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 18 July 9.20 for a 9.30 start.
Play & Learn Wed 11 July
My first session for a while, and very pleasant and relaxed it was too. What it was like for my unfortunate partner I can only speculate. Judith & Diane managed to find a safe path through most of today's minefield with 62.5%, followed by Jenny & Irene on 54%. There was a tie for 3rd place between Joy & Phyllis and Kate & Bernadette. 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 coming soon.
Hand of the week 04 July 2018

'Double dummy'

The all-knowing computer reckons that North can make this 4♠ contract against any defence, but nobody did, either in Box or Bath. Just for fun, I thought I'd offer it as a 'double dummy' problem, showing all four hands. East takes the first two tricks with her ♣A and ♣K, then continues with the ♣Q. Can you make 10 tricks? Have a go before reading on – it's not that hard!

You've already lost two tricks, so you can only afford to lose one more. Hearts and diamonds are no problem, so you must limit yourself to just ONE trump loser. Obviously you must ruff the ♣Q in dummy – but if you ruff low, West will overruff with the ♠9 and, still holding the ♠KJ, will eventually come to a 2nd trump trick for one down. You must therefore ruff high with your ♠Q. West can overruff with her ♠K, but now when you regain the lead in dummy (with the Q or A) you can lead a low trump and catch West's ♠J9 with your ♠A10. Ten tricks and contract made.

(What if West cunningly refuses to overruff? No problem: you lead a low trump, beating whatever West plays, then return to dummy and lead a second low trump. That will limit her to just one spade trick.)

But what about in real life?

Wouldn't we all do well if we could see all four hands? In real life, you're not very likely to ruff with the ♠Q. Instead, most players will ruff low, expecting to be overruffed, and hope to drop the remaining two trumps under the Ace. (That won't work if East is the one holding 2 trumps, but that's pretty unlikely: East, after all, started with 6 clubs, West with only one. So there are 12 'vacant places' in West's hand for spades to live, compared with only 7 in East's hand.) 

The odds are certainly in favour of a 2-1 split with West having two spades. Even taking the 'vacant spaces' into account, the chance that West has all three is just (I think!) 23%. Nevertheless, a super-thoughtful declarer might reason 'Well, if they're 2-1 I'm going to drop the remaining 2 trumps under my Ace anyway, so it won't hurt to ruff high, just in case West holds all three.' So far so good. But even then, she has to decide to take the trump finesse instead of playing for the drop if she's to make her contract.

In Box and Bath

In Box, the two pairs that got a club lead against their spade contract went one off. In Bath, all 6 pairs in spades got a club lead and all made just 9 tricks. 

Hand of the week 27 June 2018

Use the Rule of 20

It's your opening bid. You've got a weakish hand with 7 hearts. Do you open 1 or a weak 3? Or (as South, here) you have a weakish hand with 6 spades. Do you open 1♠ or a weak 2♠?

The important thing is not to deceive partner. If you open (say) 1 when you should be opening 3 partner will think you're stronger than you are and may put you into an unmakeable game. And if you open 2♠ when you should be opening 1♠ partner will think you're weaker than you are and you may miss a makeable game. You get the idea. So how do you decide?

I find the Rule of 20 is a useful guide: add your points to the number of cards in your two longest suits. If the total is 20 or more, you can open 1 of the suit. If not, you pass - or, with a 6- or 7-card suit, you can pre-empt. 

Sitting South on this deal, you have 10 points and 6 + 4 = 10 cards in your two longest suits. That's a total of 20, so you're fine to open 1♠. Holding 12 points, your partner responds at the 2-level and, discovering that you have 5+ spades, raises you to 3♠. With just 6 losers and a singleton Ace in the opponents' suit, you continue to game, which makes, even on the best opening lead of Q (have a look at the whole deal).

If you open 2♠, however, partner will place you with 5-9 points and decide from the outset that game isn't possible - and you'll miss it.

So although pre-emptive bids are designed to get in the face of the opposition, they also pass information to your partner - and if you pass the wrong information you're likely to end up in the wrong place. And the Rule of 20 is a simple-to-use tool that will help you get it right.

In Box and Bath

In Box, two pairs got to 4♠ and two didn't. Everyone made at least 10 tricks, though - two even wangling an 11th.  

In Bath, 6 out of the 10 pairs found 4♠. A few others stopped short, either in spades or clubs, and one tried their luck at doubling 4 by East, which only goes one off for -200 - not as good as 420 for 4♠ making.

Hand of the week 13 June 2018

Unlucky

This is just one of those deals. With 25 points between them, NS are going to end up in 4 or 3NT (if I'm sitting South I'm going to insist on 4 but some won't). Both of which go off. 

On the auction shown, East doesn't come in with 2♠, though she well might: her suit isn't very good, but she has opening points. Shouldn't affect the final contract, though, or the result.

So what happens? On the auction shown, East leads her ♠A and her partner encourages with the ♠6. Then the ♠K, with West completing the 'peter' with her ♠4, confirming a doubleton. Then a spade ruff by West, and with the trump Ace missing it's all over for declarer.

If East intervenes in the auction with 2♠, South will bid 4 and become declarer. West will lead her ♠6 (partner's suit) and the outcome will be the same: two spade tricks, a spade ruff and the trump Ace for EW.

And in 3NT? EW take the first two spade tricks, declarer taking the 3rd. And when East comes in with her A she cashes her two remaining spades for one off.   

So are NS wrong to bid game? Not a bit of it. With 25 points that's where you want to be. On another day, the spades will be 4-4 or 5-3 and North will have the doubleton and declarer will bring the contract home.

So no recriminations when you go off. It's just hard luck. Most of the time game will be on - and on those occasions you need to be in it. Remember that most of the other NS pairs in the room will be in it too. So when it makes, you'll get a respectable score. And when it doesn't, it's not disastrous as most other pairs will be going off too.

Let's see how it panned out in Box and Bath ...

 

In Box and Bath

Hmm. Two pairs stopped in 3, which makes. Lucky them! Should have been in game, though. On another day, a part score will look pretty manky compared with other NS pairs' 620 for game bid and made. The other two ended up in 3NT. One went one off (see the above defence) and the other was allowed to make (even though a spade was led). Which is another reason for bidding game - even if it's not on, you'll sometimes make it through a defensive error. 

In Bath, it was a bit different. Three pairs ended up in part scores, making (2NT, 2 x 3), but the other eight all bid to game, either 3NT or 4. All were kept to no more than 8 tricks in NT or 9 tricks in hearts (except for one pair who didn't bid to game!). Unlucky for them - but on another day it'll be another story.

   The previous featured hand – Split honours – is now on the Declarer play (in a suit) 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 Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 11th Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 4th Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 27th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 20th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 13th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 6th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Calendar
Wed 25th Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 1st Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 8th Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 15th Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 22nd Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 29th Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
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 Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 11th Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 4th Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 27th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 20th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 13th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trev
Scorer: Trevor
Wed 6th Jun 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor
Calendar
Wed 25th Jul 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 1st Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 8th Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 15th Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 22nd Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Chris
Scorer: Chris
Wed 29th Aug 2018
Play & Learn
Director: Trevor
Scorer: Trevor