If you can, please volunteer to be a Host Partner on a Tuesday evening.
There are lots of teachers available to teach Minibridge in Schools / or to teach youngsters as part of a comprehensive programme for introducing Minibridge and Bridge to school pupils and creating various school bridge clubs.
If you would like to know how to run Taster Sessions in Schools please contact Douglas
Why not provide a venue for Bridge in your club? It's the ideal way to make full use of your existing facilities and increase social membership.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25th May 2018. In preparation for this, 3 Counties Bridge has published a Privacy Notice. This may be found by clicking on the link below.
3 Counties Privacy Notice.pdf
Thursday 7th February - How to Bid and make a Game
On Board 16 there is something for everyone. There were 3 different contracts and 3 different scores.
Lets look at the bidding first.
Hand evaluation is key. Lets evaluate the South Hand:
4♠ s 3♥ s 1♦ and 5♣ s, Unbalanced, LTC 6, 14 points
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1♣
Pass 1♠ Pass 3♠ since South has suit agreement can use Losing Trick Count, adds 6 Losers onto 9, makes 15 take away from 18 bids 3♠
Pass 4♠ Pass Pass since North has been invited by South to consider a game, accepts invitation and bids 4♠
In the event that West plays Weak 2s
2♦ Pass 3♦ X East's 3♦ is a preemptive raise after Weak 2♦ , South's Double is for Take out
Pass 3♠ Pass 4♠ North knowing there are 9diamonds between West / East and has 3 diamonds in hand knows partner only has one. May even bid 4♠ by himself!
Pass Pass Pass
The play of the cards is relatively straight forward on the Opening Lead of ♦ Ace, Declarer counts losers and has 1 loser in ♥ s, only if the 3rd heart is ruffed before drawing trumps, and 1 loser in ♦ s, decides to play hearts, loses the 2nd trick, wins wahtever is lead back and then decides to draw trumps, cashes ♣ Ace and King, eleven tricks made. If Declarer on the basis of the Weak 2 opening places spades 3 in East and 1 in West, Declarer finesses by playing ♣ Ace first and then lead 2♣ towards King and ten and when Queen comes out puts king on it. 11 tricks made.
Look at the traveller below and see how you did? Did you know you can play the hand again by clicking on the "Play it Again" button underneath the hand
Thursday Hand of the Week - 15 February - Assessing strength of hands - Hand 14
How can you bid and make a slam on hand 14? The most important aspect about playing bridge is to assess the strength of a hand before you start the bidding process. When you do not assess the strength of a hand you may miss a game and in this case miss a slam.
Lets assess the South Hand:
6 0 4 3 shape, (6 and 4 go more!), unbalanced, Losing Trick Count 5, points 12 - therefore if we have a fit all I need from partner is a LTC of 9 to make a game. i.e. about 6 points.
Lets assess the North Hand:
3 4 5 1 shape, unbalanced, LTC 8, points 9 - therefore if we have a fit all I need from partner is a LTC of 6 to make a game in a major.
Pass 1NT Pass 2♠
Pass 3♠ Pass 4♦
Pass 4♥ Pass 4NT
Pass 5♥ Pass 6♠
Pass Pass Pass
Having bid a small slam based upon LTC and only having 21 points between you, when the dummy is seen, the declarer must say to themselves i will need to use my trumps to gain the extra tricks especially by using the short suit of trumps in the dummy!
Count yout losers in each suit:
♠ 2 missing K J
♦ 1 if there is a 2 2 split
♣ 0 as long as declarer trumps two clubs in dummy
Therefore the declarer plan is to win the first trick, ♦ lead, play round of clubs, cash ♥ A.
When you are faced with not being able to lose a trump trick you have to assume the spades are where you want them to be, K and J sitting in the East Hand. Therefore lead from dummy the ♠ 10 and finesse it. It works! Lead ♠ 8 and cover East's honour, draw last remaimg trump, andthen discar the last club loser on the diamong length.
If East covers the ♠ 10 on the first trump trick declarer can still get back to dummy with a club ruff.
12 tricks made!
Thursday Hand of the Week - How to read the Results
After I have played I ususlly look at the results to try and learn something from a hand that I have bid and played.
Yes I do click on Results
Yes I do choose the date and event
see the Rankings:
Janette Waller & Alison Howett
Pippa Hilbert & Jeni Rowe
Bob Young & Reggie Lewis
Carol Barden & Kay Garretty
Jane & Bob Wright
Hugh & Linda Beadle
Shealagh Reynolds & Judith Wheatley
Anne Waddell & Pat Nicholls
Laura Sakalauskaite & Sally Patterson
Peter McIlwraith & Chris Garrett
and the first thing I notice is that the maximum that each pair can achieve is dependent on the number of boards played. When a Board is played on 5 Tables it is possible to achieve match points of 0 2 4 6 or 8 on each board. The top pair can get an 8, the bottom pair a 0, and the others somewhere in between. Therefore if you play all 20 boards the maximum that you can achieve in the morning is 20 times 8 equalling 160. "Tops" Therefore I notice that Bob and Reggie who play quickly played 20 boards, Pippa and Jeni played 19 etc.
However when you add the match points for each Board Pippa & Jeni obtained 96 and Bob & Reggie obtained 98, but as a percentage of what they could have achieved 96/152 is 63.16 is a better percentage than 98/160 equalling 61.25%.
Therefore if ever I ask you not to play a board you are not disadvantaged in any way.
So now lets click on names Ppippa & Jeni and I see their personal score card.
I see the scoring system has given them anything between 0 and 8 for each board played and this has been converted into a percentage 8 out of 8 is 100% which is great and 4 out of 8 is an average of 50%.
Lets click on the grey button of 13 and Board 13 appears with its traveller:
And I always look at the traveller first and I see there are different contracts, diferent number of tricks won and different scores. Wow the top scorer for N/S is pair 1 with 620 and they get 8 points and the bottom scorer for N/S is pair 6 with -100 and they get 0 points. The other pairs get points according to their score.
Now lets relook at the Personal score card of Pippa and Jeni. We covered Board 18 on Thursday but there is another interesting Board 5 when Pippa and Jeni were NS and the contrcat was:
4♠ by N ♦ 6 was the Opening Lead 8 Tricks were won N/S obtain a score of -200 they get 1 Match Point which is 1/8 which gives the percentage of 12.5% a nasty Red colour.
Why did they get a nasty Red, was it because they had bid too high or was it because more tricks could be made. I do notknow at this time but I will click on the Gray Number 5 and look at the Traveller first.
I see that the contracts are different and the number of tricks won is different, therefore the scores and match points are diferent and N/S shared a bottom!
BUt Why? I now look at the Makeable Tricks Matrix. Wow If North Plays in ♥ they can make 11 tricks, If North plays in ♠ they can make 10 tricks. So I conclude that we need to look at the Declarer Play of the cards!!
I also conclude that the 2 Souths Pairs 1 and 5 who played a game in 4♥ can look at their Declarer play to see how they can make 11 tricks, the Noth Pair 2 can look at their Declarer Play to see how they can make 9 tricks and finally Pair 9 can look at their Bidding to see why they stopped in 2♥ and did not reach game.
Everyone please have a look at this hand and email me how the N/S could have Bid and played better. The best answer will get a bottle of Prosecco.
Hand of the Week - Good bidding and Match points explained
West North East South
1NT Pass 3♥ Pass Note East decides that he will make a Jump Shift which is a Game Forcing bid.
3NT Pass 4♥ Pass Note East now shows the 5 cards in Hearts and leaves West to choose either Hearts or Spades
You can see the 4 different results from the traveller. When there are 4 tables, match points are awarded 0, 2, 4 and 6 for the worst to the best results.
You can see NS 1 with their score of 200 is the best so they obtain 6 match points
You can see NS 2 who limited the EW pair to only 140, obtain the next best 4 match points
NS4 allowed EW to make an extra trick and score 170, and therforeobtained 2 match points.
NS3 were unlucky since their EW opponents were the only pair to bid and make the game and then they scoed an overtrick, so NS 3 obtained 0 match points.
Yes the opposing pair get the balnce of the match points so when NS3 get 0 EW 5 get 6.
At the end of the morning all the match points are added up and then divided by the total number of match points available to reach the percentage.
Board 1 should have been a straightforward bidding sequence to game, with North/South reaching 4S as follows:
West North East South
1♠ Pass 2♣
Pass 2♠ Pass 3♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass
Once South knows North has five spades, he invites with his three spade cards and 10 points (remember NOT to use LTC on a balanced hand). North with an extra spade and 14 points then bids game.
Only one pair bid to game though, so what went wrong?
