Spade Yateley & Hawley BC Club
Yateley & Hawley BC
Bridge Diary of an Addict
18th August 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a substitute regular partner in a regular club session.

We came top today and started off well, some of scores were given to us though if honest.

Hand 4 - I think partner should ignore my suits and bid 4, but I could easily be wrong here - I don't play Gerber so took 4 as natural and this went wrong!

Hand 5 - I should pass 4 and leave partner to double!

Hand 23 - Nothing wrong here but we need the Ops to carry on bidding, they didn't!!!

Hand 27 - I over valued my hand here, should have passed partners raise to 3 but was too tempting!

We had a number of great boards though, back to back good play by partner and I in NT on 16 and 17 stand out.  Our defense was sound throughout too.

Dinner then back to bridge at YHBC tonight.....

17th August 2017


Playing with an irregular partner in a regular club session.

An above average night playing the system I am trying to master with another partner.  We both needed a good result as have both performed below par for a while.

Our defence was really good tonight (although some gifts for sure).

My partner tonight is very good at analysing the results so am passing that on to him tonight - will add later once done!

A few key hands from my point of view:

9. I pre-empted in 3 and Ops end up in 4 - partner has an opening hand and, not unreasonably, bids 4 - I think we are better leaving 4 (especially as they doubled me!)

11. Should be a good sacrifice against the slam - unfortunately, nobody bid either slam!

18. I upgraded my hand here to open 1NT, if I don't, partner opens and pays in 3NT and it makes by West - poor judgement from me, sorry partner.

22. Partner should open 2 here - then I pass the 2 re-bid

Partner's own analysis (Thanks Chris):

A very enjoyable evening at Camberley, trying out the partnership's third different bidding system in just five sessions we've played together!  Truth be told lucky was on our side - we each stretched the system more than once in the bidding, and more came off than didn't: the overall good result was rooted in the sometimes undervalued old-fashioned art of sound card-play.  Some of the worse results were when I over-cooked things in competitive auctions: boards 22, 11 and 9

(3 of our 4 worst results) suffered from this - sorry Ian!

A few boards of interest:

17 & 18: Ian up-rated 11-HCP hands to open a 12-14 1N on both of our first two boards: in the first case he got away with it, but in the second it took the final 3N contract over to the wrong side of the table for a less good result.

21: Well played Ian.  9 tricks just aren't there, and double-dummy I can't see where they came from!

3: The second overtrick can be critical at pairs: here I made the mistake of drawing a round of trumps when I do better by cross-ruffing all the way to the bank.

4: Here I take issue with one of my partner's bids, although in practise it made no difference on the hand.  After north's 1, east's 2 is within the parameters of our system: this was passed round to 2♠ from north, over which partner bid 3.  Sitting west I'm expecting 5 opposite: a double described the hand much better, as top end of the jump overcall with exactly four s.

8: As west I mis-counted my HCP to open a Benji 2 (showing 23+ - I'd somehow counted my 22 as 24).  Partner making the forced 2 response gave south the opportunity to make a lead-directing double, and north did as instructed - the only way for the defence to take a second trick: well done oppos.

16: A classic forcing defence (repeated heart leads) made life hard for the opposition: double-dummy 10 tricks are possible for declarer, but with your trumps being drawn at every turn by leads from the opposition it's not easy.

20: Partner missed an opportunity to splinter over my 1 opening: it's hard to find a slam after 1-(1)-5.  The result flatters my declarer play: 13 tricks are makable through a squeeze if you place the AKK all with south (after north has been the one to overcall!), but that's not how the 13th trick came my way.

5: If Ian and I played together more often I might train him out of 2-suited overcalls without a 5-5 shape - 2 over north's 1 promises 5-5 in the majors, but Ian went ahead anyway.  This could easily have left me playing in a very sticky heart contract, but oppos rescued us.  A double of 1 or a straightforward 1 overcall are both preferable with the east cards.

13: Although 4 went off, I stand by our bidding sequence - and actually the result wasn't bad.  Ian opens a natural 1, I respond 1, Ian rebids 1, I count 8 losers to justify a jump to 3 and, counting 5 losers in turn, he expects his 4 bid to be an easy make.  4 needs either a mis-defence or for A to turn up in the north hand, though, and neither occurred.

An enjoyable night all in all and I appreciate Partner's write up above!

16th August 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers with Vee tonight, well that was the plan!!!

Vee ended up working late and came straight to the club from work arriving at 20:15 (a long day!!!).

Ian N very kindly offered to hep out, I set everything going then was asked to play with Bobbi in the main group to avoid a half table and help her (she had no lift until the end of the session).  We end doing reasonably well (4th but 1% off the top with 59%).  My results HERE

We only had 2 bad scores, 1 we were pushed too far and the other, I cannot open 1NT (playing 16-18 tonight) and if I had opened a weak 1NT, it would have been better (hand 8).  Hand 17 opened a strong 1NT though and it got us 86% - rough with the smooth!

Barbara & Glynis played in the main group again, just about transitioned and holding their own mid table - they did well against us too!!!  Well done.

After a long gap, finally ready to run another theme night.  In tonights 16 hands, 8 have been set as Transfers (1NT, Red Suit Transfer).  A write up of these hands is available in the Improvers section of the YHBC Menu (HERE) and notes on Transfers are also available (HERE)

Our Chairman, Alan Brown has very kindly given me some notes and points having looked at the whole of this sessions hands (not just the transfers) - these are worth a look....


  1. Lovely misfit all round. N superficially looks good but must beware overbidding.
  2. Nice simple 3N
  3. N must realise he is strong enough to go for game. Hard to bid a slam though.
  4. After the transfer to , will E find the good forcing bid of 3? And will W accept to game?
  5. Fair enough to give N 12HCP. Will N go to 4?
  6. Interesting in that W, after 2 passes will open. However I think he should open 3 not 1 to make life difficult for opposition. Have you taught them about Michaels if W does open 1?
  7. Can N find the best defensive lead of a trump? Assuming the contract is 2 by W.
  8. Nothing to add
  9. Can N/S deal with interference - eg 2 over the 1N.
  10. Nothing to add
  11. Can N resist temptation?
  12. Lovely. Have you taught them about "super accept"? Will E realise that W must have lots of Kings to open. Can we open a book on how many reach 7?
  13. Interesting. Would S go Stayman or do transfer?
  14. Also interesting. Would E, after 1N - 2 - 2 - 3 go on? Want to take bets on how many reach 4?
  15. Have a look at Puppet Stayman.....
  16. Interesting.  Lots of possibilities here.  Does their convention card say anything about opening 1N with a singleton honour?
15th August 2017


Badminton tonight and played well tonight only losing one game.

I ran a lot tonight but my shots were not always good - made up for it with tenacity and determination though!

Really shattered now though, paying the price for running (if you have seen me, you will know I am not a runner any more!!!)

Hosting the improvers tomorrow with Vee and have set some hands with Transfers and a write up - hope it goes well.

14th August 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

An above average night again but could always be better - really enjoyed it though and Jo was on good form (bridge and conversation).

We got on well and understood each other on almost all the hands, the Ops did well on a few hands and some other table results were very odd (and hurt us!).

Board 21 was unfortunate - I didn't support partner's s with my singleton King - it makes 5!!!  I was in 2NT which doesn't make, but I made it - poor score but pleased with my play.

Board 14 was very tough too - if partner ducks the first  trick, East is eventually end played with the s - couldn't see it even double dummy but having done the play it again, it is there!

Richard and Julie defended and played perfectly against us too, not much we could have done there!

A really pleasant night though and not a bad score.  Badminton tomorrow.

13th August 2017

EBU Congress 4/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with my regular partner in the EBU's premier Teams congress.

Session 4 - we swap round for the last day and Margaret was a star today - we still didn't win but 2 hands were so well played by Margaret:

Hand 10 - A lowly 1 - this just cannot be made!!!  Margaret played out of her skin and end played North to make the contract!!!

Hand 19 - A lowly 2 - again, this is an impossible contract but Margaret found the only way to make it - helped when South played a low , Margaret paused and then played low to my singleton 7 which won!!!  An entry to dummy found and now she can make the contract - well played!!!

Final standings and Point awards HERE

We all felt drained at the end of this weekend and all under performed really, we feel embarrassed to be honest but it happens.

12th August 2017

EBU Congress 3/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with a regular partner and friends in the EBU's premier congress.

This is getting tougher and tougher - the lower our score, the tougher the Ops!!!

Not a good evening either crying

12th August 2017 (Afternoon)

EBU Congress 2/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with a regular partner and friends in the EBU's premier congress.

This is getting tougher and tougher - the lower our score, the tougher the Ops!!!  We have finally won a match though

Not a good day crying

11th August 2017

EBU Congress 1/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with a regular partner and friends in the EBU's premier congress.

This is just about as tough as it gets and we are fighting with 84 other Teams to try and do well!

A tough start and a few hands lost it, we should be in 4 on one hand and partner could have made 3NT on another - partner's gave 1 away too and so a heavy loss - not too much we could have done though, just a tough team.

Match 2 should be easy though.......NO!  A team including some of Surrey's best players turn up and we lose heavily again!

Match 3 was easier but we still had a few games missed and so lost to 5.

We are in last place going into the 2nd day and it looks like we could play a team of Internationals next, this is such a tough event!!!

Will try our best today, that's all we can do after all.  No value in trying to play differently, just carry on and it will come good at some point.

10th August 2017


Playing with a regular partner in round 8 of the Thursday Championships.

A really enjoyable night but I was not on form at all tonight.  Despite this, we were placed to get a high 50 score but 3 of the last 4 boards were not good.

We finished with me in 6 and I have to finesse the to make it - holding 9 cards, I played for the drop - wrong!  Only 2 made 12 tricks but still....

Then I bid 2 with only 6 points and partner rightly put me to game but went 1 off - drat!

On the penultimate round I failed to bid game too crying

I was mean to one of my other partners being the only person to double - sorry.

We got our defense right tonight on most boards, main issue really was my play - must do better this weekend in Eastbourne for the Teams!

2 events left in the series and it is unlikely we will win, however, 50% will see us in the top 3 but really need two 70% scores to win!

9th August 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

A pleasant evening with a few highs and lows - fortunately, more highs than lows and we just edge the session to win.

We defended very well tonight and had a few gifts along the way - partner was disappointed with his play but I think that was just his own high standards, there was only 1 board where he mis-played the hand in 3NT, the rest was fine play.

I was quite pleased with my own play tonight but only played 4 hands.

3.5 Tables in the Improvers and 3 pairs in joint 2nd!!!  Well done all and to Carole & Jen for rising above them all!

Marjie came to help and ended up working very hard tonight as the Host for the Improvers as Vee played with a solo player (finishing as one of the 2nd pairs!) - thanks Marjie!!!

John & Delores "promised" they would be 3rd from bottom or better tonight (after our session last night), they just missed this but only by 1%  Looking at their card, they didn't do much wrong, hard when only a few scores to compare against - I think they are showing real promise.

2 of our Improvers came up to the main group tonight too - 1 of them has been away for a few weeks and when we played them, she said she wasn't thinking clearly - they are strong players and am pleased to see them continue in the main group - it takes time to "bed in" and they will definitely be contending soon.

Club Championships tomorrow at CBC and then back to Eastbourne for EBU Congress (Swiss Teams).

9th August 2017

Social Bridge:

Playing with Vee to help two of the Improvers with "how to play duplicate".

John & Delores are fairly new to the club but lovely people who can play cards but are not used to duplicate bridge.

We felt it would be a good idea to have them over and so I gave up badminton tonight to help them out.

A few basics:

Losing Trick Count

When partner opens, use Losing trick count if you have a fit for them - NOTES HERE

Level of the Fit

When partner overcalls, use level of the fit - assume 5 cards to overcall, bid up to the number of trumps (if you hold 3 trumps, bid up to 2 (5+3), if you hold 4 trumps, bid up to 3 and so on).

5 cards to overcall (8+ green, 10+ red)

Do NOT overcall with a 4 card suit!

What is the best score?

Consider the vulnerability, if you are green and they are red, going off 3 doubled is better than them making game!  So, 5 over 4 (assuming they can make it) is only 500 if doubled and 3 off (vs 620 for a vulnerable game) - it is purely the score that counts so don't worry about going down if it gets a better score.  This applies even at a low level, going off 50 is often a great score even compared to Ops making 2 for 90 !!!

A pleasant evening and coffee and cake and chat too.  I still seem to attract the points though and John had less than 6 most of the time, sorry John!  I think they learned a few bits tonight and will try and put it to work tomorrow at the Improvers Group (Vee hosting with Marjie).

7th August 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

An above average night but below par overall.

We enjoyed it though and only a couple of niggles.

I tried 6 which makes from (unlikely to get a  lead) but I went 1 off, perhaps I shouldn't bid it though knowing we are an Ace and a King missing.

We missed 6 on board 18 too (last hand of the night) which was a shame.

I wasn't strong enough to bid s on 19 (our first board!!!) so we missed our fit.

Board 26 our Ops bid 4, nothing we can do here, well done Ops.

The rest was all good and 3rd is still reasonable.

VERY pleased to see Marilyn and Garrett finishing 2nd though, bravo!

About to prepare the Improver hands next ready for the Transfer night next week, will write up the hands too.

6th August 2017

EBU Congress 4/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with my life partner in the EBU's premier congress.

Session 4 - 4 matches and a poor start but won the last one well.

Match 1 - Vee hadn't played much all weekend and is now landed with 5 hands and all were really tough hands, played one fantastically making all 13 tricks, the others could be better!  2nd player plays low was said twice during one hand too!

Match 2 - A close match but we couldn't quite get there

Match 3 - We thought we had won this, quite disappointed to see 11-9 loss here as 3 hands were theirs and 5 were ours but their wins were better than ours - close though.

Match 4 - We were awesome to finish (both of us!!!).  This included defending 3NT and taking 4 tricks (HERE), Vee kept all the right cards, most made 11 or 12 tricks and we held them to 9!!!!  I made a 4 contract that not many bid (HERE).

Final standings and Point awards HERE

We all felt drained at the end of this weekend and all under performed really, we feel we did ok though.  Could have won 3 more matches reasonably easily and would have felt much better had we got these!

Back to normal tomorrow and then Teams next Friday to Sunday.....

5th August 2017

EBU Congress 3/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with my life partner in the EBU's premier congress.

Session 3 - 3 matches and all of these got away from us.

A night of wrong choices really, either in the bidding or play - largely it was good but just a few wobbles each round cost.  Match 2 tonight was very good though, we defended really well and played well.

We now have 3 wins - not as many as we would have liked but all very enjoyable and good experience.

Another 4 tomorrow and hope to finish well

5th August 2017 (Afternoon)

EBU Congress 2/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with my life partner in the EBU's premier congress.

Session 2 - 4 matches and all of these got away from us.

Match 1 we were simply out classed.

Match 2 was closer but we went down 5 in 3NT - I should have opened 3NT and then we get a  lead and I have 9 tricks off the top.

Match 3 was our first unpleasant pair who kept changing pace during the defence of the hands, very off putting.  

Match 4 was good fun but again, a couple of blunders - we tried 6 which didn't stand a chance but I only made 10 tricks and would still have been a bad score anyway as most made 11!

Another 3 tonight and hope to do better again as we dropped over 100 places today!

Actually, still enjoyed it today but it really is tough going!

4th August 2017

EBU Congress 1/4:

Our Score Card

Playing with my life partner in the EBU's premier congress.

This is just about as tough as it gets and we are fighting with 213 other Pairs to try and do well!

We had a 2 hour journey down leaving at 1pm and had a relaxing time and then a nice Italian meal (5 of us, all staying in the same hotel).

Play starts at 19:45 and we wander down an hour before to get settled and pick our starting position and then we are off!

We draw 2 lovely Irish ladies who I have played before and never beaten (not that I tell Vee that!!!).  I at least know that it will be a nice friendly game and it was really pleasant.

We had 1 director call where the made a claim with 5 cards to go - they claimed we could have a  and the rest was there's, in fact, she doesn't have to lose a but the director ruled that she should treat all the cards as the same value and so we do win our 10 - seems a bit unfair but we both agreed that the Director rule was final and it was all very amicable.

We actually played and defended well and I was delighted with Vee's card play, he was calmer than I was and he doesn't play much Congress bridge!  We had an agreement that this was just to be fun and whatever happens happens.

Round 1 complete and we edged it 12-8 with 6 of the 8 boards being in our favour.

The bridgemates have issues and they cannot get them to work in our room so we are told to move up 1 table (old school style!).  This means we played a pair we should not have met (they won 17-3 so should really be much higher than us).  We accept our fate though and carry on playing - I know them both and know how strong they are but again, I keep quiet.

We play really well here and bid and made 2 slams (I was one of only 6 pairs to make 6NT out of a tough field of 107 tables....!), defeated 1NT by 3 (vulnerable) and was gifted tricks when I was in 2NT (made 9 tricks when only 4 on.....!).  We win 18-2!!!

Although we are pleased (and amazed!!!), it now means we are at the top of the field playing the real sharks.  The movement is now working properly so we play a pair who are really near the top.

We lost the match 16-4 but was so close to winning it.  Even here, our defence was really strong and Vee was exceptional - I mis-played 6 (HERE)which should make on a  lead but I got the wrong.  The match was lost though on 1 system error and the Ops system beating us - in 5 (HERE)instead of 4 (Ops bid with only a 2 card suit!!!).  Still, we have 2 wins out of 3 and are feeling good.  A night of drinking then follows and we go to bed at 01:30 (including our friends Simon and Margaret!!!).  Breakfast at 9am (3 hours later than normal for me!!!!) which was very nice and now relaxing for the morning (and writing this!!!).

Play starts again at 1pm today for 4 more matches - then another 3 tonight.

Although these events are really tough, I would recommend it to ALL players, it is great fun and an amazing experience - I just wish we were playing 10 years ago when Brighton had 500 or so pairs (or even 20 years ago when it was 1000!!!).

3rd August 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Another good session tonight and not much wrong, including bidding 6NT and partner was the only one to make 12 tricks, fine declarer play!

Tonight also made it 4 out 4 1st place finishes for my partner - last Thursday (with me) then Monday, Wednesday and again tonight - well done Partner!!!

We defended 3NT well too, I bid  and lead a  finding partner's AK!  Lucky perhaps, partner returns a and so I make all 6 s and 2 s for 400.

We were in synch all night other than one defensive error, I wanted to ruff a and then partner makes the A to defeat hand 19 rather than A first taking out my trump.

Hand 11 should have stopped in 2s too but we both kept bidding - it was so bad it was comical and we did indeed laugh it off!!!

Really good to see Margaret W back tonight and they did well too - would have been top other than the last 2 rounds which could have been better for them, still, a nice strong performance - welcome back Margaret!

Off to Eastbourne tomorrow for the Pairs event at the EBUs summer meeting, we are going to have fun but it is tough.  If we can get a few wins it is enhanced Green Points, every one counts!

2nd August 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Not a good night tonight but not exactly our fault.  Some good some bad but more bad unfortunately.  No real system errors which was good but on the last hand I bid my poor suit rather agreeing partner's good suit, why did I do that!

We actually had an OK session until the last 2 rounds where it went wrong.

Hand 1 I should lead A and switch to a  and wait.

Hand 2 makes 6NT, our Ops made 3NT +3 but the rest of the room let us down!

Hand 3 our Ops made a forcing bid and it was passed!  I didn't defend it well either but the rest of the room were in 4 going off!

Hand 4 I should pass - it was the comment earlier, I can not bid here!!!

Hand 22 partner had a tough choice, best bid is to pass but not easy - 2x is our top

Really pleased to see our Improver pair do well - ahead of our chairman and 52%, well done Marriane and Rosalie!!!

4 tables in the Improvers again too which is good to see, they played well to time too finishing at 10pm.

We started the night with 2 sad announcements about members passing away including Nigel Tottman who was such a nice man and our Vice Chair until recently, will miss you Nigel.

2nd August 2017


Badminton tonight and played well tonight though I wasn't good on my first game but managed to win it - then I decided I was going to really try and I was really good tonight only losing 1 game and having 3 games go above 21 !

My friend is loving it too and is going on his own next week as I am helping 2 of our Improvers socially.

Just finalised the Surrey Victor Ludorum (though not on the committee any more, am more than happy to help).  I came a creditable 10th in the County but a long way from the top - results on Surrey HERE

Playing tomorrow night (I play the first Weds of each month with a now regular partner who I also play Congress with).  Vee hosting the Improvers.

31st July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Not the best start tonight but then we had a fairly solid night with no mis-understandings, good defence and good play (other than my 4 which I had a  guess and got it wrong).

Such a relief after a few weeks of troubled nighs but tonight I felt much better and partner was in a good mood too.  Partner played exceptionally well tonight and really, it was only the very first hand (hand 23) that should have been 3NT, the rest was really good.

A few problems tonight with the bridge pads and a lot of director calls tonight, felt for the Director tonight and noticed a few others offered kind words too.  She is a tough cookie though and took it all calmly and handled everything well.

30th July 2017

Richard Currie Swiss Pairs:

Playing with a regular partner in the Richard Currie Memorial Swiss Pairs (Blue Pointed).

I have played bridge on the circuit for 5 years now and this is my 5th year playing in the Richard Currie.

My Mum passed away from cancer in 2004 (aged only 51) and Phyllis Tuckwell were absolutely marvellous with her.  They rely solely on donations and are such a worthy cause.  This event is in aid of the same charity who looked after Richard Currie who was only in his 30s when he sadly passed.  To this end, I always support the charity and, as a bridge player, always support this event.

It was really well run and organised and we enjoyed the day.  Started off too well really (winning 20-0 and 19-1) and so started having tougher matches.  We only had 1 terror round and 2 close matches.

Finished above half way and 72 Blue Points from the event, so cannot complain!

Margaret hardly put a toe wrong today, I blundered a few times, again, mis-playing a 4 contract and not defending 3 properly.

The highlight of the day was getting home in 6 against a local pair, it shouldn't make really and it was all down to the lead - Ops partner let him know that too!!!!

We should have won the last 2 matches (I let 3 through on match 5 and Ops defended my 3NT well) but 3 out of 6 with a close match was a fair result.

Really pleased to see Roger and Rebecca (a CBC pair) do brilliantly, they only lost 1 match and finished 10th out of 40 - well done!!!

29th July 2017


No Bridge today but a full day with friends.  Some house work first thing then lunch.  Played strategy board games 2pm to 7pm (I won too!) then off to the Quays for dinner and back to theirs to play Settlers of Catan.

Looking forward to playing in Farnham tomorrow.

28th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Not a good night tonight bridge wise but a fun and pleasant evening.  Partner didn't start off well making a few errors and things just didn't go right.  Towards the end I got reckless as I thought there was nothing to lose but it didn't pay off!

No real value in going through the hands but well done to the Ops on a few of the hands, some good slams bid against us - although not good for us, it was still good to watch and respect the Ops.

This week I started with a 40% score, then 60% 3 times and ended with a 40% !

Playing games tomorrow with friends and out for dinner then playing in the Richard Currie on Sunday.

28th July 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Not many errors today - partner NEVER leads doubletons and did so on board 5 so I got the defence wrong.

I didn't finesse the second club on board 14 and went off on quite an easy contract.

Board 22 partner bid on to 4, I want to double 3!!!

I also mis-played hand 8, I didn't take the finesse as was worried the lead was a singleton and I had placed the K in the other hand so hoped to lose the second and go on from there without a ruff crying

The rest was very good including a very well played 1NT by partner on hand 13!

Playing again at YHBC soon, just making a chilli for dinner (in a giant Yorkshire pudding!!!)

27th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

We both needed a good result tonight after some less favourable results with other partners recently.  For my part, it has been letting my partner's down and so I was really trying tonight.  It has been my declarer play that has been poor recently, tonight I turned that part around and scored 78% from 7 hands I played.  Partner defended superbly tonight too and the rest was sound - all resulted in a win overall.

Some avoidable scores though:

Board 6:  I doubled 1NT and am a believer in double each time here - I did this and of course, 2 makes so a poor score.  Partner was not cross though as believes in the same method, just unfortunate.

Board 23: I have a big hand and open 1 - partner jumps to 3 (level of the fit) and I went looking.  5 was too high (although it does make by East!).  Partner did not bid 2NT (Jacobi) and didn't make a delayed game raise, so I should have just bid 4.

Board 14 we were in the right spot - it doesn't make but others were allowed to make it!  Nothing to be done here.

Board 22 was very interesting and worth a look at.  At our table, I opened 1 (with other partners, including our opposition at the time, I would open 2 with this hand).  Ops jump to 3 (weak) and partner doubles (penalties).  I then jump to game as the vulnerability doesn't look right to leave the penalty bid.

I think the only option in this auction to reach a slam is for me to bid 4 instead of 4 - this must be showing first round control here.  Partner now bids 5 and I can bid 6 or 6 (if I am brave!).  I think 7 is very hard to find.

Board 24 was a good score as I made 11 tricks and nobody else did - I was daft not bidding game though but had a mental block on partner's 1NT re-bid (Confused with other partners systems here, I have too many system cards!!!).

A very enjoyable night though and played in good spirits too.  Playing twice tomorrow......

26th June 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers with Vee tonight.  There are 5 tables with 1 of us playing and Vee decides to host and I play with one of the improvers.

It is really good to see 5 tables, this is my ideal number as it is not too big a group but we get more meaningful scores with enough to compare against.

We did quite well tonight but were pipped at the post by a rising star pair - their reaction was worth coming second for as they were delighted (not just to win but to beat me!!!).

I played board 14 very badly but at least we were in the correct contract - I made up for it later with some better play, Board 3 should only make 2 but we are in 4 and I squeezed the Ops and made my last  - we should not have been in though.  I made a weak jump overcall (we had discussed this earlier in the night) but partner thought I was showing a strong hand and bid on.  We got away with this one.

I was so pleased with partner on board 5, the Ops bid 1 and he has a great hand with 6s to AQ and passes (the right thing to do, well done!).  I jump (the weak jump overcall I eluded to just now) - partner bids 4 (correct again) and Ops double.  I make 4 and it is all down to partner, pat on the back Kevin!!!

I messed up board 9 too - we found the best contract (I bid a 3 card suit at the 1 level to keep the auction going and found myself in game in it!!!).  I lost the first 2 s and then ruffed - I should now only draw 1 trump and then lose a trump from a  ruff - I can now ruff in my hand and retain trump length to draw trumps, sorry partner.

I asked partner to play the hands when I won the contract but he wasn't confident enough - I will be more forceful next time as there is little value in my playing the hands other than to show partner what I do and how I think.

More of the improvers are now thinking about playing in the main group too, I really want to encourage this and they are free to play in either group at any time.

I am planning another theme night on 16th August (I need some time to work through the hands and I am committed the next 2 Wednesdays).  A few have asked for transfer bids so will do this for the next theme night.

25th July 2017


Badminton tonight and played well tonight - took the afternoon off work and slept most of the afternoon.

I have been helping a friend get back into badminton over the past few weeks (he had a car accident 4 years ago and hasn't played any sport since) - tonight he came over for dinner and then we went to my club.

We started off together and was a bit nervous to start, then we played mixed against each other and he played really well - we won but went to 28-26!

I won most of my games and he won about half and all were competitive - we then played the last game together and it was terrible!!!  So bad, he asked the Ops for a re-match, I was shattered but agreed.  The re-match was much better but he put all the pressure on me (serving low and stayed at the net to let me win the points).  Fortunately, I have a strong smash and it worked, we won 21-14!

He is now really looking forward to next week, I am just glad to help a friend and was really pleased at how much he enjoyed it.

Hosting the Improvers tomorrow.

24th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in round 7 of the  Monday Championships.

Today was not our day!

We are still top on the Monday Championships but today's score has not counted (top 6 out of 10 count).

Whatever I did seemed to be wrong tonight and must apologise to my partner for our performance.  Although I accept it takes 2 and partner wasn't perfect either, I was really bad today crying

Vee played tonight as Margaret was without a partner and they had an enjoyable session and much better than us!

I was pleased with making 5 on board 20, on a club lead it cannot be done but I had a  lead and so had time to lose a  and set up 2 s in dummy to discard my  losers.

I also opened 3NT on board 1 with long s - I felt 1 wasn't enough with this distribution, I cannot open 2 so it has to be 3 - if I am opening 3 then why not 3NT!  Partner bids 4 and I still think the Ops will compete to I bid 5 confidently and we score well going 2 off.

Without going into details (for a change!) - we missed several games and bid a few that we should not have!  The Ops also came alive against us and did the right things, frustrating but not much that can be done.

The scoring had been set as aggregate scoring tonight  - fortunately I knew how to amend it and fixed it quickly before I left tonight - now to add 2 new members and get EBU numbers for them.....

23rd July 2017

Dorset Swiss Pairs:

Playing with a now regular partner in the Dorset Swiss Pairs.

Had a good journey down and arrived at the same time as our friends (didn't know they were playing or would have offered them a lift!).

We arrived in plenty of time and had a coffee and a chat and a review of the system card, all nice and relaxed as we start playing.

The event had a bit of an odd start as a pair didn't show, then as the spare pair was sent home another pair arrived 10 minutes late!!!  A little bit of a farce as people are chased etc but the Directors handled it well and we caught up the time in the first 2 rounds.

We played well today but had a few wobbles, only lost 2 matches out of 7 but had 2 draws too so just over 1 green point overall and finished 12th (would have been 3rd if the last round had gone our way so we really were challenging today).

Brief match summary:

Match 1: Lost 7-13

We missed 4 (which I don't think makes on best defence) and our Ops also defended partner's 2 exceptionally well - partner got his own back by making 3 too though!  Our Ops went on to finish 3rd and were really great in defence, they earned their win here.

Match 2: Won 17-3

Unfortunate here, the scores went wrong on our friends table and we then drew them in round 2.  They should have played a different pair but nothing we could do about it.  We were solid here and each board was average or in our favour.  Partner played exceptionally well to make 4 +1 and our defence was great on 2 boards too.

Match 3: Drew

A draw seemed fair here, we had some good boards as did the Ops.  Partner played 2 contracts really well and we got the defence spot on to hold the Ops to 3 on another.  Partner did let 4 +2 through though which could have been held.

Match 4: Won 20-0

4 near 100% hands on this round!  Ops were a little too ambitious on a couple of hands and we got our defence right again.  Didn't feel like 20-0 but we did play well.

Match 5: Won 15-5

Ops missed a few games here, mainly due to our interference.  Almost all boards in our favour or flat.

Match 6: Drew

Another draw here but against a very strong pair.  I felt really pleased at getting anything here !  We would have won the match had I played my 2 contract better too, sorry partner.

Match 7: Lost 4-16

This match was ours other than 2 hands where partner was less than perfect in 3 (twice) - these were almost the only 2 errors by partner all day and just unfortunate they were both in the same match.

Overall we really enjoyed today and making less errors each time we play and are starting to really gel now too - I am modifying my play to suit our partnership and it is nice when it works!

Club Championship at CBC tomorrow.

22nd July 2017

Day Off:

No Bridge today.

I spent some of the morning going through Friday night's hands for our Improvers who played to see if I can help out a little - also cross referenced to my own hands from the same session as we played the same hands.

Then off to Trevor's to help out with some of the Surrey admin and back for lunch and a little house work.

We then went to my Niece in Basingstoke and saw our Great Niece too!  My Niece's birthday tomorrow so bought dinner for us all and had a great night.  She is getting married in December and we also sorted out some of the planning and our contribution to the wedding.

Off to Dorset tomorrow in the Green Point Pairs.

21st July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in round 4 of the Beryl Doughty Cup (our first time this year though).

We had a great start with 3 boards (4,5,6) including a mis-bid by the Ops which we took advantage of.

Board 10 we miss 7 (well, 6 should be bid), after I open 1 and Ops jump to 3, partner jumps to 4 - my view is that 4 should be bid showing a shortage, now I am interested.

Board 15 I mis-played this, I could only have made 2 though which would not have been a much better score.

Board 18 was stupid - I should have supported partner's s and not come in at the 3 level with my s, sorry partner.

Board 2 I felt I couldn't bid on and push them into game - I was right but hardly any others bid s let alone game, not fair!!!

Board 3 partner should overtake my second and give me a ruff (I think), I also didn't see the position and I could have given partner a ruff, drat!

Board 9 was an example of a thoughtful lead, well done partner!

Overall not bad, could do better though but issues from both of us - I am just relieved to be able to get out and about again after a bad health week, hopefully better next week.

Was pleased to see 2 of our Improvers here tonight - they didn't come last and enjoyed it.  It is more of a challenge for them and I think they are learning faster by playing against the main group.  They are really nice too and have the right attitude, see what went wrong, discuss it, learn and be better next time - keep it up!

21st July 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a regular partner in a club competition.

Today was a club event where it is scored as total points and a Cup for NS and Salver for EW (donated by rubber bridge players who wanted a "special" event for these awards).

We were quite solid today only missing 1 game which was marginal (although it is effectively Teams scores and I feel we should be in marginal games).  We won but it was closer than it looks, if the pair in 2nd had bid 5 instead of 6 (minus 1) they would have won!

I was so pleased to see Ann and Tony win the Salver for top EW, they are so nice and they played well today - fair to say they were shocked to see themselves top though!

We had at least 4 hands where we could have doubled, 1 the Ops were in 5 and I felt if I doubled they would bid 5 (a good contract) so I think my pass was sound.

Partner played very well today and our defending was really good today too (often our weak point).

Playing again tonight and then a busy weekend - I am at least starting to feel a bit brighter now which is a relief, just really tight shoulders and think I may try and get a massage booked soon.

20th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Having not been well all week I stayed home today and slept for most of the day other than a couple of hours work at home.

Had enough energy to get to Bridge but not to concentrate - my play was not good (again).

Hand 13 was a prime example, we are the only pair in 4 and it makes easily, I finesse the  instead of losing 2s and so go off 2, terrible!

Hand 15 was unfortunate, we had a good sacrifice to the makable 4 but nobody bid it!!!

I am perhaps a little harsh on myself but I should be doing better and if absolutely honest, it does upset me when I let my partner down (and myself).  Most of our poor scores tonight were the Ops doing well but I definitely cost us 10% tonight.

Credit to partner on board 3, the only player to make 5, well done partner, played the s really well!!!

Health permitting, playing twice again tomorrow - I am going to have to take a break soon though I think.......

19th July 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Not well (again) and stayed home and slept on the sofa.  Awake now to upload Improvers results and do the usual admin (and this diary entry!).

Vee stepped up (again!!!) to host the Improvers.  3.5 Tables tonight and Vee asked one of star pairs if they would move to the Main Group for the night to even up both groups, they said yes and finished mid table just under 50%, this is a great result in my opinion and also a really good base to build on.  Vee reported back to say the speed suited them much better and I think they are probably ready to be Main Group players - they are of course welcome in both groups so no need to move one way or the other until they are ready - well done Barbara and Glynis!!!  Main Group Results Here

In the Improvers, Ian and Rosalie were on top again, they are really understanding each other and both play well, great to see them doing well and I think the confidence is getting there now.

We seem to be 3 to 4 tables each week now, this is great but I am hoping for 5 tables each week to get a few more scores per board - will also start the theme nights again soon (when I get a bit of time!)

18th July 2017


Badminton tonight and played reasonably well - won the majority of my games but pushed too hard, shattered now!

Had the day off work today as still feeling run down and it helped, glad to see a bit of rain today and hope it is now cooling down!!!

Hosting the Improvers tomorrow.

17th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Tonight I felt very hot and clammy and my throat was sore - I cannot get on with this weather and feels too close for me and my mind is just not working properly.  Finding it very hard to concentrate and my play is not what it should be.

Only one hand was really bad which was my fault in the defence, the rest were simply average and so just under 50% was a fair score.

The better positions were generally those who were EW most of the night to be fair and we were NS on all bar one round (the EW round was one of our best rounds!).

Board 1 was interesting.  I open weak 3 and Ops overcall 3.  Partner has 20HCP and a void!!!  We end up in 5 making all 13 (a lay down once the single Q appears).  2 pairs got to 6 but am not quite sure how to bid this - is it just a punt or are we pushed?

I am still in a bit of a slump at the moment, am hoping it is just the heat and pressure at work that is pulling me down.

16th July 2017


Sorting out some finances this morning and heavy traffic on the A3 and crazy drivers on the M25, Vee driving though and he coped very well!

Poker this afternoon with our friends, I had nothing all afternoon.  On the last game, Vee got to the final but had around £10 to our friends £40, he fought well though and came through it to win, well done Vee!!!

A relaxing evening ahead doing very little now.....

15th July 2017

London Swiss Pairs:

Playing with a fairly new partner in the London Swiss Pairs Congress.

We had a good start and bid a small and a grand slam (not all bid them and lot's bid the grand and went off, I was pleased to make mine!).

We also double 2 (I doubled for take out and partner left it in for a great score). One poor score but the rest good.

Next round and we win every hand and get 20-0.  Had to have a director ruling on one hand though as they opened 1NT (strong) with a singleton.  They didn't announce it could contain a singleton and it effected my play.  The director ruled in our favour and awarded us a trick.

Unfortunately, this now places us 4th and we play a really top pair.  Although this was lost 19-1, we could have got away with around 12-8 if I had got the defence right on 3x, drat!

Next we play a guy who has won the event a few times and one of partner's friends.  This was a terrible round and I mis-played another hand - 5x should be plus 1 but I played the s wrong and went 1 off crying

A long break next then we play one of my friends and lose 11-9, this time, partner mis-played a 4 contract which cost us the win.

A very weak pair next and again I double a contract that goes 1 off, we let them make plus 1, drat again !!!

We finish with a draw but the bridgemate failed and we didn't see the scores.  We had this round but Ops bid a good slam to level the match.

A long day and a lot of work for 63 Green points but all good fun and all helps in terms of learning and experience - we are in the pairs at Dorset together next Sunday for another go!

14th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session (as my board game friend was un-well so played for the 2nd time tonight).

I think we would both agree, playing twice today was a mistake!

Both of us were not as good as we could be tonight, I started with two zero point hands tonight and partner got a little carried away crying

A few good boards but generally our bidding (or my play) was not good, sorry partner.

No analysis tonight, lets move on!

London Congress tomorrow....


14th July 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

We had another calm session today and played in good spirits.

My play let us down really going off in a very makable 4 on hand 14, I should have ruffed 2 early on, drat!

A few nice gifts and good play from partner as well as remembering stayman after my 1NT overcall (I was impressed!!!).

Pleased to see my other bridge partner come top too, spent this week revising our card and have leant a copy to my Friday partner to look at and see if we could move to it too.....

Was due to play board games tonight but my friend is not well - rather than stay at home watching TV, Margaret has kindly offered to play again tonight with me at YHBC

London Congress tomorrow and poker with friends Sunday - another busy weekend!

13th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in round 7 of the Thursday Championships.

It's fair to say, not our finest performance!

Partner had a 5 hour drive back from the Lakes today and I was not feeling great but no real excuses, just not concentrating.

Our defence was very good tonight, unblocked when we should, made good leads and we understood each other.  Both of us suffered in our play though.

I over bid on board 12 but then tried to make it and went 3 off - should have settled for 1 off.

Partner over bid on board 21 and did the same as me!

I got greedy on board 22 and tried for an over trick, I had my contract made but decided to go 1 off for the extra trick!

Partner had 8 tricks made on board 23 but thought we were in 3NT and so tried to make it and went 1 off - on a  lead (same on every board), there is never more than 8 tricks yet most made 9.

Our last board, hand 24 - I punted 6S which is there but with 9 trumps I played for the drop and had to finesse, I shouldn't have gone for it but felt we needed the score - I was right but didn't play it the right way !

3 events left in the series and we now need to get great scores on all 3!

12th July 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers tonight as the Main group play teams.  I am playing in a Team as needed and the team I play for had a plus score and finished 8th (mid table), could be better but could be worse!

Despite having the option to take the night off, Vee joins me to support the group and there is 1 solo player and so Vee plays and I host.

It was a very tight session tonight and 3% covered 5 out of the 6 pairs!

Only a couple of calls tonight but I learned something from one of them.

Declarer called for a card in dummy (4th to play) and then changed their mind.  As no other card followed or had been played, I said "that is ok".  It turns out (after checking with a main group director) that you can not change your mind!  I didn't know that!!!

The most interesting hand I saw was Hand 2:

The contract should be 6 - the 3 scores we saw were:

3 + 3 (230),   4 + 2 (480),   4x + 1 (990)

Personally, this is easiest if S opens 1 and then N splinters in  but I would always open 1NT in S.  After 1NT, using simple systems I would transfer to then jump to 3.  After S bids 4, is it worth bidding 4NT?  I think yes!!!  You have a 4 loser hand and 1NT normally shows an 8 loser hand (so 6 level could be on).  Still tricky though as you need to know which Aces partner holds (A doesn't help you).  Worth looking at though.  I use exclusion blackwood and 5 card puppet stayman with some of my partners but I don't think most Improvers need to be too advanced generally, just things to think about.

About to prepare the latest Teams file for the Main Group now and also updated the event to show X-Imps and have e-mailed the Main Group about registering their Teams - a lot more admin involved than some realise but what else would I do between 11pm and 2am?!!!

Club Championships tomorrow at CBC.

11th July 2017


Helped out a bit with Surrey today trying to sort out processes and members database and sundry items.

Badminton tonight and played well - won the majority of my games but Vee replaced my racquet grip for me and it slipped after the first game and was a little awkward after that and had the grip glue running out crying

Hosting the Improvers tonight and Vee has a well deserved night off (though he may well still come and help!) - don't forget it's Teams at YHBC Weds night......

10th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

A night of not concentrating or poor play by me.  I fell for 2 doubleton Qs tonight!

I also doubled 3 that made 10 tricks (my doubles are hopeless).

Ops bid a slam against us that not many did too.

Our play was fine but didn't quite defend as well as we could overall (including my poor double!).

I think I knew I wasn't on top form before we started though, I arrived and realised I had left my ciggies at home!!!  Partner game me a few but was a clear sign I wasn't thinking!!!

I also forgot to bring back the 2 members forms I had from Friday and forgot to add "Unknown" to the Player database for "0" - will amend on Thursday.

Despite the hiccups, another enjoyable night - shame we didn't do a bit better though but as always, just a few hands turned around and would have had a good score!

9th July 2017

Wimbledon Swiss Pairs:

Playing in Wimbledon's Blue Pointed Swiss Pairs with my life partner and co-host of the Improvers!

This was only ever to be fun and to gain some experience for my partner.  We start off well but it goes downhill after that.

We both enjoyed the event though and only had a couple of system blips which didn't really cause any issues.  I notice only 1 small slam bid and made by anyone (out of 36 pairs and 49 boards!!!).

Our summary:

Match 1:

A combination of great defence by us and a little over-bidding by the Ops gain us a narrow win.  Partner over-bid hand 1 too which was a shame as would have been a joint top for 2NT making

Match 2:

A very strong pair here and we just couldn't break through.  Ops played one hand poorly which saved us from 20-0 but only just!!!  Hand 12 was a great contract but unfortunately partner guessed the Q wrong (and it was a guess) - the rest were really just well played Ops

Match 3:

Partner mis-played 4 which was unfortunate, we over-bid on 1 hand Ops didn't bid on in on hand 21

Match 4:

Board 23 I should have bid 5 but doubled them in 5 instead (which made!).  We then mis defended hand 24.  Hand 27 I was ambitious but played it better than most although still not a good score.  Should have been in 6 though.

Match 5:

A lot of wild hands here - I find myself in 4 with a 6-0 split against me (off side too!!!).  I make up by making 11 tricks in  though and we get through the round with another win.

Match 6:

We held our own here against a local rival but Douglas came through in style making 11 tricks in NT against us to win the match.

Match 7:

A fairly one sided match to finish (against the organiser and a lovely pair).  Only the last hand where partner forced me to bid at the 3 level when we have nothing!  Other than that, well done partner on most of these (I never had more than 7HCP in this round sat North!!!).

8th July 2017


Housework this morning as Vee is called to help his brother (on what turned out to be a futile exercise!).  With Vee gone, my Dad then phones to say he has spare Wimbledon tickets and would we like them!!!  I have to say "no" but wish we had gone, could have stayed over and had a nice meal etc and been there ready for the Bridge tomorrow! Oh well.

We also had another commitment too, going over to Alans' to hand back the dealing machine and all the boards and equipment.  They provided a lovely lunch for us and then we explored the garden and admired the veggies before playing some social bridge (not scored).  A few issues came up but was generally very amiable and some interesting hands (especially when we did some goulash style), ask Alan about 6 near the end on the wildest hand ever seen in all of history (perhaps I exaggerate but not by much!!!).

Tesco straight after for our weekly shop then home to watch some tennis and a light supper.  A spot of gardening and a few more Bridge admin items including adding the YHBC teams register ready for next week and also investigating the Teams results display (added an info page to the last CBC Teams event to show a web version of the X-Imp scored event).  Not entirely happy with it, especially the formatting.  Have a query with Bridgewebs now to see what is possible - not sure many will be really interested but some of us are.

A relaxing evening and may try and get an early night ready for the Swiss Pairs tomorrow (36 pairs so far).

7th July 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

We had a very "giggly" start to the session and just seemed to be a happy atmosphere with good spirits - a few looks from others as we seem to be having too much fun!  I think keeping light and happy helps partner relax and we do better when she is calm and happy!

Despite a few mishaps (2 open from partner, 2 reply and announced as a transfer to !!!!  Partner woke up in time fortunately - then Puppet stayman that missed our 4-4  fit but ended up in a good contract so no harm done).

No red scores and only 3 amber with a lot of really good boards result in a top for us today.  To be honest, we both really enjoyed the session, it helps to win but would have been quite happy with a lower score today as enjoying the session is far more important - I was less grumpy today for the first time in a while and this helped too!

I think I played well today but had a bit of help - I never like to mention others mis-fortunes but it is important to unblock - when defending a NT contract I was in, the ops had the chance to take me off but didn't unblock the , it is vital to look for these positions and sometimes you need to win with a higher card than needed.

I was delighted with partner on hand 12, only a small 1 contract but made more than the matrix says is possible and we stayed low and got a good result, well done partner!

I felt mean on hand 23, Ops played a card out of turn which is a penalty card - I enforced this and so won my Q - it felt mean as they are fairly new but rules are rules and I hope I handled it nicely and they seemed to be ok with it.

Despite one unpleasant hand with the Ops where they went wrong in the bidding and couldn't stay calm (I won't say any more here), today was one of the most enjoyable sessions ever, almost a stand up comedy session!!!  Thanks partner.

Went to Boules in Crondall straight from Bridge this afternoon as a social organised by my badminton club.  Didn't start well but I played really well towards the end and got my eye in for a few really killer shots!  Got 4 n 1 end on the last match and I threw the last 3 balls and got them all closest to add to my partners close ball!!!

Had a bite to eat and a drink after too and was really nice.  Made a refreshing change to spend time with my other half - we are playing together on Sunday too!

I arrive home and check up on the YHBC results, I had to cancel my session tonight for the Boules and my partner seemed to have found or more than reasonable replacement - well done Alan and June, a great win tonight!!

Having lunch with Alan tomorrow as we hand back the dealing machine, Vee's maligning touch with the hands at YHBC may now be at an end.....

6th July 2017


Playing as part of our regular team in round 4 of the 6 round bi-monthly teams series.

We had a + score overall and joint 5th so can't complain and had some very good scores.  Some less good however.....

Board 1:

Partner had passed and it is teams, I open 4 - only 3 makes and so it's a bad score, I stand by my bid in teams though (perhaps I am wrong).

Board 6:

We pushed them 1 too high here and doubled for a good score, a wild hand though and worth a look.

Board 7:

A triumph on both sides, we take 2NT off 2 and our team mates make 3NT for an 800 swing!

Board 8:

I have a 25 point hand and Ops open 4 in front of me!!!  I double which is left in, we need to be in 4 here though so it is not good.

Board 9:

We keep low here, Ops have 3 on but our team mates shine and take 4x off 2!

Board 11:

I play well here and make game in but didn't bid game (which isn't really there).  Team mates take 2 off so a double plus score.

Board 14:

Ops find the only way to take 4 off - under leading the A and getting a ruff, well done Ops.

Board 22:

Both sides fail here - Team mates go off in 2x and they don't open against us and partner opens 2NT - I have 2 points and 1 so try to rescue but we end up in 3NT off 4!!!

Board 26:

Team mates stay low and make 2 - our Ops go too high and we get our defence spot on and take them off 3


We missed 7 on board 10, partner asked for key cards and I said 3 - this was all we needed but we didn't bid it - flat board though.

Team mates missed 7NT on board 12 too but again, fairly flat.

Board 25 I doubled showing , partner didn't lead a so Ops made 2NT, perhaps this isn't an obvious play though :(

An enjoyable evening despite the heat and playing again tomorrow afternoon.

5th July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in the last round of the Accumulator Cup.

Not our finest evening tonight, think we may have put too much pressure on trying to do well rather than just playing naturally.

Some highs and lows though but ended with me not playing 3NT well enough which was disappointing.

I finished 10th in the end and partner made the top 30 having only played 2 events!

Well done to Barbara and Ron for winning the Cup - comp results HERE

We did our best and worst boards fairly close together - first was 22 going off 1700 - not a good sacrifice partner!!!  I should have overcalled  though rather than show both and

Our great board was soon after though, 4xx on board 1 - we actually have 6 on but scores less!  Good re-double partner!

A few other good and bad ones, roughly one good for each bad so end up on close to 50%!

Board 2 was odd, we stopped in 1 (artificial bid) and I made it (says I shouldn't) - not often 1 generates a 100%!

Still, a fun night despite the heat and I don't cope well in it - headache now and whole body aches, been feeling bad again all day today but hope for a better day tomorrow.

4th July 2017


Really tired today and fell asleep on the sofa.  Still went to badminton tonight though and am now absolutely shattered!!!

Won 4 lost 4 tonight, some really good shots but my movement was terrible.

Last Accumulator cup tomorrow at YHBC, looks like I am too far behind to challenge but you never know and I have a great partner - anything can happen....!

3rd July 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

An enjoyable night overall with a few hiccups.  Most of our low scores were down to the Ops good bidding but perhaps we should push a bit harder on some.

Board 13 was an example - I think we should have bid 6 as a sacrifice over 6 but being vulnerable put us off - a  lead by me and I think we take 6 off too!

Board 20 was a good double but we need to end with a so they are in dummy, then we make an extra to take it off.

Board 22 we are in a good slam but need to ruff a before taking the last trump out, on a reasonable split it is easy but is still there I think.

The rest were either great or good and good humour tonight!  If we had the 3 hands above right we would have been around 8-10% higher which would have been a good score, easy to analyse like this I realise but shows that it doesn't take much to turn an ok evening into a good evening

2nd July 2017

Surrey AGM:

Playing with a regular partner in the Surrey AGM Pairs.

Not the best turn out, 8 tables with some of the committee there for the AGM only (including the President who made the AGM despite being very un-well, a great effort Charles, well done and get well soon).

Nothing controversial in the AGM - Tim Green accepted as the new President, am sure Tim will be a great President and I wish him every success.

The Bridge:

Not a great start, a number of hands where we ended up in the wrong contract - use of stayman with few points would have helped - not easy though.

We end up on 26% at half time crying

After a food break things pick up - we bid a slam not many bid, our defence is better and our bidding is better.  We also had some luck on 2 key hands where I gamble on 3NT and partner is playing it.  This should go off but Ops lead out of turn and partner forces it to be a penalty card and so a  cannot be pushed back through - clever and well done partner!

Our final hand was a choice of us in or double the Ops in  - I chose the latter and it turns out our game goes off so we end on a high!

An enjoyable day although I did not like having 10+ hands where I open 1NT!!!!  Thanks partner, especially for the 2nd half !

1st July 2017

A Day Off:

A rare day off today!

Met a bridge partner for lunch and had a lovely carvery and discussed a few bridge issues too.

My partner was at a school reunion all day so I had a day to myself.  I did a few chores and played Sim City on my laptop!!!  A day to recharge really.

Surrey AGM tomorrow.....

30th June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

High hopes tonight but unfortunately it wasn't to be tonight.

Partner freely admitted his mind wasn't on it tonight, a number of errors and mainly play and card reading (which partner is normally the best at, honestly the BEST).  All completely forgivable and some hands were pure judgement calls that between us we got wrong.

The good bits:

Hand 6:  I was switched on here, lead a  as didn't want to lead from my higher honour suits.  After we see declarer play the Q on trick 1, I then unblock on the next trick and partner makes 3 s so we take this 3 off.

Hand 10:  Ops open 1 and I decide that our evening is not going well so time for a gamble.  I have 8 tricks in my hand and "hope" partner can offer 1 so overcall 3NT (similar principle to the gambling 3NT).  Partner does have 2 tricks for me once set-up but unfortunately I cannot get to them - however, Ops take the first 3 and then switch to a  which they duck to my single Q - the 9th trick - I am so lucky sometimes!

Hand 11:  Ops have 6 available but partner sacrifices in 5 - 2 off is a joint top here.  As it happens, Ops don't take their ♠s and partner sets up the s to discard them and actually makes the contract!!!

Hand 19:  Ops give us a gift here bidding on shape - we get the defence right here too for a good score.

Hand 21:  Our last hand of the evening and partner makes up for a lot here - plays brilliantly for 10 tricks in 3NT for a top - well done partner!

Hand 23:  We are the only pair in game, 1 other pair make 9 tricks which really are not there - I manage to convince the Ops I have a honour so they play one and switch - I sneak home to a baffled pair of Ops, phew!

The not so good bits:

Hand 7:  I am too ambitious here and bid to game - I should have stopped.  Partner goes 2 off trying to make this, my fault though.

Hand 13:  Partner doubles for a red card lead (which I do not do) but I maintain it makes no difference here.  Even without the double (making!) the Ops were the only pair in game, we couldn't win here so well done Ops!

Hand 15:  Ops sign off in 2 and then partner bids 2NT - this was meant as pick a minor but I didn't recognise it - a Double would have done though - both at fault perhaps!

Hand 17:  A good double here but I need partner to continue the and take the 2nd trick and a ruff for me (2 off) - not letting the Ops make it....!

Hand 22:  We are in a good contract here but partner mis-counts the s - unfortunate crying

Still - an enjoyable evening and our good bits were very good - just need to avoid the silly bits......

A weekend of bridge admin and Surrey AGM (still time to sign up for this, 1pm in Oxshott on Sunday - click HERE to register).

30th June 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

After a series of good results this week and the last few weeks on a Friday, today went South!

Apologies to partner, but I don't think she was quite feeling it today, a poor start and a series of hard hands which all went wrong and it never really recovered.  Partner needs a solid start to settle in and if we start poorly it often continues.

Board 5 was our first and I have to decide on a Double or 5 - I chose to Double and it was the correct decision but we missed a trick or 2 and so not good.

Board 7 needs a ♠ lead but well declared Ops

Board 8 partner bid 1NT over my 1 - Personally, I believe 8HCP and 5 4 warrants a bid of 2 here - I need to know there is something over there, I still could have bid 2 so it is honours even here I guess!

Board 10 plays better in s but even in 3NT I can be 1 off but I tried to make it and went 2 off crying

Board 13 was crazy!!!  Partner opens 1 and I pass (I cannot find a bid with the whole 1 level open to me).  Ops Double and partner jumps to 2 !!!!!  This can never be right.  Best bid here is pass and let the Ops dig a hole.  I can at least bid my hand then if needed.

Board 15 - a pure nightmare, perhaps we too ambitious but this looks reasonable, just not with this distribution!

Board 22 - Ops should be in game and ours were - in fact, 6 or 6NT are available but nobody bid them and not all Ops are in game!

Playing again tonight at YHBC followed by a weekend of bridge admin and Surrey AGM (still time to sign up for this, 1pm in Oxshott on Sunday - click HERE to register).

29th June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

After a month away, this is only the 2nd time of playing together again and it seems we are back as a pair!

Tonight was the best night's bridge I have had in a long long time.  Last night was very comfortable, tonight felt like we were invincible.

Although there is a lot of skill involved in this game, I maintain that luck plays a big part too.  Tonight, everything we touched seemed to be golden.

I really felt for on pair where we take them off 2 re-doubled, declarer mis-read the situation and we kept forcing him and defended solidly.  They were in a good contract but the Bridge Gods seemed to be protecting us tonight.

Almost every board was very good and partner's declarer play was outstanding tonight.  I actually felt our defence was the best it's ever been and partner missed one card all night (which didn't cost anything anyway).

When we were doubled, partner made an over-trick, it all just fell right tonight.

My style is more to be self critical or to explain what went wrong or why I should have done something better etc - I can only really find one hand tonight where we failed to find the club switch to defeat 3NT.  I can't bring myself to discus the rest but I am shamefully pleased with the score and performance tonight.  It is a cruel game though, don't be surprised if you see our next score at the bottom - I am not as consistent as I should be by now (largely due to playing so many systems with so many partners!).

Playing twice tomorrow followed by a weekend of bridge admin and Surrey AGM (still time to sign up for this, 1pm in Oxshott on Sunday - click HERE to register).

28th June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in round 2 of the Accumulator Cup.

Partner had been in London all day for treatment and hadn't been home before Bridge - was exhausted but came out to play as I needed him, a good friend!

We started off well (though hard to tell early on) and we are consistently accurate with bids and play.  Really pleased with some of the defence tonight, it is very comfortable playing our system and you don't need to think too hard.

I only played 2 hands (the first 2!!!) but averaged 70% so can't complain.

Annoyed at hand 24, partner had laid a trap and the Ops fell for it bidding 4 - I then bid 5 so partner couldn't double - sorry partner crying

Hand 18 we could have stayed lower, a little exuberant partner but forgivable - looks like it should be there too but the cards are against us on this one.

Hand 4 was amazing by partner, a reasonable outrageour bid but the play was great to watch - only going 1 off got us a near top, well done partner!

1 Complete round was down to partner too - hands 11 and 12 were both really well played.

Quite a number of good hands too though and we finish top (5% clear) - I am still quite a bit behind on the accumulator scores so looks unlikely this year but will see what we can do next week for the last event.

3 tables in the Improvers tonight, Ian N and Rosalie did very well again, so good to see!

Vee partnered Sam tonight and came joint 2nd too - Sam is one of the younger players and progressing really well, good to see some of the younger players doing well and learning fast too - keep it up Sam!

27th June 2017


Health still not brilliant but decide to go to badminton tonight to try and get some exercise and get out of the house.

Have been without my car this week as being repaired (coolant leak) so working from home / holiday today and tomorrow.

I walk to badminton in the rain but it is quite refreshing.  Arrive first (as always) and set up the courts and benches etc and then start playing.

My knees and legs restrict my movement but my arm is very powerful and I manage to win all but 1 games tonight - the last game was 21-2 and I just couldn't do anything wrong.

So, still not pleased that I am not well but pleased with my skill level.  If I could just move my over-sized body better who knows .............!

2nd round of the Accumulator cup tomorrow night with Vee hosting the improvers.

26th June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in round 6 of the Monday Championships.

Well, what hands tonight!!!  It seemed to be an amazing number of high hands and wild distributions, we fell into a number of traps but scraped through a very tough NS set to come top (just).

The series is based on each % so, although it is great to come top, it is the higher scores that you need - these were all EW tonight (well done Nick and David for getting over 70%!).

The best 6 scores count over the 10 events and so we now have 6.  Our lowest score is 49, so if we can get another 60+ I think we may just win this year (been 2nd for a number of years!!!).

We had quite a number of very good boards (and started on board 17, so are first 5 boards were fantastic!!!).

Some really unlucky hands for the Ops, including 1100 for 5X which seemed right in the bidding but 4X was a better score (though we still would have had a good score so they couldn't win).

Our poor scores:

3.  I have no points and so after partner bids 1NT I rescue via stayman.  I think this was the right thing to do and 2 off 1 should be a good score as 1NT doesn't make.  Unfortunately, Ops defended really well to take us 2 off and a large number of other NS pairs made 1NT+

10.  All pass to me and I open 1.  Ops now double and partner stays quiet.  This caused a bit of tension as I can now only bid 2.  I feel I need to know about the points and partner stands firm that 8HCP is needed to bid after the DBL.  Both right here but I need to be on the same wavelength.  If I were, I could now DBL and find out what partner has.

14.  Nothing to note here really, it was late and we had a series of tough hands and here, partner lost count of the cards and kept the wrong one at the end - easily done and well done Ops for playing well and squeezing us to the last card!

22.  A good DBL by me but I didn't read the card well enough and let this through, totally my fault and sorry partner!  I need to hold off on the A and then they are 1 off.

26.  Perhaps I was ambitious here but 4 makes on any lead other than the (a number of others did indeed make 4), I am a bold bidder and I stand by this one, good lead Ops.

A special note to partner for boards 19 and 20 - shared tops with 1 other ONLY on both boards, to make 10 tricks on board 19 was outstanding!  Well done partner.

25th June 2017

Social Bridge:

After our normal Sunday morning routine of shopping and washing etc we head over to our friends for a BBQ (12 of us).  Great food, drink, conversation and company!  A really enjoyable afternoon.

We follow this up by a change of venue for our regular social Teams event.  I play with a lady for the first time and we have a great time, we start off very well too!

The bridge goes south after the first 2 rounds but largely due to great bidding by Ops - my partner (Vee) played with "tall Ian" and finished a very close 2nd behind the BBQ hosts Ruth and Nigel.

I was also really pleases to see that the team I play in at CBC finished 2nd overall in the Surrey Wanborough Cup today, well done team!!!  Click HERE for their results.

19th March 2017

Portland Pairs:

Playing in a tough event at one of the toughest venues, 48 boards (2 sessions of 24) and no let up, no easy pairs - why do we do it!!!

The Portland Pairs is played over a number of venues across the country and this time had 312 pairs enter.

Enjoyable day with a lovely partner, a lot wrong but a lot right too, just more wrong this time but can't win them all.

Board 26 in session 1 is worth sharing....  Only one EW pair played the final contract (us!).  NS have a cold game in  on but not quite enough points and are feeling there way, I bid 2 to get in the way and partner supports - the opposition double for take out and leave it in..... Contract made for +670.  We should be onto a winner with this bidding, 1 off is likely but still a good score and if they play, we have a safe lead either side, would you bid with my hand?  Click HERE to see it

Richmond Results  (where we played)    -     National Results

24th June 2017

Social Bridge:

A few chores today as well as getting ready for Bridge and BBQ tomorrow with 12 of us at a friends.

We go to Frimley to collect cat food (and buy a few new clothes) then pick up John and it's off to Dorothy's.

Margaret & Neil have been recovering there too and I pass on the card from CBC wishing them both well and big thanks are received from them to all at the club.  I am pleased to report that both are recovering well and in good spirits

Dorothy has a few chores for us which we do gladly and then it's lunch followed by rubber bridge.

Some really tricky hands and Dorothy and I defend really well to take down a number of reasonable contracts!

We play 2 rubbers and it's one all, the bigger score is our side but I prefer to say it was an honourable score draw!!!!

Relaxing at home tonight now.

23rd June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session

Not our finest hour!  Partner had a series of very hard hands and tricky decisions, over half of them were the wrong choice (not clear cut, mostly).

We were still on for a good score but twice I tried 6 and partner didn't go for it, two near tops turned to two zero's!

We played our boards in order starting with hand 1.  First 3 rounds were really good, on 67% after 6 boards..... then.........

Board 7:  Partner passes, Ops Pass, 1 by me.  Pass by Ops, partner bids 1.  I bid 2, partner bids 2 - this cannot be right!  Everyone else in s (not a great contract either but....  Partner must bid 2 as preference here.  2NT -4 was 10%.

Board 10:  Tricky here but 3NT is all that makes, not easy with my singleton but partner could bid it.....

Board 16:  Ops bid a slam nobody else did, well done Ops.

Board 17:  Partner bid 5NT after I have shown a big hand - what do I do now?  I felt I was being told is no good and is under control (bid in W) - with the lead coming through, this won't work!  6 is cold.....

Board 22:  Our last hand.  Bid up to 5 (a great contract), Ops Double !!!!  Unfortunately, partner didn't see the s and the last 2 were masters in my hand, discard the s on these and contract makes, bad luck partner....

As always, really enjoyed the night, Derek is really good fun!  I did enjoy making 4 Doubled on board 6 too!!!

23rd June 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Left work early today as we were due to play in the bar downstairs this afternoon so wanted to be o hand to help set-up.  The CC staff were amazing however and had moved the tables downstairs and set them up for us as well as sourcing enough chairs and preparing the kitchen with our juice etc for us - a massive thank you Leslie!!!!

Today was really pleasant, the weather had cooled and the door was open, very comfortable and we came top again!

A few bad boards and some VERY luck hands but most were above 60% and 8 were 90% or 100%.

Those of you who know me will know I am always quite firm with my partner but, I will this time, she was an absolute star today and declarer play was 80% - well done Margaret!!!!

My NT play scored well throughout the day which I was pleased with and our bidding worked well too.

Hand 2 however..........

Our Bidding
East Me West Partner
P 1 P 1
P 2 P 3
P 3N All P  
Potential Bidding
East Me West Partner
P 1 P 2
P 3 P 3
P 3N All P  





I believe in longest suit to be bid first - I think we end up in the same contract as it happens (which I also should not have made).  Instead of 3, partner should probably repeat the but we are an aggressive pair!

Home now for a bite to eat then off to YHBC.......

22nd June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session.

Weather starting to cool but still too hot for me and a bit drained from this week of being ill and weakened.

Tonight started with a gift from our Ops (first time they had played together), me being mean, I double for a top, how could I when they are my friends? Sorry.

We had four bad boards, the rest were all ok - we didn't shine very often but were solid and had a reasonable score (although the position was below par).

3 major issues though, 1 was a judgement by partner:

Hand 13: I re-bid 2NT (out system says game force) and partner passed.  I rarely say anything against partner and even here, she had reasons.  This time however, I think partner should not pass a forcing bid.

Hand 18: Partner opens strong and I use puppet stayman (I stand by this), Ops double the and I still sign off in 3NT - I should have bid 4 and partner can now bid 4 or 5.  Of course, the top scores were in 3NT but without a lead..... My fault here.

Hand 23:  I open 4 (limit bid) and partner has 15HCP and only 2 of my suit with only 1 Ace.  I personally don't think this is enough to go looking but partner did - I gave a good reply of 2 key cards with the Q trumps but this wasn't enough to make a slam (I couldn't have much more than this for my bid).  I went 2 off but only as I tried to make the contract, if the  lead was not a singleton, I get my  away - of course it was (which I knew but had to try) so 2 off.  1 off DBL wouldn't have been much better.

To even out the system error on round 1, our friends also bid 6 (less than half bid it) for a near top for them (this being our 4th poor score).

An enjoyable evening, the 3 main blunders avoided and would have gained around 7-9% and been rivalling top spot, so not far off really.

21st June 2017


Playing with a now regular partner in the first of the Accumulator Cup series.

This is a 3 series event over 3 Wednesdays (the day alternates each season).

It was still far too hot tonight and I am not feeling 100%, that was not really an excuse though, I generally just made poor choices tonight.

An interesting discussion about strong 2 openers on board 14.  I looked and looked at this hand and worked out that I "Could" open it 2 (4 loser hand in ).  Missing AQJ of though, I chose not to.  This was against our system card and I need to think about this.  I MUST open it 2 if I am to play the card properly.  It is a card worth playing so I will in future, sorry partner.

Hands 5 and 6 were troublesome.  6 felt right on hand 5 but it is never there.  Bid 6 again on hand 6 which is there if I play the  properly, of course, I didn't!!!

Our last hand of the evening also showed a lack of concentration.  I ruffed the 2nd played (90% sure partner had the K).  I wanted to make the A but didn't think partner could play the K and then give me a ruff - then I take A (which I cannot as it happens as declarer and dummy both only had 1 !!!).

This is the best system card I play but I don't play it often enough, I need to work harder here to make this work, I will!

Only 2.5 tables in the Improvers tonight but this gave Vee a chance to sit with the sitting out pair and go through the hands - this is normally a really good way of helping and am sure Vee has helped here.

Good to see Ian N back too, hope to see more of you!  Great result too, not quite as high as 1 of our regular pairs who hit a phenomenal high of nearly 80%!!!

20th June 2017

No Bridge:

It is still too HOT crying

An early start at work today as once again, it's only me that can do the monthly reporting (I am a team of 1) so I cannot be ill.  Of course, I am currently un-well but hey!  Got it all done and now home by the fan!

I am not going to badminton tonight and no bridge, quiet night watching TV with my partner and will consider an early night......

19th June 2017


Playing with a regular partner in a regular club session (in insane heat!!!)

Spent all day either in bed or asleep on sofa or moaning to myself in pain - had no working muscles this morning, just could not move.  The heat is crippling for me and suspect I had some form of heat stroke over the weekend.

Despite that, I cannot let anyone down so haul myself up and out for bridge tonight.  As I arrive I am just dripping and can't even help that much with the set-up, I am still thinking I should go back home.  Partner sees me and asks if I need to go home without me saying anything (so I know I must look dreadful!).  I stay and we sit out the first round (we bid the hands and bid up to 6 on one of them as EW, glad we were sitting out!).

We actually end up having a pleasant evening and keep going outside where it is quite cool on the balcony, I feel a bit brighter with each hand and between us, only 4 blips (1 was good declarer play by Ops).  Coming top in any session is always good but tonight, given how I felt, I was amazed!

Had a few hands where most are making 12 tricks but they took the first 2 against us, not much we can do here.  Some insane luck on a few hands though, won't give much away but hand 14 I was very lucky!

Now sat in the dark with a big fan going - roll on winter!!!

18th June 2017

B&B Swiss Teams:

Playing with a regular Congress Partner in the Berks Green Point Swiss teams.  Fellow team mates from CBC.

We started with a reasonably easy team (although one lady we played was extremely unpleasant, we let it go and just played cards).

Not our best performance, very hot today again and very uncomfortable, I am now quite un-well and most is due to the heat I believe.

The story.....:

Match 1:

This match was won by us being in 2 games (as we should be) which our Ops were not in, a comfortable 15-5 win

Match 2:

Nothing goes our way here our team mates didn't bid a slam that our Ops did but we had lost the match without this, our Ops were the top EW pair over the whole event! - a 17-3 loss here

Match 3:

A fairly tight match but our Ops push us to 5 and I go 1 off, the other table is 4 making.  Our ops also bid a game our team mates didn't - another 17-3 loss.

Match 4:

An unfortunate draw against our friends from CBC here, we push them too high at our table and also take them down in a 3NT contract (partners good lead) - a 17-3 win for us.

Match 5:

Ops start off with a frustrating hand for them where again, partner finds the killer lead and we defend really well, this knocked her confidence then and the next few boards are a little timid.  Board 35 was one of the most interesting of the whole day - we can make 5 or 5 and Ops can make 5 or 4 - we bid aggressive and got straight to 5 here, the other table, our team mates defend perfectly taking 5 off.

Match 6:

Totally out-classed here by the event organiser, not much we could do here but partner did make 1 and 1NT, I know it doesn't sound like much but play was excellent to make these!  20-0 loss though

Match 7:

Another match where we lost heavily - not much more we could have done, we had some odd contracts at our table which we took off nicely - team mates possibly could have performed better but a long day and so hot, I don't blame anyone today!

17th June 2017

B&B Swiss Pairs:

Playing with a regular Congress Partner in the Berks Green Point Swiss pairs.

We drew a VERY tough pair to start and managed to scrape an 11-9 win (really pleased with this).

Next match is a disaster and 20-0 defeat followed by a 20-0 win!

Another huge 18-2 defeat followed by a good 15-5 win.  Then we threw away a tight match 11-9 and finish with a 16-4 loss.

Not our best performance, very hot today and slightly uncomfortable, possibly lost focus a few times.

The story.....:

Match 1:

Our very first hand was board 2, Ops open 2 (Lucas 2 showing 5 and a minor) - I pass, Ops raise to 4.  Now comes Simon.....!  5, P, P, Double/  Simon again, 5 (now showing at least 5/5 in the red suits, likely 6).

P, P, Doubles, P, P, P (I have 4 in my hand).  As each trick is played the Ops are visibly shrinking, well bid and played Simon, hand 1 of the day is 850 for 5X !

Next hand we defend well and take 1NT off 2 for a great score.  The Ops have the play on the next few and we finish with 6 our way (not many in it) - a narrow win.

Match 2:

Nothing goes our way here other than 1 great sacrifice, 20-0 loss here

Match 3:

Nothing goes right for our Ops here - 6 out of 7 were really good for us (one of our best ever matches).  The highlight for me was being in 4X making an overtrick for 990!  Ops hold 19HCP and couldn't believe we could have enough, it is all shape (8 and 9 points each but I have a void and partner has a singleton and we have a fit) - we found our fit with Gesthem showing 5/4+ in majors.  I can actually make 12 tricks here (with 17HCP between us) but I had to make sure of the contract and so played safe.  A lot of other good boards here result in 20-0 for us.

Match 4:

Not a bad match really, we were in NT when should be in a major twice but it didn't feel too bad, it was though, 18-2 loss.

