in more detail, undertaking a SWOT and deciding which of various options to choose and an Advanced group is examining when to finesse, how to finesse and the optimal timing for these choices.
Well not only that, we have a feast of hands in the Surrey Sim Pairs when the Declarer Play, optimising the number of tricks is key to doing well. Also you can see the frequency of how often players achived certain contracts and number of tricks, along with the ability of replaying the boards.
Lets look at Board 13 - How many tricks did you make as East West?
By clicking on 13 you will see the frequency and then by clicking on View DD analysis and replay hand * you can then replay the hand.
What not try and make 13 tricks on board 13?
Can you see how you can bid 6♥ and make 13 tricks?
Lets look at Board 3 - How many tricks did you make as North South?
By clicking on 3 you will see the frequency and then by clicking on View DD analysis and replay hand * you can then replay the hand.
Can you see how you could bid 4♥ and make 11 tricks
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 2 February - Slam Bidding and Play
There were several slams which were missed on Tuesday evening.
Board 12 was bid by 3 pairs and with a Losing Trick Count of 4 in one hand and 7 in the other and 1 ace missing, the 3 pairs correctly bid 6♠ , making 12 tricks. Combined 31 points.
Board 2 was bid by 1 pair and with a Losing Trick Count of 5 in one hand and 7 in the other, bid 6♥ . Combined 28 points. How do you play this board to make the small slam. How do you play the board to make 13 tricks? A suggested bidding is provided below the hand in the results.
Board 4 slam was not bid. With a Balanced hand of 16 points in one hand and a Losing Trick Count of 7 in the other, the initial indication is that it is difficult to bid. Combined 26 points. How do you play the board to make 12 tricks? Look carefully at the hands and you can see that both hands are strong in that they are all Aces and Kings and not Queens!
Board 6 slam was not bid. With a Losing Trick Count of 5 in one hand and a Losing Trick Count of 7 in the other, the initial indication is that a small slam may be possible. However there is not a fit in any suit and with only 30 points between the hands the players safely stayed in 3NT.
The most difficult Board of the evening is Board 3. One hand has a Losing Trick Count of 5 and the other a Losing Trick Count of 7. Combined points 24. Is a small slam biddable in Spades and how do you play it to make 12 tricks?
The best answers to the various questions will receive a prize at the end of the month.
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 19 January - The difference between a top and a bottom
is not much. It could be one trick, it could be the Opening Lead and it could be a different game contract.
Lets look at Board 19
P 2♣ P 2♥ Note South is not strong enough to bid Spades which would be a reverse bid
P 2♠ P 3♠ Note North's bid is a Resonders'Reverse which is Game Forcing.
P 4♠ All Pass
Lets look at the Traveller. You will see that the Pair who played in 3NT can only make 9 tricks so only score 400. The other pairs who played in 4 ♠ had two different Opening Leads. I would suggest that the best opening lead is 5♦ , and the pair that led the K♣ , helped North to make 11 tricks more easiliy. However it is possible for North to make 11 tricks with the 5♦ lead. How should North make 11 tricks?
The first correct answer drawn will receive a prize at the same time as we announce the Player of the Month for January.
Hand of the Week -5 January -Sim Pairs
I thought I would show you a hand which very simply illustrates what information is available on the EBU website.
It is also a hand where the majority of you could examine, in terms of how to bid a Small Slam or Grand Slam, how to use Cue Bidding and how to make 13 tricks.
Any questions please ask.
Hand of the Week - 22 December - The Negative Double (Sputnik)
The Negative double is a very simple way of describing a Resonders Hand after there has been an Overcall by the opposition. Lets look at Board 7.
North opens 1♦ after two passes and then East bids 2♣ . South was going to respond 1♥ to North's 1♦ , but because of the interference South's bid has been taken away. South now can't bid 2♥ because that would be showing 5 cards in the heart suit. So South can bid a X.
This enables North to bid 3♥ , assuming a fit in Hearts and South duly bids to 4♥ . Well done pair 4.
Hand of the Week - 8 December - Difficult Declarer Play
How do you choose between various options? The first principle is, it always depends on how many tricks are required. Choose the option which gives you the highest chance of obtaining those tricks, even though the probability may be quite low.
Lets look at Hand 4
I usually look at the traveller first and see what all the pairs bid; 3 a game in ♠ , another 3 a part game in 2♠ and 1 pair in 2♦ . That initially tells me it was difficult to bid!. Then I look at the resuts in terms of number of tricks, in ♠ , anything between 8 and 11 tricks, that tells me the play was not straight forward!
So lets look at the Hands
Pass 1♠ Pass 1NT
Pass 3♦ Pass 3♠
Pass 4♠ all pass
In the bidding the choice players have is does their style allow the partnership to bid a Jump Shift to 3♦ , which is Game Forcing, with a point coiunt of 17 and a LTC of 5. Seems reasonable to me!
Most Openers would lead Q♣ against a 4♠ contract, (top of a near touching sequence.
How do you plan the play to win 10 tricks. Declarer can afford to lose 3 tricks. Count Losers 1♠ , 1♥ , 1♦ and zero ♣ . However there are 3 Finesses to be done but only 1 obvious entry into Dummy.
There is a saying about Finesses, which is if you can't keep on Finessing to capture the missing card then there is no real point in choosing a finesse in that suit.
In ♠ you can only Finesse once, not enough time sto capture the King
In ♥ you can Finesse 3 times but you run the risk of being trumpedif you have not drawn trumps
In ♦ you can successfully Finesse once and then get back to Dummy by playing the Ace and then trumping the 3rd diamond.
It is this third choice in Diamonds which give you the greatest chance of success.
Once you have won the third diamond trick in Dummy, you now also have the opportunity of Finessing in ♥ , by playing the Q♥ towards the the ace. Choosing the Q♥ , gives you a second Finesse, if the Q♥ wins. If East wins with the King (you can now draw trumps) or ducks (you can Finesse again).
Therefore you only lose two tricks to the K♠ and K♥ , making eleven!
Hand of the Week - 1 December - Request by Eddie
Board 7 - Declarer Play - how should you play to make 13 tricks??
Contract 6NT by West Opening Lead 5♣ and Brenda puts the East Hand down and Eddie says "Thank you partner"
Eddie immediately counts his Winners off the top and sees 4♠ , 1♥ , 1♦ and 3♣ making 9 only 3 more to go.
He thinks that with 7 cards in the Spade suit and 6 cards missing there is a 84% chance that there will be a favorable split (3-3 36% and 4-2 48%) and therefore should get the 5th♠
Only two tricks to go.
He thinks that he has to succesfully Finesse either the Heart suit or the Diamond suit or perhaps both. However which suit to choose first? There is only 1 suit where he can Finesse twice toward the Ace which is in Hearts. Unfortunately he can only finesse once towards Ace in Diamonds. Since he needs to win the two additional he chooses the Hearts first.
It is Eddie's lucky day. After K♣ wins first trick, 5 rounds of ♠ s are played, the 7♣ is played to the A♣ . Then 4♥ towards J♥ . When 10♥ is played by North, and the J♥ wins, it means that there are 3 additional tricks in the Heart suit making 13 tricks in total.
In the event that the J♥ lost to the K♥ if it was in the South Hand then Declarer still had the opportunity of finessing the diamonds if necessary.
Hand of the Week - 27 October - Declarer Play
Are you a good Declarer? Do you obtain the maximum number of tricks possible? how many times were you Declarar on Tuesday evening?
The analysis tells you how many times you were Declarer! The traffic light colours indicate if you obtained a good or bad percentage. However you may have played excellently as Declarer, obtained the maximum number of tricks, but we're playing in an incorrect contract and obtained a bottom. Alternatively you may have bid brilliantly and be the only ones in a game, but failed to make the correct number of tricks, also obtaining a bottom.
A way to improve your Declarer Play is to understand how you played compared to the possible number of makeable" tricks, which are specified in the matrix.
Lets consider Hand 1:
There are 8 makeable tricks in NT by South from the matrix.
One would expect from the hands for South to end up in a contract of 1NT. If you look at the Traveller two Souths Pair1 and 14 ended up in 2T since North unneccessarily bid 2NT! (one pair 4 entered the declarer incorrectly)
There is a vast difference of obtaining a Match point score of 12 versus zero, when it is purely dependent on how the Declarer cards are played.
On the opening lead Declarer should count the number of winners off the top: 2♠ , 0♥ ,2♦ and 0♣ s. 4 tricks in total.
Declarer says need another 3 to make the contract of 1NT (or 4 to make the contract of 2NT):
Possible extra ♠ with a finesse. If 4♠ has been led it marks West with Q♠ , therefore successful finesse.
Possible extra ♥ if hearts are led to you and you do not waste J, 10 or 9 ♥ under A, K or Q♥
A definite extra ♦ , since declarer has both J and 10♦ , one of which must win, and then there may be chance of establishing length trick in diamonds
Two definite extra ♣ s, when the Ace of Clubs is forced out.
Therefore there are four extra tricks in total: 1♠ , 0♥ ,1♦ and 2♣ s. Therefore 8 tricks will be made, is there a chance of a 9th trick? Not really, only if Defenders give a trick away!
Hand of the Week - 13 October - Part Score Battle and Defence
The most often hand in bridge is when both pairs are competing for a Part Score. They are very fascinating and challenging, and one trick makes all the difference and therefore the defence has to be good. Also it is an occasion, since at least 3 players are bidding, when there is more information for the defence.
Lets take a simple auction:
1NT P 2♦ P
2♠ P P P
South has said to themselves during the bidding East has 5 spades 4 Diamonds and probably 2 Hearts and 2 Club cards, and 12 - 15 points. West also has 6 - 9 points and prefers Spades
Souths hand is as follows
With this hand South would probably not overcall 2♥ after the opening bid of 1S, since the 3 points in K♠ are not good, and South does not really want a Heart lead. However with the 5 5 shape South bides ones time. When the bidding has reached 2♦ by East, South now knows that both East and West are WEAK and WEAK, therefore I as South would now X, asking partner for best unbid suit! South should have a fit in either Hearts or Clubs and with a LTC of 7, expects North to have at least 6 points and a LTC of 9. North now bids 3♥
The four hands are below and certainly with the bidding as above East then went to 3♠ which was then passed by all.
Now lets look at the defence to a Spade contract by East. Opening Lead is J♥
North wins first trick with A♥ leads back 4♥ which is won by East with Q♥ . South now says that the shape of the Declarer hand is 5 Spades 3 Hearts 4 Diamonds 1 Club. So when the singleton club is played by Declarer South wins the trick with the A♣ . Therefore South had a reason for playing high on the first club trick and defeated the contaract of 3♠
AS A DEFENDER MAKE IT YOUR MISSION TO DISCOVER THE SHAPE OF DECLARER'S HAND
You can learn alot more about discovering the shape of Declarer's hand on the Defence Play Learning Weekend.
Hands of the Week - 6 October -British Sim Pairs
I will not repeat what is contained in the British Sim Pairs commentary, since the write up of the majority of hands is very good. Mike Swanson provides succinct relevant comments.
What do you bid with the following hand when you are West
Pass Pass 1♦
It is a situation which is quite common in that you have 2 five card suits. You can show which five card suits in the overcall seat with Michael's cue bid or Ghestem. (See board 24 as well).
I would like to mention Board 16. Mike thinks that "most pairs will score 650 with a few registering -100 in a slam"
Lets look at what our pairs did.
As you can see 3 pairs did not score 650. I would suggest the correct contract is 4♥ and is likely to get a J ♦ opening lead. How do you play the trump ♥ suit, with 9 cards between dummy and declarer and Ace♥ in one hand and Q♥ in the other. This requires Declarer to be able to read the cards and choose the optimal card play based on the specific combination of cards.
If you wish to learn more there are several lessons on the following dates:
16 Oct Declarer Play - Interpretation of opponents hands - reading the cards
23 Oct Overcalling with 2 five card suits
30 Oct Playing Hands with lots of different doubles
6 Nov Responses to Overcalls including UCB
20 Nov Declarer Play - Optimal Card play
16 Oct Declarer Play - Interpretation of opponents hands - reading the cards
23 Oct Overcalling with 2 five card suits
30 Oct Playing Hands with lots of different doubles
6 Nov Responses to Overcalls including UCB
20 Nov Declarer Play - Optimal Card play
16 Oct Declarer Play - Interpretation of opponents hands - reading the cards
23 Oct Overcalling with 2 five card suits
30 Oct Playing Hands with lots of different doubles
6 Nov Responses to Overcalls including UCB
20 Nov Declarer Play - Optimal Card play
Hand of the Week 29 September - Declarer Play Counting Losers and Counting Winners
It is good to be back in the hot seat, not only starting the lessons and playing on Tuesdays but also writing the Hand of the Week. I mentioned that it is an historic occasion that I managed to do the scoring correctly with Bridgemates, for the first time. It is also an occasion when I needed to go back to basics because I failed to get some simple contracts, since I did not effectively Count my Losers in a Trump contract or Count my Winners in an NT contract.
I was East and I was playing in 3♥ and the Opening lead was K♣
Count the Losers:
Spades 1 loser to the Ace as long as I can trump the othe
Hearts 2 losers to the K♥ and J♥
Diamonds 1 loser to the Q♦ but I can try the finesse
Clubs 1 loser ONLY IF I USE THE SHORT SUIT OF TRUMPS IN DUMMY to trump the second club
When i won the lead I made the mistake of drawing Trumps and not playing the club and trumping with the 4♥ . MAKING 8 TRICKS - one down!
