Bridge @ Box
 
Pages viewed in 2018
 
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 ...
 
  The next Play & Learn session is on Wednesday 17 January, 9.20 for a 9.30 start.
Play & Learn Wed 10 January
A tricky set of boards to start the new year, including several hard-to-bid but easy-to-play slams. Caroline & Barry took the honours with 71%, ahead of Jenny & Irene on 57% and Suzanne & Joy on 56%. Well played all.
 
To see what happened when the hands were played in Bath, click here and then on 'Travellers'.
 
This week's featured hand is board 8 – see below.
Hand of the week 10 January 2018

The ball's in your court

A pretty simple question for you, sitting East with this hand. What do you bid now?

Before you answer, let's go back a bit. What are your thoughts when partner opens 1♠? Mine would be something like this:

I've got a 15-count, so we're obviously going to be in game. My partner, however, doesn't yet know this, so it's up to me not to allow the bidding to lapse into a part-score! And if partner's got a big hand, we could well end up in a slam. Meanwhile, I'll show my clubs and see what she says next.

And what she said next was 2. Which brings us back to the original question: what's your next bid? When you've decided, read on.

The 'wrongest' thing you could have said is 2NT. Why? Three reasons: it shows 10-11 points (an Ace less than you actually hold); it can be passed (with disastrous results); and worst of all, it passes the buck unfairly to your partner. You're the one who knows that game is on. It's up to you to take the initiative: if partner decides to pass, it'll be your fault, not hers.

What was right about 2NT was the NT bit. You have only two cards in each of partner's suits, so no trumps is clearly the place to look. But as you noted at the beginning, you have the points for game. So bid it: 3NT. Told you it was simple. Couple of further points:

  • 'Suppose we've got a slam on. Aren't we going to miss it if I sign off in 3NT?' No. You've done your bit, and any further development is now a ball in your partner's court. If she's stronger than she's announced so far, she's free to bid on.
  • 'Isn't this a good situation to do fourth suit forcing? That forces partner to bid again, doesn't it?' Um, yes it does ... but you use FSF to ask for more information when you're unsure what to do next. For example, if you have 3 hearts and want to know if partner has 5. Or if you need a diamond stop for no trumps. Neither of these applies here. You're the one with the diamond stops, so you already know the best contract. So bid it. Using FSF is just another way of passing the buck.

The play

Have a look at the whole deal. What's South going to lead? That's right: the K. Top of a (broken, in this case) sequence. Note that leading a small diamond gives a trick away. 

And everything's exactly right for declarer. You cash your ♠K, then successfully finesse the ♠J, then the ♠Q obligingly drops under your Ace and you have 5 spade tricks, three hearts, two clubs and one diamond for 11 tricks. Yes, I know it says the slam is on, but that's only because you can finesse dummy's 10 for a cheeky 12th trick. Not a slam you should be bidding.

​​In Box & Bath

Everyone in Box reached 3NT, but two declarers made only 8 tricks – not sure how that happened. If you start by attacking the spades (to set up the tricks you need) while you're still protected in the other suits, you're home and dry. One declarer made just 9 tricks, and the other made 12!

In Bath, 12 of the 13 tables were in 3NT, almost all by East, and declarers made 10, 11, 12 or in one case 13 tricks. Guess what South's opening lead was at that table? You've got it: a small diamond, instead of the K. Sigh.

Hand of the week 20 December 2017

Exchanging Xmas presents

Not very Christmassy of EW to cheat you out of whatever game you should be in, but that's what they've done. You double East's opening 3♠ (hoping that partner won't bid clubs) and West, bidding 'to the level of the fit' raises to 4♠ and it's simply too risky for you to start looking for a fit at the 5-level. Still, at least your partner's doubled them for penalties. Let's see how many we can get them off ...

First a couple of holiday defence revision questions:

  • On partner's lead you encourage or discourage. How's it done?
  • What do you lead (a) from a sequence of honours? (b) from a single honour? (c) from a rubbish doubleton? (d) from a rubbish tripleton?

