Oxford University Alumni Bridge Association Spade Heart  Diamond Club
Oxford University Alumni Bridge Association

The Assocation is keen to communicate with its members by email.  This saves on postage, and avoids the risk of delays. 

If members change their email address, please inform the Membership Secretary Phil Meats.

Recent Updates
Home Page
16th Jul 2016 10:21 BST
Pages viewed in 2016
Can you play for OUABA teams?

See item in News and Matches section

2012 AGM Minutes
The draft minutes are now available.
House of Lords match 29th June 2016
House of Lords match 29th June 2016

The annual match against the Lords was played once again at the House.  We enjoyed a friendly welcome, a brief tour including a visit to the terrace, and then tea.

Afterwards we moved to one of the committee rooms to play.  There was wine at half-time.  The Lords said if we were doing well we should have more wine to even things up.  It made no difference, we scored 52 IMPs in each half.  The match was very friendly and good-spirited, and the Lords were keen to repeat the invitation to play next year.

Well done team : Jon Wittmann & Sandra Nicholson;  Nathan Piper & Chris Frost;  Denis & Kath Talbot;  Phil Meats & Gary Stevens.

Nathan Piper kindly wrote up a few hands, see below.

House of Lords match analysis by Nathan Piper

In our mini-match both tables found the decent heart slam on board 7. 





Kxx       Qxxxx

Qxx      x

xx         xxx

Kxxxx   Jxx






Our auction was somewhat crude but got the job done:

1H  2D

2H  6H

At one table a diamond was led, which didn’t challenge declarer. It’s so often right to attack slams – especially confidently bid ones, so the other leader correctly diagnosed to lead away from a K and selected a low C. What should declarer do? If the trumps are behaving then the play in clubs is immaterial so declarer has to cater for a trump loser. Rise with the A now and you’ll be playing for the long heart hand to have 3 diamonds. Worse than 50%. Declarer instead ran the club round for a flat board. This play was well over 50% given that not many people lead from Js against slams. The contract is off on a spade lead – but is that a better lead? In my view yes as to set up a trick you need not only to find partner with the Q but also to lead a suit where neither opponent has a singleton. This is more likely to be the case if you lead your shorter suit.



It’s rare that a hand starts in such a revealing way as board 11 did:





Q                 876x

xx                AKxxx

Jxxxx           Kxx

JTxxx           K





At our table the auction went 

1C  (1H) 1S  (p)

2S   (p)   4S

My partner’s excellent 2S bid made life easy for me. This would be the best bid even without the intervention, but over the 1H overcall my failure to double marked me with 5 spades.

The defence started with K, A and another heart. I pitched a small club hoping to be able to ruff the KC out later. LHO ruffed and played the JC back. I played low and the KC popped up. So at that point I knew the shape of the hands and the location of all significant cards. I could afford to play the KS just in case someone was having me on, but then the way home was clear: QH, AD, club ruff, diamond ruff, club ruff, diamond ruff, high trumps. 





I spent most of the evening admiring my partner’s declarer play, but here he is in action in defence on board 21:





xxxx            Qx

ATx              xxx

xxx              xxxx

QT9             KJxx





Playing a strong NT, NS bid like this:

1H   1S

1N   3N

Consider what happens on the normal looking lead of the TC. Declarer ducks twice and wins the 3rd round after which the club position is known whichever club East retains. Declarer could hope for either major to play for no loser but the more likely route home is to find the AH in the short club hand. Therefore declarer will plan to keep East off lead and give up a trick in each major to West. The avoidance play of cashing the top 2 spades will then yield an overtrick.


My partner however made the brilliant lead of the QC, creating the illusion that he held the J. I was happy to play along with this ruse by withholding my J on the first 3 rounds. Now declarer thought that it was me to whom she could afford to lose a spade trick, so she finessed and was a cruel one off.


Can anything be done? Since declarer is playing East for the AH anyway it’s safe to attack hearts first (as East can’t establish a 4th H trick as West would have been able to were it the other way round). If West surprisingly wins the AH and fails to cash a club then the jig will be up – and furthermore the 33 heart break will remove all need for a spade finesse.

Match against O&C Club 17 Nov 2015
Match against O&C Club 17 Nov 2015

Bad weather almost derailed this match, but in the end everyone arrived.  The delayed start meant we could introduce ourselves and enjoy the setting.  We played as two teams of four to speed up the scoring up.  The match may have turned on a couple of boards, but we can put some of it down to unexpected distributions, such as making 6 Spades  with 18 HCPs.  The overall result was a win by 20 IMPs.  Hand layouts are here (click).

Well done, team:

  Richard Wharton & David Morris

  Chris Dunabin & Su Kong Lo

  Nick McCarthy & Jonathan Wittmann

  Nathan Piper & Mark Stickings


Mark wrote this report:

The Oxford Alumni repeated their victory of last year against the Oxford and Cambridge Club on Wednesday 18th November, this time by 20 imps.  The O&C were once again excellent hosts, and a pleasant time was had by all.  As always at teams it was the game and slam hands which provided most of the swings and talking points.

Hand 1 is not easy to bid for N-S.  At one table the O&C North opened a strong NT and South transferred into 4H, which went off on a high diamond lead, when trumps broke 4-2 with the King wrong.  At another table the Alumni North opened 1S and N-S bid up to 6C, which made when West not surprisingly failed to find the spade lead, and South was able to discard three spades from dummy on the hearts.

Ah, the opening lead.  On Hand 12 N-S have an easy 5H, but E-W made 12 tricks in spades at some tables.  Would you lead a diamond as South?  There were some big swings on that one.  On Hand 18 game in hearts or spades was normal for E-W, but one Alumni pair tried their luck in 6S, after the opponents pre-empted in clubs.  A club lead looks normal and makes things tricky, but North led a diamond.  Declarer ran this to the King, drew trumps and then played a heart to the Ace, with a pleasing result.

Hand 13 was bid to 6S at two tables, but neither declarer managed to bring the slam home.  On the QH lead, if you ruff clubs in dummy and then take the diamond finesse, a heart return means you lack the entries to get the losing heart away.  If you don’t draw trumps you run into a heart ruff.  The winning line is to draw three rounds of trumps, try the diamond finesse, and when it doesn’t work take the club finesse, which does.

Hand 21 was remarkable in that at one table the Alumni made 4S doubled with an overtrick, while at another table it was passed out!  Can you think of players who would have opened all four hands? 

Finally a hand which shows that part scores can be useful too.  On Hand 23 one Alumni East opened a weak 1NT and, via minor suit transfers, E-W were able to play in 3C for +110.  Opening 1H worked less well for the O&C – the solid 1NT was missed and 2H went three off for 9 imps to the Alumni.

House of Lords match 2015
  • On the terrace
  • OUABA team in the Committee Room
  • OUABA team ouside the Houses of Parliament

The match against the House of Lords on 8th July had already been postponed because of the general election, so we did not want to postpone again because of the Tube strike.  In the end we all arrived (and got home) on time.

The match was very friendly, and the winning margin huge, 102 IMPs.  Hand 10 caused excitement, with South having a 9-card diamond suit, hand-shuffled, too.  Lord Skelmersdale as East found their spade fit when he opened spades with a longer side suit.  When South inevitably bid 5 diamonds, they got to the spade slam, and made. Others were in minor suit slams going down.


Match against Oxford Bridge Club 2015

On Saturday 14th March we played a very friendly teams of 8 match against Oxford Bridge Club, hosted by Chris Dawe.  There was a splendid interval tea, and after 32 boards we prevailed by 23 IMPs.

Over half of that came on Hand 5.  What would you bid?  As it lies, 7N is cold, but that relies on less likely breaks.  6 Clubs is attractive, but fails if trumps split unevenly, whereas 6 Diamonds can cope with it.  Two pairs bid 3NT, and one bid 6 Clubs. We were lucky when opps opened 1 Club and missed game.

The team was :

Marion Hebblethwaite and John Salter

Andrew Clarke and SuKong Lo

Dave Thompson and Cynthia Murday

Gary Stevens and Phil Meats

If you are interested in playing team matches for OUABA, please let Phil Meats have your details.


Match against Oxford&Cambridge Club 15th October 2014

Report of Oxford Alumni v Oxford and Cambridge Club, Wednesday 15th October 2014

The 8-a-side match against the O&C Club on 15th October 2014 resulted in a win for the OUABA by 36 imps.  The team was

Steve Noble & Robert Procter 
John Slater & Helen Smith
David Morris & Richard Wharton
Mark Stickings & Nathan Piper.
The O&C were once again excellent hosts and an enjoyable time was had by all.  A couple of hands which contributed to the OUABA victory:

(hand 18 from sheet)

Normal bidding leads to 4S, probably by North unless a transfer sequence is used. The 5-0 break and diamond position makes this easily beatable, though the defence have to take their diamond tricks early.  At one table after the OUABA North signed off in 4S it went pass – pass – double: Tiger Bridge by the O&C West and he may well have been right, as South started with 1D and a diamond lead was now likely.  Our North however took the view that, with at least 29 points between the hands (South had shown 15-16) and a probable 5-0 trump break, 4NT might be safer.  This turned out to be a good view: If West leads a diamond, that’s the 10th trick, as South will get the clubs right when West shows out of spades.  In fact West led a club, and South made the good play of a small spade away from the AK, setting up a 3rd trick whoever has the 5-card spade holding.  If East rises with the Q and plays a diamond, the blocked position assures 10 tricks.  In fact East ducked and South ran for home.

((hand 4 from sheet)

At one table the O&C bid this 2H – 3NT, though 4H might have been safer.  South’s spade lead went to 10 and Queen, and when declarer took the heart finesse, the OUABA North ducked, despite having only two.  Sure enough declarer returned to a top club, took another finesse and now dummy was dead.  South’s careful defence then led to two down.  At another table the play went differently early on and declarer needed only two heart tricks.  So when the O&C North ducked with K10, our declarer played the Ace on the second round with a pleasing result!

Mark Stickings 18/10/2014

2014 Congress
  • 2014 Exec
  • 2014 Exec 2
  • Worcester Congress 2014 Cup Winners
  • Worcester Congress 2014 1 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 10 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 11 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 12 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 2 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 20 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 3 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 4 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 5 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 6 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 7 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 8 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 9 of 20
  • Worcester Congress 2014 Cup
  • Worcester Congress 2014 Pairs winners
  • Worcester Congress 2014 Teams Winners
Match against Cambridge Alumni 2014

The 16-a-side match against Cambridge Bridge Circle will take place at the Oxford & Cambridge Club on Saturday 11th October.  A strong field are playing, and we hope to reverse the results of the previous few occasions.

Are you interested in playing in matches for the OUABA?  If so, please see the section in News&Matches and email the Match Secretary, Phil Meats, with your contact details, and your level.

2014 AGM

Please note the time of the AGM will be 16.45 - 17.30pm on Friday 12th September, in the Linbury Room, Worcester.

Matches Report 2014

OUABA matches report 2014

OUABA has played matches this year against the Oxford and Cambridge club losing by one Imp, Oxford Bridge Club winning by 31 and the House of Lords winning by 32.

There are matches against the O&C club and against Cambridge University alumni next month. We will have played 38 members in those five matches out of 63 who have expressed at least a mild interest in playing for teams.

If you are interested in playing matches, or you know of anyone who is, then please let me have details.

Phil Meats

Match Secretary

6 Sep 2014

Annual Weekend Congress

The annual weekend congress in Oxford now regularly attracts around 40 alumni with new players joining each year, partly as a result of learning about our activities from this website.  Participants range from club to international players;  but whatever standard or ability, everyone is extremely welcome and the atmosphere is always friendly whilst at the same time competitive. The format of each congress often varies slightly from year to year.  In 2014 we shall once again be meeting at Worcester College on 12-14 September.  The Application Form can be opened by clicking the links on the left. To see the accommodation, please take a look at the College website, which can be found through the Useful Links option on the left of this page.

A new addition for 2014 will be Painting and Drawing workshops led by Judy Meats, for non-bridge-playing participants.   More details in the Information and Application form.

House of Lords match April 2014
House of Lords match April 2014

The House of Lords welcomed the OUABA team to a friendly match, preceded by tea.  We were trailing by 14 imps at half-time, but rallied to win by 32 imps.  Two game contracts required dropping singleton Kings, which was unexpected, but then it is the same for both sides. The team was Peter Lee and Malcolm McIvor, Robert Sheehan and John Ockenden, Andrew and Dinah Lintott, and Phil Meats and Andrew Clarke.  Our thanks to Baroness Henig.

Sunny afternoon for match against OBC 22 March 2014
  • Club/OBC March 2014
  • OBC post match celebrations

The match against Oxford Bridge Club was a friendly and pleasant afternoon, with the sun shining.  The alumni were trailing by 15 imps at half-time, but, fortified by an excellent tea, rallied to win by 31 imps.

2013 Match v Oxford & Cambridge

Thanks to everyone for taking part in an exceedingly close match.  The Oxford & Cambridge emerged with just 1 imp more. So any one hand could be held to be the key turning point, even a single overtrick could have counted, ah well.

The two teams then mingled and enjoyed lively and friendly conversation over a superb supper, and continued in the bar afterwards.

2013 Congress
  • 2013 Alumni Cup Talking Tactics
  • 2013 Alumni Cup Winners Gary Stevens Phil Meats
  • 2013 Association Dinner long view
  • 2013 Teams Winners
  • 2013 Worcester Pairs Winners Catherine RiceEvans Rex Goad 3
  • Club/2013 Association Dinner
  • Rob Dixon presents Alumni Cup 2013 to Phil Meats and Gary Stevens
  • Worcester College Gardens 2013 by Judy Meats

The annual Congress was held at Worcester College on 6-8 September.  This was an excellent event, with feedback such as 'most enjoyable congress yet', and 'food better than top-class London restaurants'.  We had a full programme of friendly and relaxed duplicate pairs and teams bridge in the splendid setting of one of Oxford's hidden gems.  The Linbury Room was peaceful, spacious and light, with views over extensive College gardens.  

The Alumni Cup (Saturday afternoon and evening) was won by Gary Stevens and Phil Meats. 

The  Worcester Pairs (Friday evening and Sunday morning) was won by Catherine Rice-Evans and Rex Goad.

The Saturday morning Teams was won by Tony McWalter and Dave Walker with Nick McCarthy and Jon Wittmann.

Congratulations to them all.

ABC or Alumni Bridge Cuppers

      Alumni Bridge Cuppers Event     

 The inaugural Teams of 4 Bridge Event took place at The Mitre (in The High) on  Saturday 20th April.  Seven teams represented rather more Colleges, and included guests from the fens.  The  match was played in two halves of 18 boards, either side of an excellent lunch.  There was one appeal, of coffee-housing, which was appropriate since we were in a  splendid coffee-house.  

Congratulations to the winners, Eric Wood & Peter Finbow and Tony Whateley & Robert Bush.

  • ABC 2013 Fens team
  • ABC 2013 players postmortem
  • ABC 2013 players postmortem
Match against House of Lords
Match against House of Lords

This match was played at the House of Lords on Wednesday, 21stNovember, 2012 and resulted in a narrow win for OUABA by 25 Imps, revenge for defeat the previous year.

Our team consisted of Malcolm McIvor and Ewen Moir, Rex Goad and Phil Meats, Ian Budden and Janet Leach, and Nick McCarthy and Jon Wittmann. The game was preceded by an excellent tea (see picture) and was interrupted on three occasions by the division bell, but was played in a pleasant friendly atmosphere which all present very much enjoyed. We are grateful especially to Lady Henig who made all the arrangements.

Ewen Moir

Match v Cambridge Alumni 2012

The 16 aside 32 board match was played using a movement devised by Ivor Jones of Cambridge which allowed 'teams of four', ie two pairs, to play four x four-board matches in each half. The Oxford players were allowed to be stationary through the first half - as John Newman, the Cambridge director of the match, was 'not sure if Oxford travelled well'.

The first half was quite even with only three strong results - two to Cambridge and one to Oxford - so that at half-way Cambridge led by just 2 IMPs. However, after a splendid tea, courtesy of Oxford's previously long-standing Treasurer, RichardWhittington, and his wife Dorothy, it was all to play for!   It continued neck and neck, apart from a few bad hands, and Cambridge wonby 57 IMPS.

The match was played in very good spirit.  Both captains, Steve Burton for Cambridge and John Deech for Oxford, thanked the Oxford City Bridge Club for the use of their club and the good competition.

The Oxford team was:

Chris Cooper and SusanStockdale
David Ewart and Sarah Dunn
Roy Smith and Nick Smith
Karen Pryor and MalcolmPryor
Sandra Landy and Richard Newton
John Deech and JohnGreenhalgh
Rob Procter and Steven Noble
Diana Lintott and AndrewLintott
(Ewen Moir and Malcolm McIvor played the first two boards to cover for a late arrival.)
What would you bid?

This came up at Teams scoring.  What would you bid as South?

Decide on your bid before revealing the other hands.  For the outcome click here.

This was the score sheet:

P-1-P, and P-1-1-2-2 led to EW  finding comfortable game, even slam, in the minors.

P-1-1-2-4 All Pass.  EW are unsure, and pass out.  One EW found 3N, which was unwise at Teams scoring.

It pays to bid your hand boldly, to your limit (5 with partner + your 5 cards =10 tricks), and do not bid again. 

                   NS       EW         NS IMPs        EW  IMPs

3N W -1        100                       10.9

4 N -1                   50                8.8

4 W +2               170                6.8

3 E +4                 190                6.4

5 W +1               620                                 1.8

5 W +1               620                                 1.8

5 E +1                 620                                 1.8

5 E +2                 620                                 2.3

6 W =                1370                               12.4

6 E +1               1390                               12.8

Who are we? Our History
Who are we?  Our History

The Oxford University Alumni Bridge Association took root early in 1997, leading to an annual September weekend congress at Wadham College and the introduction of team matches during the year.  As affiliates of the Oxford University Society (OUS) our events are publicised in Oxford Today.  For more information about OUS visit www.alumni.ox.ac.uk.

At the weekend congress we hold duplicate pairs competitions, our major event being for the Alumni Cup, and also teams of four and Chicago.  We also make time for a short and instructive bridge seminar, conducted by one of our leading players.  All alumni and current students, whatever their experience or standard, are welcome, and we are happy to accommodate those who can participate in only part of the weekend.   

During the year, we enjoy matches with teams of four or eight against the House of Lords, our Light Blue counterparts and the Oxford & Cambridge Club, and we are continually seeking to widen our scope in this direction. We welcome new ideas, new matches and new members. 

If you would like to join OUABA there is a once-only Life Membership of £10 per person or £15 per married couple. New Members should send an e-mail to the Membership Secretary, Phil Meats at philipmeats@btinternet.com, giving their e-mail and postal address, who will give instructions as to how payment can be made.

For further details contact our Treasurer, Rex Goad at rjg1141@gmail.com

Click for the latest results
2014 Congress and AGM

There was a good turnout for the AGM at the 2014 Congress.  Click the link for the minutes. 

Alumni Cup Winners

The winners of the 2014 Alumni Cup are:-

Michael Kaye & Geoffrey Lloyd

Click here to view the Alumni Cup Winners since its inception in 1997

Match v Cambridge

The next match against Cambridge Alumni is on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the O&C.  We have a strong team, and are hoping to reverse the outcome last time. 

The Birth of the OUABA

Click Here to read about the birth of the Alumni Bridge Association

Click for the latest results
2014 Congress and AGM

There was a good turnout for the AGM at the 2014 Congress.  Click the link for the minutes. 

Alumni Cup Winners

The winners of the 2014 Alumni Cup are:-

Michael Kaye & Geoffrey Lloyd

Click here to view the Alumni Cup Winners since its inception in 1997

Match v Cambridge

The next match against Cambridge Alumni is on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the O&C.  We have a strong team, and are hoping to reverse the outcome last time. 

The Birth of the OUABA

Click Here to read about the birth of the Alumni Bridge Association