Two Souths responded 1NT to North's 1♠ . This is the dustbin bid showing 6-9 points, so is wrong. 2♣ is correct, showing 9+ points and four clubs.
On another table South bid 2♥ in response to 1♠ , but 2♥ in response to 1♠ shows FIVE heart cards, so is again wrong. Nevertheless this is the pair who reached 4♠ by north rebidding 2♠ then South bidding game! However, with South's misleading bid, North might have bid 3H thinking they had a heart fit.
And how pair 1 got to play in 2♥ by North is a mystery!! Perhaps South bid 2♥ and North passed, but the incorrect Declarer was put in Bridgemates. Clue ♣ Ace was opening lead!!
In any event 10 tricks could have been made. But only one North did so, indicating it wasn't easy.
In fact a double by West after 2C makes the difference. North is then able to place the high cards and finesse successfully to make the contract. Beware of bidding a take out double when the opponents have shown that they have the mjority of the points, and in this case East has already passed!
Hand of the Week - Thursday 26th January - Is it better to be in 4♥ or 3NT?
This question comes up time and time again. In principle it is usually better to play in an 8 card fit in a major suit rather than 3NT. The extra trumps should create an extra trick. Therefore the score of 4♥ making 10 is 420 which is better than the score of 3NT making 9 which is 400.
Lets look at Hand 1 today:
The suggested bidding is:
2NT Pass 3♥
Pass 4♥ Pass Pass
Alternatively if you play Transfers the bidding is:
2NT Pass 3♦
Pass 3♥ Pass 3NT
The resultant traveller for the 5 tables looks like:
The question of whether to play Stayman or Transfers initially with a 5 4 in the Majors keeps on occurring.
Lets look at the South Hand below: 4 5 2 2 distribution, 13 points. When North Opens 1NT South knows there is enough for Game.
However before you answer the question whether to play Stayman or Transfers initially, one has to have a suitable answer which is also consistent when South has a Weak hand 0 - 10 points - No game and Invitational hand 11-12 points - Maybe Game.
Also before you answer the question, one also may wish to differentiate between 5 4 in the majors and 5 5 in the majors. (assume we are not playing Extended Stayman)
Finally the answer maybe better for 5 4 in the majors as opposed to 4 5 in the majors. Is there a difference? There are numerous references before an answer is given.
Today, most players use Stayman in conjunction with Jacoby transfers. With Stayman in effect, the responder practically denies having a five-card major, as otherwise he would transfer to the major immediately. The only exception is when responder has 5-4 in the majors; in that case, he could use Stayman, and in the case of a 2♦ response, bid the five-card major at the two level (weakness take-out / Garbage Stayman) or at the three level (forcing to game). However, the latter hand can also be bid by first using a transfer and then showing the second suit naturally.
Whatever one thinks about what is the better system the most important aspect is to have Partnership Agreement on what you are doing.
Hand of the Week - DECLARER PLAY - How to Make the Optimum Number of Tricks
Bidding on Board 2 was straightforward in reaching 3NT. Remember to use Stayman with four spades.
The opening lead was 5♦. Count your top tricks - five in this case. You need four additional tricks. Where are they coming from?
One possible length trick in clubs, no obvious additional tricks in diamonds, one definite additional trick in hearts and a possible second if the finesse is successful. In spades there are two definite additional tricks - if the King loses to the Ace the Queen wins; if the Ten loses to the Jack the Nine wins. Having won the first trick with A♦, lead a low club to Q♣. Now finesse the Hearts, low to the J♥, When it wins you need to get back over to dummy and lead a low spade towards the dummy. When J♠ is played by South, cover with the K♠ , which then loses to A♠ . It is likley a diamond is played by North and the Q♦ wins. Whatever is lead by South, East wins the remaining tricks. Eleven tricks made.
Rember the very simple concept of playing low to high. It works most times.
Why not try the Play Again facility on the website underneath the Hand
Thursday Hand of the Week - Responder's 2nd Bid
What should responder bid?
P P 1♦ P
1♠ P 2♥ P
3♦ All pass
East opens 1♦ and West is just able to show his major suit with 6 points. East then shows his second 4-card suit, hearts, by bidding 2♥ . Note that this is a reverse, showing a stong hand of 16-plus points. Had he been a couple of points fewer, East would have had to (reluctantly) rebid his diamonds at the 2 level. Despite now knowing East has 16-plus points, all West can do with his weak hand is make a preference bid of 3♦. East recognizes this and calls it a day.
