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Badger Farm Bridge Club, Winchester
Badger Farm Bridge Club, Winchester

Badger Farm Bridge Club has been providing friendly Duplicate Bridge in Winchester since April 1984.

We meet every Tuesday for a prompt 7.15 start, finishing at approximately 10.15.  Visitors are always very welcome.

We play at the Community Centre which is at the far end of the Sainsburys car park, Badger Farm Road, Winchester.

For further details contact Fred Hotchen on 01794 301 185 or 07771 854 347 or email 

Badger Farm Bridge Club is affiliated to the EBU.

Improve Your Bridge Workshops

Bridge workshops are held most Wednesday afternoons between 2.0 and 4.0 at my house in Broughton.  Charge is £5 per session.

Further details from Fred Hotchen, tel 01794 301 185, mobile 07771 854 347 or email

Beginners Bridge Classes

I am currently running Bridge for beginners on Tuesdays from 2.0-4.0 in Broughton.  For further details please ring Fred Hotchen on 01794 301 185, mobile 07771 854 347 or email

County Pairs Championship

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight County Pairs Championship, the Pottage Cup, will have several qualifying heats, the last one of which will be at Badger Farm on Tuesday 7 March 2017.

For those who qualify, the semi-final will then be held at Crosfield Hall, Romsey at 2.0 on Saturday 18 March with the final, also at Crosfield Hall at 2.0 on Sunday 2 April.

Badger Farm Bridge Masterclasses

Last winter Alun and Eira asked me to run some 'Improve your Bridge' sessions for Badger Farm members but, for one reason or another, these didn't happen.

I am proposing to run some workshops during the next few months.  These sessions will be informal and interactive and are primarily intended for Badger Farm members.  They will take place providing there is enough interest (min 4, max 12 people).

The aim of these sessions is to provide an opportunity to look at slightly more challenging aspects of the game, exploring ways of improving bidding, Declarer play and defence by using prepared hands and looking at any interesting hands from the previous Tuesday's duplicate. 

These sessions will be held at my house in Broughton, normally on Thursday mornings between 10.0 and 12.0. Cost for Badger Farm members is £5 per session.  You do not need a partner.

 If you would like to come, please send me an email to confirm at 

Tuesday 21 February Duplicate

Interesting but tricky hands this week.  Many seemed to defy the laws of Bridge with some unusual distributions around.  There was a good slam in spades by East-West on board 6 though quite hard to bid and North-South could sacrifice in 6 and go off for 800.  However, if they had done so, they would unfortunately have got a poor result as only one pair reached 6♠ and the rest were only in 4 or 5.  A slam was also bid and made by one pair on board 8.  It was 6 by North and made with an overtrick when the opposition didn't find their Ace and King of clubs at trick one!

For this week's 'Hand of the Week' I've picked a part-score hand for a change as it gives an insight into planning the defence and the importance of a good opening lead (see below).

Results will be up around 0830.

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 21 February 2017

Typical opening leads against No Trumps are fourth highest of your longest suit, top of a sequence, and with no honours, top of nothing, second highest from a bad suit or MUD (Middle Up Down), depending on partnership agreement.  However, there are times when something a little more imaginative is required.

On board 18 East-West bid as above and Jeremy was on lead with the North cards.  Standard play would be to lead a fourth highest spade but wait a minute...

West (Sally Miller) opened a 12-14 No Trump and following a Stayman sequence West showed four spades and, by inference, when East (Ann White) went back to 2NT she showed four hearts and, with 23 points between them, they then settled in 2NT. 

All fine but, on the basis of that bidding, Jeremy decided against a spade lead and instead tried a heart a) because partner was marked with four hearts and b) because his own holding of ten nine doubleton was a good holding from which to launch an attack through dummy.

It worked a treat as Declarer played the Jack from dummy which I won with the Queen.  Similar situation on the other side of the table - As South I can tell that partner will have a five card spade suit so I switched to the Jack of spades.  Sally finessed the Queen which lost to the King.  Jeremy then returned the nine of hearts at trick 3 which was covered by the King and Ace.  I continued with my smallest heart which Sally won in hand with the eight but meant my 6 of hearts was now a master.

Discarding is also important in defence and Jeremy discarded the four of diamonds on the third round of hearts.  Sally next played the three of diamonds towards dummy, Jeremy following with the eight.  Having played his diamonds upwards, he shows an odd number (ie three in this case) so I was able to duck the first round of diamonds and take the second.