Match 5:

This started off as a tight match we thought.  Killer board was 30 where partner lurked with 18HCP.  The Ops sign off in 2 - I cannot let the Ops play in 2 of a major if I can help it, so I balance.  Partner jumps to 3NT and I gulp (I have only 4 HCP!!!).  He plays this superbly (Ops made an error too) and brings it home +1 (matrix says only 2NT available) - this was the match winner here!  We had already got it as it turns out but we felt it was close, now 15-5 for us.

Match 6:

Nothing wrong here on 6 boards, we had the match winner where I played low to my Qx and made my Q for the +1 - however, our defence slipped and we let 3NT through and so lost 11-9.

Match 7:

Another match where we lost heavily but 1 board would have turned it.  Between us we didn't bid 4 and didn't bid 3NT, these boards killed it, just 1 would probably have swung it.  We had a great score for 5\ too but really, we should have bid 6 here, either of us could have but didn't/  As it turned out, most were either not in game or didn't make 12.

Same again tomorrow for the Teams - I will make sure I am slightly better tomorrow as can't let team mates down.

16th June 2017


Playing with a now established but fairly new partner in the 3rd round of the Beryl Doughty (our score won't count for the competition).

We both made a number of errors (me far more than partner) - had such a hectic day today and was yawning throughout tonight - no excuse but it just didn't feel on tonight.

Started off ok against my life partner and then most rounds were top and a bottom with 1 round where the Ops just bid and played correctly (what can you do).

I didn't do my homework and got Jacobi wrong and then played to make 12 tricks which didn't work so ended up 2 off (1 off would be bad so may as well try).

Partner didn't use Lebensohl on 1 hand too which would have got us to the right contract, virtually his only error though so will forgive!

We had a bit of luck on 1 board, I pass, Ops open and their partner bids, then I overcall 2.  Before I know it, they bid 2 too having not seen my bid!!!  Director called and says it's tricky here but he needs to make it good and will allow 3 as natural, any other bid and his partner is silenced throughout.  3NT is punted and it is not the best contract, we also get the defence right and so get a top here.  It's amazing how many times Ops don't notice bids....

Suffered on another board where I had a slam on but panicked and just bid 4.  If I double first we have chances to get there, careless.

Board 15 was awkward.  Partner doubles 4 - should be in 4 via Lebensohl (as eluded to earlier) but 1 lead at any point and we take the contract off - slightly careless again.

I was pleased to see 2 of our Improvers play tonight, not only did they play and keep pace, they got over 50% and beat us too!  Well done both

Off to Windsor this weekend for the Berks Green Point.

16th June 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with a new partner in a regular club session as my partner was away for the weekend.

A few ups and downs today and we both felt slightly off our game today.  A couple of things came up which we handle differently so didn't go as well as last night!

Despite that, we were top by a mile going into the last round, unfortunately, our Ops bid a small slam, a good game and we get our defence wrong on the last board so slip to 2nd by a fraction of a %

Still, 2nd, can't grumble and partner was a delight to play with and very comfortable.  We were also the only NS to bid a slam, so the top end of the game was still solid, all those part scores and 1 extra trick here and there count for a lot too

15th June 2017


Playing with a new partner in a regular club session as my partner was double booked.

Really enjoyed tonight, we played basic Benji and ironed out a few little differences as we went, only 1 cost us....  I never reply 1NT with a good 9HCP, I find it is better to bid at the 2 level here, we missed game as I didn't think we could have enough points with 8 or less - my fault really but a style difference.

My partner tonight was truly magnificent tonight, played 9 hands and achieved 75% for her efforts, I bid up to 6 on board 3, it is a good contract but requires some thought - partner DID think and worked it out, well done partner!

At the end, the scores are very tight and our last hand is a really tight 6NT.  Partner opened strong and I had a good 4 card support for her so went looking for a slam.  I ended up in 6NT and the matrix says only 5 on, I did make it though (leaving the  finesse to the end) and got us a top to finish which secured the top spot!

Our very first round was our worst set, I played terribly on both boards.  Am glad to say my play improved after this - we bid 4 on board 10, again, it is a good contract but requires a lot of thought - this time I DID think!!!  Was secretly pleased with myself on this one as not many made 10 tricks (nobody else who bid game made it).

We bid 2 slams tonight, 3 other slams were bid NS and all board 15, we didn't bid that one!!!  I should have looked for it though as I knew we could make 5 - my error here but the score was ok for the board and mustn't be greedy....

I'm pleased to see my partner (who I normally would have played with tonight) also came top (EW), well done other partner!!!

With my regular Friday partner away, have agreed to play again tomorrow afternoon - was pleased to arrange that at the start of the session rather than waiting to see the result!

14th June 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers with Vee tonight.  There are 4 and a half tables and a missing pair in the main group, 2 of our improvers agree to move to the main group for the experience.

They held their own and kept pace well and although the position wasn't great, the score was quite reasonable and they knew most of the errors straight away - I hope they keep trying as they are a really strong pair and are more than capable of the main group.

In our section, a very close session - the scores in the middle were changing positions all the time in the last round and ended with a joint 2nd.  Not many calls tonight either and after the first round, the pace was fair too.

Some very tricky hands and mainly part scores - 1 hard slam EW which only 1 pair got close to.  The play here is not easy though and the bidding just as tricky, worth looking at "Play it again" on board 10 here....

13th June 2017

Social Bridge:

Hosting social bridge tonight with 2 of our Wednesday Improvers.

This our 2nd session as a 4 and the main aim is to go through some hands and discuss what went well or badly and how to improve each aspect as it comes up.

Also, a great social occasion with cake (we all love cake!!!)

Tonight went really well and some very interesting hands.  1 hand called for the last 2 cards to be cross ruffed and they plated the trump and lost a trump.  Always consider cross ruffing here as we had 2 trumps left in 1 hand but both lower than theirs.

We got them to try discarding too (just attitude for now) and this worked well.  I also advised what cards to keep when discarding on our long suits (ie what cards you must keep and therefore which to throw away).

Missed badminton tonight but I don't mind missing the odd session if we are able to have fun and help the Improvers.

We are hosting tomorrow night too.

12th June 2017


Playing with my regular partner in a regular club session.

Really not our night tonight, I couldn't concentrate and kept losing track of the cards or taking the wrong line, I normally rate my declarer play but it was awful tonight.

Poor score and nearly all my own fault.  Partner also missed the odd card but generally was sound.

We started off ok, very tricky hand (mis-fit) and partner did extremely well to only be 1 off for a good score.  Each round is a bit up and down after that and on board 24 I decide to pre-empt with 3 and play there - we should be in 4 and find it if I don't open.  I should have made 3 too though for a reasonable score but I missed the J and so ended up 1 off crying

Board 26 our Ops bid 5, I can double or bid 5 - I chose the wrong way, 4 is all that is there crying

Board 3 was the worst I played all night going 3 off doubled

Another up and down round followed by 2 good rounds and then we finish with a final poor round

Sorry partner.....

11th June 2017

Oxford Swiss Teams:

Check out of hotel and make our way over around 10am and meet up with Team mates and say Hi to lots of friends here today (between us we seem to know most of the players!).

Today was just not our day, not going to apportion blame as it was all of us to be honest.  When we had a good round, team mates didn't and vice versa.  Often, we are in the correct contract but odd scores in our round.

Very frustrating and the more you lose the harder it is to win - after losing the first 6 matches we had to win the last match - fortunately, we did!  We all felt down after today but it happens to all of us.  Especially as this was largely not great, I am not going to labour all issues we faced (mainly as I genuinely do not think it was down to any 1 of us overall).  Instead, here are some of the good boards:

Board 9: 100% for us taking 3NT off 5 - I open a weak 3 and Ops bid 3NT.  Partner makes the right lead and Ops win Q, I win Q and return a which loses to declarers A.  Win A and now take 4 s and get a  signal from partner.  We take 9 tricks when the Ops are in 3NT, well defended partner!!!

Board 19: Joint top for us bidding and making 7 - I have a nice hand and 8 fairly solid s - partner is dealer and opens 1!!!!!  Ops jump in s but I am not being put off, 4NT from me (should have been exclusion blackwood but I forgot) - I end up punting 7 with my void but my instincts proved correct and partner played it beautifully!  Only 5 in the grand out of 48 tables.

Board 37: We take 3NT off 1 - I am squeezed from trick 1 but get the signal in and keep the right cards - we beat the matrix here by getting our defence spot on!

Board 44: Amazing partner!!!  4 bid and made, I have an 18 count and partner opens a weak 3 - I raise to game but it isn't there.  However, just because it is not there didn't stop my partner making it (with a little luck where Ops held back on top trumps on first round then crashed on the 2nd) - this was good luck but partner had the sense to try for it.

10th June 2017

Oxford Swiss Pairs:

Set off just after 9am to get Margaret a paper and collect her and Simon to drive to Oxford - just over an hour and was an easy drive. Started with some food that Margaret had kindly made for us all which went down a treat!!!

Got settled in and started with a nice pair, fairly even but we win 11-9 (largely due to 2 great scores)

The next 3 matches were almost faultless but we lost them all - Ops didn't bid slams and games that go off and the rest of the field did, we suffer !!!

The last 3 matches were all really good, match 6 was a dream - we both played well but the Ops had 4 mis-understandings and we took the gifts gladly - given how well we did (especially my partner), slightly disappointed in the position but top half and 4/7 wins which is 1 Green Point - only 1440 to go......!!!

Match 1: Win 11-9

2 big scores here got us through, a great sacrifice on board 2 by partner when NS have a slam available and a tight double by me that squeaked through

Match 2: Lost 11-9

Partner did really well to get 10 tricks in 3NT but the Ops stayed out of game and slams on 3 boards and this proved very good for them!

Match 3: Lost 3-17

Brilliant defence when Ops in 1NT, we both had opening hands and kept quiet and took this off 4!!!  The rest was very good by Ops though (including talking me out of our game).

Match 4: Lost 4-16

3 by partner going 2 off cost here, some made it and it looks like 1 off is a par score

Match 5: Win 11-9

Largely great defence here but this round included 6 +1 by partner which very few were in (even less made the over trick!)

Match 6: Win 20-0

Ops fell apart here and 58% was our lowest score on these 7 boards, felt sorry for the Ops here who were such a nice pair.

Match 7: Win 16-4

Largely due to a brilliant 3 made by partner and 4 making all 13 by me (with the help of a revoke from Ops)

9th June 2017


No bridge tonight as playing board games with a friend at home.

Had a nice relaxing evening with a friend and take-away (with lodgers too), ordered too much food though but was nice!

Playing a strategy game we like and not played for a while, we had a really good game which was really close all the way through and I managed to pull away at the end for a win - the result really didn't matter though, was great fun for us both!

Followed this up with a simple game on the iPad (Ticket to Ride) which I also won!

Loaded the hands for the YHBC session and submitted P2P as our chairman is away at present, noticed a great score for the winners (currently the top score this season - look HERE).  Well done Colin & David!!!

Playing board games tonight and then off to Oxford for the weekend.....

9th June 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular partner in a regular club session.

A generally good session again this week with some great play and a bit of luck (again!).

With the last 8 scores to go in I watch our score change between 1st and 2nd with each score, it finishes with us top (just!) on a board that caused a yelp from the player.... They bid and made 7NT which they were so proud of, a bonus was it pushed our score up too - really pleased for Penny though (who also finished well in 3rd).

I felt really sorry for our Ops on board 16, they were so pleased with bidding a slam and it turned out to be zero for them as everyone else bid 6N or better (this was the 7NT hand).

We had 2 bad rounds and the rest were par or better, only hand I was a little upset on was board 3, partner opens 1 in 4th seat.  I have 4 and 7HCP and raise to 2, then partner bids on - follow the simple rule of 1, 2 that will do!!!  There was no more on here and partner didn't open strong so limit your hand (there are exceptions to this but generally this will serve you well).

Playing board games tonight and then off to Oxford for the weekend.....

8th June 2017


Playing with my regular partner in the 6th round of the Thursday Championship.

Enjoyed tonight despite partner being director and quite a number of issues, it does have an effect sometimes.  We came top NS but the 3rd highest score and it is total % over the series that counts.

We both have a lot of commitments and so have only played 3 so far but all have been good scores - if we did exactly the same again for the next 3, we would currently be leading the series, a long way to go yet though.

My partner tonight is a really strong player and the majority of the bidding and play was really good tonight, no mis-understandings at all although I could have made 2 different bids that would have been better, I overcalled with a poor suit on board 20 which partner lead, not the best lead and was my fault there, apologies.

Some luck tonight...

Board 10 we are in the correct contract and Ops double me, not an unreasonable double either but gives us a good score.

Board 21 the Ops didn't think I would take the  finesse and so played low automatically and I then guessed the  position and made 10 tricks.

Board 4 was a marginal board and very cagey, low level Doubles by both sides and we were lucky to be on the right side of it, 50/50 decisions for both sides though.

Boards 17 and 18 I really did feel for our Ops, both boards were 6 by Ops, they did well to bid them but we managed to get them both 1 off.

I played well overall but...

Board 2 I lost to the singleton Q, should have made that one - was on a guess, but even so.
Board 3 I had a favourable lead and then threw it away, I must play A first so I can get back to dummy, I played the 10 from dummy and it held and I played low without thinking crying
Board 13 I defended like a beginner, declare played well too but really, I was so bad here crying

Board 22 was unfortunate, we chose 3NT over 5 - normally it's the right decision but not here - I had a singleton so should have bid on I think, sorry partner.

Good score overall though and a really pleasant evening.

7th June 2017


Disappointing turn out in the Improvers, had 3 tables but 1 pair turned up and went home again un-well - Val coped well with the tricky start though and got through the session.

Playing with a fairly regular partner in a regular club session (practise for the Oxford congress this weekend).

Tonight was not our night!  At the time, I felt we hadn't made many errors but were unlucky, a few things did go wrong though and there were errors both side (I feel).

Board 2 was awkward.  Ops open a weak 2 and partner has 15HCP with 5 and 5.

Partner chose to pass here and see what happened.  I double with 15HCP and it is left in.  On this occasion the score was in our favour as only 1 pair bid 6 our way.  Should we be in 6 and how do we get there?

Board 5 was annoying.  Ops have 7NT on and are in 3NT, nobody bid a slam and some are not in game and some don't make 7 tricks, we suffer here!

Board 6 was worse!!!  We are in 3NT (a good contract from the bidding) it only makes 2, I made 2 (going 1 off) but 5 pairs were allowed to make 3NT crying

Board 7 was good, Ops can make 5 but we took 4 down, well defended partner.

Board 8 we were lucky, Ops didn't find game.

Board 9 I should ignore partners suit as I only have 1 and should lead my 4th highest  - Ops should have been in 4 though....

Board 12 I was distracted - not really an excuse but I was called to fix a problem in the Improvers and then didn't notice partners card and switched to the wrong suit, fatal and we let game through when it should have gone 2 off crying

Board 14 - what was I thinking!!!! I doubled a good slam, we still would have had a poor score but not a zero, when will I learn!!!

Board 15 was annoying - Ops have a grand slam on and play in 5 - Other Ops are in the wrong contract, wrong level or allow us to play!!!  Another poor score

Board 17 is another EW slam, only one pair found it and it was against us!!!

Board 19 - a competitive auction and we push them too high and get a score, finally a board where we did the right thing and it paid off!

Board 20 was partners turn to slip up, I asked for a switch and it didn't come, turned a top into a bottom as they now make their contract crying

We sat out 2 really interesting boards for us, our system would have really interfered on the first board and we pseudo bid the 2nd and think we can reach 4 too

Board 24 we both ducked and then crashed our  honours, more my fault than partners though but it really cost!

Not great for us but mostly not our fault - these issues should even out in a congress (I hope!).  At least we didn't make any system errors which is encouraging as I have made a few recently.

Really please to see our friends at the top tonight though, well done Margaret and Lesley!!!

6th June 2017


Have my friend staying this week so a day off work (well, had a few bits of work to do and also went to get my hair cut).

After lunch, we played social bridge for a few hours with Jo and Margaret which was good fun, home made scones from Margaret too, yummy!

We had a few incidents at bridge but it really didn't matter and all just played without scoring.

Home for dinner then out to badminton for our annual fun tournament (6 games with randomly drawn partners, winner plays with a loser from round 2 onwards).

Iain played too but had poor luck with partners he drew and there were long delays between some games.

I managed to only drop 5 points out of all my games winning 4 out of 6 so finished as top man and 2nd overall behind a really nice lady who is quite a strong player (she won 5 out of 6!).

Iain has his badminton tournament tomorrow so back to work for me, then bridge at YHBC (me with Jill and Iain with Vee again as Val hosts the improvers for us).

5th June 2017


Playing with my regular partner in a regular club session.

Enjoyed tonight but still a few exchanges of views where we differ in opinion.

It felt reasonable but quite surprised how well we did in the end, some hands were not great as we played them but ended up over 60% for us once all played.

Partner played really well tonight too, making 1 more trick than most a few times and made some brilliant leads which got our defence going well on most of the hands.

It was predominantly an EW night and we did well to play 11 of the hands between us (we are quite aggressive!).

I was pleased with board 1.  I open 1 and partner raises to 4.  I am always very wary to bid on after this but it felt right here so I enquired.  I got 1 Ace from partner and so bid a small slam.  I was also very lucky that they didn't lead off their Ace and could get my singleton  away for the precious over trick.

Playing socially tomorrow as have a charming guy staying with us for a few days (he played with my other half tonight).  We are then playing badminton at my club tomorrow night and then he is playing bridge with Vee again Wednesday night.

4th June 2017

Surrey League Final:

Playing with my Team that performed well in Surrey this year and made it to the final.  Today's final just didn't seem to go well - for both pairs, whatever we tried generally didn't work.

Hard to really say what went wrong but we lost all 3 matches to finish last - disappointing but it happens.

Without going into too much detail, a few hands that caused me problems (link to event above in the purple header):

1: I had to ruff the 2nd  when still 3 trumps in each left, I did this too late and so ran out of entires crying

16: It looked like not much was on so I passed 2 - turns out we can make 7 or 6 crying

24: I chose the wrong slam, 6 makes, 6NT doesn't crying

Take a look at the hands and see what you think - some were much easier than I made them but I think we just got caught in a bit of a spiral and couldn't make it good.

Back to back congresses the next 2 weekends so hope I get back on form this week!

3rd June 2017

Social Bridge:

Vee and I have an early start today playing socially with our friends Les & Jennie.  We start at 10:30 and have a really good day with banter and catching up and 24 hands of bridge (8 with each partner).  A nice lunch of quiche, salad, wedges and some biscuits later.

After the first 2 rotations, Les and Jennie are on identical scores and are joint leaders (just).  After 21 hands, Les, Jennie and I are all on the exact same score!!!  Vee and I have 3 good hands after this to finish and so I edge the win overall!  This really is not about winning though and we all felt it was anyones game and all were really close.  Although I won overall, the hand of the day has to go to Les for making a ridiculous 3NT I put him in, he played like a champion to make this impossible contract!

Player of the day though was Jennie by a mile, no mistakes noted, superb defence and a joy to play with - I only won due to luck with getting good cards at the right time.

Starting early still gives up the evening to ourselves and having had no time in weeks to just sit down, we are "wasting" the evening watching TV and eating take away curry!!!

Surrey League final tomorrow.......

2nd June 2017


Playing with a fairly regular partner in a regular club session.

First things first - WELL DONE COLIN & ANGELA !!!!!!!!

So pleased to see them doing well and to win in the main group was stunning to see!

Our evening was another of highs and lows - some good doubles, some great play - some take-out doubles left in (which was a disaster) and some poor defence (by me).

Hand 13 (lucky for some!) was my shining moment.  Partner did NOT like my jump to 3NT but I have a very good 18 and it is the correct bid (I would open a strong 2 with most 19s).

I got the first trick right and then planned my attack by placing the cards where I wanted them, they were all exactly where I wanted them!!!  How often does that happen?  I was pleased with myself here but partner still said he would rather I didn't jump like that.

Social bridge tomorrow then the Surrey League final on Sunday....

2nd June 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular partner in a regular club session.

Enjoyed today, nice atmosphere although the first few rounds took a long time and we got through 27 boards today!

Finished second but behind a very good pair with a great score, we had 58% which is respectable.

Our defence let us down once again and a few odd bids (or announcements, partner.....!!!) - still, it was comfortable and felt good.

Home for dinner then off to YHBC tonight.....

1st June 2017

BBL End of Season Pairs:

Playing with a regular partner in the BBL end of season pairs event.  This is the presentation night for the Pivot Cup and Bracknell leagues and is always well organised and there was good attendance from our clubs (CBC and YHBC).

Was proud to see Pamela and her team collect the Division 4 trophy, they played so well this year only dropping 1 game and now back to division 3, well done to them all!

Yateley A was also 2nd in division 1 after a solid season, a good year for YHBC!

Simon and I play in events and congress fairly regular and have a good system for doing well in strong fields.  It proved to be the case tonight.

After a slight wobble early on, we defended well and Simon played really well (most of the time!).  We end up 3rd at half time with 63% (leader on 66%).

We have a good second half too but I finish the night with a zero for not making 3NT when everyone else did, I just couldn't see it crying

Despite that hand, we finished just under 60% but somehow ended up on top!  This is the 2nd time I have played this event with Simon and the 2nd time we have won, well done partner!

Playing twice again tomorrow and then socially Saturday morning.  Surrey league final on Sunday too.....

31st May 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers with Vee tonight.  There are 4 and a half tables and so we both play.  We think it is best to split up and both try and help 2 improvers and so we each play with a solo improver.

I was really pleased with my partner tonight, he has come on a lot since I last played with him and his defending skills were vastly improved.  He was a little on the slow side last time too and now we either kept up or were ahead of the other tables.  He only played 2 of the hands but played both carefully and well.  I did keep asking him to come and play when I won the contract too (there is no value in me playing really) but he kept declining - still needs a bit more confidence and I think I should be more forceful next time.....!

Hand 3 was a really good example of his defending sense tonight.  I lead the 2 (a hated lead by a few of my partners as it gives too much away!).  I only have 5HCP and 4s so not expecting much here.  Dumy goes down and they hold Kx.  Partner holds Axx and plays low on the first round.  When he gets back in later, he play A and another through declarer.  In the mean time, I have generated a  and a  winner in my hand and partner engineers another  winner - a contract double dummy says can make and we take it 3 off due to partner's great play - well done Kevin!

A few card play issues though, not covering an honour with an honour and also giving up a key honour when declarer had played low.

5 tables again though and some real stars are emerging in the group.  Both Vee and I are playing in the main group next week and Val Foster has kindly offered to step in for us, thanks Val!

30th May 2017


No report for a few days and still no bridge tonight!  Have you missed me?  Probably not!

Had a weekend with my partner and friends this weekend, having given a lesson on Benji Saturday to our friends, we had a BBQ Saturday with 20 friends at our house (not a huge house so it gets very social!) - we had a little rain to start with but the weather held after that and we had a great time, hadn't seen some of our friends for a long while and was so good to catch up.

Sunday we met friends for a pub lunch in Alton which was great then coffee and nibbles in the evening with my monday bridge partner.

Back to work today and had a huge workload to get through but managed it, then home to make fajitas and relax before badminton (missed last week as played bridge at Woking).

Tonight was really good, it started off with the sweetest thing of the year - a young lad was there for the first time and I always arrive early, I showed him round and he suddenly said "I think I know you, are you Ian?" - I had a vague memory of him but it hadn't clicked, he was a junior badminton player at the club I went to.  I was 3/4 years older and quite experienced by the time he arrived as a 10 year old and I helped him a lot as a kid and coached him for a few tournaments and improved his game when I was starting out as a Junior coach.  He said he has never forgotten the club and me in particular and that I was his hero as a kid!!!  I thought that was so sweet and makes you realise what effect you have on others sometimes without noticing.  I don't mind admitting it, I was really taken aback by his comments and really proud to see a well turned out young man who I helped in his early days.

I played really well tonight too and lost 1 game 22-20 and won the rest - pushed a little too hard though and am shattered now!

Hosting the improvers tomorrow night with Vee then off to the End Of Season Pairs Thursday.

26th May 2017


We are having a BBQ tomorrow so a big shop today and preparing the house and garden (including buying a BBQ and assembling it!).

Once done, I set about preparing some notes, typing a convention card and setting 10 hands within a set of 20 to use as teaching hands for 2 of our friends.

Their results have been below their standard for a while so I offered to teach them Benji as a system and try and give some hints and tips on bidding and card play.

For reference, there are system notes within the YHBC site (link at the top in purple) there is also a version of Benji as a system card on the YHBC home page.

Our friend had done a lovely spread of food for us and we had wine and chat too.  I decided to set 10 hands (mainly weak but some strong hands too).  I set these within the 20 hands at random intervals with the rest shuffled randomly.  This was to try and simulate the hands coming up in a normal session.

To set the hands but also allow us to play the hands, I decide to set just 1 of the hands and then randomly deal the other 3 - we then went through the bidding and play on each of these hands to assess what they could or should have done.  I'm pleased to say that they got the bidding well (although referring to the notes a few times) but occasionally the play went  little off and also Vee and I decided not to interfere with the bidding (competitive auctions are important but that is for another day).

They grasped the fact that most of the boards got a good score for them as they often found game they wouldn't normally have bid or stopped us finding our game, that is a good part of Benji!

Within the hands I set, I gave a treat of a hand - see what you what bid HERE....

26th May 2017


Playing with my monthly Friday partner in a regular club session.

Things start off ok, then a mixed set of boards then it's downhill almost all the way...............!

We just couldn't get things right tonight, perhaps I read too much into signals and carding but I had a monster hand, doubled 1NT and took it off but not enough, we got 500 when game is on for us and we missed 2 tricks - should have been 100% for us but was a near bottom.  I got a  signal and so played my AK then another, giving Q o the Ops when I thought it was the only way to get partners hand crying

Some sacrifices didn't work, I mis-played 2 hands too which is never a good sign

We had a battle between us too and I maintain partner should bid a 3 card suit to try to find my hand but perhaps I should just pass too - frustrating night!

I will say that our first board (11) I did play well, the only player to make 4 - why can't every board be like that!

Board 17 was a harsh lesson in defence:

Ops bid 1N, 3N - perfectly reasonable contract and bidding.  Partner leads 4th highest of a major (almost always a good idea to lead a major in these options and in this case, partner has 4).

I hold 5  and see the lead of the 7 from partner.  Dummy goes down and there is a singleton.  I now have count on this suit (assuming 4th highest, I have 5, dummy has 1, 4th highest from partner must be 4 as Ops wouldn't open with a singleton and therefore has 3).

So, I win with my K and need to ensure I win the 4th trick so I can claim the 5th and defeat the contract.  I return a low and partner wins with the 9.  Now I need the A then J played and I can overtake and play the 5th - unfortunately, partner now thinks the Q is in declarers hand and switches to a  - devastated.  If I play K then Q, the suit is blocked - I think my carding was correct here.....crying  The odd thing, this happened at 2 other tables too with the same lead!

I am going to blame the heat.....!!!

26th May 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular partner in a regular club session.

After 3 good weeks, this week was below par - mainly due to the last round where we (me!!!) fell apart!  Was on for a score circa 60% but dropped to low 50s in the end.

We had 4 horror boards (largely our defence and 1 ridiculous bid by me) the rest were ok or good so not too disappointed really.  Had a nice chat in the sun (well, shade for me) during our sit out round too.

It must be noted that young Sylvia cannot help but be in the top 2 this week - well done Sylvia!!!

The host went home again this time, I think we need to do more to push the fact that all players are welcome (with or without a partner) - we also need to push to get more hosts volunteering for upcoming sessions - thing to think about here...

Home for dinner then off to YHBC tonight.....

25th May 2017


Playing with a fairly new partner (trying to get a game whenever we both free as feel we can learn from each other).

We had a fairly solid night, not much was exceptional but not much was terrible either.  Our play got us a little more on a number of boards and so we just squeeked a top tonight.

So pleased to see Marilyn and Sylvia come 2nd just behind us, well done both!!!

I was cross with myself for changing my mind on one hand.  Board 15, I am in 3NT and partner offers me an amazing dummy loaded with tricks.  I am missing the Q and decide to finesse (having seen the 10 on the first trick).  As I ask to play a card from Dummy, I change my mind and then kick myself - I would have made all 13 from this position!!!  As it turned out, not many made game and only 1 made 12 so it was an above average score - still, why did I change my mind?  The logic I had was sound, I have Kx  in dummy so if I do lose the Q, it is to the safe hand, no lose position.

Board 9 I discarded my s in error, should have held this to 9 tricks crying

Board 7 Partner can do better (played on  but  generates more tricks)

Board 13 was unlucky for the Ops, partner opens a weak 2 and Ops felt they had to DBL with a flat opening hand, not unreasonable but think it is better with 15+ or better shape.  They then try and find the best fit and it isn't there, as a mean player, I then double for a top - sorry Ops.

24th May 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers this week.  Was very hot and slightly lower attendance tonight with 3 tables.  A pair was needed in the main group and so Val and Vee paired up to play in the main group and I hosted on my own.  There were a few calls for help but they are a sound group now and so it runs quite smoothly.

Within the first 5 boards, 3 slams were technically available (2 Grand and 1 small) - these were all based on shape and not many points (28 HCP between the hands), worth a look though.....

I went over the losing trick count again tonight - 2 pairs bid to game after an auction of 1, 2 - they both looked uncertain and so I explained they had a 5 loser hand so could go 2 levels higher than partner had bid - they felt much better then!

I also offered the advice (to one of the stronger pairs) that my own opinion of game in a minor after partner has already bid 3NT is a flat NO!  Either, pass the 3NT or if partner has taken it out to 4 or 5 of a minor, raise them to 6 - 5 of a minor rarely beats 3NT with overtricks - I did say, this is ONLY my opinion but something to think about.

They all seemed to enjoy themselves tonight and generally, they do the right thing more often than not - the scores are getting closer too so I think they are becoming an improved group and the standard is improving generally - good to see!

I hope that a few more pairs will start trying the main group, even if just once a month or once every so often......

23rd May 2017


Playing with my regular monthly partner as practise for a few events coming up.

My partner fancied a game tonight too and so paired up with a close friend - I drove us all down there.  They could have done better but really enjoyed the session which is what counts.

A very good start tonight and we are top with 67% at half time!  Things just happened after that, I went wrong, partner went wrong (a little), Ops did the right thing etc!  We drop to 54% and 4th.

Not a disaster but a shame we couldn't maintain the start.  I had 6 s and Ops land in 3....... IF I pass!!!!  I double instead and they change to 3 (making +1), drat!

I made some system errors which largely didn't cost but could have improved our score - we missed 3NT on 1 hand as I mis-bid but landed in the 2nd best score.  I took a double by partner as penalties when it just shows 10+ points and is natural and a few others.

Overall though, the night went OK and it has helped cement a few of the systemic parts of our card and it has definitely helped.

I have been working on the CBC members and YHBC members lists too, just about there now!  Admin never ends......!

22nd May 2017


Playing with my regular partner in round 5 of the Monday Championships.

A very mixed night tonight.  Again, my declarer play is sharp but I am not getting the rest right!!!  I doubled another contract (6 in the last 2 weeks) which made crying

Had a disagreement about bidding too..... Partner opens 1NT and I have a long  suit and a lot of holes.  I know I want to go to game in 4 though and so I bid it directly.  If I transfer, Ops can come in with a double or a bid to get the lead or steal the contract.  Partner doesn't like this and wants me to transfer and then jump.  Neither of us are right or wrong here really (I think) but I just prefer the fast arrival method to prevent any Ops interference.  In this case, I was right as they overcall 3 and get the lead, we now go 1 off.  Just because it worked here though doesn't make me right, any views here?

We are still holding the top spot so far in the series but getting closer and 5 more rounds to go so anything can happen yet!

21st May 2017


Playing in the green Point Swiss Teams at Avon with a regular partner and regular team mates (Surrey division 2) - we won 5 out of 7 and lost 2 very badly - very pleased overall - we earned more Greens than anyone up to 9th place (equal with one other team) but finished 30th due to two 20-0 losses after the break.  We re-grouped to win the last match though.  Really proud to claim that as a team, we beat the teams that finished 2nd and 6th!

A couple of "new" things:

Board 45, trick 1 was:  2, 3, 4, 5 (I won with the 5!!!).

Board 49, trick 1 was:  2, 4, 7, 3 (Simon won with 4!!!!)

To view the rankings, click the purple "Avon" link at the top, to view our own team card, click HERE

A few highlights from the rounds:


  1. 6NT bid and made, game only against team mates
  2. 1NTXX off 3 for +1600, Ops forgot they did exit transfers, felt bad but you have to take gifts when given.


  1. 3NT -4 by Ops - Gambling NT left in and we take 8 tricks!  We had lost this match and this board swung it for us!
  2. 4 vs 3 - our team mates stay in 3 making, we take an ambitious 4 off 1


  1. 3 double plus scores generating 3 6s (devils of a round!)


  1. Simon is a HERO making 4, team mates take it 1 off for +10 !!!


  1. No good news here crying


  1. No good news here either crying


  1. Ops double 4 for +800!
  2. We defend the best we have all day to take 3NT 1 off whilst team mates make theirs!
20th May 2017


Playing in the green Point Swiss Pairs at Avon with a regular partner.

The hotel was next door but 4 miles away by road due to the layout!!!  The venue was superb and great parking too, really well organised and some of the best directors too.

We won 4 out of 7 and lost 2 very narrowly - very pleased overall - we both declared well though my bidding was not up to scratch - finished 18th, the pair who beat us on the last round finished 6th, so it was fairly tight and had that match been the other way round, we would have been 6th!

A couple of horrors:

Bd 11 - Partner forgot that when our 1NT is overcalled, DBL shows system bid (so transfer to in this case).  We end up in 3NT (which is a good contract too) and unfortunately, partner got the wrong and went off.

Bd 31 - Partner forgot that when our 1NT is doubled, exit transfers!  After his 2, I bid 2 as requested.  Then double, then 2 from partner, DBL, then 2 from partner and DBL.  Nothing we can do here.  Partner thought his 2 was stayman and that I had forgotten - ah well.....!

Our highlights were (click the hand number to view the hand and traveller):

Hand Player Notes
Bd 5 Simon Well bid Simon, 4 bid confidently and only 3 pairs in it for a joint top
Bd 9 Defence Odd sequence:  I pass, Ops bid 1, Simon jumps to 4, Ops bid 4, I bid 5, Ops bid 5, Simon passes, Ops bid 5, I pass and ALL pass - mis-understanding by Ops and happy days for us - we also defended well and took 1 more trick than we should
Bd 12 Ian Only a handful of us in 3NT, it says you can only make 8 tricks but I played carefully and made the contract.
Bd 18 Ian 3NT - this proves I have mystical powers...!  Auction has gone:  Ops 1, Simon 3!, Ops Pass, I bid 3NT, all pass.  3 was Ghestem showing the majors (5/4+).  I have the minors and hope it will knit together.  Trust me, it does NOT!!!  I can only make 6 tricks and I can't see that many yet either, what to do?  I win the lead and pause and panic inwardly.  I want my s to be set-up for me (I am lazy!) so get off lead whilst hoping a finesse works.  I play a small to the J and it loses to the K.  ♣ returned and my 10 is captured and then the A played (now setting up my s!).  Thngs are starting to look up.  I ignore the  for a while and want to get off lead again.  Small from me now which loses.  This hand has no left and so plays the J.  I win this and rattle off the rest of the s.  Then a (they have not thrown the other away so cannot make the last one).  Whilst the s were going, I notice the Q thrown away!  Dummy no has A and I have the 10, dummy also has A entry.  I play 10, low.  Now cross to A and take the A - 9 tricks made!!!!  I am absolutely stunned and cannot believe I made this, no-one else did.  Seriously lucky here though, a switch at any point and am done for.
Bd 19 Defence More confident bidding here and after Ops reach game, Simon bids on and we push them into 5 (5 over 5?).  We therefore take this 1 off and only 3 plus scores for our side so a joint top.
Bd 26 Ian 4 +1 :  Ops take AK and then play a trump (so as not to damage their partner).  I draw trumps and get the right (A took singleton K!!!).  I then discard the on my Q and make 11 tricks
Bd 28 Ian 4 +1 :  I lose A and Q and no more - this is all we should lose but I am the only one making 11....
Bd 30 Simon 3NT +2  :  Excellent play by partner.   finesse pays off and loses a .  After the initial A loss, this was the only other trick lost!  One pair made 12 but only 9 is avaialble so making 11 was really good.
Bd 37 Simon 1 =  :  I open 1 (11-15 no 5 card major).  Ops pass, Simon bids 1 (weak take-out) and all pass (and Ops stunned that the auction has ended!!!).  Ops have 5 or 5 and we have stollen the contract at 1 - This is all that makes our way and Simon made it, just!!!
19th May 2017


Playing with a regular monthly partner in a regular club session.

Having done well this afternoon I was in good spirits for tonight.  Very tired though after a tough week and if honest, I was a bit grumpy tonight.

We started well and landed in a small slam by mistake which partner made (plus one!!!).  Some good and some bad after that until.....

Ops have 26 points and mis-bid (nothing illegal) but end up in 2.  It turns out this is all that can be made and we suffer!

Then partner pushes them into game and doesn't double so I bid on and we go down - 2 poor scores.  This is compounded with the next 2 or 3 rounds !!!

Partner didn't feel he was doing well but I think we were both to blame really and my mood didn't help!

We think we were in the 30s at one point and pulled it back with 3 good last rounds to get 47% - not great but could have been much worse!

Resolved the query from this afternoon too, hand 24 was shuffle and deal as it had 14 cards in one hand the first time it was played, will add a note to CBC next....

Avon in the morning, off to pack now!

19th May 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular partner in a regular club session.

This was the third week in a row where we did OK, just slipped off the top on the last round but to deserving victors and happy with 2nd and the score.

We both played well but could do a bit better in defence (still) - it is the hardest part of the game and requires a lot of time and discussion to get it right.  We got enough right today though and seem to be over our slump now.

Our first hand, I was too cheeky, I put a bid in hoping for the Ops to carry on but it was passed by all and I ended up playing in it! I played badly and went off 2 for 200.  It turned out to be disruptive however as they had game on.  I feel ever so slightly guilty now, especially as they are friends of mine and lovely people.

Board 15 was played well by my partner and earned us 100%.  Ops however should deny access to dummy with the , I feel we had a little help here.

Board 24 was a nice slam - Unfortunately, the hand record online doesn't match the hand we played - have raised this with the committee and will see what transpires here

Off to YHBC shortly for another session then setting off at 9am tomorrow for the Avon congress.

18th May 2017


Playing with a fairly regular partner in a regular club session.

Hard to put my finger on exactly why we didn't get a good score but just over 50% is not miserable, just not quite pleasant - hard to describe that but hopefully you know what I mean!

My partner tonight is sound and I would expect to score 57%+ normally, unfortunately, I am not on good form these days and still not feeling great (excuses excuses I know!).

My declarer play was still good (73%) but I only played 4 hands.  My bidding was erratic and I didn't defend well and also put partner into daft contracts too often.

Hand 9 was a pleasing understanding of a system we don't quite have written down but is part of the system....

Ops open 4, P, P then me.  I bid 4NT and Ops pass, partner alerts (just in time) and bids 5.  My bid was the UNT at a high level (I actually treat it purely as take out showing 2 places I could play but partner read it as the minors which is actually what I hold).

5 is a good contract and played well, it makes.  Fortunately, partner understood the bid AND played it well, 100% for this board.

Both of us missed a trick or 2 and it costs in pairs, unfortunate but not the end of the world.

Had to feel for the Director tonight, in 1 round there were 3 director calls (including us!).  2 of these were tough and had to be delayed to the end of the session.  A number of us stayed behind to discuss and resolve these (which we did) and one is to be sent to our chief TD for a final resolution.  We all agreed that it didn't matter too much what the result ends up as, it was more the "what is correct" that we were interested in.  It's a fascinating game and certain aspects are not clear cut.  To a lot of players, I can see why they may easily think it is petty or pointless to challenge these rules and decisions but I do disagree, it is only fair to play by the rules and have rules applied - it is the same with all games and sports and Bridge is no different (at club level, congress or international).

Have a few ongoing committee duties at present (YHBC membership and banking, CBC members details check and laptop settings and protocols for updates and synchronising), hope to get these finalised soon but likely to be next week now as I am working tomorrow, playing twice and then off to Avon for the weekend.....!

I have been told by a number of people now that I need to slow down, I may actually take this advice but only temporarily - if I can find a gap at work that coincides with no significant bridge events, I may try and take a week out and rest from work and cards, maybe!

17th May 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Apologies for the delay, we lost our connection last night as I was half way through this!  Now home from work and updating from last night.....

Hosting the improvers with Vee with 4 tables, another nice number.  We actually had 4.5 tables and Vee and I were about to play to make up the half table when our Chairman asks if we have a half.  This was a great chance to get one of our pairs to try out the Sharks!!!  I was looking out for them throughout the session and checking their expressions etc, they seemed to be smiling and chatting and kept pace with the main group.  They reported back that everyone was friendly and polite and they enjoyed it - friendly sharks!!!

They didn't come last and were actually only a couple of boards away from being mid table (3-4% per board makes a big difference).  They have also analysed their scores already and seen where they can improve, I think it was a positive move and hope they will keep trying.  I am always on hand to ask questions or advice (as are most of the main group and Improvers hosts).  I will go through their scores later too to see if I can offer any hints and tips.

In the improvers, we tried to play 6 rounds of 3 boards but this was 1 round too many so cut it short by 1 round.  At present, 15 boards seems to be the limit.  This is not a problem as I am actively encouraging chat and discussion as I think this is a key part of the Improvers sessions and helps to learn and progress.  We will think about a few nights of increased speed though to see how they cope but for now, we will go back to dealing 16 boards.

One of our newer pairs seems to be really shining, a great score tonight of 75% is very impressive, well done!!!

I was also pleased to see one pair bid a small slam (and make it!) - slams are often tricky when you are a little nervous so this is a really good sign and great to see.  Don't forget though, getting 1 more trick in a part score is often worth 100% too, not just bidding the slams.

Some hands are just tough - look at board 4, the matrix says you can make 7 but how do you get there and should you get there?  3NT seems to be the common resting place from our group.  An auction along the lines of 1, 1, 3, 3, 3NT would not be unreasonable.  North may come in with a cheeky double (implying at least one major).  It is up to West to take charge after 3 but in all honesty, I think I would simply bid 3NT here.  East could also get brave with 4 card support for the minor (which must be at least 5 cards as they bid a second suit) but the hand is 4441 and so doesn't look to be offering much.  As it happens, the K is on-side and the Q can be caught too - settle for 3NT here and play well to make more tricks than the others is my suggestion here.

16th May 2017


No Bridge tonight, did tidy the CBC home page and and new etiquette statement though and finalised details for this weekends Avon congress.

I have had a tough day today, woke up with a headache and feeling giddy and the giddiness lasted all day.  So busy at work though I cannot stop.  I did leave at 15:30 but took laptop home and worked until 18:00.

Vee made dinner (as usual) and I fell asleep on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.  It is only a 10 minute walk but Vee was kind enough to drive me tonight (on his way to the pub quiz where he came second).

I still went to badminton but with very little energy.  I won a few games though but had to break in the middle of one game and was quite unwell, came back and finished the game and left after that at 22:00 and had a long shower.  Just about calmed down now and watching TV.

Will work at home tomorrow and hopefully ok for hosting the Improvers in the evening.  I will have to be really ill to miss this as it is my favourite bridge night (especially with my erratic performance as a player so far this year).

15th May 2017


Playing with my regular Monday partner in a regular club session.

Having played all weekend (yesterday with tonight's partner) and a crazy day at work, tonight was tough.  We started off well (3 poor scores out of the first 14) it then turned a bit sour.

The last 5 rounds were almost all poor scores!  Mostly my own fault but some partner and some the Ops.

Disappointing when a lot of the bids were correct and my penalty double should have been good had I lead a trump!

A few lucky bids by the Ops that paid off for them and a couple of missed opportunities by us but really, I was tired and flagged towards the end - it was very stuffy tonight and I play much better in the cold!

Board 20 proved to be an above average board but we could have been in 7NT !  Only 4 bid a slam (2 in 6, 1 in 6NT and 1 in 7).  1 was not in game, so it really was a tricky slam to find!

We were in 6, I have 19HCP and both majors so I open 2.  Partner is forced to say 2 and I now bid 2.  Partner jumps to 5 and I have no room to look so bid 6 (5 of a minor is rarely a good score).

Now, if partner ignores our system and bids 3 over my 2 I have a better picture of the hand and we can cue our way up to the grand.  If partner bids 4 I can bid 4NT and ask and we get to at least 6NT.  Tricky though, take a look HERE....

After a promising start, 42% is not nice, it happens though - will do better next time....

14th May 2017

Surrey Mary Edwards (Champion Pairs):

Playing with my Monday night partner representing CBC in the club champions pairs.

I drove me and my partner to Wimbledon for this, arriving nice and early and parked straight away in a nice spot (parking can be tricky).

There was a slight delay at the start as a pair had got lost, but this was only a minute or two.  There was an unfortunate start as the wrong boards were put out due to them not being in order in the bag.  Unfortunate but it happens.  What was good though was the Director's handling of this.  No fuss, no panic, just calmly replaced the boards and said we would get a 60% score when we came across the board(s) later.  Well done Shirley!

Although we finished just outside the points with 50.28%, I feel we did quite well against all the other Club Champions.  This is a tough event with fierce opponents.

We start off well with me being one of only 2 pairs in game and making it (half made less than game).

It tails off a bit for the next 2 bards and then a clean sweep on the next round.

A few more highlights as the event goes on but countered with some poor defence too.  Our declarer play was great for both of us but it was the defence that let us down today.

I opened 1 on hand 36 (against our own players representing YHBC) and most agreed I was right to do this, it meets the rule of 19 and I think it is too good to pre-empt partner by opening 3.  I hold 7s, 9HCP and a 3 card second suit (9+7+3=19) - we found the best contract of 3NT and partner played it well for 100%.

The highlight hand of the day (and the year!!!) has to be hand 18.  It was unfortunate that it was against us and our Ops were in the best contract (6NT).  However, take a look at this hand and see what you think!

Hand 18, South holds 9 s to the AKJ, a  void a singleton  and an outside AJx.  I hold (in West) an opening hand with 6 to the KQ and 2 other Ks.  They open 2, I overcall 3 and North bids 3.  South has made a game force opener (for them) and so now bids 3.  North now bids 6NT!!!  I cannot see how to touch this, I lead the K but it's all over.  Several are in 7 going 1 off here but one pair bid and MADE 7!!!!!!!  Played by one of our own players (representing Farnham here), Tim Green squeezed the Ops so tight they collapsed and threw away the only winners in attempt to keep everything and he bid and made 7 - I have asked him to send me a description of the bidding and play and will add to this if/when it is sent.  Well done Tim though, this is the play of the year in my book!!!

Click HERE to see the hand

A great event and well run.  Such a shame only 22 pairs attended though, 26 pairs didn't enter from the other affiliated clubs in Surrey.

13th May 2017

Petersfield Swiss Pairs:

Playing with a fairly new partner in the Swiss Pairs event in Petersfield.

If honest, partner made no more than 2 errors or poor judgements over all 48 boards - the same can be said for me if you don't count the 10 blunders I made!!!

I managed to throw away 2 matches by doubling the Ops in a contract that made!  I mis-played 1NT and also 2 - frustrating :(

Despite this, we managed to win 3 matches, drew 1, lost 1 narrowly at the end (against the winners of last year's event) and lost 1 badly (15-5).

Several interesting hands but 2 spring to mind (as well as the skew of hands that meant South and West had very little to do in the first 20 hands!!!).

I arrived an hour early and met up with Andy & Michelle (next week's team mates!) and gate crashed a pub with them where we met up with Steve & Julia.  I just had a coke but the chat was good and was all relaxed and ready for the event.

We start against one of my friends from South Bucks and we have all the luck - most of the contracts were NS but our defence was superb and they failed to bid game on 1 hand.  I made an impossible contract too.

Match 2 was against Eddie Lucioni (an extremely formidable player) and the match was won by an outrageous 4 by me which I played well.

Match 3 was our nightmare (or mine)

Match 4 was against 2 lovely ladies who over bid too many times, this also includes a 4 by me which was utterly ridiculous and I made it!  Click HERE to see the hand

Match 5 was against 2 top Surrey players who I have much respect for.  They had an unfortunate hand though and cost them a win (we scraped a draw) - Click HERE to see the hand

Match 6 was against last year's winners and we showed as a 12-8 win a the end of the round but after all boards were finished we lost 11-9, a mixture of good and bad boards here (an amazing 3 making by partner for 100%!!!).

A really enjoyable day but I wish I could be better over these longer sessions, one day......!

Another busy bridge week ahead finishing off with Avon Green Point weekend.

12th May 2017


Playing with a fairly new partner in a regular club session to practice for Saturday's Swiss Pairs event in Petersfield.

Having done well this afternoon I was in good spirits for tonight.  Manic start as the football tournament had cars parked in all car parks and all up the road, 15 minute delay starting as we try and get parked and set-up - frustrating but it's done and we got going in the end!

We started with hand 3 tonight and it was a grand slam in a major or NT - we were in 6NT which proved good enough for a joint top but I think we could have bid 7 but I didn't know what our agreements were beyong a strong opening and a positive reply.  Partner opened very strong but then said lower end of the range with 3NT, what do I do now other than jump to 6NT?  Perhaps I bid 4 but need to know this won't be passed!  As I wasn't sure, I settled for a small slam.

Hand 24 was an interesting hand - partner opened a weak 2 and I have 8 solid  - I think we have 3NT here as I have a lott of tricks to offer!  I bid 2NT and Ops bid 3D.  Partner now bids 3H and I am not entirely sure what this is although I suspect it is top end of the range with a  suit.  I was right!  I personally do not open a weak 2 in a major with the other major but it is not wrong to do so.  I then jump to 5 and all are shocked and pass!  I should be in 6 but not sure we can get there without being pushed.

12th May 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular Friday afternoon partner in a regular club session.

Hectic week at work this week and long hours and hard work too (designing new tools for our planning team), I arrive just in time but having just finished a key piece of work, I am in good spirits.

We had a few mis-understandings and a few odd bids - partner didn't have the hand she said on one occasion and we talked at length about it.  A few hands later, I bid 1NT with a flat 13 count, I then spot the A during the auction and now have 17HCP - what an idiot I am, especially having made a fuss about a previous hand!

Friday afternoon's are really good fun and the players are so much fun and it is almost always a really good atmosphere and today was really good fun.  Great banter and good humour, everyone seemed in a good mood (at our table at least!).

Despite a few poor scores and wrong choices, most boards were really good - partner was on amazing form today and whatever I put her in she made (or made +), this included 6 which only 2 others bid and went 1 off (most did make 12 tricks but required some thought).  This was hand 2 but not the second hand we played.

The luckiest contract of the session however was board 23 - I bid 1NT, partner transfers me to s then bids 3 s (game force and showing distribution).  I have 3 s but decide to play in 3NT.

Small  lead and I duck, South shows a void and my 7 wins.  Small to dummy KQ and small back to my A.  Then a  and North plays Q and I go up with the K.  Next the J (no covered) and small to my Q (again not covered).  I take 3 more s then small to dummy and they all fall - 13 tricks made missing 2 Aces!

Click HERE to see the hand

Board 18 was a mine field too - after the small lead I am in trouble.  I have to take every finesse one way as I cannot afford East to be on lead now, everything works and 11 tricks made - still no idea how!!!

That is now 2 weeks running we have finished top on Friday afternoon, after 2 or 3 weeks of finishing near the bottom it is hopefully a corner turned!

Playing again tonight at YHBC (as is my partner but not together)......

11th May 2017


Playing with a fairly new partner ahead of the Petersfield Blue Pointed Swiss Pairs on Saturday as a practise session.

We had a poor start and a number of issues came up throughout the night which was actually great news as we are getting closer to the same wavelength now.

I have always been weak over a weak 3 bid (in any seat) but partner is correct that I should have an opening hand to overcall directly, strong to DBL and pass with all other hands.  Partner hasn't had chance to speak yet and I don't know what I am getting into.  I will amend my ways here!

I also need to brush up on my carding as partner is watching - false card can be great at times but I need to show partner what I hold on the other times.

We both played pretty well tonight and only a couple of defending errors between us - it is always satisfying when you get the defence right and we did a number of times!

My friends and team mates stormed it tonight, Andy & Michelle won with over 73%!!!  This is a stunning score and we are teaming up with them next weekend in a Green Point event, bodes well!

A few things on a couple of boards rather than adding whole hands (click on the CBC in purple at the top to view the session):

1. An ambitious slam but not unreasonable.  Ops are fine playing A but a switch is needed on trick 2, this is an impossible slam and partner made it!

12. I have very few points but partner has bid twice on his own and Ops have landed in 4.  I have 3 and no defensive tricks, 4 is always a good move here and gets us a good score.

18. Partner has made a strong opening bid, Ops bid when vulnerable with 7HCP, I double showing values and partner passes for 800, unlucky but not really strong enough to interfere here (a number of you reading this will be shouting about pots and kettles I realise!)

Playing twice again tomorrow.....

10th May 2017

YHBC Teams (Round 1):

Playing with my regular CBC partner as part of a team at YHBC.

This is a series of 6 events over they year (every other month).  We have always finished in the top 3 (past 4 years) but not the best of starts tonight.

We made a couple of blunders but also some amazing boards.  We had a +17 for the X-Imps score but it is the match scores that count and both pairs were equally guilty and great.  I guess that is why we finished on +3 (virtually neutral).

Quick Summary of the matches:

  1. Team mates make an error on 1 board, we make 1 on another and -17 Imps crying
  2. Flat boards other than Team mates got slightly carried away but played well to make more than was possible, small loss
  3. Team mates excel here, bidding a game that is not makable and they make it!!!  Well played Team! +5 against our chairman....
  4. Flat boards for first 2 then partner puts me into game and I make it (nobody else did, I played the  well to play low to my Doubleton Q with the K coming, the suit is now set-up to draw trumps and discard my losers)
  5. Flat round by Team mates make 1 more trick than is possible to gain a small win
  6. Joint honours here, we push Ops up too far to get +200 with Team mates making game.  Then we make our 4 as Team mates take their Ops 1 off, +23 Imps laugh
  7. Team mates go 1 off in 4 as we let our Ops make 5 - think we are both at fault here although it does say 4 makes, perhaps could have been a flat board, -11 Imps
  8. 2 small losses for -2 Imps, fairly flat boards

Our chairman, Mr Brown, has sent me an analysis of hand 21 from the Teams night:

Click HERE to see the hand

9th May 2017


Playing with my monthly partner from YHBC in a practise session leading up to some competitions we are entering.

A little further afield for me tonight but actually 30 minutes there and 20 minutes back, so not too bad and Woking is a really friendly club and a nice playing environment.

We had a poor start as I bid a splinter but at the 3 level not the 4 level, we had a mis-understanding then and got into 6H - it can actually make if let the D run to declarers singleton 10 but a tough call.

Things improved after that and we finished a respectable 4th with just under 55% - could have been better though.  A couple of defensive errors and one major mis-understanding......

Ops open 1NT, pass by me and Ops partner and DBL by my partner.  1NT hand now passes and I bid 2 (no alert).  Pass, Pass, Pass, Eeeeeeeeeek!!!!  I meant this as stayman (treating partner as a strong NT hand).  I do this with ALL my partners but of course partner doesn't and we are playing her system (which I keep saying I know and agree with!!!).  These little things keep cropping up proving that it is a good idea to practise and iron these out.  I would much rather this happened now than in a congress.

I played one hand quite well (I think).  Hand 24......

I pass with my 10 count (6 but no honours and I have 4, would rather wait and see how things develop).  Partner opens 1 and Ops overcall 1.  I now bid 1 and partner bids 2.  Ops now repeat s and I say 2 (I should have bid 3 I think).  Partner bids 3 and I now bid 4, all pass.

Ops lead the 6 to my singleton Ace.  I then stop and think.  I can try and cross ruff the hand which is a good line and generates 10 tricks (1, 2 ruffs, 4 ruffs, 1, 2).  Is there more here though?  Dummy's look so good.....

I decide to set the up.  I play K and Ops J appears (looks like a singleton to me but could have the 10).  I then play a low and the Ops Q appears (this IS a singleton as I hold AKJ10 between the hands).  I now know how to play this!

I ruff a in hand and then play the Q.  Ops danger hand now holds 2 trumps as does dummy but I can't finesse the 10/9 and cannot now afford to lose a direct either way round.  I therefore have no choice but to play J and after a big pause, Ops ruffs.  They are now fixed as I can draw the last trump and dummy is high.  They play a and I ruff with my last trump and play a to dummy's 8.   Now the A for the last trump and just left - 12 tricks made and this is the last hand of the evening so I leave on a high!!!

Click HERE to see the hand

8th May 2017


Playing with my regular Monday partner in a one off cup competition at CBC, the Dave Withers Cup.

We started off really well but then had 2 bad rounds and a further 2 bad boards.  This then equated to a score of 50% - we made quite a number of mistakes between us.

On one hand, I should have been selfish and stuck to my own suit - instead I supported partner and bid 6 - I still think I was right to do this but 7 makes!

Board 1 was interesting, I liked the look of my hand and opened 1NT with a flat 11 count but something in 3 suits.  I played reasonably well losing the first 5 tricks and setting up the hand to win the remaining 8 for +1.  Nobody else opened and all other tables passed out.  Perhaps I was wrong and got lucky.  Would you open?

Board 25 shows the power of - partner supporting my managed to talk the Ops out of their contract.  A great sacrifice here going 1 off when game in is on for the Ops.

Rather than adding these as interesting hands, this is another session where so many really are tricky - don't forget, the purple title is a link to the event (where possible), click on the "CBC" at the top to view the event.

When I got home I added Diana & Max to the Roll of Honour at CBC, the event now automatically gets added to the Competition history too, hopefully these will prove an interesting record for the future, I am keen to preserve the history of clubs and county bridge.

Busy week this week, Woking tomorrow night, Teams Weds at YHBC, practise session Thursday, CBC in the afternoon on Friday then another practise Friday night before Petersfield Swiss Pairs Saturday (all day) and finishing with the Surrey Champions final representing CBC in Wimbledon on Sunday (all day again!).

7th May 2017

Waller Bowl:

Playing with a regular partner in the Berks & Bucks Waller Bowl - this is the final for pairs who achieved Master Points on a given date in January.

5 Pairs form YHBC attended and 2 pairs did really well.  We were above 50% but first half had 6 terrible boards, 2nd half was good though but we were too far behind to make a difference.

Our Pairs:

Rank Pair %
7 Val & Lesley 57.50
8 Pamela & John 57.47
17 Jill & David 54.35
19 Alan & Ian 53.50
35 Margaret & Simon 48.18


Twice today I managed to double the Ops and let them make their contract, very silly crying

Our defence was slightly off in the first half today too but got much better in the 2nd half.  Alan's declarer play pulled us through as a pair to achieve a reasonable score, well done Alan!

In one contract, Alan managed to only lose 1♥ when Ops hold Kx and Qxx - this was really clever play, he played small to my singleton 8, Ops win with the Q - next he plays A and K falls, well done Mr Brown, you now make a slim 4 contract that nobody else made (and I do not think it is makable!!!).

We both played a few NT contracts well too,   Board 1, I scraped up a 1 response when partner opens and before I know it, I am playing in 3NT - we have 20 points between us but I get it right and make the contract, 4 would have been easier but just being in game was great!

M&S provided us with a nice lunch too, yummy picnic food!  Still eating some of it now at home as I write this!!!

Overall, a really enjoyable event - shame the M3 was causing a few issues but not huge delays and everyone at the event was pleasant and nice to play against.

6th May 2017


Playing board games today with David and Patricia - so good to see Patricia and she looked and sounded so perky despite everything that is going on - an inspirational woman!

We played my favourite game today, was attempting to teach this to David and Patricia but it is a very complex game to start with, it gets easier but you need to play a few times and it takes 3-4 hours to play.  We got the gist of it though and then had a lovely Chinese meal.   Patricia went to bed then and I helped David set-up his laptop (router connection) and showed how to view the cross imps on the "My EBU" site and also where league results are how to navigate them!  Whilst on the EBU site, I notice we have a new General Manager coming in soon, it is Gordon Rainsford!!!  This is a truly excellent choice in my humble opinion, I think he will do a great job and have faith in him.

Waller Bowl tomorrow, hope to do well.

5th May 2017


Playing with a regular Friday partner in a regular club session.

We start off poorly and don't really get going until board 6!  After this the evening is a success bar a few boards.

Too many to list as interesting but I would recommend people to check this session for a vast array of freaky hands!

One hand I was so cross with myself, I didn't count 13 cards and so missed a card and opened 1NT in 3rd seat after partner has passed with 15HCP.  As dummy goes down I notice I have a 5th , the Ace - aggghhhhhhhh!!!!  I now have 19HCP and 5, we are in 1NT !!!!!  Disaster crying

Our defence tonight was really good, very pleased with both of us here, other than 1 hand Mr Brown............

Defending 4 X (which makes on perfect declarer play) and I signal for a .  There is A, 10, 6 in dummy and partner plays the Q.  Declarer ducks and I win with my K (singleton).  I then play a low which partner wins with the A.  Now, I didn't play a  to get back to partner and I played the K on his winning Q, partner then plays A instead of my ruff - declarer ruffs the and wins the remaining tricks - we had this crying

As I say, horrors were even between us but there was enough to take as positives and hope we do better on Sunday in the Waller Bowl.  YHBC has 5 pairs entering so lets hope we all do well.

5th May 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular Friday partner in a regular club session.

Partner was amazing today!  There were potentially 3 errors , 2 in the first round and 1 in the last round, otherwise, really pleased today and so was my partner - we have both had a miserable time recently so hopefully a corner has been turned.

With 10 1/2 tables, the Friday sessions are proving really popular and it's great to see so many come (including a new pair who were really lovely).

Board 13 was interesting, I have such a nice hand and partner has opened so I go looking.  When I hear 1 key card, I decide to go for the slam, unfortunately, the key card was the K and missing 2 Aces, I end up 1 off, I should have backed out but too tempted!

Board 2, we have 6 (4-3 fit) or 6 on - we end up in 5 but nobody else in game - I find this amazing with our hands but it is hard for partner to get the bidding correct here and we got through it.  When you hold 9HCP and only 4 card suit is (which I have opened), what do you say?  2 can be passed, 1NT can be passed, lie and bid a 3 card major and risk partner zooming off?  My partner decided to bid 2 and we were fortunate that the Ops came in so I was able to reverse and show my points.  Now a 3 card  come from Partner and I jump to 5.  Any ideas how we find either slam and if we should find it?  Just because it can be made doesn't mean it should be bid.....

Click HERE to see the hand

I also notice as I write this that South didn't open with this hand, I suspect they mis-counted the hand and then came in after realising - with a 1 opener, I would have used Gesthem to still find game.

Playing at YHBC tonight with the Chairman, can I make it 2 for 2 today?

4th May 2017


The diary entry is late tonight as Vee is away for the weekend and a rare late night for him as we caught up with Masterchef that we had recorded as we polish off a nice bottle of red with some yummy chocs!

Playing with my regular Monday partner as part of our CBC Teams in the 3rd session of the series.

We missed the first session due to other teams commitments but had a solid start in session 2 and another plus score tonight (top 4 scores count).

The "Basingstoke 4" are reigning champs and look set to retain the crown but that won't stop us challenging - they are great guys and worthy champions but we are competitive too!

Overall we did well but we had one disaster and so did our team mates - the good boards out weighed these though and joint 4th with +18 is not bad.

Another double session tomorrow and a long day of work before the bridge starts - hope it goes well as I am in Windsor on Sunday in a Berks event that I really want to do well in, fingers crossed....

3rd May 2017


Playing with my regular first Weds partner in a regular club session.

We start off with a bottom and a top - hard to do anything else on either board though but of course, the others are not doing the same as at our table!

As we go round, I feel we are not doing exceptionally but no errors other than my light opening of 3 and partner going 2 off in a part score (she should be in it and cannot make any more tricks, but again, the others are not doing the same!).

Our defence was above average (I felt)  which is always encouraging.

Rather than an interesting hand (as it involves criticising the opposition which I try to avoid - will only say, DBL at the 1 level should show a shortage......!) I would like to say WOW to the Improvers group!

We had 6 tables tonight and they seemed to have a LOT of fun!!!  Quite jealous to be honest but so pleased to see the group taking off and to see it being used for testing and trying out new aspects too as one of our main group did tonight (and they did exceptionally well too!!!).

Vee had to cope on his own as I was playing in the main group, I helped set up and was on hand if needed but he coped superbly on his own, well done Vee and keep coming Improvers!

Teams next week so it is Vee to host again, the offer is open to all if they would like to host though, it is really rewarding but of course, we do not expect anyone to give up a session to host.  Do ask if you would like to though.

2nd May 2017


No Bridge tonight, responded to a lot of bridge e-mails (mainly YHBC membership chasers and renewals and B&B affiliation as acting Treasurer for a month).

A long hard day at work today, arrived early, short lunch and left late.  Took laptop home and worked as I cooked curry with Vee then eat some and out to Badminton.

Was under par and had some good games in terms of fitness but I tried too hard and am shattered now - won 5 lost 5.

Back to YHBC tomorrow, Vee hosting the Improvers as I play my monthly session with Jill.  A fairly new partnership but has promise, she is a very strong partner and if I behave myself, we do well!

Have just added puppet stayman over 1NT so must remember this or will be embarrassed!!!

1st May 2017

YHBC & CBC Swiss Pairs:

Playing with my partner in the clubs Swiss Pairs event.

This was our clubs first attempt at this event and it has been in the planning for months and a lot of effort has gone in behind the scenes.

We arrive this morning at 10:40 having collected the catering equipment from my Dad (kindly donated as the event is for Phyllis Tuckwell) and between us we get all 20 tables set and ready and the catering table up with the Urns full and coffee and Tea and Juice ready.

We then realise we need trays for the biscuits and the fuse blows on the extension cable for the Urns!!!  My shirt is soaked as I have been working hard all morning so I return home to collect the trays, new extension leads and a few jugs and bowls and change my shirt!  All now set but the Urns take a little while to heat up, slight delay on this but was ready for the start of the event and all goes off fairly smoothly now.

We check everyone in and arrange 7 stationary tables and our standby pair gets to play.  A nice welcome speech from Alan Brown and then the director gets us going.

I am now feeling slightly out of bridge and do not play well.  My partner is not defending well either so takes us a while to get going.  Having lost the first 4 matches, we finally win a match and the last one too to get 2 wins out of 6.  Could do better but we enjoyed the event and was so good to see so many there.

Will look through the hands later and post the most interesting board (from our tables) once they up.  Off out to dinner shortly as it is my Dad's birthday and we are treating him to a meal out.

Will tidy up the results, calendar, link to CBC and tidy up the home page box late tonight - then back to normal tomorrow (Badminton) before bridge starts again Wednesday......

Now home and all tidy!  Interesting hand..........

Hand 3 at YHBC 1st May 2017:

Playing in the inaugural Swiss Pairs run as a joint event by Camberley and YHBC and we come against this hand on our first hand of the session.

We are drawn against a very competitive pair who push hard and through a fierce auction, they end up in 5 which I double.  I should actually have bid 6 but no idea what will generate the biggest score here so settle for Ops off in their slam.  At the time, this proves to be a zero for us as only 3 scores in and both the others were NS in 6.  In the end though, the majority did not bid the slam and we ended with 76% - what would you do with this?

Click HERE to see the hand

30th April 2017


Not bridge (mostly) but a very full day again today.

Started with household chores and then shopping and a bite to eat, then pick up our friend and go to Basingstoke where 5 of us play poker.

We used to do these sessions every week and now it is only a few times a year, but was great fun and good banter.  Played 5 games of poker (Texas holdem).

It is only the fun of the game and the getting together really, we all pay £5 each and winner takes all each game, so 5 hours of fun for £25 each is not breaking the bank.  I ended up winning 2 of the games so between Vee and I we broke even.  1 of our friends had to get back for a family evening so now there is 4 of us.

Curry after the poker and then played 24 hands of bridge (cutting for partners).  I was playing with my oldest friend (been friends for 28 years now!) and we did get the majority of the points and won the session.  He was also in the final of all 5 poker games and won 2 of them, the football team he supports (Spurs) also won today against fierce rivals Arsenal (I know nothing about football but do know that is an important game!) so he had a fantastic day!!!

Relaxing for the rest of the evening and preparing for the Swiss Pairs tomorrow - 40 pairs so we are at capacity now, glad it has proved popular and hope it is a success.  We have a fantastic director lined up and the organising group have worked hard to try and think of everything.

29th April 2017


Not bridge (mostly) but a very full day today.

Started with answering e-mails first thing and resolving a few pairs for the Blue Point event and e-mailing info for the day to the recent entrants.

I also mocked up an advert for the YHBC home page for the Ruby Anniversary party (8th December) and then went shopping for lunch (have a friend coming over to play a strategy board game).

Having prepared lunch (Cajun chicken) we eat and then play. we are so used to the game now that it flows really well and becomes second nature, a really enjoyable game.  My friend has a great start but isn't looking to the future, I have a slow start but am building for the 3rd age where all of a sudden, my civilisation becomes very powerful and I sore ahead - a great triumph!

We have enough time for a second game if we really motor (2 hours per game) and so we set up and go again.  This time I have a great start but am struggling to get things in place ready for the end game.  I manage to hold it together though as my friend starts to apply the pressure and has an amazing civilisation now - I cling on and win the second game too!  We both realise that if the game went on for another 2 turns I would have lost...perfect timing!

Vee then gets home as I am tidying up and we have 30 minutes before it's off out for a birthday meal for a young octogenarian friend of ours (Margaret B!).  A lovely meal in Mytchett with 2 of her granddaughters and another bridge friend.  Then back to Margaret's for a glass of champagne and home to catch up with TV recorded and check the snooker results.

We now have 40 pairs (20 tables) for the Swiss Pairs on Monday (which is about capacity), really pleased with the uptake here for our first event and Pamela has done a great job today contacting the centre to ensure all in place and little details like the building being opened for us!

28th April 2017


Playing with my monthly Friday partner in a regular club session.

We had a steady session where most scores showed up as 50% at the time of play, a few horrors and a few nice hands put as at 55%, not a great position but the score was fine.

I mis-played 2 hands, one I was going to take the  finesse (instantly) then stopped to think and then didn't take it.  If I had trusted my instincts, contract made for 100%, instead, 3 off for 0% !!!

Partner missed a signal from me and held onto the master trump which crashed my Q instead of us taking them separately - not horrific but a shame.

The rest were all sound and the Ops earned their tops rather than us giving them, so overall, no real complaints and an enjoyable evening, Derek is also fun to play with.

Hand 16 was interesting tonight.  We had a good score for 3NT+2 as I opened 3NT (Gambling).  At our table this was passed and I play in 3NT.  If South overcalls 4, I can then bid 5 and partner may now get interested and push to 6 - do we ever get to 7?  Should we be when it relies on the  finesse (which I took in 3NT)?  Open to discsussion, would be interested in views here....

Click HERE to see the hand

28th April 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular Friday partner in a regular club session.

Partner was under the weather and wasn't concentrating really, I was below par and score reflects this - still, a fun session in parts and better than last Friday!

Only interesting hands were our poor defence, we know what we did wrong and think it is best we leave it there this time - click the "CBC" title to view the session to see for yourself.....

The May BH Blue Point Swiss Pairs is coming up fast (Monday!) and a few late entires are coming in, looking like over 20 tables and all arrangements now final - hope it goes well!

27th April 2017

Home Counties:

Final Home Counties match tonight in Young Chelsea - we have a strong team and I'm with an exceptional partner and we gel!

Knowing I need to leave early I tend to start my work day early and work at home so I can leave early - today was too early and I'm in Costa now having caffeine for an hour and a half!!!!  My partner laughed when I said "I am here" but has decided to come keep me company and discuss systems etc, very good of him!!!

I spent some time on YHBC members lists and CBC club articles (within club management) today and will finish them off when I'm home tonight (along with a summary of tonight's match once played!)

Delayed on the train due to signalling issues!  Have my phone to hand so am pleased to say our team came through tonight and we won 14:6 so secure the HC title !  Last year it was won by the top Surrey team (including Tim & Jane) so it's 2 years running for Surrey !

As a pair, we were solid tonight and took off contracts others made as well as being in 3 games making that others were not - my partner even made  3NX for 750 which was a big help !  A lot of part scores added to the win though, especially a few double plus part scores - great fun but the train home is taking a LONG time, home at 1am!!!!

That's another season nearly over now - just the Surrey final to go but the new season has already begun for CBC and YHBC and the teams are in progress at CBC and start 10th May at YHBC 

26th April 2017

Surrey League Match:

Playing with a strong partner and great team mates against the Surrey League chairman and his team for the final match of our section in Division 2, Surrey.

With some doubt on my partner who had a London hospital visit today and really went the extra mile to get home and to the match on time, just made it too - well done and thanks Simon!

We arrive and deal the boards (shuffle and deal) and start play, all seems fairly "normal" at our table although I suspect we are doing ok.  A failed slam near the end but hard not to bid, just one of those things.

Scoring up at half time and we have a series of good scores resulting in +35 IMPs at half time!  We didn't really go wrong and our team mates did some excellent work their side too - 2 errors by our Ops did cost though.

After a coffee and a ciggie and some cakes/biscuits (I didn't have much here) we start the 2nd half.

We again did very little wrong but this time, the Ops did some excellent things and pulled it back well - Roger in particular was outstanding for them making 3NT against all the odds, he really did play exceptionally well here.  They win the 2nd half by +4 IMPs but the damage had been done so we arrive at a win 16-4.  This was just about the best outcome really, we make the final of the league (4th June) and Trevor's team finish 3rd (a severe loss and they would have dropped to 4th).  This means that clubs largely from CBC and YHBC occupy the top 3 spots in our side of Division 2, a clean sweep !!!!   Well done to all 3 teams.

Final Home Counties match tomorrow in London, hopefully we will do enough to secure the title for Surrey.

25th April 2017


No Bridge tonight, responded to a lot of bridge e-mails (mainly the Swiss Pairs on Monday, all entrants now paid and looking forward to it).

After doing well last few weeks, my arm had no strength in it tonight - I played ok and my net play was good but no power in my smash at all - a mixed set of results but all helps to try and get a bit fitter.

Back to Bridge tomorrow with my last Surrey league match (also the last of our section).  We need 3 VPs to make the final but our Ops are on sparkling form at the moment (especially Barbara and Trevor) so we are far from confident, still, we have a strong team so always hope for the best.  Final Home Counties match on Thursday too and also the last of the league - we need 4 VPs there to secure the title (not bad for the "B" team!!!).

24th April 2017


Playing with my regular Monday partner in a Club Championship session.

Such a mixed bag tonight, some real brilliance from us both but 2 hands each that were not great!  A delay in the results due to the internet conection (again) - stayed behind to try to fix it but am not sure if it is the Hub or the Laptop.  Sylvia (who won tonight with Linda, well done both!) has taken the laptop home to upload from home later, what a star!

Will complete this when results in.......and results now in......

Our defence was really good tonight, very few tricks missed and some extras achieved too!

My bidding was not sound all the time though, got carried away a few times and my partner did once too!

A lot of distributional hands tonight - I had a 6-6-1-0 hand which proved successful (5X making!) but the hand with interesting logic that I was reasonably proud of was hand 5:

I decide to open this 2 (strictly speaking, reading Ron Klinger for example, this is too wild for a weak 2, but it seemed correct to open).

Ops come in with 3 (actually had longer  but still), now partner jumps to 4.

The ops carry on to 5 but I am thinking and pause for a while......Now, what can partner have.  The ops have bid and supported and I have 5, cannot be any in partners hand.  I have the high so these points are not in partners hand.  Must be a red hand with high points in them, but are the right cards there?  My space has been taken away so what do I do?  I bid the ops suit (at the 6 level!!!) - if honest, I am not sure what this means either but I know partner cannot pass!  I want to know what the red suit holding is and am looking for 6 /  bid to show a control.  I don't blame partner, but this was not understood so 6 was bid (no chance of finding 7 now but it is not there anyway!).  My logic was that partner MUST hold the hand I want to make 6 on this auction, there was room for the cards to be wrong but the odds in my favour and was right this time!  The only pair in the slam, if only every hand was like this!

Click HERE to see the hand

This result was just above 50% but is enough to maintain our lead (for now) in the series.

The May BH Blue Point Swiss Pairs is coming up fast (next Monday!) so also rallying round sorting out last minute arrangements and pairs and money and catering etc etc - 2 final matches in leagues this week too, busy times again!

23rd April 2017

Day Off:

Today was a rare day off.  Tescos early in the morning (weekly shop whilst washing gets done) - a few house chores and catching up with Vee and the cats.

Spent a few hours on YHBC and CBC admin and plan to do some Surrey updates later tonight (tend to wait until everyone else asleep then I watch mindless comedy that I have seen a few times as I work).

Went out for a nice meal tonight too and ate a little too much!

Club Championships tomorrow at CBC

22nd April 2017

Committee Meetings:

Today has 2 Committee meetings back to back!

10:45 at our chairmans' for the YHBC committee meeting (post AGM session).  A fairly smooth meeting that finished just after 1pm.  Duties assigned, new Vice Chair in place (Pennie) and the usual items discussed and addressed.

A potential issue from Friday night was reported to me which I shared with the committee and discussed - the Chairman is following it up.

We had a wasp interlude which Alan resolved then a bite to eat (delicious hot snacks from Pamela!).

I then stay on for a quick chat with the chairman before heading off to the Surrey Chairmans' for the next hand over session.

Another 3 hours to hand over what knowledge I have on web management to Trevor as well as a few hints and tips and helping him to write a full document on how to manage the Website for Surrey.  This is progressing really well and I think most of the items are now handed over but need testing and working through and probably require 1 more session.  I have offered to carry on doing a few items for this season as they find their feet.

A day off tomorrow but we are planning to deal another 5 sets of boards for YHBC between Vee and I as well as sorting out the Improvers movements.  A few bits for Surrey and sorting some club items for CBC and YHBC.

21st April 2017


Playing with an irregular Friday partner in round 1 of the Beryl Doughty.

You need to post 4 good scores over the 12 (monthly) events, my partner tonight is not a member so this won't count towards it, just for fun tonight!

Chris is a very good player with a great mind for Bridge (he always denies this but false modesty!).  I will say though, he did miss 2 tricks tonight which I was surprised at, but made up for it on other hands.

He has sent me a very quick critique of some of the hands which I feel are OK to share:

3: Naughty naughty - but I'm glad you did!

4: As per below. *

11: We both were below par here.  Sans agreement I should probably double after the overcall rather than implying 10+ with my 2 bid... but then I think 3N is wrong from you because if 3N's going to be on with your ropey stop I'm likely to have made a  cue-bid to tell you so.

12: Better if you pass 3.  Visualise me with KQJxxxx in and little else: you never get to my hand to run them.  As it stands my hand trades top for outside entries, but it comes to the same thing.

17: Outright top if I cash A.  Sorry.

18: While the computer makes +2 it does so by means of a tricky squeeze I wasn't up to.  I made two tricks, which shouldn't be allowed.

Hand 4 is an interesting hand from the play and Chris has sent the following analysis:

Landing in 3NT, Ops (me) lead the 4 (4th highest and can be trusted for a genuine lead).

Look at trick 1.

4-5-Q-A.  What's your 4?  I'd say declarer knows your game well and should trust it for fourth-highest anyway, but actually on the bidding a short-suit lead (of a major) would be reasonable.  BUT I wouldn't have played the Q had I held the T.  And if you'd had a doubleton T4 you'd have led the T.  A MUD lead from T4x would be an eccentric start given the bidding (and while your bidding can be eccentric at times you stick to the book on opening leads).  Therefore KT6 of can all be placed in your hand.

Now count tricks.  Declarer has four sure , a top and two , and has already won A... so only needs to find one more to make the contract.  The ... are a 75% shot (roughly)... but if the 9 is run (well, cover the T if you play it) Declarer is *certain* to make the second .  It doesn't even matter if the K is mis-placed (which is a 1 in a 1000 shot): as long as T is with east Declarer has the second and ninth trick - and why would I *ever* play Q holding T when J is sitting in dummy?

Click HERE to see the hand

An enjoyable night and lively discussions, it's good to talk (if you remember the Bob Hoskins BT ads!!!) and I feel this helps to improve your game, thanks Chris.

21st April 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing with my regular Friday partner in a normal club session.

Today started badly with a wrong decision on our first board, the auction has found it's way quickly to 4 by the Ops and partner doubles, I have 6 to the KQ and so take it out to 4S (cannot afford to miss a vulnerable game) - this was wrong, 4X gets us +800, 4X gets us -1100 !!!!

Partner didn't show her suit on 2 hands also so we got poor scores, we both could have made more tricks in our contracts too!

Slam against us which not everyone bid and we bid a slam that wasn't there!

A score below 40% is really not good, hope it goes better tonight......

20th April 2017

Bracknell League Match

Playing with Margaret in a team with David & Alan (acting as captain for Margaret W who normally plays with Dorothy).

This was our final match of the season and in order to stay in Division 2 we need a score of 9 (to win on count back) or 10 VPs.

After the first half, we score up (I am worried as we let our opposition make 2 contracts and I didn't bid 3N on 1 hand) - my fears were unfounded however as we find ourselves 30-8 up (in IMPs).

The hands that produced swings were:

3-2 - we got our defence just right here - David & Alan stayed in 1N just making (+6)

3N-2 - our defence was spot on here (Margaret threw away good cards to protect her 9 and then return to my winners!) - David & Alan made 2N (+8)

2= - just making by me (a competitive bid) - 1 just making by David ! (+5)

3N-1 - Another well defended hand here - 3N+1 by Alan, this is impossible!!!!!!!!  Well played Alan!!! (+10)

Other small scores complete the first half.

After a nice cake and some coffee (and a ciggie!) we start the 2nd half.

We start to slip and overbid a few times (I end up minus 4 and 5 on 2 hands due to bad breaks and slightly optimistic bidding!!!).  Still, we manage to keep it together and only lose 28-23 to complete the match 53-36 (14-6 VPs) - well done team and well captained over the season Margaret W!!!  We won 6 out of 10 matches but the 4 we lost were big losses.

The hands that produced swings in the 2nd half were:

2N= - I nearly jumped to 3N but caught myself in time and left it to partner to raise and she passed, just making! - David & Alan took 3N 1 off (+6)

3N+1 - our defence (the only bad defence of the night) was not good, we let this through - 2N= by David who was in the correct contract but we let them down (-11)

3N= - I played this well! - David & Alan took 3N down 1!!! (+12)

3N-5 - Whoops!!!!! - Neg 300 by David and Alan too (I didn't find out why as we let this board go without discussion!!!!) (-11)

Other minor scores complete the match.

You will notice a lot of NT contracts, in teams bidding game is important, 3N is often a good spot as only 9 tricks needed, just make sure they can be made!!!

In order to play in this match I had to let the Home Counties team down that I play in.  I have yet to lose a match in the HC but without me they lost 12-8 tonight, we are still well placed though and we play our last match next Thursday (I am playing in that one) - I am the weakest player on the team so it is not my skill they need but think I must be a lucky charm! We are now tied in 2nd with Surrey A and 1 VP behind the new leaders - if we can get 4 VPs next week we win the league!!!

Playing twice tomorrow and then 2 committee meetings on Saturday and a day off on Sunday......

19th April 2017


AGM tonight, arrived early with Vee and set-up the hall with a few other early bods (the usual suspects who set-up week in week out, hardly mentioned but do a sterling job).

The AGM was a success, slightly longer than usual but not by much and our Chairman made a really good speech thanking all who do so much for the club.  Not a huge success for external events but not a disaster either and we have a larger number of pairs and teams this year so hoping for successes !!!

The Cups were awarded (again, the usual suspects) and Vee and I won the 2 bowls which look stunning - Vee wasn't aware he had been awarded the Presidents bowl and is so chuffed (but it is well deserved even if I am biased).

Bridge after was instant scoring and more relaxed.  Vee and I split up to accommodate 2 solos and I played with John England (his first visit back after a long absence).  He was charming, solid in bidding and play and we recorded one of the higher scores (though not the winning score) - hopefully we will see more of him now too, an asset to any club.

Winners NS were Simon and Keith and EW were Freda and Marjie - well done to both pairs!

I was pleased to see a few of the improvers at the AGM too and delighted to see the cup winners represented too.

Bracknell League match tomorrow night, a good score is needed to stay up in Division 2, fingers crossed.

18th April 2017


No Bridge tonight, responded to a few bridge e-mails and finalised plans for a social / training session with our friends (introducing weak 2s).

After doing well last week, it continued this week - won 7 games in a row with various partners and was really playing well.  As I am packing up, I'm asked if I can play one more game, I say no but am easily persuaded!  It was a good game but I was shattered and had very little strength left, lost 23-21 !  I feel it now too !

Back to Bridge tomorrow with the AGM at YHBC.  I am on the committee here so will say a few words on the Improvers - it is normally a well oiled event and we should get a good number of hands played after.  All as one group and instant scoring (so very little pressure) - this is a great way for the improvers to mix in and see what the "sharks at the other end" are really like!!!  They should find all to be friendly and welcoming and I secretly hope they cause a few upsets sneaking some good scores !!!

17th April 2017 - Swiss Teams

Best of Bridge - Cobham (6 of 6):

Playing the final session, Teams.

We had a good start (20-0) and then the scores went wrong and although we won match 2 by 11-9, the scores were entered as 14-6 loss for us so the teams allocation went wrong.  Lost match 3 by 13-7 and then had lunch (not an amazing lunch. especially for Vee as a veggie).

After lunch we played a new team as some went home and the experts teamed up to fill the team (we played them!!!).  A few good bids and play and we win this 17-3.  There was then a board in that match which had been fouled somewhere (we didn't find out where) so our big swing was removed and both teams awarded +3, still won 14-6 and played the best team on the last round (although there score was wrong too from the prior round!).

We let a 4 contract through which should have gone off, this meant we lost the match and down to 4th - still, a good performance from our team and enjoyed it.

A great weekend overall but the Hotel and staff did let it down slightly, no complaints forms so we filled in 2 sides of A4 to list the issues, are we getting old and grumpy?!!!!

Back home now and all washing in and everything un-packed, cup of coffee and relaxing - back to normal now and Badminton tomorrow (in my new shorts and T-Shirt!!!)

16th April 2017 - Evening

Best of Bridge - Cobham (5 of 6):

Playing the fith session.

Having had dinner (was quite reasonable), we go in to play the last duplicate pairs session.

Nothing out of the ordinary for us and finish joint 4th with mid 50s again.  A hand that will haunt us though is the missed Grand where we are in 5......!!!  Click HERE to see the hand.

Last day tomorrow and it's Swiss teams .....

16th April 2017 - Afternoon

Best of Bridge - Cobham (4 of 6):

Playing the fourth session.

Having had a night of drinking, get up for breakfast and it is ok.  A morning off, then lunch (it is non-stop eating on these weekends!!!!).

The afternoon session starts and all is not well, a vast array of errors sees us on 24% at half time!  This won't do so we turn it on a bit and pick it  up to mid 50s by the end - this was kick started by a gift of 1100 vs our natural game score!  Thanks Ops!!!  Click HERE to see the hand.

On to the evening......

15th April 2017 - Evening

Best of Bridge - Cobham (3 of 6):

Playing the third session.

I was naughty at dinner.... Eating with our friends and there are profiteroles for pudding - when we get back to the table there is a jug of chocolate sauce on the table - Margaret spots this and goes to pour some on her pudding - I speak up now saying "Margaret, that's gravy!!!"  - She of course believes me and puts it back down, Vee and I are now in fits of laughter!!!!

Bridge was not as good as dinner!

No excuses here, we had great hands but failed to maximise them.  In game when should stay in 2, in 2 when we should be in game and in a slam (as a sacrifice to a slam they cannot make!!!).

Felt terrible at the end too, our friends could have won with 2 good boards against us and instead, we had 2 good boards and they finished third (we were third from bottom NS!).

Off to bed now (early night at 1am!) and hope to do better tomorrow, cannot be worse, can it?

15th April 2017 - Afternoon

Best of Bridge - Cobham (2 of 6):

Playing the second session (non counting).

Going into the session, a lovely lady (who has got more tops off us than anyone!!!) stops me and says, I think a man looks better out of jeans - I reply without a flicker, "so you want me out of my jeans?!!!)" - she is so flummoxed, it's hilarious!!!!

Not really a defence, but the cards were not in our favour here, much better to be NS!!!  How many times do you here that...

We had a few good boards (especially a mis-understanding which resulted in a failed slam which I doubled - 100%!).

Generally though, the Ops bid correct against us and the rest of the field failed to do so.  We also defended poorly.

2nd from bottom was disappointing.  Hopefully after some food and wine we will do better.....

14th April 2017

Best of Bridge - Cobham (1 of 6):

Arrived in Cobham Hilton for the Easter weekend run by Best of Bridge.

We have a lovely big room which is excellent but the bathroom is not ideal, could be 2 foot bigger without hurting the room size and it is very squashed with poor pressure in he shower and the sink is almost on the floor!!!  Still, we like a good moan and it's not the end of the world....!

We played a 14 board warm up session before the bridge started (just for the early birds and addicts!)  - We are glad we did as this didn't count for anything and we ironed out a few gremlins (I don't play that often with Vee anymore).  Had a reasonable meal but nothing to write home about (or write in here for that matter!!!) and then Bridge.  My cold was worse tonight but soldiered on.  They are displaying the results from the start of the session and it is a little distracting, we see our names in 3rd then 4th, then back to 3rd then from round 6 we are top and remain there until round 10 where we slip back to 2nd.  2 Good rounds to finish and we just sneaked a win for the first session, well done Vee who played and defended really well (better than I have seen for a while), wine helps his play I think (even at the Hilton prices which doesn't help my bank balance!!!).

A few things came up:

  1. Cover an honour with an honour.
    1. Dummy has Q, 10, 9 and declarer plays the Q.  I hold Jx and partner has Kxx - partner should play the K on the Q which promotes my J.  If the 10 or 9 had been led, do NOT play the K.  This is important and would have taken the contract down.
  2. Look at the cards played, especially the honours
    1. My hand is dummy and has long .  Partner roughs them until they are good but doesn't realise that they are by missing the Q being played, turns +1 into -1   crying
  3. Duck trick 1
    1. Defenders lead a small card (showing an honour?) - Ax in dummy and Qxx in hand - let this go.  If the K takes it then 2 tricks set up.  If not, Q wins and no losers in suit.....!

An interesting hand to show the value of playing up to a singleton K was board 9.  Firstly, I don't think I will ever find another person to agree with my bidding so will skate over that (it is shown on the interesting hand page), needless to say I end up in the right contract for the wrong reasons!

Missing 3 Aces and having no voids in either hand, 12 tricks scores us 100%.  This was just such bad luck for our opponents.  Lead of a  and they take trick one with the A but this is Dummy's singleton - unsure what to play next as she doesn't want to lead A or away from an A and doesn't find the correct  switch so plays a trump.  I win in dummy and play a small  to my singleton K, this wins and now I draw trumps, ending in Dummy and play Q (only the A left and the others are now the same value).  A comes up and I ruff.  Back to Dummy with a trump and play the last 4 s to discard all my  - 12 tricks made.  Not playing the A ended up costing 2 tricks this time.  Click HERE to see the hand.

13th April 2017


Club Championship night so a lot of competitive pairs come to play!  My partner was not free tonight and a regular partner was also without her partner - we teamed up!

As I arrived at the club, I started to get a cold (been fine all day!), no excuse but I don't think I performed too well.  Even this diary entry has been delayed as been catching up with TV recorded and drinking wine !!!

We acually didn't do too badly but didn't shine.  Our defence needs work and I was too ambitious on some hands - I do tend to push quite hard!  I doubled and made the wrong lead, disaster!

One real success, I still debate if partner should have bid but it did lead to a good contract, do the results justify the means?  Board 21, 1 pair is in the optimum contract of 3N, can only be made by South and we are in 3N by South!!!  Better to be lucky than good sometimes!  Click HERE to see the hand, would you get to the same contract?

12th April 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting with Vee tonight, one player needed so Vee plays and I host and monitor.

Some very tricky hands tonight which they coped with quite well.  It is great to see that all pairs are improving and even when they have a bad score, they appreciate why and what to do next time.

I have given our chairman some homework tonight to come up with a recommended bidding sequence for 2 of the hands....  

Hand 2 was a tricky Slam hand - Click HERE to see it with Alan's commentary

Hand 9 was another tricky Slam hand - Click HERE to see it with Alan's commentary

An incident happened tonight which was really no-one's fault (though mine ultimately!) - the table card said to pass boards to one table but it was wrong, nobody checked and I had to deal with the wrong boards played.  Fortunately, all players involved coped with it well and it passed without further headache.

11th April 2017


No Bridge tonight although I did assist a little with Surrey website and have started to think about how to maintain the Surrey site easier for the rest of the committee.  Also arranging Teams and Pairs for the Surrey Champions events as the Team I am in and my partner in the Pairs are now eligible to represent Camberley in the Finals (2nd in both series but the winners of each cannot make the Finals dates).

I also modified the Roll of Honour for CBC to be within Bridgewebs rather than a PDF.  This should make it much easier for anyone to keep up to date and (hopefully) looks a little neater.  Have added the Florence Lewis Crockery Cup winners to the Roll of Honour too!  See the new Roll of Honour HERE

After not perfomring as well as I wanted at Bridge recently, I was determined to do well at Badminton tonight!  My knee hurts and am still not fully healthy but mind over matter and I walk to the club and set up the courts (am always first to arrive!).  Mixed doubles on the first game (my prefered game) and we are winning but then fall back and lose 27-25.  A great game though.  Next game is another Mixed and we win 21-17, then a Mens and we win 25-23, then a mixed and we win 21-6, another mens winning 21-19 and finsih with 2 more mixed and win each of these comfortably !  A tough night, mostly tight games and then walk home utterly shattered but happy!

Shower and change ready to update my Bridge admin, my own diary and this diary entry!  Messaged the Surrey Chairman to see if my ideas are good to go, if so, will now start modifying the site admin (not visible to the public but will help the update process for events).

 Back to Bridge tomorrow hosting the Improvers at YHBC.  In a few weeks time I hope to have time to organise the next Themed night.

10th April 2017


Playing as part of a Team tonight with my regular partner for a Team's Cup event.  We performed well but finished 3rd, 1 of my other regular partners headed up the winning team, well done to Barbara, Val, Ron and Dennis!

9th April 2017

National Pairs Final:

Wow, what a tough weekend!!!  I love bridge and really am an addict, but this was so tough!  For once, I would not recommend this to the faint hearted - this is relentless bridge with no weak pairs and no let up.  98 hands played against 49 of the top current players (some notable absences who either didn't qualify or couldn't make the final).

I think it is fair to say that all players found this event tough, it shows just how far I have still to go just to keep up!  It's an endurance event as much as skill and keeping concentration and discipline going over each hand against fierce opponents.  I smoked more this weekend than I have in a long time (drank more Saturday night too but woke up fine so enough on that for here, never did find my pen though......!)

The hotel was great and the room I had was very comfortable, clean and big!  The service in the hotel could have been better and the timings didn't always fit in with our sessions (we missed lunch on Sunday as ordered hot food which took 45 minutes to arrive and had to send it back and get a sandwich instead!).

This was my first time in the National Finals and we finished second from the bottom (not last though!).  If honest, I was (and am) a bit disappointed with the overall result but there were some highlights.  Rather than list these with hand records etc (I would want to get permission from the Ops and the organisers to share these specifically here), I will just share some of my memories:

Ops open light and their partner jumps to 6NT - we take this off 3 for our only 100% of the event!

Bidding confidently - I had 0 points and partner opened 1NT, I bid 2 without pausing or blinking (I am short in clubs) and partner bids 2 and goes off 2 (not vulnerable) - Ops didn't bid as I seemed confident and their 18 HCP hand was left un-bid.... I was so pleased that I was able to be confident (for 1 board!!!) and partner did extremely well to only go 2 down!

Gesthem is Great! - Partner has a few points and 2 suits, bids 2NT as an overcall and Ops dbl.  I bid 3 (I have 4) and Ops jump to game.  Partner bids 5 (DBL by Ops) and I go 2 down for 300, another great result!

Generally, our defence was pretty good but I had too many wobbles and also got caught out bidding too high.  Still managed to have some banter and generally enjoyed the sessions.  None of our Ops were nasty or rude and that was great to see.  I did have one director call and he actually got the ruling wrong!  Who would have thought it......!!!!

Back to normal this week and then away for another long Bridge weekend in Cobham for Easter......

7th April 2017


Having eaten too much take away (chicken and brocoli in oyster sauce with special chow mein!!!), I felt a bit bloated but not too bad.  Arrive early and set-up 6 tables and chairs and bidding boxes and score cards (half the chairs by Ken) then go to the kitchen and set that up too while John G sets up the laptop etc.  We only have 31/2 tables (Bournemouth has the rest of the tables, if you get chance, go on this holiday, it is FANTASTIC!).

To avoid a long sit out, David and Tony offer to go home, they are so thoughtful and we all thanked them.

The movement is tricky, takes a while but we get there - then off we go playing 25 boards (5 rounds of 5, all sharing for final round).