Hand of the Week - Thursday 14th January - The Importance of Bidding and making Game
A non vunerable Game in 4♠ scores 420, and the Game in 3NT scores 400.
All Easts opened 1NT and the partner West has
West knows there will be a fit in ♠ s and with the 12 points and excellent ♠ s immediately should bid 4♠ .
On the typical Opening Lead of J♦ , Declarer will lose the first 2 ♦ tricks and trump the 3rd ♦ .
Declarer should now cash the Ace of ♠ . When seeing that North has no spades and South has 4 spades, Declarer should go over to dummy with a ♥ and then finesse the spades until the Q♠ is trapped.
This way Declarer should make a Game in 4♠ for a score of 400. Well done Pair 6 for Bidding 4♠ but have another look at the play.
Well done Pair 9 for bidding a 3NT Game and making.
Remember 2♠ after partners bid of 1NT is a Weak Take Out.
Hand of the Week - Thursday 7th January - So much to learn from one hand
The first Thursday Hand of the week is to illustrate how one hand can generate 6 different scores and 6 different contracts and results. This demonstrates when the hand is Duplicated across 6 tables how interesting and fun it can be.
Always look at your personal score card first. What was your contract and result for Board 9. Look at your written white Personal score card and then loook at the personal score card on the computer. Did you get a Green - Good score or a Red - Bad score or Yellow - Average score. You can then click on the hand number and look at the Traveller. What was everyone else's contract and tricks made. What is possible.
I immediately see that the majority played in ♥ s.
However some played in 1♥ , others 2♥ s, one in 3♥ s and finally two bid a game in 4♥ s.
Some Declarer's made 8, 9 or 10 tricks in ♥ s.
I now look at the matrix which tells me how manytricks should Declarer win when playing in ♥ s. The matrix tells me 8 tricks. Therefore perhaps Declarer played brilliantly when making 9 or 10 or perhaps the Defence gave them an extra trick or two.
Perhaps the opening lead made a difference. Some lead a club and others lead J♦ .
Enough speculation, but it is very useful to look at the traveller to determine what you are looking for. I will now talk you through the bidding and the play.
1♥ Pass 1NT
Pass 2♥ Pass Pass
North bids 1♥ showing longest suit 12 to 19 points and plans to rebid 2♥ s since North is Weak and has between 12 - 15 points. (North does not have enough strnght to do a reverse bid / bid over the barrier to 2♠ ) South does not have 9 points or more to bid a change of suit at the two level so South uses the dustbin bid of 1NT.
Yes you can make 8 tricks in 2♥ s, but Pairs 3 , 4 and 5 were lucky to make 9 tricks or more. The luckiest of the lot was pair 5 who bid and made a game.
Well bid Pair 5 who I believe ended up in the correct contract and well played Pairs 7 and 12 who limted the Declarer to the correct number of 8 tricks.
Hand of the Week - 22nd January - A Good Sacrifice
Always consider the Vulnerability when you are taking the cards out of the board, just before you count your cards. Memorise the Vulnerability. In the Hand below North South would have said we are Non Vul, they are Vul.
North looks at hand and says Unbalanced, 7 2 1 3 shape, 8 points, LTC 7, assumed 7 Playing tricks when played in spades.
The bidding starts 1♥ , Pass, 2♦ and North then says I have no defence against a likely game in Hearts. A game in Hearts will score 650, if I bid 4♠ immediately, even if I am doubled the score will only be 500. Therefore North immediately goes to 4♠ and shuts out the opponents who have 28 points between them.
One North was Doubled and still obtained a better score than allowing East to obtain 650.
How to make 13 tricks and get a top score.
1♥ Pass 2♣ Pass
2♠ Pass 4NT Pass
5♦ Pass 5NT Pass
6♦ Pass 6♥ Pass
Pass Pass Pass
East explores the strength and shape of West's hand by bidding 2♣ , then the West's bid of 2♠ , shows 5 4 in the majors and implies a strength of 16+ points. East explores Aces and with 4 Aces between them explores Kings, but with 2 Kings missing should really settle for 6♥ and not risk 7♥ .
As it transpires West as Declarer should cross ruff the ♦ s and ♠ s, and when 3 spades have been ruffed in dummy, play the first round of trumps with the remaining Ace ♥ , and then go over to Declarers hand by winning a club with the King. Draw the remaining 2 trumps and then with the standard CARD COMBINATION in clubs play Queen whilst keep the finesse option available with the Ace and 10!!