Lets look at Hand 20
Lets play in 6NT by West opening lead J♣
In NT always count your winners which you can win off the top:
Spades 2 Winners
Hearts 1 Winner
Diamonds 2 Winners
Clubs 3 Winners
Total 8 Winners - Where can I win 4 more trick
Spades - there is an additional trick with the J♠ or 10♠ even if one of them loses to the Q♠ . I may be lucky and win with the 4th spade if the opposition discard their 4th spade?
Hearts - there is an additional winner, if the finesse with Q♥ works, and with the 10♥ or 9♥ even if one loses to the J♥ . the Hearts are the long suit so I need to establish Hearts.
Diamonds - no additional winners
Clubs - there is additional winner if the split is 3 and 2 in the defence.
Therefore the strategy for this hand is to play the Hearts and use your Clubs as the entries to the dummy. Win the first trick with the Q♣, play the 2♥ towards the Q♥ , the K♥ falls, and then you can afford to lose to the J♥ as your only loser, and throw away the spades on the long hearts!!
Well done to both Pairs 5 and 6 for bidding and making a small slam.
Hand of the week-Tuesday 25th August - Optimal Card Play
There is usually an Optimal way of playing a specific card combination within a suit. It depends on the number of cards within Declarer and Dummy and it also depends on the values of the cards. If you would like a lesson on all the various combinations then please email me. There is a lesson planned on Optimal Card play in the Autumn on a Friday morning.
Let's look at one of Tuesday's hands to illustrate Optimal Card Play. Let's assume the contract is 4♠ by South and the A♣ is led.
Can you make 4♠ ? Is there the opportunity of making any extra tricks, without risking your contract?
Count the losers in each suit
♠ 1 loser - missing K♠ , but have opportunity of finessing twice, if we can get into dummy twice. Have 8 ♠ s and therefore hoping for a 3 2 split in defence
♥ 0 loser - if we have enough trumps to trump the losing ♥ s ? Have 7♥ s and could hope for 3 3 split in defence, but more likely to be 4 2.
♦ 0 loser - if we have enough trumps to trump the losing ♦ s? Have 8♦ s and therefore hoping for a 3 2 split in defence. Have opportunity of trumping second or third trick in ♦ and establishing long suit.
♣ 1 loser - Will lose to A♣ and can trump the second ♣ trick.
This preliminary analsis must be done before you play your first card. There are not enough trumps to cross trump the two red suits, but it is relatively easy to establish the long diamond suit.
Los the forst trick to ace♣ . Then trump the second trick in ♣ s. Play low ♥ to Ace. Play low ♠ to finess. Finesse works. Play A♦ from hand, play low ♦ to trump in dummy and then play low ♠ for second finessewhich captures K♠ , draw last trump and cash winning diamonds.
12 Tricks made with only 21 points. Learn more about Optimal Card Play.
Hand of the week-Tuesday 11th August - The Importance of Basic Bidding = ANSWER
Many thanks for all your suggestions - they varied significantly but every single one helped me to understand the various thought processes that you do have. That in turn helps me to explain the ANSWER in a form which hopefully is relevant to everyone.
Basic Bidding has a fundamental principle of trying to "find a fit in a major suit"
Basic Bidding has a fundamental principle of trying to "bid a Game if there are enough points for a Game, 25 in NT and the Majors" or "invite to a game if there maybe enough points"
LOSING TRICK COUNT has two fundamental principles in that it should only be used "when there is a fit in a suit" and "the hand is unbalanced"
Lets look at North and South again
Pass Pass 1♥
Pass 1♠ Pass 2♦
Pass 3♥ Pass 4♥
Pass Pass Pass
The North bids of Pass, 1♠ and then 3♥ shows less than 12 points, 4+ cards in spade and 6 - 11 points, and then 3 cards in the Heart Suit therefore a "fit", 10 or 11 points, or a LTC of 8, and it is an inviation to Game.
Some of you suggested a bid of 2NT for North but this would deny a fit in a Major!
South after the 3♥ bid by North, says with my 15 points added to 10 or 11 or the equivalent strength, gives 25 - 26 points which is sufficient for game. I would accept the invitation to Game in this sitaution with 14 or 15 points
Some Souths were concerned that there was only a LTC of 7. However it is a strong LTC of 7 since it has 3 Aces. There are numerous different considerations which can be used in refining the use of LTC, which I will not go into here, but remember points can still be used to accept an invitation to Game.
