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Continuing education

We encourage everyone to continue improving by taking a few classes each year. Some of the schools we recommend are:

  • Barbara Seagram school of bridge
  • Enid Roitman bridge school
  • Hazel's bridge club
  • Josee Hammill's classes

Click here to get information on courses.

Hand of the week
About 'hand of the week'

The Hand of the Week is based on one of the hands from the Tuesday night game.

  • The dealer is indicated by the white lettering of the direction: e.g. "North"
  • A partnership is vulnerable if the background for their "direction" is red. Thus if both "East" and "West" have a red background then that pair is Vulnerable. Non-vulnerable pairs have a green background.

Contact us if you have any questions.

The ACBL web site also publishes a 'hand of the week.' Link: ACBL Hand of the Week

Using the trump suit for entry to Dummy, Part 2

The contract is 4 hearts by South and West leads the K of spades. You count 4 losers and take the Ace of spades on the 1st round. Is it possible to ruff any of the losers? No. So how can we rid our selves of at least 1 loser, enabling us to make our contract?  

Our only possible way to pitch 1 loser is to establish a winner in the dummy and the only possible suit is our 5 card diamond suit. In order to accomplish this feat we must ruff 3 diamonds (and must  have the diamond suit split 3-4 in our opponent's hands.)

Now remember we must enter the dummy at least 4 times to lead diamonds. Be very careful. You must use the diamond Ace to enter once and use your trump suit to enter the 3 additional times.

Play the diamond 9 from your hand and win with dummy's Ace, next lead a diamond from the dummy and ruff in your hand, (now if you ruffed with a low trump, you will not make your contract). You must ruff with a high trump and then lead a low trump and winning in the dummy. Repeat this play 2 more times and then pitch one of your losers on the 5th diamond. (Careful is as Careful does).

Using the trump suit for entry to Dummy, Part 1

The contract is 6 clubs by south. West leads the Q of spades.

We have 2 losers in our hand. We wish to pitch the 2 losers on the KQ of diamonds in dummy. If you blithely went ahead and drew trumps, the small slam would be unmakeable. You must find a way to enter dummy to play the KQ of diamonds. But how?




Can you gain entry through the spade or heart or diamond suits? No. How about the trump suit? Upon a closer look, we find that the 10 of trumps will prevent us from entering the dummy on the first round of trumps,but after the 10 has been played, then the remaining trump in dummy will allow us to enter dummy providing we have a lower trump in our hand.

So, our first play must be the diamond Ace, (unblocking the suit) and then the 2nd play is the club 5 and then covered with dummy's 7. If the opponents have not played the 10, you are now in dummy and will play your KQ of diamonds (pitching the 2 losers from your hand). But if the opponents have played the 10, then you will lose the first trick, and then when back on lead, you will play your club 8 from your hand and overtake with dummy's club 9. You are now in dummy, and able to pitch your losers on the diamond K&Q.

Note the importance of making your plan BEFORE you draw trumps.

Hideous Double Dummy problem

South must make 7 hearts when West leads the King of clubs.          This hand was presented to our Tuesday night players Oct 29 and a free play was offered for the first player to find the solution.

Sorry for causing everyone to lose their sleep over this difficult problem.
The key to making 7 hearts is a play named ‘The Dummy Reversal’. Normal Declarer play involves ruffing losers in the hand with the longest trump holding with trumps in the hand with the shorter trump length. Dummy reversal involves the opposite of this by ruffing losers with the hand that has the greater length in trumps. Confusing eh?
You probably tried cross-ruffing first but found West’s 4 trumps would eventually win a trick near the end. Then you tried to establish the club suit but ran into the problem with West’s trump holding again. Next you decided to try using the diamond suit as a source of tricks at the end after drawing trump but could not get to the diamonds in the Dummy because of the pesky Ace and King of diamonds. (you were able to pitch one of them, but not both).
The solution also involves eventually drawing 4 rounds of trump to deplete west’s heart holding.
The order in which you draw trump is critical.
So without further ado, I now offer you the answer.
Trick 1  club K, diamond 7, club A
Trick 2  heart 6, heart deuce, heart J (first draw of trumps)
Trick 3  spade 2, heart 7, spade 7 (first ruff by long trump hand)
Trick 4  heart 8, heart 3, heart Q  (second draw of trumps)
Trick 5  spade Q, heart 9, spade 8, (second ruff by long trump hand)
Trick 6  heart 10, heart 4, heart K, (third draw of trumps)
Trick 7  heart A, pitch diamond K, heart 5, (fourth and final draw of trumps)
Trick 8  spade A, pitch diamond A, spade 9,
Trick 9  now run the Q, J, 10, 9, and 8 of diamonds for 13 tricks.
Congratulations to Ravi Girdhar, Cindy Epp and Errol Wolff for the solving this difficult hand.
Ravi was first with the solution Oct 29, Tues 11:29 pm and wins a free play.
Thank you all for participating. (everyone can go to bed now). 
What could possibly go wrong?

South is in 4 spades and the king of hearts was led by west. After the Dummy came down, South counted his losers and determined that he had 1 club, 1 diamond and 1 heart loser. 4 spades looked like a lock and south proceeded to cover the heart king with dummy's ace where it was promptly ruffed by East. A diamond was returned and all of a sudden the contract was in jeopardy. Now in order to make 4 spades, he had to hope the diamond king was on side for a finesse or the club queen was on side for a finesse. Alas, it was not to be and the contract went down one. What happened? Well South was complacent and didn't review the auction. If he had, he would have realized that East was void in hearts and if allowed to get in lead with a ruff he would likely return a diamond, and possibly sinking the contract. He should have refused to play the ace on the first and second leads by West and then over-ruff East's ruff of Dummy's ace on West's third lead of hearts. This would keep East off the lead until South is able to clear the trump suit and then lead the jack of clubs toward Dummy for a finesse. When East wins the queen, she will return a diamond, but now south should refuse to finesse the queen and instead, go directly up with the ace. He now will play his club 10, then crossover to dummy's ace and discard his diamond queen on the king of clubs! The lesson here is to review the auction prior to making your plan. Your partner will greatly appreciate it.

Show strength of your hand via 'Slow or Fast Arrival'
As mentioned last week. The deal in question is #18 from June 18th, 2013. I am interested in knowing how you would bid this hand. 9 persons bid small slam, and all made a grand slam.   Is the grand slam biddable?
I too bid 6 spades, but walked away with 13 tricks.  What did I miss?      
Actually, you didn't miss anything. Bidding the small slam was just fine. You did very well on the hand,
winning 15 out of 19 matchpoints.
I see the auction going like this, E 2C, W 2D, E 2S, W 3S ( 3S is 'slow arrival' showing good support with extra values.
4S is 'fast arrival showing support and minimal values) E would then bid 4NT (if you use Roman Keycard Blackwood, you will eventually find that partner has 1 ace, the Q of trumps and the K of diamonds.) But there is no way to find if your partner has 4 trumps, which is the key to making a grand slam. So it will be best to sign off in 6 spades.
Response to 2 Club opener

Last night on Board #15, North opened with 2 Clubs (23 points).
South has 6 hearts but only 2 points.
Does South respond with 2 Diamonds, or with 2 Hearts?

The only time responder should bid 2H, 2S, 3C, or 3D is when he has 8 hcp minimum with a 5+ card suit and the 8 hcp should be in that suit.

Otherwise just bid 2D (waiting). Responder can tell opener about his hearts on his 2nd bid.

On hand 20 we discussed it and thought we might have reached 5 spades but not 6.  The actual bidding was as follows: North opened 1 club, south responded 1 spade, north bid 2 spades and south bid 4 spades.

If south had instead bid 4 NT (1430) North would have bid 5 clubs (1 or 4) and south would have bid 5 spades.

Not an easy one to bid to 6 spades.  In your auction, N should have bid 1NT instead of 2S.
Now S has a problem. S can’t bid 3S ( 3S is non-forcing),can’t bid 4S (not enough spades).
So S must introduce a new suit to keep the auction going. So S should bid 3H(forcing).
Now N will bid 3S (showing 3 spades). Now S should only bid 4S and N will pass.
6S only makes because spades split 2-2 and the K of clubs is on side for the finesse.
Takeout Double or Overcall?

Hi Wayne,

Can you advise on how North/South should bid Board 12 from last night:

West opened with a weak 2 Spade bid.

 Should North overcall with 3 Clubs (and then South respond with 3 Hearts)?
Or should North do a take-out double looking for South's longest suit?

Thanks for your input.

Normally we expect 4 of the other major when partner issues a TOD over a major suit.
(sometimes this isn’t possible though). So when I have a hand like N’s, I will always overcall my 5 card suit, instead of a TOD. Remember that partner should have a minimum 14 point hand to overcall a weak 2 bid. So S then should have bid 3H (showing 5+ hearts and forcing) and N will bid 4H. 
Bypass the diamond suit
- On Hand 23, the bidding went pass by S (me), pass by W, 1C by N, pass by E, 1D by S, 2C by N, down 4.  My partner said I should have bid one of my majors instead of the diamonds (I thought I was bidding up the ladder), although I don't see that the outcome would have been much different.
Regardless, instead of rebidding her clubs, maybe N should have bid 1N?
Thanks, Wayne.
Partner is correct about bidding your major first (and up the ladder). Remember that we are always looking for a major suit first, we are not interested in the minors yet until we know we do not have a major suit or NT contracts. If you look at the convention card section ‘Minor Opening’ you will see a checkbox for ‘Frequently bypass 4+ diamonds’. Check the box and that will help to remind you when reviewing your conventions prior to a game.
And you are correct in your statement that partner should have bid 1NT instead of 2C. Bidding 1NT limits the hand, denies 4 hearts and 4 spades and also denies 4 diamonds when you respond 1D.
Therefore you must have at least 4 clubs.
The auction should have gone P, P, 1C, P, 1H, P, 1NT, all pass.

How would you suggest bidding Hand 15 from last night? Bidding was all over the map, we ended up in 3 clubs and made 5 for a poor score.  I think the bidding went 1D by south, pass by west, pass by north, X by East (should she have over called 2NT?) 2D by south, 3clubs by West.

You will have a difficult time if S opens the auction, which unfortunately happened to you.
If S passes, it is an easy matter to get to 3NT. In my opinion, S should pass with his singleton
king and doubleton queen and enter the auction later with his 6 card diamond suit.
So the answer to your question is multiple.
Original scenario
After S rebids 2D, W should bid 3C, (E must recognize that 3C is showing 9-11points by responding
freely at the 3 level, when she could have passed.) E will now bid 5C with her 20 points. Bidding 3NT is dangerous with only 1 diamond stopper. In the original auction S was overly aggressive with
his 2D bid and could have been severely penalized by seasoned players. (down 2 doubled for 500 points).
A more likely scenario if S opens 1D and does not rebid.
Pass by W and N, E issues a TOD, pass by S, W jumps to 3C, pass by N, E now bids either 3NT or
5C. Again it is safer to bid 5C, but you will achieve a higher matchpoint score by bidding 3NT.
3NT is the optimum contract result.
Scenario if S passes his first bid
Pass by W and N, 1C by E, 2D by S, W issues a negative double (promises either both majors or
one major and support for partners opening bid), pass by N, E now jumps to 3H (showing 19+ and
4 hearts) and W will bid 4H, all pass.
Hope that helps. It is not an easy hand to bid when S decides to enter the auction.
Try a Splinter Bid

Hi Wayne, I would like to know the correct bidding procedure for hand # 17 from January 22.

Open and Expert South  players will use a Splinter bid to describe their hand.
After N opens 1S. S will jump to 4D (showing a singleton or void in diamonds and game forcing
support in spades). After N bids 4S, Expert S’s will probably jump to 6S. having first round
control of all suits and partner not showing any extra values by only settling for game.
S’s hand is too good to not be in slam. It is up to South to drive to slam.
If your partnership does not use Splinters. (but you should), then S should respond 2H and after
N bids 3D, then S should just bid 6S. (Again, S’s hand is too good not to be in slam).
Control showing bids are not possible with these hands, because N cannot be sure that
they have a spade fit.
I should mention that a Splinter Bid normally shows 4 of partner’s suit, but I see no way
of showing partner your diamond void using SA methods. Sometimes I have to take a view
and hope that I have an understanding partner. ( like Joyce).
Splinter or Jacoby 2NT?

Hi Wayne, Might I nominate hand 27 tonight for the hand of the week? There was a slam but no partnership bid it. Someone suggested it was a Jacoby 2NT, but it seems better suited to a splinter bid. In either case, or another way, how does the partnership get to 6H? Many thanks.


Barb Seagram’s chapter on Splinters recommends refraining from splinters when
the singletons consist of a K or A (or even a Q). A Jacoby 2NT by N is better suited
for her hand. So when S responds 3 clubs (singleton or void), she should just
settle in at 4H because the club singleton has no value to her hand (which also
has a club singleton), If S shows a diamond singleton instead, now this is much
more valuable due to her diamond losers, and would probably move toward a slam.
6H can only be made if W leads her A of spades or if S leads to the spade Q (winning)
and then leads spade back to her hand and plays low (with the A dropping).
I suspect anyone that actually made 12 tricks were lucky enough to have W lead their
A of spades.
Board 17 from Dec18

A partnership asked 'How should EW bid their hands when N opens 2S?'

Please click the 'answer' button for my suggested auction(s).

How would you bid? Please let me know.



This is not an easy one but remember that if partner overcalls a weak 2 bid,
she promises at least 14 points and a good 5 card suit. So once either of you
overcall or issue a TO double, then the other partner is responsible to get
to a game (because both of you hold opening hands). My take on the auction is
as follows: 
After N opens 2S, E overcalls 3D,  S pass, W has some choices to make.
Does she bid 3H? (forcing but should have 5 hearts.) Bid 3NT? (spade stopper
and enough for game). Bid 5D?( enough for game, slam invite). Any of those bids
will result in game. My choice would be 3S (cuebid showing game values and
asking partner to further describe her hand) East should then bid 4H. West
likes hearts but 4 to the J is not a great suit to consider going for slam, so
I would then pass 4H. Making 5. I don't like NT with only 1 spade stopper.
Please feel free to comment.