I cashed my master heart then switched back to my last spade.  Sally rose with the Ace and played a small club towards dummy's Jack but Jeremy went up with the King and was now able to cash three more spade winners and hold 2NT to just four tricks.  In defence we therefore made three hearts, four spades, one diamond and one club.

An opening spade lead would have been a different story altogether and got the defence off on the wrong foot.  Indeed one East-West pair reached 3NT and made it!

The results on the traveller were 3 by East going two off, 3NT by East just making, 2 by East going one off, 2NT by West going four off, 2NT by West making with an overtrick and 2 by East making with an overtrick.

It is often a good idea to take the bidding carefully into account when making your opening lead as the correct choice can sometimes make a huge difference as this hand demonstrates.

A Slam with a twist...

The above hand occurred in a recent teams match.  North led the Queen of clubs and when dummy went down, it all looked quite promising with 11 easy tricks (three hearts, two clubs, three diamonds and three spades) and good prospects for a twelfth, potentially in any of the suits but most likely in diamonds or spades.  However, despite all the high cards, communications between the two hands was tricky.

I decided to win trick one in hand and when I played low from dummy, South discarded a spade which set a few alarm bells ringing!  

Assuming you decided to win the opening lead in hand, you already have entry problems, just the King of hearts and a spade, and the only easy entry to dummy is the Ace of clubs.  If you can resist the temptation of looking at all four hands, how would you plan to make your 12 tricks?  Maybe you would even have won the opening lead in dummy...


At trick 2 I decided to finesse the Queen of hearts.  The problem however is if you play the King, then the 10 and it loses to the Queen, South can switch to a spade and your hand is now cut off from dummy with the diamonds still blocked.

I therefore played the 10 of hearts, keeping my King as an entry back to my hand.  The 10 of hearts was covered by the Queen and Ace so I am now in dummy.  So far so good.

I now unblocked the diamonds as the best chance of a twelfth trick is for the Jack to fall in the first three rounds.  At this stage it would have been nice if I could have ducked a spade for another chance of 12 tricks.  However, the problem is that the defence could play back a club and that would be my last time in dummy with no access to the Jack of hearts.  I therefore played a heart to my King and cashed the King of diamonds.  The Jack did not appear but both defenders followed suit.

Next attempt was to play for a squeeze on North.  He had already shown up with five clubs, three diamonds and two hearts.  He seemed keen to cover my 10 of hearts (definitely the right thing to do) so I hoped he had four hearts (in which case he would have a singleton spade).  North would then be squeezed between hearts and clubs when I played off Ace, King, Queen of spades.  Unfortunately when North followed to a second round of spades, that plan went out of the window and I was doomed, ending up losing a diamond and a heart for one-off.

There was a winning line...

Everything was fine up to the play of the King of diamonds but now instead of cashing three top spades, a club towards the Ace squeezes South in three suits.  He cannot part with the Jack of diamonds, discarding a heart sets up the fourth heart in dummy and if he lets go of a second spade, all my spades are good.  

There is no escape.  If South discards a second spade, AKQxx opposite a singleton yields five tricks without a loser!  If South discards a heart, he becomes squeezed a second time between a spade and his Jack of diamonds.  Quite incredibly there are now 13 tricks!!

If he throws his Jack of diamonds, at least he holds the contract to 12 tricks as he will now either make a heart or a spade.

If the cards had been as per the line I had played for with North holding four hearts, South would not now have been squeezed on the Ace of clubs and this second line of play would have failed.  However I think this second line is more likely to succeed.

A third line of play that is maybe even better is to play a spade from dummy after unblocking the diamonds instead of playing a heart to the King.  If you next cash AKQ of spades and see North show out on the third round, you can now lose a spade to South who has no clubs to mess up your communication with dummy.  He therefore has to return a red card which you win in hand but you can now make a small spade for your twelfth trick.  The advantage of this line of play is that had North shown up with a singleton rather than doubleton spade, you could have switched to the squeeze play that I tried to do.

The other team also made 11 tricks but they were only in 3NT so we lost 11 IMPs on the board.  Had I made 6NT, we would have gained 11 IMPs so this was very expensive! 

14th February 2017
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
7th February 2017
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
31st January 2017
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
14th February 2017
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
7th February 2017
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
31st January 2017
Scorer: Fred Hotchen