Well done Nicki for making the 13 tricks
The three pairs correctly bid a Small Slam by different means and unfortunately two pairs did not find the correct CARD COMBINATIONS in Clubs and the correct order of suits. (Come to a lesson on this on Friday 20th February)
Hand of the Week - Thursday 2nd October by Graham Osborne - Using a Forcing Bid to find out more info
South started with 1S. We only have 10 HCP but we have a nice 5-5 shape and good pips in our two suits although it is
a negative that we have so many points in our short suits. Incidently I prefer to open 1S with 5/5 in the black suits
to show the most important feature of our hand. if we start with 1C it is unlikely with such a weak hand that we will get to bid out our shape completely without the opponents interfering. North responds 2H and South has to rebid 2S, not being strong enough to introduce the club suit.
Now what does North bid? At my table North tried 3H, this shows the sixth heart but is non-forcing and should have about 10-11HCP, whilst with 14HCP we have enough to insist on game. So what to do? We don't have a second suit to bid, so we could guess to bid either 3NT or 4H hoping that is the right game, but better is to bid 3C. This is game forcing seeking more information from partner, but is a small 'white lie' because we would like to have 4 clubs. Now this is quite a subtle point but over 3C South should bid 3H. Remember the 2H response to 1S shows 5 hearts, so South has already denied 3H, and thus partner should not expect more than 2 card support when South bids 3H. Having found the eight card major suit fit North can now bid 4H with confidence.
Therefore Suggested Bidding
North East South West
Pass 1♠ Pass
2♥ Pass 2♠ Pass
3♣ Pass 3♥ Pass
4♥ P P P
South could, of course, raise 3C to 4C, after all he does have 5 card support and that would be hard to criticise. The reason I suggest showing the heart support, is that firstly 4H scores better than 5C (620 vs 600), secondly with such a weak hand it is quite likely we have three losers in 5C and finally we should be aware that partner might have been stuck for a bid over 2S and might not have real clubs as was the case in this hand. If partner does not bid 4H over our 3H preference we can always show our club support later.
Hand of the Week - Part Score Battle
The auction does depend on if West opens with a Weak 2 ♥ ?
Pass Pass ??
South can virtually bid anything since South knows with a weak 6 -10 points in the West hand the remaining points are probably evenly split between North and East. South is in 4th seat and borrows 3 points. South does not wish to leave West in a cheap 2♥ contract. Therefore I would suggest 2♠ .
Of course the risk with this is that North must recognise that South's bid could be weak and not get carried away and bid 4♠ !
Pass Pass 2♠ Pass
Then East comes alive and says I do not want to leave the contract in an easy 2♠ contract and bids 3♦
The final auction may be:
Pass Pass 2♠ Pass
Pass 3♦ Pass Pass
3♠ Pass Pass Pass
Well done East for pushing North up one and the South goes down by 1 trick.
How about when West does not open with a Weak 2.
1♥ 2♦ X Pass
2♥ 3♦ Pass Pass
Isn't it a shame that East did not leave North in 2♥ or perhaps even did a takeout double of 2♥ and then West converts to a penalty double!!
Hand of the Week - Gentle Duplicate - Declarer Play Cross Trumping
EW 4♥; EW 3N; EW 3♠; EW 3♦; Par −620
This hand is not to examine the bidding but to examine the play by West in a contract of 4 Hearts. The principles of the play are similar if East was play in 4 Hearts.
After opening lead of ace of Spades, West counts losers Spades 1 (if long spades can be trumped or established), Hearts zero (assuming 3 2 split) Diamonds zero (if the 3 extra diamonds can be trumped) and Clubs zero (if third club can be trumped). West decides to cross trump.
Pass Pass 1♥
X Pass ??
What does South do? North's Double is a Take Out Double, East has passed, so usually South has to bid longest suit when weak. However longest suit is ♥ s. North's Take Out Double, promises four cards in ♠ s. So South could bid 1♠ , which North should pass!! South could bid 1NT showing 6-9 points and a stop in the ♥ s. Finally South could Pass and convert the Take Out double to a Penalty double. The recommendation is one usually converts a Take Out double to a Penalty double if you have six cards in the suit. On this occasion South has five very good, solid suit, in ♥ s. As the cards lie this would give NS a very good score of 1Hx by West making 5 tricks - 500