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  Scoring - in bigger print

If you are fed up trying to read the small print when scoring click here to download 2 A4 pages and keep those magnifying glasses in your pocket


Last updated : 21st Apr 2014 11:18 BST
  What is your target bid?

2.         What is your target bid?

For every hand you play here is what your target should be:-

a)         An eight card or better fit in hearts or spades

b)         A No Trump contract

c)         A minor suit contract

Remember the value of Game in each of the above and the number of tricks required.

a)         Major suit contract (H/S)      10 tricks     420 points

b)         No Trump contract                 9 tricks    400 points

c)         Minor suit contract (C/D)      11 tricks    400 points

Although you need to get one more trick for a major suit contract than you do for a no trump contract it is a better option if you have a 4-4 fit.

If you have a fit in a minor suit you should still consider whether a no trump contract is achievable and aim for that instead.


Last updated : 10th Sep 2014 00:14 BST
  Staymen not just for majors

Staymen is not just to find majors

1NT – 2C normally means 11+ points and seeking a fit in a major suit. However Stayman can be used when you are weak and have a six card suit in Clubs. The bidding below is assuming the opposition do not bid or overcall

1NT – 2C    Opener, expecting a normal Staymen will respond 2D, 2H, or 2S. You simply reply 3C

If you are using Transfers then 2D is asking partner to respond 2H. What if you have 6 diamonds and think the game should be played in diamonds? You can use Staymen again as follows.

1NT – 2C. Partner will respond either 2D, 2H or 2S.  If she bids 2D, then you just Pass. If she bids 2H or 2S then you simply bid 3D.

 It would be important to have discussed this with partner before you use it!

Last updated : 17th Oct 2014 00:59 BST
  Does repeating a suit imply 5 or 6 cards in the suit?

The short answer is that it should imply 6 in 90% of cases.


 1S – 2H – 2S implies 6 spades. Similarly 1H – 1S – 2H should imply 6 hearts. I struggled with different opinions until I read Tip 35 in an excellent book Improve your Bridge Game by Andrew Robson.

He lists the shapes where the longest suit has five cards. They are 5330, 5521, 5440, 5431 and 5332. If it is one of the first four you should rebid the suit that has four cards (showing 5 in the first suit bid). If you have 5332, this is balanced and should be bid as NT or if more than 14 HCP then 1 of a suit followed by a rebid of NT.

What about the other 10%? 

Suppose you have 5 spades and 4 diamonds. If the bidding goes 1S – 2C you may happily respond 2D but if partner comes back 2D then 2S may be better than 3D.

Last updated : 27th Oct 2014 16:18 GMT
  When to open I NT

When you have a balanced hand and between 12 and 14 high card points (inclusive).

For the purpose of this tip I am assuming that we are playing weak no trumps.

The first question is what is a balanced hand?

Answer:            A hand containing no singleton or void and at most one doubleton. Only three patterns are defined as balanced, 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 and 5-3-3-2.


The second question is what should I do if I have 5-3-3-2 and the 5 is in a major suit (Hearts/Spades)?

Answer             It depends. Most advice is not to treat it as balanced for the purpose of bidding. My favourite Bridge author (Paul Mendelson) suggests that if the quality of the major is really poor then you should open 1 NT (HCP = 12-14).

Below are two examples

a)         Spades            98432              b)         Spades             AKJ74

            Hearts              KQ3                             Hearts              52

            Clubs                QJ3                             Clubs                843

            Diamonds          AJ                               Diamonds          AJ6

The option for a) is to open 1 spade and rebid 2 spades but given the poor quality an opening of 1 NT would be justified.

In the case of b) an opening of 1 spade is preferable to 1 NT

Based on a suggestion in ‘The right way to play Bridge’ by Paul Mendelson


Last updated : 12th Nov 2014 10:38 GMT
  Tips for playing more successful Bridge
How to play for the most points (Duplicate Pairs)

These may seem obvious but just in case!!

1.          Bid for a contract if it seems achievable

If there is a contract available and you don’t go for it other pair(s) may get the contract and will score more points. If you get an extra trick, that is even better.

2.         If a contract is not available don’t stretch yourself

If your partner has bid two spades, for example, and you believe four spades is not achievable then do not bid three spades.  You get the same score for two spades plus one as for three spades. If you bid three and go down by one you give the score to your opponents.

3.         Improve your defence.

If you are defending against oppositions 3 NT contract they require nine tricks. Your target should be to get five tricks. If no other pair succeeds in defeating the contract, you may even get maximum points. If you are defending against a suit contract, your target is four tricks (or more).

Making the correct lead can be the difference between defeating a contract and allowing the opponents to win it.

A good example of the value of defeating opponents is Board 1 on 3rd Feb. Only one E/W pair managed to defeat N/S. This gave them maximum points of 14.


Last updated : 30th Nov 2015 15:11 GMT