Answers:

  • Play a high card to encourage continuation of the suit and a low card to suggest a switch to another suit. (HELD = high encouraging low discouraging)
  • You lead (a) top of an honour sequence (b) the lowest card you have with a single honour (eg 2 from Q92) (c) high, then low (e.g. 7 then 3 from 73) (d) MUD – middle-up-down – e.g. 5 than 8 then 2 from 852

The reason for all this, of course, is to allow defenders to talk to each other and give each other early Christmas presents. And it works a treat on this hand. How does it go?

  • South starts with her A (probably promising the K too). That means she can have a quick look at dummy while she still has the lead – and she can also see whether her partner likes that suit or not.
  • Everyone follows, North playing the 2. What does this mean?
  • It means she isn't interested in diamonds and would like you to switch (she doubled 4♠, don't forget, so she's got something worth having). But switch to what?
  • Well, trumps are a waste of time and hearts don't look great – if you lead your A, dummy's K will be worth a trick. So presumably she'd like a club. You hold ♣54. Which club do you lead?
  • Yes. Lead the ♣5. Partner wins with her ♣K and continues with the ♣A, on which you throw the ♣4. And your high-low signal tells her that you don't have the ♣Q (which declarer therefore must have) so she leads a third club and you RUFF it with your ♠K.
  • Going well, isn't it? Time to cash your A for two down. Then you might as well try your K, but declarer ruffs that and takes all the rest of the tricks.

And that's about as good as it gets: you give partner the present of a club lead and she gives you back the present of a club ruff. Happy Christmas.

What happens if you don't notice partner's signal at trick 1 and continue with a second diamond? Declarer ruffs and leads a spade, catching your ♠K, and you can say goodbye to your club ruff. Now she's only going one off, for -100 instead of -300. Bah humbug!

​​In Box & Bath

As I said at the start, it's never going to be a great result for NS, because EW have stopped them getting to game by great pre-empting. 5 (worth +400) is the place to be, of course, losing just one heart and one spade.

In Box, just one pair reached 5 (well done) and somehow managed 12 tricks! The others were all in 4♠ (which should always be doubled!), but in all but one case (sorry, Helen and Ainsley) managed 9 tricks. Defenders please take note!

In Bath, people were all over the place: mostly in diamonds but by no means all in game. Just two pairs were in 4♠: neither was doubled and both were allowed to make 9 tricks. Too cheap a sacrifice!

See you in January.

   The previous featured hand –  What's in a lead? – is now on the Declarer play (in a suit) Improvers' Page.   
Click for the latest results
Starting on January 8th 2018 ...
Starting on January 8th 2018 ...

another weekly session of Assisted Play, with Chris, Trevor and Christine

Monday evenings, 7.00 till 9.30 at Bath Bridge Club, Monkton Combe

The format will be similar to that here at Box: 14 boards played as duplicate pairs with assistance on hand from an experienced teacher. All welcome.

Cost: £5 per person, including coffee/tea and biscuits


Click here to be taken to the Bath Bridge Club website.

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 10th Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 3rd Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 20th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 13th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 6th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 29th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Fri 24th Nov 2017
Box BC Farewell
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Calendar
Wed 17th Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 24th Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Click for the latest results
Starting on January 8th 2018 ...
Starting on January 8th 2018 ...

another weekly session of Assisted Play, with Chris, Trevor and Christine

Monday evenings, 7.00 till 9.30 at Bath Bridge Club, Monkton Combe

The format will be similar to that here at Box: 14 boards played as duplicate pairs with assistance on hand from an experienced teacher. All welcome.

Cost: £5 per person, including coffee/tea and biscuits


Click here to be taken to the Bath Bridge Club website.

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 10th Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 3rd Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 20th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 13th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 6th Dec 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 29th Nov 2017
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Fri 24th Nov 2017
Box BC Farewell
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Calendar
Wed 17th Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 24th Jan 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris