Four teams, U26; U26 Women; U21; U16 qualified at the European Championships to represent England at the World Youth Teams Championships in Wujiang, China 8th to 18th August 2018!  Despite some excellent performances at times, all four England teams at the World Youth Team Championships in China have missed out on qualifying for the knockout stages.

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Bulletin Dec 1986


Not only am I back on the front page but I'm also making the same old plea; I need material for the Bulletin. This one is down to 8 pages; the next one might be a long time coming.

Martyn Harris has relinquished the job of League Secretary. He has seen the steady growth of the League competition and the vastly increased entry to the Staffs Cup. Thanks go to him for his years of service. Any volunteers to take on these tasks should contact Arthur Bloxham. Any queries concerning the League or Staffs. Cup to Arthur as well.

Congratulations to Tony Sowter on winning the Gold Cup ... again! Also to Ian Pendlebury, Dave Smith, Chris Barnard and Dave Patterson who won the Welsh Foursomes at Porthcawl.



Each Club in the County was invited to send a team to Alsager B.C. to contest this event, which was again sponsored by LAWTON TOOLS of Sandbach. Ten teams, of mixed abilities, turned up, with Alsager eventually winning by a margin of 3 Victory Points.

Alsager (C. Foster, J, Aspden, I. Pendlebury, D. Smith) 125
Stafford (A. Bloxham, R. Trounce, G. Davies, D. Downs) 122
Wolves (P. Cutler, D. Beavon, E. Hartland, M. Ballantine) 108
Shrewsbury (M. Mitchell, J. Mitchell, P. Brereton, B. Nicholls) 108
When asked for a hand the :winners came up with the following: Declarer giving his thoughts as the deal progressed
  W   E W N E S    
˜ AQxxxx 1H#1 1S#2 2S#3 P (1) Who wouldn't. (2) Funny, I was sure it would be partner bidding, spades. (3) I was right. (4) Can't do any harm. (5) What did I say? (6) 2 odd aces. (7) I know. I shouldn't have opened.
The king of diamonds is led and Declarer has his first sight of Dummy:
AQxxxx ˜ 3C#4 P 4NT#5 P
xx Ax 5NT#6 P 7C#7 end
Axxxx KQJxx        
  'Help'. Can I set up a major suit? On which major suit ace do I discard a diamond? Does it make any difference? I wish North was playing this; shall I have a round of trumps while I think about it a bit more? No, here we go, AS throwing a diamond, diamond ruff, AH pitching a spade and then cross-ruff the rest for 13 tricks. Just like an expert would do it. 2140 points in the bag ought to please our team-­mates. However, one of our team-mates is an expert and his only comment was "Silly contract". Not only that but we didn't need the points; I could have gone down and we would still have won the match 20 - 0 in V.P.'s.
Even so, a certain personal satisfaction was gained on hearing South, on the next table, explaining how 6C goes off, and, on seeing other score cards showing the major suit games suffering the bad trump breaks. That's the only reason we mugs play bridge, for these occasional moments of triumph. Bear with us please, you experts.
I take exception to this Declarer describing himself as a mug - I hold the copyright.


The classic shape for a take-out double is 4-4-4-1, singleton in the doubled suit. This shape also represents the classical redouble when partner has opened in the singleton (with the proviso that the strength is sufficient to enable partner to make his redoubled contract).
    NV versus V the bidding is:
AQ108 1H Dbl ?  
J You redouble, resisting the temptation to smile broadly.

Unfortunately this shape, strength and prevailing vulnerability rarely occurs; we have to make do with what we are dealt
    NV versus V the bidding is:
xx 1H Dbl Rdbl 1S
Ax P P ?  
The redouble is fair enough, balance of the points and can double either minor. But what now? Several questions come to mind at this point:
  • What does partner's pass mean?
  • If he had doubled what could we expect his hand to be like?
  • If he had bid what would we expect?
  • Is 2D forcing now?
  • If so, how far?

    The answers will be a blend of commonsense and style. I suggest the following as playable: If partner's one of a suit opening is doubled for take-out a redouble shows (a) no better than 3 card support for opener's suit.(I accept that there may be infrequent exceptions to this) and (b) a willingness to double for penalties, at a low level, at least two of the unbid suits. Notice that it is not necessary to stipulate a point count. After the redouble opener is expected to act as follows:

(a) Advancer has bid a suit (i.e. the take-out doubler's partner)

  1. Pass; has a reasonable opening bid but is unwilling to double that suit.
  2. Double; willing to defend.
  3. One Notrump; distributional opening bid with a long suit i.e. would normally rebid his suit but 1NT is cheaper and often safer.
  4. Rebid his suit; distributional opening with no wish to defend. But if he could have rebid 1NT it shows good playing values.
  5. New suit; distributional opening, usually 5-5, no wish to defend.
  6. Jump rebid his suit; 6+ card suit, good playing values, forcing.
  7. Jump rebid in a new suit; at least 5-5, good playing values, forcing.
  8. Pass, then pull partner's double, natural and invitational i.e. a hand which lies between a weak distributional opening and a strong one. Partner should bid on with a suitable hand or pass (or correct) with a minimum misfit.

(b) if advancer passes then pass shows a reasonable opening, willing to co-operate in defence. Otherwise opener bids as above.

Going back to the "What now?' problem. Partner has a hand with defensive potential but feels that his spade holding is insufficient to justify doubling. Game is not out of the question for our side but a partscore is more likely. Bid 2D, which is forcing to suit agreement, and if the hearts are rebid you can raise invitationally.

Some of the above is not in accord with traditional methods. That last statement is similar to the fine print to be found in certain hire purchase agreements.


The Gold Cup first round is on a Saturday and usually consists of a head-to-head match of 48 boards. I found two silly leads, three stupid bids and a terrible line of play to lose my team a mere 67 imps. So much for gold. On Sunday we tried the Silver Plate (this is another EBU team event, not a restaurant), and found ourselves in a three-some. This means you play two teams at once, 16 boards against each team, and the team that does worst is eliminated from the competition. My performance improved dramatically (how could it not?), and mediocrity coupled with teammates who can actually play this game gave us two wins and a ticket into the next round. Like all bridge players I fancy myself when it comes to slam bidding, and the following hand taxed my resources to the full:

        Captain Turf Muggins
AKJx Qxx 2D (Multi) 2H (not forcing)
AKxx QJxxx 4D (singleton C, 22+) ?
AKxx x    
x Qxxx    
As soon as C.T. opened 2D I knew he had a strong hand (if he had a weak two then I have a major suit singleton or void - no prizes for guessing which major he has). 2H gives him a chance to reveal his true colours, and 4D said he was good. I can bid 5C to ask for controls starting at 5, but a 7 control response (5S) still may leave us with two aces missing and beyond the optimum contract of 5H. So I try asking for aces with 4NT, intending to risk the slam if admits to three. Partner goes into a long trance - does he have so many aces he can't work out the response? Oops, it occurs to me that we agreed that 4NT is to play in this situation, let's hope he can't remember. He does.
I try to look like a man who was praying for his partner to pass, and for an opponent to lead a club; a spade is led so perhaps I succeeded. On the other table they play in 4 hearts so we lose an imp.
C.T. says, "If I've got 22 points and you have 5 points in my suits, we can't be missing two aces". Now I am a Muggins but I'm not thick, and after 24 hours of concentrated effort I knew he was right......I think.


Handicap Pairs     Mixed Pairs
1. B. Cooke, R. Perry     1. Jamieson, L Heydon
2. A. Bloxham, G. Davies     2. Mr. and Mrs. Elphick
3. Mr & Mrs Ewan     3. J. Eadon, E. Wood
Individual Pairs Restricted Pairs
1. J. Barratt 1. D Chalmers, I. Clarke 1. P. Caneri, P. Boston
2. P. Bradshaw 2. D Jamieson, J. Bradshaw      2. F. Shaw, W. Blakeman
3. L. Broomfield     3. R, Way, L. Bale
Teams of Four
1. M. Mitchell, I. Clarke, D. Skinner, J. Eaves
2. A. Bloxham, G. Davies, D. Downs, D. Sartain
3. R. Perry, B. Cooke, A. Mallett, R. Beech
Swiss Teams of Four
1. R. Perry, B. Cooke, M. Dash, A. Ballham
=2 A. Bloxham, G. Davies, D. Downs, R. Trounce
=2 M. Mitchell, I. Clarke, D. Skinner, J. Eaves
Shelley Teams of Four
1. I. Slater, A. Slater, D. Moir, L. Broomfield
2. A. Tabbernor, P. Tabbernor, G. Derry, E. Watterson
3. A. Bloxham, G. Davies, D. Downs, D. Sartain


This second challenge match took place on Sunday 27th July and Staffordshire were represented by: Bloxham/Davies; Ballantine/Hartland; Pendlebury/Smith; Goodwin/Martin.
Staffs. held. their own for the first three sets of ten boards, losing by a mere 6 imps at this point. Unfortunately the NWCBA pulled out all the stops in the last set, and helped by a few errors by the Staffs pairs, slaughtered us to the tune of 69 imps.

The following hand occurred in the second set.



Do you want to be in 7C? If so, how do you bid it, and having bid it how do you play it?

One of their pairs bid it and subsequently led the10 of hearts to the ace, back to the queen and finessed the 9 to bring it home.

Fortunately I was only in six and got a heart lead, of course








Home match played on Sunday, 15th June 1986. The First Team were represented by:
A. Bloxham R. Trounce Sta
D. Beavon P. Cutler Wol
D. Moir P. Brereton Wol/Shr
E. Hartland M. Ballantine Wol
    Won 10 - 8
The Second Team were represented by:
D. Davies J. Wellsbury Wol
G. Derry E. Watterson Cha
M. Swale H. Goodwin Ncl
R. Stubbs R. Martin Ncl
    Won 9 - 3


Individual. Ian Haston (for the second year)
Pairs. A.G. Allender and J. W. Everall
Teams of Four: F. Greasley, P. Kibby, F. Ford, R. Pheby
(the first named pair now have a hat trick in this event).


Barkins Trophy: 1. E. Gane 2. J. Saum 3. J. Perkins
Pidduck Cup: 1. J. Saum 2. R. Martin 3. F. Charles
Miller Cup: 1. F. Charles 2. B. Tams 3. V. Cope
Osbourne Cup: 1. J. Maddock =2. A. Robinson and D. Taylor


We have now found that the County Association was formed during the three months prior to April 30th 1946. So if we split the difference we can celebrate our 50th Anniversary on March 30th 1996.

Thought is action in rehearsal. (You thought you were going down and you were right).


                    North                                   Dealer South
                    x                         S   W   N   E  
                    Kxx                         Table 1  
West                                   East           3C   P   3H   P  
KQl0xx                         Axxx   4H   P   P   P  
x                         l0xx                  
KJ10x                         AQxxx                  
109x                         A   Table 2
                    South                                   P   P   3H   X  
                    x                         4H   4S   P   5S  
                    Jxx                         P   6S   P   P  
1. Love all the score and up to me as South,
"3C" comes, unwelcomed, from my mouth,
Is this pre-empt really in order?
Perhaps I shouldn't aughter.
5. On table 2, and I swear this is true,
North put up a barrage he was later to rue,
A take-out double set the ball rolling,
And South's raise left the auction growing.
2. "3H" replies Partner rather gleefully,
And I raise to 4H somewhat fearfully,
East raises his eyebrows but holds his peace,
E/W don't know it but they've just been fleeced.
6. 4S may be an underbid considered West,
And North figured a pass was best,
East fancied something and raised with a sigh,
Partner bid six is this pie in the sky?
3. The contract is there to be beaten by two,
Not easily seen, not easy to do,
Only double dummy defence is required,
Underleading aces is all that's desired.
7. 420 in one room, 980 in the other,
Gives 16 imps with little bother,
It comes as no surprise, these handsome swings,
'Cos bad bidding its own reward brings.
4. East didn't win any brilliancy prizes,
And his case will appear at the next assizes,
West muttered something about being witless,
And will appear in court as chief prosecution witness.


Boughey Trust Trophy (Pairs)   P. Baker and S. Hiscock
Adam Adams Trophy (Teams)   B. Burgess, G. Pugh, N. Simpson (Miss), S. Fenton
Ted Ashbee Trophy (Individual)   J. Lewis
Spring Open Swiss Teams
  1. P. Baker, S. Hiscock, C. Butler, A. Leech
  2. S. Davies, B. Davies, B. Simpson, N. Simpson (Mrs.)
  3. R. Martin, M. Swale, M. Jordan, H. Goodwin

THE NEWPORT AUTUMN SWISS TEAMS Held on Sunday 5th October at the Royal Victoria Hotel.

Result, V.P.


R. Martin, R. Stubbs, M. Swale, H. Goodwin



P. Brereton, K. Shuttleworth, J. Mitchell, M. Mitchell



P. Baker, S. Hiscock, A. Leech, C. Butler


The full quota. of 28 teams assembled to contest 5 eight board matches under the able and friendly Directorship of Neville Orford.

Our first match saw us drawn against one of the two other Newcastle teams present, and considering they knocked us out of the Staffs. Cup last year, we could only view the prospect with trepidation. However they do say that revenge is sweet..... 17 - 3 in V.P's.

The next match saw us chalking up a flat looking 3NT contract, but our partners got busy and made 2S doubled on the same board. The 15 imp gain helped us to win 19 - 1 in V.P.'s

Match 3 gave a newly promoted National Master a chance to exhibit his bidding flair.

xx   KQxx   2C 2D                 (2C = Benjaminised), (2D = Forced relay)
˜   Kxx   3D 3S                  
AQJ10xx   Kxxx   4C 5D                  
AKxxx   xx   6D P                  
I felt that this hand could produce an adverse swing, because our partners would be forced by system to open ID, and from this start it might be difficult to bid to slam. My pessimism was misplaced, our partners sailed into it too.

Another hand from this match produced an unusual swing:
  W     E                        
Jxx   xxx   N E S W              
AKJ10xxx   Qxxx   P P 1C 2H              
Ax   Jxxx   4H 5H 6C 6H end              
x   xx                        
My intermediate jump overcall elicited first, a splinter slam try and second, a forcing pass over my sacrifice from the NM. However South was aware of his partner's 'passed hand' status, and was unsure who was sacrificing against whom. Minus 200 looked good with 6C making, but an immediate jump to 4H over 1C on the other table bought the contract, and we lost an odd looking 3 imps. Our team-mates settled the match by bringing home a thin 4H which we beat by 2 tricks, giving us 12 - 8 in V.P.'s.

Austrian Princess had developed a migraine which was to last out the day; anyone who has suffered from this malady knows that all you want to do is to crawl away and die in some quiet spot. Playing bridge is the last thing you wish to be doing, but we have two more matches left to play Anyone watching the next match could be forgiven for believing it was me that was feeling ill. A simple, straightforward defence easily defeats a 4S contract but it was too complicated for me; 7 imps away and we lost 9 - 11 in V.P.'s.

The last match we needed to win big.

  N     S   N E S W       N E S W
AQxxx   KJ10xxx   1S 2H 4S 5H       1S 2H 3H P
x   ˜   Dbl P 5S end       4D P 6S end
Axxx   Kx                        
Axx   QJ109x                        
Our barrage tactics on table 1 pushed the enemy to the 5 level. A.P., the doyen of splinterers failed to do so (I told you she was ill!) and hence felt enjoined to catch up on the next round. Not exactly scientific but 13 imps in the bag nevertheless. We won 19 - 1, it was just enough.

PUNT OF THE YEAR by J. Brandon (or, Colonel Beasley Strikes Again)

Many years ago, much to the dismay of the top players at Stafford B.C., my partner and I adopted the Beasley system of bidding. Basically this was a strong NT, 5 card majors and, hence, short minor suit openings. Two bids were natural 5 card suits with 18-20 points and not forcing. Distributional points were added in with enthusiasm, usually in threes.

There were no forcing bids so you bid what you thought you could make as fast as possible - we certainly didn't miss many games when holding the required points. The drawback was that we could not wait to find the best fit and this led to the wrong game contract on occasion. However, it was difficult to defend against, opponents found it hard to intervene and little information was given by the bidding.

What reminded me of this system was a hand dealt at Newcastle B.C. recently. I was playing E/W and the dealer, North, had a few moments of thought and then opened the bidding with Seven Diamonds. My young partner's eyes opened in amazement - clearly he had never encountered the Colonel. "After three passes I led a heart from my Yarborough and Dummy want down with:


Why didn't you bid?" we asked Dummy, "You should make 16 tricks". Opener put his hand on the table, his hand was:

Colonel Beasley's count of the hand would be.
High card points 20
3 points for every card over 5 in the trump suit 9
6 points for a void 6
1 point for each working 10 2
  Total 37

With 37 points why not open with a Grand Slam and save all that hassle of bidding? The board was about average for us with, several pairs in 7NT; but I did hear of one player who opened with 6D and put his partner in such a quandary that he passed ....... Perhaps Colonel Beasley will live again!
Henry Mountifort Beasley (1875 - 1949), otherwise known as "Pops", was a leading bridge personality and bridge writer. He played in the 1930, Anglo-American match and won the Gold Cup in 1932. He was also co-founder and chairman of Crockfords, the famous LondonCard club


Young Cup (Pairs)   Glover Cup (Individual)   Vernon Cup
1. J. Mills I. Webb   1. A. Moss   1. R. Martin
2. D. Mills E. Gane   2. R. Martin   2. P. Leese
=3. M. Jordan R. Stubbs   3. R. Brough   3. J. Thompson
=3. J. Thompson J. Fletcher            
Grosvenor Cup (Multi-partner)
    Monday Prize
Open Result     Handicap Result     A. Moss
1. R. Martin     1. J. Maddock      
=2. E. Gane     2. D. Bell     Thursday Prize
=2. M. Swale     3. E. Brookes     R. Stubbs
Pivot Teams of Four
1. J. Day, E. Gane, J. Mills, D. Mills
2. P. Jones, A. Moss, D. Patterson, M. Harris
1. H. Goodwin, M. Swale, R. Stubbs, R. Martin
2. J. McKenna, J. Potter, J. Crockett, K. Holtom
N/C County Pairs Final   N/C County Pairs Series Winners
1. M. Swale, R. Stubbs   1. R. Martin, P. Leese
2. A. Poole, J. Aspden   2. M. Jordan, H. Goodwin
3. R. Martin, P. Leese   3. M. Swale, R. Stubbs

Home match played on Sunday 21st September 1986
The First Team were represented by:
D. Beavon P. Cutler Wol
M. Ballantine E. Hartland Wol
P. Brereton D. Moir Shr/Wol
G. Davies D. Downs Sta
    Won 7 - 5
The Second Team were represented by:
D. Davies P. Burton Wol
L. Kendall R. Turner Wol
M. Jordan A. Moss Ncl
H. Goodwin R. Martin Ncl
    Lost 9 - 3
Away match played on Sunday 28th September 1986
The First Team were represented by:
D. Beavon P. Cutler Wol
M. Ballantine E. Hartland Wol
I. Pendlebury J. Smith Als
R. Stubbs R. Martin Nc1
    Lost 12 - 0
The Second Team were represented by:
D. Davies J. Wellsbury Wol
R. Biddlecombe M. Boulton Tet
M. Jordan H. Goodwin Ncl
L. Tidey R. Talathi Ncl
    Lost 9 - 3
Home match played on Sunday 12th October 1986
The First Team were represented by:
A. Bloxham G. Davies Sta
D. Beavon P. Cutler Wol
M. Ballantine E. Hartland Wol
I. Pendlebury D. Smith Als
    Lost 9 - 3
The Second Team were represented by:
D. Davies J. Wellsbury Wol
R. Biddlecombe M. Boulton Tet
M. Swale H. Goodwin Ncl
R. Stubbs R. Martin Ncl
    Lost 9 - 3

This was one of the hands from the above match:

AJx   K9xxx As you can see 6D has chances on a non-club lead. Most were in 6S which is not so hot. We received the 10 of clubs lead (from Q10x) and to make the contract Declarer must run the jack of spades (through Qxx) to pin the doubleton 10. For some reason Captain Turf was not up to this ...
J   KQxxx
AKQJ10xx   x
xx   Ax

When, a man has reached a condition in which he believes that a thing must happen because he does not wish it, and that what he wished to happen cannot be, this is really the state called desperation. (I just knew there was a word for it).

Editor: Roy Martin 1, Baron St., Fenton, ST4 3PH. SOT 310495 (before 5.30 p.m.)