Hand of the week-Tuesday 11th August - The Importance of Basic Bidding
We learn Basic Bidding and then we learn additional ways to assess the strength of a hand, such as Losing Trick Count, Playing Tricks, value of intermediary cards and ultimately whether a card is going to win depending on it's position relative to the opponents cards.
However we run the risk of forgetting the importance of Basic Bidding.
Only one pair managed to reach the correct contract and I will be interested, if they actually bid correctly to get there. The other pairs unfortunately did not bid correctly.
On this occasion I am going to ask everyone to email me their answer on how to bid the North and South hands, assuming there is no bidding by East and West.
I will publish the suggested bidding over the weekend, after you have all had the opportunity of looking at the problem.
Hands of the Week - Tuesday 28th July - Defence Play the Importance of the Opening Lead
There are several hands when the score achieved is mainly dependant on Defence Play and which card has been chosen as the Opening Lead. I must emphasise that you can make a dramatic improvement to your bridge if you understand the principles behind the choice of Opening Lead. I will illustrate what I mean, but whole books are written on Opening Leads. I would like to suggest that you have the opportunity of Improving your Defence Play and learning more about Opening Leads at a Learning Weekend 28/29 November 2015 - DEFENCE PLAY with Laura Porro and Douglas Wright.
Lets look at Hand 13
I have specifically not included the number of tricks which should be won by Declarer or by Defence, I would like you to examine the hands and decide on the bidding. Whoever is going to be defence starts to plan the Defence Play very early.
Pass 1NT Pass
As soon as both North and South have passed, they both know that they are likely to be defenders, so South can say to themselves "I may be making an Opening Lead against a NT contract. I have 3 tricks in the South hand, and I ideally would like to win the J♠ and either the J♥ or the 10♥ and I might make a length trick with my long suit of ♥ s or ♦ s."
On a table the Bidding continued with 3 passes
On two tables the Bidding probably continued:
2♣ Pass 2♠ Pass
3♣ Pass Pass Pass When West bids 3♣ North thinks "I may be making an Opening Lead against a ♣ contract. West may have four ♥ cards, likely to have six ♣ cards and therefore may have two and one in the two remaining suits ♠ and ♦ . I have 1 trick in my hand, and I may obtain another with a ruff of the ♥ s."
On the last two tables East converted the 3♣ bid into a Game by bidding 3NT and therefore South is now on lead, with an understanding of the bidding as discussed.
In addition South may try and assess the length of the suits in partners North Hand and also assess the number of points that may be in North Hand.
If West has one ♠ , North will have five ♠ cards, even if West has two ♠ s, North will have four ♠ cards. Therefore spades is a good defence suit!
However with South's 13 points, it is not likely that North has many points, therefore unlikely to add many tricks.
Most Souths would choose a ♥ lead, because it is their own long suit, which is also strong. Some Souths would choose a ♦ lead, because it is their long suit and they do not like to lead away from an Ace in ♥ s. I would like to suggest that the clever South would choose the ♠ suit, which is partner's long suit.
South has the opportunity of leading Ace♠ , informing partner that South has either A K Q or A K J, when South does not continue with the King North will know it is A K J. North also has opportunity or giving signal to South that they do not have the Q♠ ! Then South has the opportunity of leading J♥ , top of an internal near touching sequence. This is a superb card to lead, since after Declarer wins trick with King, when North leads back a ♥ , it helps to establish the ♥ suit for defence.
So how many tricks should the Defence have kept Declarer to, in NT?
The answer is 8 tricks
How did pairs 3, 8 and 10 get on?
Obviously there are some different principles when leading against a suit contract, but both pairs 1 and 12 could have limited West to 9 tricks when played in 3♣ .
Hands of the Week - Tuesday 21st July - Competitive Bidding and the Strong Double
Only 1 pair is using the Strong Double effectively on Tuesday's hands. What is the Strong Double. Lets look at Board 8 as an example. East makes an Opening bid of 1♣ . South is in the overcall seat with 17 points and a very good Spade suit and a shapely hand. South should not make an overcall in a suit since a 1♠ overcall is showing 8 - 15 points. South is too STRONG to bid 1♠ . (Even those players who use strong jump overcalls 12 - 16 points and 6 cards in the suit, South is once again too STRONG to make a jump overcall to 2♠ ). If South just bids a suit overcall North will stop the bidding since North thinks that there will be a maximum of 22 points between the two hands.
Therefore this is a perfect Hand to use the Double. North must respond to the Double and then when South ignores North's response and South just bids its own suit, North knows South must have 16+ points and at least a 5 card Spade suit.
North will support the Spade bid for 1 round and then with South LTC of 5 bid to game.