Although we both had a few moments, we got away from the session with an average score (neither of us were on form so this was a good result!!!).  Given that we were not playing to our best ability, my partner is owed due credit for this hand..... Hand 15:

Playing a strong  system with 5 card Majors, 1 shows 11-15 with no 5 card major and a hand without a winner in 3 suits and 4 tricks (which would be 1NT).

With this in mind, I open 1 (alerted).  Ops overcall 1 and partner bids 1NT (up to 10 HCP for us).  The auction is then passed out.

After the  lead and partner wins the 2nd  in hand, the K is led and loses - back in and lose another  - is this worth it?  YES!!!!  Make use of dummy's long suit, doing so now sets up the long suit.  It may seem that the  would offer more tricks but these come at the end.  Perfect play earns my partner 100% for making 8 tricks - it is not just the 7NT hands that count, this is duplicate pairs and every hand counts, this was great play and well done partner!

Click HERE to see the hand

7th April 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing in a regular club session with a tournament partner, practicing for the weekends National Pairs.

We were fairly solid throughout wit a few wobbles but a good score and finished 2nd.

One hand was really interesting and apologies to our ops for mentioning it, it's a shame to get a good score against wonderful people who I hold in such high regard (was glad in a way we gave them a top on the previous board to even this out, it's pairs after all so the score doesn't matter overall!).  Hand 21 this afternoon.....

I am North and decide to open this poor hand 1 (nothing outrageous here), ops overcall 2 (not un-reasonable), partner raises me to 6 !!!!  Ops double, I gulp inwardly regretting opening this terrible hand and then partner redoubles!!!!

It is fair to say, I was quite pleased to see the higher s in partner's hand but am still confident of 1 off - I win the first in hand and then play a small expecting to find the 3-0 break off-side, no - they both follow!  Q must be a doubleton.  First hurdle dealt with.  Now, I have a losing  and a losing , what to do?  I take my 's and leave W with a winning on lead, what can she do other than give me the ruff and discard I need, give me a or give me a - she played a low , I duck and win in dummy, K now trapped, 12 made - 2070 scored!!!

Click HERE to see the hand

At the end of the session, acted as a taxi for the delightful Dorothy then home for a take away with Simon before going to YHBC for the evening session.....

6th April 2017


Playing in a regular club session with a regular partner.  A few errors by us both plus the ops in the right spot meant for a 50% score tonight.  Heard this before?

No real interesting hands (other than every hand is interesting), it was one of those nights where we didn't have much to do.  Given a choice though, we both seemed to make the wrong one, no clues, just bad luck.

Playing with Simon twice tomorrow to get ready for a tough weekend at the National Pairs.  29 of our members are also off to Bournemouth tomorrow, weather is set to be great and the hotel caters well and is very supportive, here's hoping they have a wonderful time!  I will be monitoring them and ready to post a report in the YHBC menu Sunday night.  Without laptop for the weekend so limited reports now until Sunday......

5th April 2017


This was the first session of the new season.  Although we didn't win, we posted a respectable score over 60%, more importantly, I think we both felt that we did as we should on most hands (you can only control your own table not what everyone else does!).

One error though was on board 2.  Passed round to me in 4th seat, I have 15 HCP and a flat hand and down grade to 1NT (trying to be clever perhaps).  Had I opened 1, partner may muster up a 1 bid and now I bid 2 and that is where we play.  This is a much better spot than 1NT - lesson here, bid your hand!!!  I am sure a later diary entry will advocate when to up or downgrade a hand though....!

There were a few interesting hands but these are best left alone on this occasion.  Click HERE to see the 1NT failure above though.

4th April 2017


No Bridge tonight although I did prompt CBC to start asking our Champions if they want to represent us in the Surrey Finals and also finalised some admin files for Surrey as part of my handover, never a Bridge free night!!!

Woke up quite ill this morning and took the day off, spent most of the day in bed or the bath and slowly got back to reality late afternoon.  Didn't decide to play Badminton until the last minute and then thought it may help to sweat it out, I think it did although I am shattered now!  Started off well and won the first 3 games, then got tired and didn't do much until the last 2 games which I won! - back to Bridge tomorrow at YHBC

3rd April 2017


Playing in a regular club session with my regular Monday partner.  A few errors by us both plus the opps in the right spot meant for a 50% score tonight.  Could have been better if I had of been more cautious on one of my big hands.  24 HCP and 6 but it is nothing without partner..... Silly Ian crying

The bidding has passed round to me in 4th seat and I have 24HCP - open 2.  2 negative from partner, 2 from me (we cannot pass until game is reached so no rush).  So far so good.  Partner has 5 and correctly bids 3.  This is only promising 4 at this stage so the auction should carry on like this..... 3 by me showing extra length, 4 from partner, All pass and game bid and made for a joint top.  This is me however............  Instead of bidding 3 I bid 6 on my own and get doubled and go 3 down for 0%.   Lesson here, when you have a strong hand, partner is in control, listen to partner and make use of their hand.  Click HERE to see the hand.

2nd April 2017

Surrey County Pairs (Plate):

Playing in the Surrey County Pairs with a strong partner.  We had a beow average start and failed to make the cut for the Cup Final.  We did a bit better in the Plate Final but no glory, finishing 12th.

A strong field and 48 boards over 2 sessions but good fun and very competitive.  I strongly recommend these events to all for great experience and a good challenge.

National Pairs final next week which will be even tougher!!!

1st April 2017

Surrey Committee:

Having made the decision to resign, I have no intention of leaving the county in a bad position.  Today was preparing for a hand over and a 3 hour session with the Surrey Chairman to show how things work in Bridgewebs and list items to consider and check.  This was followed by a take away curry with my partner and a chat with the Chairman and his wife.  All very civilised and relaxed.

I have quite a bit still to do but have realised some of the items I do could be simplified - will work on these this week to send over.

The hand over session really highlights that we do certain things in 3 places!  This is deliberate and ensures that the users of the site can find what they want in different ways and they have different purposes, it would be nice to have feedback to see what people actually use but this is hard to get.  For now, the committee will carry on as I have maintained the site but they (and I) will continue to think of better or easier ways that don't damage the overall use or appearance of the site.  Any thoughts from the public would be very welcome!

One of the pages which was completely my design was the Competition Hub.  I liked it and liked maintaining it but is it needed?  We have most items in the calendar but not necessarily the info around the event or info to highlight the kind of standard or what happened last year etc.  If we stopped the hub and enhanced the more info in the calendar, perhaps that would work better?  We could leave the Hub as static info on each competition and possibly each type of competition for non-Surrey events.....  Things to think about here!

Looking forward to the Surrey County Pairs tomorrow......

31st March 2017


This was the final session of the season, a few cups to be decided and all to play for, if my partner and I do well enough we can win the ladder....  Unfortunately, although not a terribe session, we did not do well enough.  This means one of my other Partners wins the Ladder - Congratulations to Jill Cook with partner David Steele who can also represent the club in he Mary Edwards Cup as our club champions.

A few failed slams (one I could have made if I got the  finesse absolutely correct, I took the Q but then used my J on the 2nd time).

One slam that worked a treat was board 20.  We have a tendancy to open 3 of a minor with a 6 card suit (as I did here).  Alan, holding 20 HCP, is awake and is now interested.  A quick ask to find out my key cards then we are in 6 (there was actually very little choice as my answer took us above 5!!!).

I was prepared to take the  finesse (which would have worked) but the doubleton Q came down anyway.  If I leave it to Partner to open, we get a strong 2 followed by 2N and I can only bid 3N......Click HERE to see the hand

31st March 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing in a regular club session with my regular partner.

I had such a busy morning and trying to arrange the joint Blue Point Swiss Pairs and only just made the session.  I was stressed and tired and got upset early on, apologies to all for my outburst.

We did not cover ourselves in glory here but a few great hands and a few not so great....  Too much to write about here but I will mention that Rosemary and Christine defended and bid perfectly against us today, frustrating and pleasing in equal measure!!!  When I was just starting to play on a Friday afternoon a few years ago we played them and on the last round we dropped from Top due to them getting 100% on each board (3 board rounds) - I still haven't forgiven them for that and today they nearly did it again!!!!

A few more master points today though which all contribute to the Master Points Cup (am the current holder) so no harm done today

At the end of the session, 4 of us got together to firm up arrangements for our joint Blue Point event, this went on a little longer than expected and then rushed home for a Curry and then straight to YHBC for the evening session.....

30th March 2017


Playing in a regular club session at Camberley with a very good partner.  Some nights it is just not to be though, we genuinely did very little wrong but the scores didn't come - opps did well against us, other tables also didn't do what they should and perhaps I was a little pushy on some hands, 6 going off but we all felt it was the correct contract but both s off side, oh well!

A hand I should have passed though....  11 HCP and 5 / 4 in the majors but  is my longer - I can never show my hand - better to Pass and wait and then we get to 5 - Click HERE to see the hand and see what you think

Bridge 3 ways tomorrow!!!  CBC in the afternoon, Club Blue point meeting after bridge to finalise our plans ready for May 1st and then home for Curry before playing at YHBC in the evening.

Tomorrow night is the last night of the season for YHBC so all the cups are to be decided - I am involved in some of the placings....

29th March 2017

Social Bridge:

I love plying for fun and having a glass of wine, good food and awesome company!  More time to discuss the hands and go through what went well and what didn't in a relaxed atmosphere.

Went to Linda's with her partner Sylvia and my partner Vee - we chose not to score and just play.  Linda and Sylvia are both fellow members of CBC and do so much work for the club and are much liked and admired by the members (especially me!!!) - Linda was a superb host (though we could have had 40 for the food prepared!!!!

Almost every hand had a twist or feature  - 1 hand had HCP of 19, 19, 1, 1 (20-20 for each pair) - how often do you see that!!!  Whoever ended up playing would go down, we were lucky to be defending (I was one of the 1 point hands!).

The use of doubles were a constant theme, when to bid a suit and when to double (negative doubles are so useful when you need to bid but are not strong enough to show your hand).

I almost advocated being sound for a simple overcall (lead directing) and weak when jumping.  Basically, don't get in the way of partner but do try and disrupt the opposition.  Bid to the level of the fit when overcalling and try to take the oppositions space away...!

Val kindly took the Improvers session for me (the last of the season) and 4 full tables were present.  Scored manfully when I got home tonight (a few hiccups but think I have got there!).

Check out the Hall of Fame page for YHBC for the current winners of this season (1 event to go so some cups still to be decided), prior years winners also on this page - AGM on 19th April 2017 (7pm) where the Cups will be presented.

17th March 2017


Playing with a regular partner (well, would you call Alan Brown "regular"!!!)

In all fairness, you will struggle to find a partner with better judgment and card sense than Alan, normally good for an extra trick or 2 as declarer and not afraid to push the Opps up too far then double - almost always an adventure with Alan but one you want to go on !!!

A fairly even night with ups and downs but hand 16 really shows the power of opening with a 6 card minor.

Bare in mind that this will NOT always work but stick to the same bidding patterns and they should prove fruitful over time.

Alan open's 3 and all Pass.  2 off for 100%.  This is a great bid, it is never going anywhere, unlikely to go too far off (even if doubled) and disrupts the opposition.

Click HERE to see the hand.

28th March 2017

CBC Committee Meeting:

Not playing, still bridge though!  Had a fairly uneventful committee meeting but really pleasant company and got through the normal items in good time.  Then home to start a quick tidy of the CBC site and added a bit more on the Host system and Etiquette.

Was sent an interesting hand played locally (am I starting to get a fan base!) - this is definitely worth a look..... Click HERE to view the hand

27th March 2017


Playing in round 3 of the Monday Club Championships at CBC.  We have had a good start and all is going very well.  In the last 2 rounds I fall apart however, you must concentrate the hardest at the start and end of each session and just play to the system card you have and bid as well as you can.  Do NOT do as I did....

CBC 27th March 2017 - hand 14:

In an auction where they are stopping in 2 of a major, it is almost always correct to bid with 7+ points.  However, with a poor suit, DBL do NOT bid your own suit.  Partner knows it is balancing as you have passed twice but give the option to find a fit or leave for penalties.  On this hand, I DBL and partner passes for 100%.   Of course, I bid like an idiot and 3 is a 0% - will I ever learn?

Click HERE for the hand

Fortunately, our start was good enough to keep a good score and we are back to the top of the Championships again - a long way to go yet though.

CBC Committee meeting tomorrow and then social bridge wednesday as Val takes our Improvers group for me (thanks again Val).

27th March 2017 - Announcement

Surrey Webmaster resigns:

As of today (actually decided last week but waited until the Surrey Committee had been informed), I have resigned from the Surrey Committee as Webmaster.

A brief history:

Surrey used to operate on a website designed and managed by a well respected Surrey member (Julia) who did an excellent job and I was unable to match her expertise.  I was asked to investigate the use of Bridgewebs as a platform and to see what was possible and not possible for the County.  Through my investigations I started the website off and gave some ideas and opinions, these were then taken up and I started creating the site.

As I got more involved, I started to work closely with Gwynne at Bridgewebs and have helped to redesign some features and create others - these combined to get us where we are today (with 7 future developments in the pipeline which I will handover to the Committee).  

My request of help then (somehow!!!) turned into me being the Webmaster!

I have really enjoyed creating this and hope I have delivered a reasonable product - it should at least give the County a boost in terms of a website that can cope with the demands of the largest county in the country as well as have it's own style and feel.  It has been challenging at time and a lot of hours have gone into this (I really do mean a LOT!) and at times I feel I have suffered with the pressure and burden.  This was entirely my own doing as my personality dictates that I don't delegate, like perfection and like things to be as they should be!

I have not left with any ill feeling and will do as much as needed in the interim as they find a replacement for me - I will offer to help the new Webmaster as much as needed too and I wish Surrey every success for the future.

What next:

I am still on the Committee of CBC and YHBC and a member of one of the County teams and continue my playing career and look to devote some of my time back to helping the YHBC improvers group (which has been somewhat neglected recently and I thank Vivek so much for stepping up and keeping this going behind the scenes as well as host - Val and Marjie also are owed a big thank you too!).

26th March 2017

Bourne Blue Point Swiss Pairs:

Playing with a fairly new partner (3rd time of playing!!!)

Playing 6 rounds of 8 boards, this is a reasonably tough event but a lot of the really tough pairs don't tend to enter these events and as such, the event had a great atmosphere and was really friendly and good fun (other than 1 round for us.....!).

A lot of our club players attended this and Colin and David were the only pair to hammer us, we lost 1 other round on a narrow defeat too but the other 4 were very good results and we finished 3rd out of 36 in the end with a little prize money and 2.5 Blue Points (nearly 1 green as a blue is a third of a green) - Nick was playing on top form (most of the time) and my play and bidding was solid too.  2 hands got away from me which I am kicking myself for though.  Hand 15 - Click HERE to see the hand

Looking forward to another full week of bridge then the Surrey County Pairs next weekend (still space if you wish to enter, click HERE)

25th March 2017

Social Bridge & Games:

A great day today!  As a lot of my friends know, I don't sleep well.  Woke up briefly very early and went back to sleep and then slept until 08:30 !  Got up to find scones being baked ready for afternoon tea.  An early morning bridge sessios with our friends Les and Jennie with a lovely lunch in the middle of playing chicago bridge (shuffle and deal) followed by scones with lashings of clotted cream and jam - yum!!!

Les and Jennie are both awesome, they have played at YHBC and CBC and so known by quite a few who may read this.  They were excellent hosts and it was a joy to play cards in a relaxed atmosphere and good humour - it is very random playing chicago (we played 8 hands with each partner) so more a measure of luck than skill and I almost always come last, I did manage to win today though with Les coming 2nd.  I need to play more social bridge, although my body needs the gym more than it needs clotted cream, oh well!

Vee and I then played board games with 1 of our friends and had a good catch up too.  A very nice day all in all.

Now looking forward to playing at the Bourne in their blue point swiss pairs event tomorrow - must remember the clocks go forward tonight too.....

24th March 2017


Playing in a regular club session with a very good partner - another session that didn't go well however crying

There was an unusual incident that didn't involve us, worth a mention though, contract reached, lead made and all of a sudden there are 2 dummy's !!!  Technically all 13 cards of the defenders "dummy" are now penalty cards but an average +/- was awarded to keep things simple - it seems reasonable but wander how other directors would cope with this.....!

We discover our clubs yellow book is out of date too....!

Hand 13, unlucky for some - not all would get here logically but our leader, Mr Brown did (albeit after the bidding, unlucky Mr Brown)....

With the knowledge that I have an opening hand and no 5 card major, all suits now bid by EW with the H being fouth suit forcing.  This would be promising some form of stop and the danger hand (mine) can not have 5, so at worst, 4 are out and partner has an interest.  partner has removed Alan' overcall so must be weak or strong, we know it is strong now with fourth suit forcing, Alan repeated his  but realised too late that a "close your eyes and bid 3NT" moment was there - it's the correct contract - 4 down 3 was unfortunately our top.

Click HERE to see the hand

24th March 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing in a regular club session with a regular partner.  All should be well but lots of errors by us both led to a below par performance.

Hand 12 at CBC in the afternoon on the 24th March 2017.  A fairly poor session for us overall, rather than focus on the negatives, here is a good board !  This is a lesson in taking your tricks, if you do, partner may signal to continue to take more.

Here, if EW take the A and get a positive signal, the K is then taken and a  led back - this means with the A too, 4 tricks are taken and contract is held.  In theory, this would be a good result as 4 is available for 620 (beating the 400 for 3NT held).  With us, small led which I win in hand.  Win a , lose a and another small led which I win in hand.  Now I run then  for 12 tricks.....

Admittedly, it helps that our auction included a 2 cappelletti bid (showing and a minor) so a wasn't led trick 1.

Click HERE to see the hand

23rd March 2017

Board Games:

Call myself a Bridge addict, here is another night of "no bridge"!!!

Playing board games with a friend tonight, involved strategy games and it was honours even tonight after a 2 month gap of playing!

Have updated Surrey with the Entry form and details of the Princess Alice Hospice Teams on 30th April and also helped Kent with their website inbetween turns of our board game

Looking forward to 2 sessions of Bridge tomorrow (CBC in the afternoon after work and then YHBC in the evening)

22nd March 2017

Hosting YHBC Improvers:

So many interesting hands tonight (largely troublesome!!!) - great to see 4 tables consistently, much better to score with boards played 4 times each.

Hand 5:-  Sometimes you get terror hands!  This one is a stinker and you need to have a robust defence to 1NT doubled.  In this example, 1NT by south doubled by West.  North cannot bid, East is happy to leave the penalty in, what does South do now?  My view, Redouble for SOS.  If West passes, North bids there lowest 4 card suit.  If this is South's 3 or 4 card suit, pass (EW will likely come in now).  If South has 2 in this suit, bid your lowest ranked suit.  This way you should go "up the ladder" and find at least a 4 / 3 fit.

Click HERE to view the hand

Hand 12:-  20 Points is a massive hand!  This is true but not if partner has nothing.  With a singleton K, the hand is only worth 17 unless played in a suit.  Bid at the 1 level and wait to see what happens.  If partner can bid the singleton or NT, then off you go to game in NT.  If not, play in your long suit.  This hand has the suit covered so 3NT is the right place (but get there properly, another time and it may not work, bridge should not be a guessing game!).

Click HERE to view the hand

Lots of other interesting hands here but use the "Play it Again" feature to help here.

A hand that wasn't played (we dealt 18 hands and played 16 of them in the 4 table movement) was hand 18.  This sparked a debate with me and my fellow hosts and would like you to consider a hand like this:





As dealer, do you instantly dismiss this hand and Pass?  If you were over-calling you would want to bid?  If you had a fit you would have a 6 or 7 loser hand (depending how you value a hand with no Aces).  I am not saying you MUST bid but please do look at this hand and see if you would ever consider bidding and why.  This is only to provoke a debate amongst partners - as dealer, you are unlikely to bid in this auction if you do not open.  Partner will say  or the Opps will.  Now what happens?  I personally would open 1  and then partner knows not to get carried away with  and you stand a chance at finding a major fit.....Only my view......

This is a topic for discussion in the Bridge Forum - click HERE to view and feel free to comment (note, most are far more sensible than me and would not open with this hand!!!)

Personal note:

I had a tough decision to make today.  My partner and I have qualified for the National Pairs final in April.  This is a major competition and very prestigious.  I have already signed up to our club weekend and am really looking forward to it.  I cannot do both !!!  This is torture for me, I am very competitive and like to enter tough competitions but I also like to honour my first commitment and hate to upset / disappoint or let people down.

I have gone to the last 4 club weekends and they are genuinely the best weekends, great food, company and fun bridge with a competitive yet friendly edge - superb!  I have however made the choice to look after myself here and try and forward my bridge "career" by going to the Finals.   I have arranged a replacement for the club weekend and am helping with the arrangements, I do feel ever so guilty and I know I have upset some members and really do apologise.  My partner is extremely supportive and wants me to go the Finals and it was this that finally swayed me.  Sorry again if this does upset anyone crying

21st March 2017


No Bridge tonight although I did reply to several Bridge e-mails and have sent e-mails to YHBC and CBC members on behalf of Surrey, never a Bridge free night!!!

Seem to be getting fitter, still felt good on the last game tonight and won more than I lost with scores above 17 in each game - back to Bridge tomorrow hosting the Improvers at YHBC

20th March 2017


Playing in a regular club session with my top ranked partner.  I am still not on form and a few decisions went the wrong way.  No major errors but not continuing a suit when we should, 6NT instead of 6 and some good bidding by the opps meant we had an average score.

We must all feel like this at times but I currently feel I played better a few years ago and trying to pin-point what has changed!  I think it is not just me or partner, the field is getting bolder and we are facing a lot more conventional bids that are harder to defend - must keep my play a little tighter and learn when to pass and when to be bold, will never get it right on every board but all we can do is try!

One hand to demonstrate when not to sacrifice though:

Hand 6, a competitive auction (as you would expect) and we get to our contract (4) - our opps bid 5 here as a sacrifice - now, vulnerable, let us have our part score - 1 off is too many at this point.  Unfortunately, we found all 5 tricks available to us and 800 is unfortunate.  Apologies to the Opps as I genuinely feel uncomortable doubling friends at the bridge table, but we have to do it, have no doubt the opps will double you without blinking!  Click HERE to see the hand.

17th March 2017 (Afternoon)


Playing in the afternoon session.  I finish work at 1pm and am 5 minutes from the club so this is an ideal way to fill the time between finishing work and my partner getting home from work....!

This session did not go well, some bits good like bidding 6, some bits bad like not making 6!!!

Board 20 was bid well, my declarer play (normally not too bad) let me down.  I gave up and cross ruffed the hand, it should have been played by drawing the trumps for 2 rounds, then carry on for a few to see what happens - If you are thinking of a squeeze you need to "rectify the count" so, after clearing trumps finishing in dummy, lead a small ♣.

If E has the Q♣ it is unlikely he will play it. If E has the A♣ it will be a brave E who won't put up the A♣ (end of problem).

If E does duck then the J♣ will be won by the Q♣.
At some stage you need to ruff another two clubs to "isolate the menace" and then it becomes a simultaneous double  squeeze - Why didn't I do this! crying - 2 others (who hadn't bid the slam) made 12 and I didn't - hope tonight at YHBC goes better!

Click HERE to see the hand.

16th March 2017


Playing in a normal club session (practicing with a fairly new partner before a competition that is coming up).

Hand 8, defending 5 and we had a system failure - I was playing reverse attitude, partner Attitude - this meant my 3 didn't encourage and we didn't take our 3 tricks to defeat the contract - our convention card did say Reverse Attitude, shows he importance of knowing your system!  It happens and neither to blame but lesson learned!

Click HERE to see the hand

15th March 2017

YHBC Improvers:

Hosting the Improvers (missed a few recently).  Whilst playing in the session, hand 1 proved interesting.  A hand of 26 points is always exciting but don't forget, there are only 14 left, partner is not likely to have much - on this occasion, "much" proved to be 1 Point!

This hand was only played 3 times but each time the tricks generated was different.  Click HERE to see my analysis of the hand and how to make the most of a long suit in Dummy.

On hand 8, the opposition missed game - there are a few rules I really do advocate (they won't work 100% but will prove good in the long run):

When partner opens, bid to the level of LTC (Losing Trick Count)

When partner overcalls (assume 5 card suit), bid to the level of the fir (if 5+ points) - holding 3 in the suit, bud to the 2 level, 4 in the suit, bid to the 3 level etc.

On this hand, bidding to the level of the fit gets to 4 (the slam is hard to find).  Click HERE to see the hand