Bridge @ Box
 
Pages viewed in 2017
 
Hands galore!
Many previous hands of the week can be found on the Improvers' pages.

We have tablet scoring. 

Your teacher is Chris Jones, who came back to bridge in 2003 after a lengthy absence, and hasn't looked back since. Click for more ...
 
Friendly Duplicate @ Box Bridge Club

Our Friday evening club has now closed. We had a pretty good run, but sadly all good things eventually come to an end. We'd like to thank all our members for their support over the last five years and hope to see you at alternative Friday evening venues (in Bath, Chippenham or Devizes).

  The next Play & Learn session is on Wednesday 25 October, 9.20 for a 9.30 start.
Play & Learn Wed 27 Sept & 4 Oct
Funny game, bridge. One week (27 Sept) Helen & Ainslie come bottom, and the next session (4 Oct), they bounce back to a convincing 1st place with 69%. The winners on the earlier date were Kath & Diane. Well played all.
 
I'd just like to thank Trevor for standing in for what will eventually amount to a couple of months: I'm back next Wednesday, but in the late evening, and the following Wednesday (18th) I'm giving a lunchtime seminar at Bath BC. But from then on I'll be back as Bridget Box – am looking forward to getting back to normal again!
 
If you'd like to see what happened in Bath this week, click here and then on 'Travellers'.
 
This week's featured hand is board 5 from 27 September – see below.
Hand of the week 27 September 2017

High stakes

Sitting North, vulnerable, with just 11 points and no 'rule of 20' opening, I prefer to pass and see what happens rather than open a dodgy 1. And plenty does happen – East opens puts down a preemptive 4♠ (showing an 8-card suit) and your partner doubles. West passes and it's back to you.

Before you decide what to bid, what do you make of your partner's double?

Because any suit response from you has to be at the 5 level, some pairs take the double of an opening 4♠ as for penalties rather than takeout. I prefer a 'halfway house': it's for takeout, but has 3 defensive tricks – which gives your partner a choice of passing or going on. So what do you think?

Well, it's all down to vulnerability again, isn't it? Your A and ♣KQ may be worth a couple of defensive tricks in addition to your partner's 3 (remembering that East has only 5 cards that aren't trumps!). So East would be going off no more than 3, for a penalty of 500. Less if she can manage 8 tricks. Whereas if you can make 5 you'd get 650, which is much better. But can you? Probably yes. Partner must have a pretty good hand for a vulnerable double and surely has good hearts, so 5 is definitely worth a punt.

East will now subside (she's shown her hand with her opening bid and preempters are well advised to leave any further bidding to their partners) but West might well now go on to 5♠ – which you will now double for penalties.

Who can make what?

Take a look at the full deal. NS can take 11 comfortable tricks in hearts (I know, it says 12, but that's pretty fluky), so 5 is a great place to be. But with spades as trumps EW can take 8 tricks, all in trumps, so are only going 3 off in 5♠X for -500 – a bargain compared to 650 for 5 making.

Note that West can work out for herself that 5♠ is a good bid. First of all, she's got a load of rubbish, so 5 is surely making. She also has the ♠A, and partner's odds on to have the ♠K as one of her 8 spades, so she can count 8 tricks in spades. And a glance at the vulnerability will tell her that it's a good sacrifice. 

​​In Box & Bath

In Box, the competition wasn't quite sharp enough. Two pairs were allowed to play in 4 and one was pushed up to 5 – all making. But one EW was allowed to get away with 4♠ undoubled, which really shouldn't be happening when NS have a combined 26 points. 

Bath were a bit on the flaccid side as well, with only ONE pair playing in 5♠X. No less than 4 EW pairs were allowed to play in spades undoubled, but four NS pairs were at least pushed up to 5, again all making. And as for the EW pair who played in 4♠X and made ELEVEN tricks for a magnificent top, I can only assume there was a revoke somewhere!

Hand of the week 20 September 2017

Red vs green

Let's review the auction so far. Your partner opened a weak 2 and over East's takeout double you made a preemptive raise to 3, raising 'to the level of your fit' (your partner's 6 hearts + your 3 hearts = 9, so bid to make 9 tricks). West confidently bids the spade game, North and East pass ... and it's all down to you. Do you (a) pass (b) double or (c) bid 5?

Well, you're only going to double if you think they're going off in 4♠. How likely is that? You've got a club trick and (probably) one heart trick and with 6-9 points your partner may be worth one more trick, maybe in diamonds ... but that's probably it – so let's say they're making 4♠. Should you pass or sacrifice in 5? Think about it before reading on.

How many tricks do you think you'll make in hearts? 10 is very unlikely, as you have a maximum 20 points between you – and given the opposition's bidding, probably fewer. Your 9-card heart holding suggests that you can make 9 tricks. So now it's a question of simple arithmetic: how much do they score for 4♠ making and how much will it cost you to go 2 off in 5 doubled? (You will of course be doubled, as your opponents aren't daft and can tell that you're sacrificing.) Which brings us to the title of this article: in this situation, you need to check who's vulnerable and who isn't. And on this hand, you're vulnerable (red) and they're non-vulnerable (green). So they're going to score 400 and something for making 4♠ ... and they're going to score 500 for getting you 2 off in 5♥X. That's 200 for the first trick and 300 for the second.

So you pass. 420/450 is cheaper than 500. Easy peasy.

But ...

... change the vulnerability and it's a different story.

  • If you're both vulnerable, that 4♠ will be worth 600+ instead of 400+, so you should go ahead and sacrifice in 5.
  • If neither side is vulnerable, your sacrifice will only cost you 300 (100 for the first trick + 200 for the second) – again you should bid 5.
  • And if they're vulnerable and you aren't, it's a total no-brainer. They stand to score 600+ for their game and 5♥X -2 will cost you just 300 – even going 3 off will only cost 500, so bid on!

So to summarise: decide if they're making or not. If you think they are, make a guess of how many tricks you can make in your suit. Consult the vulnerability to work out which alternative is cheaper, and bid accordingly.

What happens?

Have a look at the whole deal. They're certainly making their 4♠ – indeed, if declarer drops North's singleton ♠K (which she should) EW are making 12 tricks in spades. As predicted, only 9 tricks are available for NS in hearts (as EW can take three aces and can also make a club ruff): East leads a spade to West's Ace, West returns her singleton club and then, when she comes in with her A, she leads a diamond; East wins and leads a club to be ruffed. Lovely.

​​In Box & Bath

In Box, two pairs made the spade game, but one lucky NS managed to make 10 tricks instead of 9 in 5♥X for just -200. 

In Bath, all the EW pairs but one were all in the spade game, all making. The other pair sacrificed not in 5♥X but in 5♣X, which genuinely goes just 1 off for -200. This happens if North decides not to open a weak 2; then East opens 1♠, South overcalls 2♣ ... and North bids 5♣ over West's 4♠.

   The previous featured hand –  Splinters – is now on the Using conventions Improvers' Page.   
Click for the latest results
Hosted daytime bridge ...
Hosted daytime bridge ...

... at Bath Bridge Club


Gentle Duplicate
Thursday mornings 10.00–1.00
A 'no fear' version of the real thing under the friendly guidance of Rita James and John Whittleton


Social Duplicate
Tuesday mornings 10.00-1.10
The gloves are off ...


Come and join us, with or without a partner.

Results
Wed 18th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 11th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 4th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 27th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trev
Wed 20th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Marion
Scorer: Ray
Wed 13th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 6th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Calendar
Wed 25th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 1st Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 8th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 15th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 22nd Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 29th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 6th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Click for the latest results
Hosted daytime bridge ...
Hosted daytime bridge ...

... at Bath Bridge Club


Gentle Duplicate
Thursday mornings 10.00–1.00
A 'no fear' version of the real thing under the friendly guidance of Rita James and John Whittleton


Social Duplicate
Tuesday mornings 10.00-1.10
The gloves are off ...


Come and join us, with or without a partner.

Results
Wed 18th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 11th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 4th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 27th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trev
Wed 20th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Marion
Scorer: Ray
Wed 13th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 6th Sep 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Calendar
Wed 25th Oct 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 1st Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 8th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 15th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 22nd Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 29th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 6th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris