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Tuesday Hand of the Week

This page has information and news of interest to the members. For a full list of forthcoming events, see "Calendar" on the menu and for a list of results see "Results".

Tuesday Hand of the Week - 28th June

Hand of the Week 28th July 2020

Bidding the game on board 6

The correct bidding for board 6 caught a few people out, in the afternoon and evening sessions, in some cases costing game by playing in either 3S or going down in 3NT.

The correct bidding is:

E pass

S 1♠ 

W pass

N 3♠ (7 HCP + 3 for a singleton)

E pass

S 4♠ 

All pass

However, if North bids 2♠  with their first bid, with South’s strength, all is not lost, as bidding could be:

E pass

S 1♠ 

W pass

N 2♠ 

E pass

S 2NT (17-18 points - and showing North with a likely 4 x spades in case N is supporting with 3 x spades)

W pass

N  4♠ (if N now adds even 1 point for their singleton)

The play is fairly strightforward from there, but not being in the correct contract is what caught people out.

Last updated : 29th Jul 2020 18:39 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 21st July

Planning the play for 11 tricks

For hand of the week this week board 7 was chosen.  This, hopefully, will be of assistance to the afternoon pairs who also played this board.

A brief look at the bidding for the 2 tables:

West North East South West North East South
      1          1 
Pass 2  X 2    Pass 2  2 ! 3 
Pass 4  4♠  5    3♠  4  4♠  Pass
5♠  X Pass Pass   Pass Pass    
Pass                

On both tables, South opened 1 , West passed and North bid 2 .

East’s first bid differs.  On one table East doubled (showing the 2 unbid suits) and on the other East bid 2 , Michael’s cue bid, to show 5+ spades and 5+ of a minor.  If you don’t use Michael’s cue bid you can and should still double with an LTC of 5.

Bidding after that is fairly straightforward, except that on one table South bid 5  over East’s 4♠ , so West raised to 5♠ , which North doubled (if West hadn't raised to 5♠ , I suspect East would have bid 5♣ , asking West to pass or correct to spades).

The opening red suit lead is irrelevant, the key question is, how does West or East plan to take 11 tricks?

There are 2 losers in hearts, as even if West’s hearts are thrown on clubs, declarer cannot afford to use West’s trumps to cross ruff.  So with 2 heart losers at the beginning or end declarer cannot afford to lose another trick.  This can only be done if either North holds K♣  or South holds a singleton K♣  so declarer has to play assuming one or the other to be the case.

What gives the greatest chance of success?  Declared has to lead clubs from West as that covers both North having a singleton K♣  and North having a Kx doubeton.  If North plays a club other than the King, then there are 2 missing clubs, so declarer must decide whether to finesse with the Q♣  hoping for Kx in North or play A♣  hoping for a singleton K♣  with South.  There aren’t any real clues from the bidding, but either way, declarer needs to lead a club from West, but also doesn’t want to risk a 3-0 club split and the first round of clubs being ruffed.

Therefore, declared decides to draw trumps first.

There are 5 trumps missing, so declared starts by playing A♠  from West.  2 of the missing trumps fall.

Either declarer must now play 2♠  to Q♠  in East, hoping for the likely 3:2 trump split and when 2 more trumps fall, can play a low spade back to West’s K♠  OR as 1 declarer did, play K♠  to draw 2 more trumps and then play the club finesse knowing that there is only 1 more trump out, so if clubs do split 3-0, the other defender hopefully has the extra trump.  With this method, having successfully played the club finesse, declarer draws the last trump with QS and can run the clubs.

With good play and a lucky guess (on where K♣  is), 11 tricks made in spades by EW.

Note 1:  1 pair did make 11 tricks in spades in the afternoon session, but benefitted from South leading their singleton club, doing the finesse for declarer, so no further planning was necessary.

Note 2: 7♣  makes on anything but a heart lead, but neither East nor West should bid it due to having 2 quick hearts losers

Note 3: Some (whole number) percentages for those who take note of such things:

  • Chances of 3 missing cards being split 2:1 = 78%
  • Chances of 5 missing cards being split 3:2 = 68%
  • Chances of a singleton king with a 2:1 split = 33% (or 26% including it being a 2:1 trump split AND a singleton king)
  • Chances of a doubleton king being held by North with a 2:1 split = 26% (including it being a 2:1 trump split AND a doubleton held by North)
  • Chances of a doubleton king being held by North with a 2:1 split OR a singleton King held by North = 39% (including it being a 2:1 trump split AND a doubleton OR a singlton King held by North)
  • With 3 cards missing in a suit, probability of opponents ruffing on the first round = 22%.

 

Last updated : 23rd Jul 2020 17:57 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 7th July

1NT doubled, continued!

With a shortage of pairs on Tuesday evening, each board was played by only 2 teams, limiting the scope for selection somewhat.

However, continuing a theme, Board 21 gave yet another 1NT doubled hand, so it seened a shame not to continue from last week.

The bidding on the 2 tables was:

West North East South West North East South
  1NT X Pass!     1NT Pass Pass
Pass 2♣  Pass 2♠    Pass      
X Pass Pass Pass          

On one table, East decided to let North off by just passing.  1NT by North should make 4 tricks only, EW can make 800 points by leaving NS in 1NT doubled minus 3.  Without the double and with North having made an extra trick, it is just -200.

On the other table, poor South who is using the Helvic wriggle has a problem.  With a 4333 distribution, South has to decide whether to tell partner that she has a 5 card suit or 2 x 4 cards, and if 4 cards, which suit to select as the second 4 card.  As it happens, it doesn’t matter particularly as 2C, 2H and 2S by North or South, should all go down 3 with no 8 card fit available for NS.  However, having settled on spades it is a brave West, with 8 6 5 spades,  but also 7 points to go with partner’s 16+ points, who doubles 2S, but sure enough, West doubled and it went down 3.  NOTE: Well played North for alerting South's forcing pass.

Barring freak hands such as last week’s, if the doubled pair can find an 8 card fit it usually scores better than leaving the contract in 1NT doubled.  4:3 seven card fits are often no better than leaving the contract in 1NT doubled, especially as the chances are against the missing trumps being split 3:3, though the opponents might let you off the hook by bidding.

However, if you don't start a wriggle, you don't give the opposition a chance to take you out of the double.

Last updated : 12th Jul 2020 22:17 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 30th June

Hand of the Week 30th June 2020

The dreaded 1NT doubled!

Board 13 gave an interesting lesson in scoring.

 

Unfortunately, 2 tables managed to avoid this totally by mis-bidding.  Lucky this time, but it may cost you in the future!

This is the bidding on the 4 tables:

West North East South West North East South West North East South West North East South
  Pass 1  1♠      Pass 1NT X     Pass Pass 1♠      Pass 1NT X
Pass 2  Pass Pass   Pass Pass XX Pass   Pass Pass Pass     Pass Pass Pass  
Pass         2♣  Pass 2  Pass                    
          2♠  3  Pass Pass                    
          Pass                          

On table 1, the bidding simply went wrong.  East incorrectly opened 1 , South then incorrectly bid 1♠  instead of doubling and North correctly bid 2  making 9 tricks (140 points).

On table 2, a basic wriggle was used.  The bidding, with added commentary, was as follows:

E 1NT

S X

W pass (I have no 5 card suit – which should be alerted by East if you play this system as the pass is forcing)

N pass (I’m not going to get the opponents out of this)

E XX (please bid your lowest ranked 4 card suit partner)

S pass (let’s see what happens)

W 2♣  (clubs is my lowest ranked 4 card suit)

N pass

E 2  (clubs is my doubleton, but I have 4 diamonds)

S pass

W 2♠  (diamonds is my doubleton partner but I have 4 spades and you must have at least 3)

N 3  (trying to show a stop in diamonds for partner or prefering his diamonds to his 5 hearts?)

All pass

3  went 2 down, 200 points to EW.

On table 3, East declined to open, so South played in and made 1S (80 points).

On table 4, East opened 1NT, South doubled and with no escape, East played in 1NT doubled making 5 tricks, 500 points to North South.

Had Eddie and Polly been playing this as EW, they would also have escaped to 2S, through a different wriggle (the Helvic wriggle). East 1NT, South X, West 2♠  (partner, I have 4 clubs and 4 spades) all pass unless NS bid again.

 

As it happens, in this extraordinary deal, 2♠  by EW should only make 5 tricks in spades (3 x hearts, a diamond and 2 clubs), but it’s amazing how often the opposition will bid once they know a wriggle is being used, knowing they are likely to end up with a trump minority. It's also incredibly unusal to make zero trump tricks with an 8 card trump fit!

 

It doesn’t happen very often that a pair open 1NT, LHO doubles and partner doesn’t have a 5 card suit, but when it does happen it’s good to have a way to deal with it as, at the very least, your opponents might decide to make the best score they can in thir own contract.  In 3 Counties Bridge, that's 2 weeks in a row where such a deal has occured in Tuesday evening teams.

Last updated : 12th Jul 2020 22:16 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 16th June

Board 16 - How do you bid this?

Several people asked how they should have bid board 16.  I defer to Roger and Rebecca on this one.

North

♠ 6 5

 A Q J

 9 3

♣ A K T 9 8 6

West                                     East

♠ A J 9 8                                         ♠ T 4 2

 3                                                  K 8 6 4

 K 7 5                                            A Q J 4

♣ Q J 7 3 2                                     ♣ 5 4

South

♠ K Q 7 3

 T 9 7 5 2

 T 8 6 2

♣ 

The contracts on the 4 tables were 4  by N (8 tricks made), 2NT by E (8 tricks made), 3  by E (8 tricks made) and 2♠  by W (8 tricks made).

Dealer is West who has an 11 point rule of 20 1♣  opening.

North looks at their hand and can bid nothing but pass, whilst desperately hoping it ends up in a club contract!

East should then bid 1 , the cheaper bid with 2 x 4 card suits (for those still learning, green book page 1).  Some people, including Roger, prefer to bid their 4 card major to show it now, in case South overcalls and they don’t get to show it.  Either is fine.

South, who was an LTC of 7 but only 5 points, is still hoping to double a club bid (at least, I was!).  What South can do is to double after 1 , showing 4+ hearts AND 4+ spades, but despite the LTC of 7, with only 5 points I decided it was better to get in a pass first to show point count (sorry partner)!

If East had bid 1  then South can still double to show that they are happy to play in either of the unbid suits (diamonds and spades), but again there is a debate about points despite the LTC here.

West bids 1♠  to show their second suit.

North now has to decide what to do.  They can’t bid 2C, as this is asking for a stop in clubs.  They can bid 3C, but on the 2 (non 3 Counties) tables where this was done, it went down 2 and 3.  So the best option from North is to pass and see what happens.

East, having cover in the unbid suit, should bid NT.  Having 10 points, they should not bid 1NT, but 2NT, given partner an indication of hand strength (10 – 12 points), in case West has 15+ points, but West doesn't.

Everyone passes.

East should then make 4 diamonds, 3 spades and one heart (no clubs unless North mistakenly leads one after taking a trick).

Not being vulnerable, North and South actually score better by going 1 down in 3  (or as we did, 2 down in 4 ), than by East getting their 2NT (or West their 2♠ ).  However to find hearts South has to double the 1  and have a partner brave enough to bid their hearts, or as I had, a partner who prefers not to defend with favourable vulnerability and bids the only unbid suit despite only having 3 of them, hoping that partner will have a few too.  A good gamble this time partner, well bid (though leaving it at 3  would have been better, as it gets a top score even if doubled, excepting overbidding from a vulnerable East West)!

Last updated : 18th Jun 2020 03:04 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 9th June

Hand of the Week 9th June 2020

An example of great defence.

Board 23

North

♠ K 5

 Q 5 4 3

 6 3

♣ K J 9 8 2

West                               East

♠ A J 8 7 6 2                             ♠ Q 9 3

 T 8                                         9

 9 5                                         A K Q T 8 7

♣ A Q 6                                    ♣ 5 4 3

South

♠ T 4

 A K J 7 6 2

 J 4 2

♣ T 7

Board 23 this week shows how even the best players can sometimes get caught out by great defence.

All 4 teams were in a spade contract by West.  One team was in 3S, the other 3 teams in 4S.  At 3 tables, 11 tricks were made whilst at the 4th only 9 tricks were made and it wasn’t declarer’s fault.

After South bidding hearts, in all the auctions, 3 North’s led hearts and on 2 tables, South won the opening trick.  Now the key sequence of play.

On both those 2 tables, South returned 10♣ , seeing the low clubs in dummy and realising that if North had a club honour, this was the best chance to promote it (or for North to win it).

In both cases West rises with AC (correctly), North playing 9♣ to encourage, and declarer plays a heart to East’s 3♠ , before all the trumps are used in drawing trumps.  Declarer cannot throw clubs away on diamonds without drawing the trumps first (knowing that AT BEST, the diamonds split 3:2) so plays Q♠  from dummy, letting it run.  The spade finesse fails, with North having K♠ .

NS have 2 tricks and the situation is now this:

North

♠ 5

 Q 5

 6 3

♣ K J 8 2

West                               East

♠ A J 8 7 6 2                            ♠ Q

                                             

 9 5                                        A K Q T 8 7

♣ Q 6                                      ♣ 5 4

South

♠ T

 A J 7 6

 J 4 2

♣ 7

What should North do? Seeing those diamonds in dummy, there is only one hope, clubs.

What does North know?  10♣ , A♣ , 2♣  and 3♣  have already gone, and between West and South they have Q♣ , 6♣  and 7♣ .  Who had the doubleton (now singleton)?  Who has Q♣ ?

It doesn’t matter!  If West started with the doubleton, the contract will make.  If Q♣  is now a singleton, it will drop and North’s J♣  will be a master.  North must therefore lead K♣ .  North wins with K♣ , Q♣  doesn’t drop but 7♣  and 6♣  do.  The only hope North has is to continue in clubs anyway, but after seeing 10♣ , then 7♣  from South (high low with a doubleton), with some confidence North leads another club and South has a spade left to ruff.  4 tricks made by N and S, contract defeated (at any table in 4S).

The only declarer play that guarantees the contract is to play A♠  on the first round of spades and then a small spade to Q♠ .  However, this line of play only works if the spades are split 2:2, the chances of which (with genuinely random deals) are 41%, or there is a singleton K♠ , 12% chance.  So unless something in the bidding or play has shown otherwise, a good declarer will always go for the 50% chance of making the spade finesse, in preference to the 47% chance of the 2:2 split or K♠  dropping (after it doesn’t drop with the first card played, leaving a 6% chance that 4th seat has a singleton KS) and will be correct more often than not.

Final note.  The comment with regard to genuinely random deals is because insufficiently shuffled cards change the odds in favour of a 2:2 spade split.  Players who have played mainly with hand dealt cards, previously used to play bridge, will therefore often play for the 2:2 split.  However, the odds given in this article are correct for very well shuffled, plus machine or computer dealt cards; in other words, for randomly dealt cards.

Last updated : 10th Jun 2020 21:36 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 2nd June

Hand of the Week 2nd June 2020

How to bid the slam on board 15.

The hands on board 15 were:

North

♠ T 9 7 4 3

 K 6 3

 Q 9 6 5

♣ 8

West                               East

♠ Q 2                                        ♠ A J

 9                                            A 8 4 2

 A 7 4 3 2                                K J T 8

♣ K Q J T 5                               ♣ A 7 3

South

♠ K 8 6 5

 Q J T 7 5

 

♣ 9 6 4 2

On 2 tables this was in 3NT making 13 tricks, in one it was in 5D making 12 tricks and one it was in 6D making 12 tricks.  How was the slam bid?

Bidding without comments (no bids from N S)

West        East

1                 1 

2♣                 2♠ 

3♣                 4NT

5♠                 6 

Pass             Pass

 

Bidding with commentary:

W 1  - 2,1,5,5 shape and 12 points.  Unbalanced hand. Losing trick count of 6. Higher ranking of 2 x 5 card suits bid.

E 1  – 2,4,4,3 shape and 17 points. Balanced hand.  Change of suit – forcing bid.

W 2♣  – Lower ranking of 2 x 5 card suits.  Shows 12 – 17 points (needs 18+ to bid 3♣ ) and 5, 4 or better in the minors

E 2♠  – 4th suit forcing.  Genuine interest in a spade stop in case no trumps is the best contract but also a clever way to get further information about partner’s Hand with a forcing bid.

W 3♣  – Showing 5 clubs.  Depending on which version of 4th suit forcing you use, this could either mean no stop in spades or not.  Some players play a prioritied list of information to impart with 4th suit forcing.  In the prioritised list, showing extra length in the second suit is a priority over the spade stop.  Showing extra length in clubs is also higher priority than extra length in diamonds, so this bid does not rule out 6 x diamonds.

E 4NT – Roman Key Card Blackwood asking for key cards with clubs as trumps (last bid suit with no suit yet agreed).

W 5♠  – I have 2 key cards (A , K♣ ) and queen of trumps (Q♣ ).

E 6  – East can consider 6NT, knowing that between the 2 hands they have A♠ , A , 9 + diamonds including AK, so a likely 5 tricks in diamonds, 8+ clubs including AKQ, split 5:3, so a likely 5 tricks in clubs.  However, 6  is the much safer bid, as bidding the suit gives more chances of rescuing the situation if something goes wrong such as:

  • One defender holding J, T, 9, 8 ♣, but  the 4th club can still be ruffed in dummy if diamonds are trumps
  • Q  missing and guessed on the wrong side to ruff

Having trumps and knowing West has, at most, 3 cards in the majors (vs Easts 2 x Aces) this gives the contract a chance of success in the case of either of the above 2 eventualities AND also, in the case of Q  winning, if West has an (unlikely) winner in a major.

However in no trumps, E has no second stop in either major (so the lead will likely remove one major stop, leaving that suit vulnerable to further attack. 

As it turns out, despite the horrible diamond split, the slam is laydown, once it turns out Q  is on the right side if the trumps are drawn in the most obvious way.  6NT would also be laydown, though the 13th trick relies on defence making an unfortunate discard.

 

 

 

Last updated : 4th Jun 2020 04:00 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 26th May

Board 8 from 26th May - the effects of North's opening bid.

Let’s look further

 

North

♠ Q 6

 K 8 5 2

 A J 8 7 6 5

♣ 2

West                                                  East

♠ 8 3 2                                                                      ♠ A K 9 7

 9 7 6 4                                                                    A Q

 T 4 3                                                                       K Q

♣ K 8 5                                                                     ♣ Q J 9 6 3

South

♠ J T 5 4

 J T 3

 9 2

♣ A T 7 4

 

 

Bidding at the 4 tables was:

West North East South West North East South West North East South West North East South
Pass 2  X Pass   Pass Pass 2NT Pass   Pass 2  X Pass   Pass 1  X 1♠ 
2  Pass 3♣  Pass   Pass Pass       2  Pass 3  Pass   Pass 2  X Pass
Pass Pass                 3  Pass 4  Pass   2  Pass 3♣  Pass
                    Pass Pass       Pass 3  Pass Pass
                              Pass      

Two Norths opened 2 , 1 North passed and one North opened 1 .

1  is the correct bid as the North hand meets the rule of 20.  So let’s look at the bidding on that table and analyse it further.

East doubles, which is correct.

S correctly bids 1♠  (6+ points and 4+ spades).

West passes having 3 points, no 5 card suit and being allowed to pass the takeout double due to South bidding.

North bids 2 , having only 10 points and hearts as a second suit, so cannot bid above the barrier.

East doubles again, wanting to know something about partner’s hand.

South passes, West shows hearts, their best suit. 

North passes and East switches suit to clubs, showing 16+ points.  A very brave East might have bid 2NT, but with only one diamond stop that is risky, especially with a diamond lead expected.

After 2 further passes, N bids 3  preferring to play in diamonds than defend clubs. Everybody then passes.

Excellent bidding all round.

 

So what were the scores?

3♣  made, so for the table in that contract, 110 to East West.

2NT made +2, so for the table in that contract, 180 to East West.

4  went down 5, so for the table in that contract, 250 to North South.

3  went down 1, so for the table in that contract, 50 to East West.

 

Ignoring the 4  bidding for a moment, the best other score to North South was on the table where North South bid correctly.

The worst score to North South was on the table where North didn’t open either on rule of 20 or with a too strong weak 2, as not only was East in 2NT but South had not been told to lead diamonds by the bidding, so didn’t.

 

What happened with the 4 ?  As we’ve already established, NT is risky for East with a single diamond stop.  Therefore the bidding was:

W 2 , E X, S pass.  W has 3 points and a 3, 4, 3, 3 distribution to bid so bids 2 . N passes.  E seeing the diamond stop problem but sensing game bids 3  (have you got a diamond stop please partner?).

Poor West has no other 4 card suit to bid and no diamond stop so just bids hearts again.  E takes this as at least 5 hearts, possibly 6 and bids game in hearts.  It’s aggressive bidding which so often pays off for the better players, but not on this occasion.

Last updated : 29th May 2020 23:44 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th May

Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th May

There were several contenders for board of the day on 12th May (just on the first round, boards 1, 2, 4 and 8), but board 2 was bid differently on all 4 tables, with Trevor and Barbara getting the best result.

Board 2 is all about the bidding.

North

♠ T 5

 K 9 8 6 5 3

 K J 8 5

♣ 8

West                                              East

♠ A Q 7 4                                        ♠ 9 2

 T 4                                                A J 7

 A 7 3                                             T 9 6 4

♣ Q J 5 3                                        ♣ T 7 4 2

South

♠ K J 8 6 3

 Q 2

 Q 2

♣ A K 9 6

Dealer is East, who passes.  South opens 1S and W passes.  What should N do?

These are the different bidding sequences at each table:

West North East South    West North East South    West North East South    West North East South
    Pass 1♠        Pass 1        Pass 1        Pass 1 
Pass 1NT Pass 2    Pass 1NT Pass Pass   Pass 1NT Pass 2    Pass  2 Pass 3 
Pass 2♠  Pass Pass   Pass         Pass 2  Pass Pass   Pass 3  Pass 4♠ 
Pass                   Pass         Pass Pass Pass  

 

 

 

 

 

 

N doesn’t not meet rule of 14 (points plus suit length) to bid at the 2 level, so 1NT is the correct response.

E passes, so what should South do?  South has 15 points, so can pass, but with 2 x doubletons that is a slight gamble and went one down on the table that went that way.

If S bids 2C, that shows a 5 4 hand or better.  Of the 2 tables that went down this route, one N bid 2S, choosing between partner’s suits with a 7 card trump fit, which made exactly and the other bid 2H finding the 8 card heart fit and 9 tricks.

Why was this a good bid and how does S know how to interpret it other than partnership agreement?  S could have had longer spades or clubs or 3 diamonds, or even a void in hearts.  What would S bid if they were void in hearts?

So why is the 2H bid good?

By convention bidding 2H and not agreeing either of partner’s suits, N is showing 6 x hearts, just as if N had bid hearts twice in an auction starting with a minor.  South can then show extra length in clubs or spades, or pass with even 1 x heart.

North knows that if S is void in hearts and has nothing else to show, then S will return to spades so the partnership are no worse off than if N had just bid 2S.  At worst case, S will bid 3C to show extra length in clubs and they will end up in 3S but it is far more likely that S has at least 1 x heart than is void, so the correct percentage bid is 2H. 

Top score to Trevor and Barbara.

Author’s Note:  It is acknowledged that if N has 1 x spade, 2 x clubs, 5 x hearts and 5 x diamonds and is desperate to find at least a 7 card trump fit, N could bid the better of two 5 card suits and hope, but the 2H (or 2D) bid in this sequence should promise 6 cards.

Last updated : 16th May 2020 03:41 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 23rd July

Tuesday Hand of the Week - 23rd July

Heather Dhondy said:

"6♠  by South is a decent contract, and those who reach it will have done well, but it is important to get it played by South since a diamond lead will defeat it if played by North."

What thought process is required to get to 6♠ ? How do you actually bid to 6♠ ?

If you want to know how to bid lots of slams come to the Learning Weekend 

11, 12 and 13 October 2019 - Declarer Play and Slam Bidding

Brochure Hilton St Annes Manor Learning Weekend October 2019

Click here to Register

Anyway lets look at this hand

 

spade A K Q 9 5 2
heart A 9 7
diamond 4 2
club K 2

16 H.C.P.
2 Length Points
2 Shortage Points
Support Points
6 Controls
3½ Quick Tricks
5 Losers

When partner opens 1NT and you have this hand, you think we have a fit in ♠ s. We have 28 to 30 points between us, a possible small slam. The 1NT hand may be a 7 Loser 14 points or an 8 Loser 12 point hand, can we find out? NO The big issue we have is that there is not a 1st or 2nd round control in the  suit. Can we find out? YES. The key aspect is to find out if South has either Ace or King of  s. If South has the Ace or King the diamond suit is safe from having 2 quick tricks against you.

Suggested Bidding

West   North   East  South

                       Pass 1NT

Pass    2       Pass  2♠        2 is transfer

Pass    4♣       Pass  4        4♣ is cue bid, agreeing the ♠ suit as trumps and any 4th level bid is not a suit bid but showing something else!

Pass    4NT    Pass   5        The one ace could be either the Ace of ♣ s or  s. This means that ♣ s are now possibly vulnerable to a club lead if South does not have the Ace ♣ or Queen ♣ !

Pass    6♠      all pass

OR

West   North   East  South

                       Pass 1NT

Pass    2       Pass  2♠      2 is transfer

Pass    4♣       Pass  4      4♣ is cue bid, agreeing the ♠ suit as trumps and any 4th level bid is not a suit bid but showing something else! In this case Ace or King ♣ 

Pass    4       Pass  5♣      The continuation of cue bidding with 4 allows South to show the Ace ♣, thereby making the slam relatively safe but still requiring a Q on which to discard a heart.

Pass    6♠       all pass

Yes there are some interesting ways to bid slams.

Board No 18 N/S Vul Dealer East
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

1

12

4spade N heart3 13 710   6 6

2

14

4spade S diamondQ 12 680   2 10

3

16

4spade S club9 13 710   6 6

4

10

4spade N club7 13 710   6 6

5

13

3NT S diamond10 13 720   10 2

7

9

3spade N club7 13 260   0 12

15

6

6spade S diamondA 12 1430   12 0
Last updated : 29th Jul 2019 12:41 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 2nd April

The importance of the opening lead when attempting to defeat a Slam ( by Trevor Hobson)

This hand and the way it was played hold some very important card playing lessons.

When we are taught Bridge we are taught to lead 4th highest from our longest suit against a NT contract.  What is not usually taught is that the 4th highest lead is an attacking lead, it often gives away a trick but the expectation is that it will return more than one trick in return by establishing several tricks in that suit.  Another thing we not usually taught is that leading against 6NT is not the same as leading against 3NT. Against 3NT we want to set up a suit so we can try to get 5 tricks, against 6NT we only need 2 tricks so setting up a suit is not necessary, but against 6NT we cannot afford to give a trick away.  So against 6NT the winning lead is a passive lead that gives nothing away.  

6NT on Board 16  can only make 11 tricks on any lead other than a heart, but on a heart lead 12 trick are easy because the lead gives away a trick, yet all except one person lead a heart against it. Well done Jonathan for finding the perfect passive killing lead of the 9D .

So given that Jonathan made the killing lead that left me with only 11 tricks how did I make 12?  That is the next learning point.  Cover an honour with an honour!  My plan was to lose a trick to East, who might then lead a heart, but if not this had rectified the count and if I then play off all my winners there may be some inappropriate discard, and if all else failed then I would fall back on the heart finesse.  So I intended to lose a trick by leading the J♠  from dummy and letting it run and if it was covered by West I would win then run the 9♠ , but the J♠  was allowed to win!  Had it been covered by the Q♠ , and then the 9 covered by the 10,  I would have had to take the heart finesse so would have been the only person in the room not to make 12 tricks.

Key lessons:
Against a 3NT contract by all means make an attacking lead if you have one but against 6NT make the safest lead you can find.
Cover an honour with an honour unless you can see a good reason not to.

Last updated : 3rd Apr 2019 16:09 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th March

Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th March

You may look at the Stratified Sim Pairs Commentary later by clicking on commentary 

I would like to mention a very simple Rule which would usually give the player in the 4th seat a top score. It is the Rule of 15.

The Rule of 15 states that the player in the fourth seat should open the auction, if the number of high card points added to the number of Spades equals 15 or more.

These points are also known as Pearson Points and also as Cassino Points. The logic and reasoning behind the Rule of 15 considers the proposition that the high card points are very likely evenly divided between the two partnerships. Therefore, following three consecutive passes the fourth seat should open only with a Spade suit, thereby declaring that he does have the boss suit. Possessing the Spade suit almost assures the partnership against intervention from the opponents. For more information please click on here

On Tuesday I expect the bidding went:

West North East South

                  Pass Pass

Pass 1     Pass  1NT

2♠   Pass   Pass  Pass

In other words when North did not apply the Rule of 15 and opens 1   it enables the opposition to now bid ♠ s, which will win the contract.

Have a look at your bidding to see how you arrived at the following contracts:

Board No 22 E/W Vul Dealer East
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

5

4

2heart N diamond4 7   50 6 2

7

2

2diamond N clubJ 9 110   8 0

10

6

2spade W clubQ 12   230 1 7

11

3

2spade W diamond2 11   200 4 4

12

1

3spade W clubQ 12   230 1 7

 

On this occasion Pairs 2 and 4 also have something to learn which is not to leave the opposition in an easy contract at the 2 level when they can bid ♠ s.

Finally why is the commentary different to what I am suggesting. Well numerous players may apply the Rule of 19 in the 3rd seat, to open 1♠ and then West and East easy bid their ♠ contract! The interesting additional infomation about who ended upp in which contract is provided by clicking on Hand 22

Last updated : 14th Mar 2019 07:42 GMT
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 26th February

Tuesday Hand of the Week - 26th February - The Importance of a Strong Double in the Overcall Seat

 

Hand evaluation of the West Hand

3♠ , 4 , 6 , 0♣ shape. (Remember the saying 6 & 4 GO MORE). Losing Trick Count 4, only need a Losing trick Count of 10 in Partner's hand to make a Game (only need a Losing trick count of 8 to make a possible small slam).

If this was an Opening Hand in the Dealer's Seat it would Bid 1 , and do a Reverse Bid into 2  , which forces partner to bid again.

However the Bidding goes

West North East South

         Pass   Pass 1♣ 

West is in the Overcall Seat - Can West make a Suit Overcall 1 which shows 8 to 15 points? NO the hand is too strong

Can West make a Strong Jump Overcall (if you are playing Strong Jump Overcalls!) 2 which shows 12 - 16 points? NO the hand is too strong

When you are too strong just Double. Partner is forced to bid something in this case 1 showing 4 or more cards in the Heart suit and between 0 to 8 points.

West will then bid again to show a strong hand. Typically just going up in partner's suit to 2 is an invitation to game. East would accept this invitation, since they are at the top end of the range of 0 to 8, i.e. 5 to 8 therefore bids 4 .

Some Wests would just bid 4 after partner's 1 .

It is interesting no one bid and made a game with this hand!

 

 

Last updated : 28th Feb 2019 08:20 GMT
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th February

Tuesday Hand of the Week - 12th February - The difference between a TOP, Middle or BOTTOM score.

Is it Declarer Play, is it Defender play or indeed is it the Opening lead?

There are 2 superb hands to discuss this conundrum. Hand 20 and Hand 1. Hand 20 is a NT contract and Hand 1 is a Trump contract.

One of my first suggestions, re ETIQUETTE, is that at the end of a hand, we should not make a comment about the play, since we are likely to be wrong. Yes by all means congratulate the Declarer, when contract is made or congratulate the Defenders, when contract is defeated, but do not have any post mortem, since we are unable to see all the possible permutations and their consequences.

Lets look at the traveller for Hand 20

Board No 20 Both Vul Dealer West
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

4

3

1NT E spade5 8   120 3 5

6

1

2NT E club10 7 100   7 1

9

7

2NT E spade5 9   150 0 8

10

5

2NT E heartQ 7 100   7 1

11

2

2NT E spade5 8   120 3 5

 

Why did Pair 7 as East West get a top? East made 9 tricks was it East's brilliant play, or was it some aspect of Defence or was it the ♠ 5 Opening Lead. ♠ 5 lead is a standard lead, and was used by 3 of the pairs, where as ♣ 10 &  Q, were used by the other pairs. I must admit that it is unusual to lead top of a doubleton against a NT contract but in both those cases the Defenders defeated the contract or was it a decision made by Declarer?

Why did Pair 6 & 10 as North South share a top, since they did defeat the contract by 1 trick. How?

I would like to suggest that we all press "Play it again" and try the different Opening Leads and see what conclusion we come to. Give it a go!

Well the fascinating piece of infomation is that Bridge Solver Online immediately informs us that a lead of a ♣ enables the defence to win 5 tricks. Any other suit lead the Defenders may only make 4 tricks! However on this occasion I start with the standard lead ♠ 5. After winning 2 spade tricks BS is suggesting I lead a ♣ ! Yes the clever South works out that they are unable to develop their long suit of ♠ s, so attempts to help their partner develop one of their long suits, ♣ s.

Whilst the Defenders are doing their planning, the Declarer is thinking I only have 3 winners of the top, which makes it tricky, to decide how best to get the remaining 5 tricks. Long suit in ♣ s,  s, and  s may all provide some extra tricks! Good idea to try the 5 2  suit, and lead low to high, etc

Well lets try and see what happens with the  Q opening lead. Well the Declarer plans to develop the long  suit and also cash the 3  winners, etc. When I play BS, after having won the first trick with the  Ace, and lead  4, BS is suggesting that if Dummy ducks the first round of  s, then Declarer can win 9 tricks! Well I never.

What I am really hoping to achieve is not neccesarily to solve the conundrum of this one hand but to encourage you to use BS to examine the issues of Declarer Play, Defender Play and Opening Leads.

Lets look at Hand 1

The difference between a TOP, Middle or BOTTOM score, yes there is a spread of 8, 9, 10 or 11 tricks!

On this hand the Auction may influence the Defender play and Opening lead:

Suggested bidding:

West North East South

         Pass   1   Pass

2♣     Pass    2   Pass

3NT   Pass    4   All pass

 

Board No 1 None Vul Dealer North
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

4

11

4heart E spade6 10   420 2 6

6

5

4heart E diamond9 9 50   5 3

9

1

4heart E club3 8 100   8 0

10

7

4heart E diamond9 11   450 0 8

12

2

4heart E spade6 9 50   5 3

 

I can understand the ♠ 6 singleton lead hoping to get a ruff, however this may mean that the  Q falls beneath the  ACE, King.

I can understand a  lead from the longest suit. Standard lead  8.

If one does not like the above then ♣ lead, middle of rubbish ♣ 3.

Well lets have a look at BS and see what the consequences are:

We immediately see that the Defenders can win:

5 tricks with a ♠ lead

4 tricks with a ♣ lead

3 tricks with a  lead

and

2 tricks with a  lead

Wow, with the ♠ lead one can get a trump promotion. Have a play with BS and see how the scenarios work out. Good luck

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated : 16th Feb 2019 09:24 GMT
Tuesday 5th February - How to bid the slam Board 23

Tuesday 5th February - How to bid the slam Board 23

Brenda and Liz have requested information on how to bid the slam on Board 23?

The technique of slam bidding usually involves Hand Evaluation.

South 4 6 1 2 shape, unbalanced (6 & 4 GO MORE) , LTC of 6, need a LTC of 8 from partner to make a possible game, need a LTC of 6 from partner to possibily make a small slam. 11 points.

North 0 4 6 3 shape, unbalanced (6 & 4 GO MORE), LTC of 4, need a LTC of 8 from partner to make a possible small slam. 15 points. Need to find out if partner has ♣ Ace to safely bid Blackwood, however Blackwood needs to be used carefully since there is a void!

When South opens 1♥ , North thinks we may have possible Grand Slam 7 losers + 4 losers, how best to find out information required. One can agree the suit and find out about the ♣ Ace by using a splinter bid in spades, therefore North jumps to 3♠ , South bids 4♣ .

North considers how best to proceed, does North want to continue Cue bidding or does North want to find out about remaining Keys Cards. Suggest Key Cards, since North would like to find out about ♥ King. When South responds 2 Key Cards, North chooses to bid 6 , since with 1 Key Card missing, and not knowing which one, the Grand Slam should not be bid.

The interesting question, which no South achieved is how to play the hand and make 13 tricks safely.

Board No 23 Both Vul Dealer South
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

5

4

6heart S spadeQ 12 1430   7.00 3.00

7

2

6heart S spadeQ 12 1430   7.00 3.00

9

8

4heart S club3 12 680   1.00 9.00

10

6

6heart S club3 12 1430   7.00 3.00

11

3

4heart S spadeQ 12 680   1.00 9.00

12

1

6heart S club3 12 1430   7.00 3.00
Last updated : 6th Feb 2019 14:58 GMT
Team Scoring Hand 12

Team Scoring Hand 12

I have selected a simple bidding hand to illustrate some of the aspects of Team Scoring. Your team does well if they bid and make a Game and the other Team does not make a Game.

Lets look at Hand 12

A copy of the Traveller is below, it shows a variety of contracts and a variety of scores:

Board No 12 N/S Vul Dealer West
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + - NS X EW X

1

14

3NT N 8spade 8   100 -12 +12 -7.20 +7.20

2

13

2NT N 3spade 9 150   +6 -6 -1.60 +1.60

3

12

3NT N 8spade 9 600   +10 -10 +8.80 -8.80

5

10

2NT N 8spade 9 150   -10 +10 -1.60 +1.60

6

9

3NT N 8spade 8   100 -6 +6 -7.20 +7.20

7

8

3NT N 6diamond 9 600   +12 -12 +8.80 -8.80

Team North South are number 1 to 7 and their East West Team mates are number 8 to 14. Therefore on this hand:

Team 1 v Team 7

Team 2 v Team 6

Team 3 v Team 5

Team 4 did not play this Board

There was a large game swing between 1 v 7 since 1 bid 3NT but only made 8 tricks where as when 7 v 1 played, 7 bid 3NT and made the 9 tricks. There is a difference of 700 in the score which results in - 12 IMP for Team 1 and + 12 IMP for Team 7

A slightly different situation for 3 v 5, a small game swing, Game versus Part Game, since 3 bid and made 9 tricks where as when 5 v 3 played, 5 bid 2NT and made 9 tricks. On this occasion the difference is only 450, which results in + 10 IMP for Team 3 and - 10 IMP for Team 5.

Finally between 2 v 6, since 2 only bid 2NT and made 9 tricks and 5 bid 3NT and made 8 tricks there is only a difference of 250, resulting in + 6 IMP for 2 and - 6 IMP for 6.

On another occasion when we all understand IMP scoring I can explain X -IMP scoring at a later date.

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated : 31st Jan 2019 07:55 GMT
When to bid and when not to bid a Slam? That is the Question!

When to bid and when not to bid a Slam? That is the Question!

In the majority of cases of bidding slams it is mainly down to initial hand evaluation, asking the question what do I need to know about my partner's hand, and what bidding sequence will give me the best chance of finding the information I need to make the decision, whether to bid a slam or not.

When the South person looks at their hand, they think 5 spades, 1 heart, 6 diamonds 1 club - very unbalanced LTC of 3, only 9 playing tricks, but if partner has the ♣ A, or  K or ♠ Q, definite game but even if partner does not have those cards, there is a game, which may be dependent on a finesse. 21 HCP. Therefore definitely worth a 2♣ opening bid.

However always ask the question what is your 2nd bid going to be. Most players would bid their longest suit which is diamonds, however there is a school of thought which says always show your 5 card major before a 6 card minor. This principle help you find a fit in a major more quickly, which will give you a better score. Therefore I would plan to show my spades after my 2♣ opening. I can always continue to bid my diamonds after showing my spades and we will be in a game forcing situation anyway.

When the North person looks at their hand they think 4 spades, 4 hearts, 1 diamond, 4 clubs - unbalanced LTC of 8, 8HCP. Hopefully my partner South will make an opening bid and I can respond  something! When your partner South opens 2♣ , you immediately think do I have a weak hand 0-7 points therefore bid 2 or do I have a strong hand 8+ points and therefore bid something to describe my hand other than 2  . This is the most difficult bid of the auction!!  If you bid a suit you are usually promising 5 cards in the suit, if you bid 2NT you are usually promising a balanced hand. No matter what you choose you may mislead your partner, unless you have previously come to a Partnership Agreement to cover this possibility? In the absence of a Partnership Agreement I would prefer to bid 2NT so that I do not mislead my partner about a 5 card suit.

South then duly bids 3♠  and North agrees the suit by bidding 4♠ 

So far so good 2♣  P 2NT P 3♠  P 4♠ .... South then launches into Blackwood or RKCBlackwood and after partner North shows that they do have ♣ Ace, then South bids 6♠ . South does not contemplate 7♠ since South does not have information on the  K or the ♠ Q, so it is best not to risk your certain small slam for a possible grand slam.

This was quite a challenging hand since the 7 tables produced 7 different contacts!

Board No 15 N/S Vul Dealer South
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

1

12

6diamond S spadeQ 11   100 2 10

2

14

4NT N club8 12 690   7 5

3

8

6spade S heart8 13 1460   12 0

4

11

4heart* W diamond2 5 1100   10 2

6

7

6NT S heartJ 10   200 0 12

10

9

3NT N heartQ 12 690   7 5

13

5

4spade S club9 11 650   4 8

May I suggest that you all look at Hand 12 and use similar principle to determine whether to bid a slam or not on Hand 12.

Suggested Bidding for Hand 15

W     N     E     S

                       2♣ 

P      2NT P     3♠ 

P      4♠   P     4NT

P      5   P     6♠ 

all Pass

 

Last updated : 28th Jan 2019 06:37 GMT
Tuesday 14th August - How to bid and make game after a Weak 2 Opening

Tuesday 14th August - How to bid and make game after a Weak 2 Opening

 

Suggested Bidding

West  North  East  South

                             Pass

2     Pass   2NT    Pass           the 2  is weak, the 2NT is a Game Try since East wishes to find more about West's hand

3♠     Pass    4     Pass           if playing OGUST the 3♠ is Good points and Good Quality, if playing features the 3♠ shows good points and a feature in Spades.

Pass   Pass

The East hand has a fit in the  and since it has an LTC of 6 it is worthwhile doing the Game Try even with 14 points and East has no problems in deciding to go for a game.

Only two pairs bid a game!

Only one pair made a game and made 11 tricks!

What is the optimal play to make the 10 tricks. Why not use the Play it again feature.   It is a lovely hand to practice your finessing!

Board No 7 Both Vul Dealer South
Deal: 20180814Pink
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

2

5

4heart W club2 11   650   10

4

12

2heart W spade3 10   170 4 6

8

7

2heart E spade9 9   140 8 2

9

3

2heart W diamond8 10   170 4 6

10

1

4heart W diamond8 9 100   10  

11

6

2heart W spade10 10   170 4 6
Last updated : 15th Aug 2018 08:33 BST
Tuesday 26th June - How to bid a 5,0,4,4 shape - Board 9

Tuesday 26th June - How to bid a 5,0,4,4 shape - Board 9

Lets look at Board 9

North is the dealer and assesses their Hand:

2,5,3,3 shape, unbalanced, 7 LTC, 12 points, can open 1   and the rebid would be 2 

South assesses their Hand:

5,0,4,4 shape, very unbalanced, LTC of 3, 18 points, wants to find a trump suit and thinkshow can I show all my suits to partner since do not want to play in NT.

Suggested bidding

West North East South

         1      P      1♠ 

P       2     P       3    the 3 bid shows 5in spades and 4 in diamonds and since new suit at three level is gam forcing

P       3NT  P       4♣   the 3NT shows stop in clubs, the 4♣ , shows 4 cards in clubs, therefore South must have a 5, 0, 4, 4 shape

P       4♠      P       P     the 4♠  shows 2 cards in spades and prefers to play in a major at the 4 level rather than a minor at the 5 level

P

Even though North has opened with 12 points and South has 18 points, South needs to be very cautious about considering a small slam, since South knows there is not a fit. When there is not a fit one might lose a trump trick with a 4 2 break etc, as is the case with this hand.

Most pairs finished in a NT trump contract. How can you play the cards to make either 11 tricks with Spades as trumps or 11 tricks in NT. Answers on a postcard / in an email with a prize for the best answer.

Last updated : 29th Jun 2018 14:39 BST
Tuesday 24th April - How to bid and make a game?

Tuesday 24th April - How to bid and make a game?

 

Lets look at this hand, which looks innocuous but nobody bid and made a game! Why not?

South opens 1  with the intention of bidding NT to show its 15 / 16 point count.

North does not like this hand since it is also balanced with 10 points. Some thought I'll fib and just say 1NT showing 6 - 9 points, others thought 2  and some others bid 3 showing their 10 to 12 points.However you all know that it is difficult to make a minor suit game, so you should usually think about whether a game in NT is possible.

North should show its strength and its suits by bidding 2♣ . Yes it also complies with the RULE OF 14 since it has 10 points and 4 cards in the suit!

South then bids 2NT showing its 15 / 16 points and North then duly bids 3NT.

 

Lets look at the traveller to see everyones contract and result:

Board No 9 E/W Vul Dealer North
Deal: 20180424Green
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

2

5

1NT N spade8 8 120   9 1

4

12

1NT N spade9 8 120   9 1

8

7

3diamond S heartK 9 110   4 6

9

3

2diamond S heartK 9 110   4 6

10

1

5diamond S heartK 10   50   10

11

6

3diamond S heartK 9 110   4 6

 

Last updated : 28th Apr 2018 07:47 BST
Both sides can make a slam

Both sides can make a slam

Board 23 was very unusual with a slam on for both NS and EW.

 

Dlr: South
Vul: All
  • spade 10 2
    heart J 9 5
    diamond 10 9
    club K Q 9 7 5 2

    6 H.C.P.
    8 Length Points
    8 Shortage Points
    8 Support Points
    1 Control
    1 Quick Trick
    8 Losers
    spade 10 2
    heart J 9 5
    diamond 10 9
    club K Q 9 7 5 2
Optimum
NS 7CX
  • spade 3
    heart A Q 10 8
    diamond A K 8 6 5 3 2
    club 8

    13 H.C.P.
    16 Length Points
    17 Shortage Points
    19 Support Points
    5 Controls
    3½ Quick Tricks
    4 Losers
    spade 3
    heart A Q 10 8
    diamond A K 8 6 5 3 2
    club 8
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
23
SOUTH
  • spade Q J 9 5
    heart K 7 6 4 3 2
    diamond Q J 7
    club - -

    9 H.C.P.
    11 Length Points
    12 Shortage Points
    14 Support Points
    1 Control
    ½ Quick Trick
    6 Losers
    spade Q J 9 5
    heart K 7 6 4 3 2
    diamond Q J 7
    club - -
  6  
13   9
  12  
  • spade A K 8 7 6 4
    heart - -
    diamond 4
    club A J 10 6 4 3

    12 H.C.P.
    16 Length Points
    17 Shortage Points
    20 Support Points
    5 Controls
    3 Quick Tricks
    4 Losers
    spade A K 8 7 6 4
    heart - -
    diamond 4
    club A J 10 6 4 3
  club diamond heart spade N
N 6 - - 4 -
S 6 - - 4 -
E - 6 6 - -
W - 5 6 - -

South has a marvellous hand with only 4 losers and opens 1S.

West doubles - can bid diamonds if partner doesn't have hearts.

North passes.

East must show values with a jump to 3H.

South bids 4C.

West expects partner to have HK, and can see 11 tricks.  A cue bid of 4D is the best option, but Blackwood is an alternative.

Now North must have the courage to show their club support - bidding to the level of fit - 5C.

East must bid at least 5H - the only risk is 2 spade losers.

South can see if partner has either CK or CQ the slam will depend on a finesse at worst, so bids 6C.

West has a very difficult decision now.  South is probably void in one of the red suits, so getting 6C down is not certain.  If partner has one of the black aces to get 6C down, then 6H will make, so go for it. 

 

Last updated : 22nd Mar 2018 14:06 GMT
Board 19 Hand of the Week Tuesday 6th March

Board 19 Hand of the Week Tuesday 6th March

 

How to bid a small slam in   or ♠  or NT or a grand slam in   or ♠  or NT?

Always assess shape and the strength of a hand before the bidding starts. Always ask what information do you want to obtain from partner? What systems do you have to obtain that information?

North 

6 4 1 2 shape, unbalanced, a Losing Trick Count of 4, point count 22. Initially North wishes to know is there a fit? and what Losing Trick Count does South have?

 

When South opens the bidding with 1 , North thinks assume a Losing Trick Count of 7, then there is a combined LTC of 11 take away from 18, we may have a grand slam. North need to knows more info about Ace  , and King  , Queen  and Queen ♠ . It is possible that South holds all these cards!! It is relatively easy to find out about Aces and Kings using Blackwood or RKCB. What we really want to think about is that elusive Queen and the 13th trick.

North would also like to know about shape of South's hand.

Probably the most effective way of finding out is to create a game forcing situation where you exchange as much information as possible. Game forcing can be created by

1 a Responders jump bid to 2♠ 

2 a splinter bid to 4 

or

3 a delayed game raise by bidding 1♠ 

North has to think what South may respond to each of the options:

1 Agree the ♠ s ? Rebid  s bid another suit in this case 2 , showing a 5 4 shape. If ♠ s are agreed by bidding 3♠  then a cue bid of 4♣ will find out about Ace  , then 4NT with answer of 5 , 5 now asks if South has Queen ♠ , South answers 6♠ . However you still do not know about King  !

If you choose to use 5♣ cue bidding kings instead of 4NT then you will find out about King  , but you still do not know about Queen ♠ !

2 A splinter bid is not the route since North is trying to find out about Ace  

3 a delayed game raise of 1♠  obtains a 2 response. Follow this with 3♣  Fourth Suit Forcing , south should show the Queen x of ♠ s . Armed with this information North can now bid 4NT . When North knows they have all the Aces and all the Kings, North also know South is likely to have another Queen. That Queen provides the 13th trick when counting winners off the top.

There is no easy way to bid a grand slam which has 100% certainty of making. On this occasion you use your sytems to find out as much information as possible and then assess the likelihood of your partner South having the 13th trick.

Last updated : 7th Mar 2018 16:05 GMT
16th January - Bidding Fourth In Hand

Board 17 highlighted how important it is for the fourth in hand to try to keep the bidding open at a low level.

Dlr: North
Vul: None
  • spade A K Q 3
    heart Q 9 4
    diamond 10 7 6 5
    club K J

    15 H.C.P.
    15 Length Points
    16 Shortage Points
    16 Support Points
    4 Controls
    2½ Quick Tricks
    6½ Losers
    spade A K Q 3
    heart Q 9 4
    diamond 10 7 6 5
    club K J
Optimum
EW 2N
  • spade 10 7 5
    heart K J 8 7
    diamond A Q 9 4
    club A 3

    14 H.C.P.
    14 Length Points
    15 Shortage Points
    15 Support Points
    5 Controls
    3 Quick Tricks
    7 Losers
    spade 10 7 5
    heart K J 8 7
    diamond A Q 9 4
    club A 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH
E
A
S
T
17
SOUTH
  • spade 8 4 2
    heart A 5 2
    diamond 8
    club Q 10 8 5 4 2

    6 H.C.P.
    8 Length Points
    8 Shortage Points
    9 Support Points
    2 Controls
    1 Quick Trick
    8 Losers
    spade 8 4 2
    heart A 5 2
    diamond 8
    club Q 10 8 5 4 2
  15  
14   6
  5  
  • spade J 9 6
    heart 10 6 3
    diamond K J 3 2
    club 9 7 6

    5 H.C.P.
    5 Length Points
    5 Shortage Points
    5 Support Points
    1 Control
    ½ Quick Trick
    11 Losers
    spade J 9 6
    heart 10 6 3
    diamond K J 3 2
    club 9 7 6
  club diamond heart spade N
N - 1 - - -
S - 1 - - -
E 3 - 2 - 2
W 3 - 2 - 2

North opens with 1 spade.  (This is ideal - raise a 2 heart response to 4 or bid 2NT over a 2 of a minor response.)

After two passes West must not let North get away with playing in one spade.  With no 5 card suit a simple overcall is not on.  West must reopen with a double, risking playing in a 4-2 club fit occasionally.  This time it works well with E-W making 9 tricks in clubs.

 

By the way, Board 23 illustrated how the simple rules of thumb don't always work.

Dlr: South
Vul: All
  • spade J 10 8 4
    heart 9 6
    diamond K Q J 3
    club 10 7 3

    7 H.C.P.
    7 Length Points
    8 Shortage Points
    8 Support Points
    1 Control
    1 Quick Trick
    9 Losers
    spade J 10 8 4
    heart 9 6
    diamond K Q J 3
    club 10 7 3
Optimum
EW 4H
  • spade 7 5 3 2
    heart A J 5 3
    diamond 9
    club A Q 8 2

    11 H.C.P.
    11 Length Points
    13 Shortage Points
    14 Support Points
    4 Controls
    2½ Quick Tricks
    7 Losers
    spade 7 5 3 2
    heart A J 5 3
    diamond 9
    club A Q 8 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
23
SOUTH
  • spade Q
    heart K Q 10 7
    diamond A 7 6 5 2
    club J 6 5

    12 H.C.P.
    13 Length Points
    14 Shortage Points
    15 Support Points
    3 Controls
    2 Quick Tricks
    7 Losers
    spade Q
    heart K Q 10 7
    diamond A 7 6 5 2
    club J 6 5
  7  
11   12
  10  
  • spade A K 9 6
    heart 8 4 2
    diamond 10 8 4
    club K 9 4

    10 H.C.P.
    10 Length Points
    10 Shortage Points
    10 Support Points
    4 Controls
    2½ Quick Tricks
    9 Losers
    spade A K 9 6
    heart 8 4 2
    diamond 10 8 4
    club K 9 4
  club diamond heart spade N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 4 2 4 - 1
W 3 2 4 - 1

After 3 passes East must choose whether or not to open fourth in hand.  The rule of 15 says fourth in hand should not open unless points plus number of cards in the spade suit is at least 15.  (The idea is that the advantage lies with whoever holds spades when the points are fairly evenly shared.)

In this case the two of us who followed the rule were heavily punished, with 4 hearts on for E-W.

 

 

 

Last updated : 17th Jan 2018 21:52 GMT
December 19th - Defender hold-up

There was an important point in the defence to 3NT on board 10.

Dlr: East
Vul: All
  • spade Q 8 4
    heart Q 8 5
    diamond K 7 4
    club K J 4 2

    11 H.C.P.
    11 Length Points
    11 Shortage Points
    11 Support Points
    2 Controls
    1 Quick Trick
    9 Losers
    spade Q 8 4
    heart Q 8 5
    diamond K 7 4
    club K J 4 2
Optimum
NS 3N
  • spade 6 3
    heart K 10 9 6 4
    diamond Q 9 6
    club 8 6 5

    5 H.C.P.
    6 Length Points
    6 Shortage Points
    6 Support Points
    1 Control
    ½ Quick Trick
    9½ Losers
    spade 6 3
    heart K 10 9 6 4
    diamond Q 9 6
    club 8 6 5
W
E
S
T
NORTH
E
A
S
T
10
SOUTH
  • spade 10 9 5 2
    heart A 7 2
    diamond 8 5 2
    club Q 9 7

    6 H.C.P.
    6 Length Points
    6 Shortage Points
    6 Support Points
    2 Controls
    1 Quick Trick
    10½ Losers
    spade 10 9 5 2
    heart A 7 2
    diamond 8 5 2
    club Q 9 7
  11  
5   6
  18  
  • spade A K J 7
    heart J 3
    diamond A J 10 3
    club A 10 3

    18 H.C.P.
    18 Length Points
    19 Shortage Points
    19 Support Points
    7 Controls
    4 Quick Tricks
    7 Losers
    spade A K J 7
    heart J 3
    diamond A J 10 3
    club A 10 3
  club diamond heart spade N
N 5 5 3 5 5
S 5 5 3 5 5
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

The bidding is straightforward: 1S - 2C -3NT.  West leads either 6H or 10H (best).

South can see 9 tricks easily - 4 spades, 1 heart, 2 diamonds and 2 clubs.  If East-West take A and K of hearts then clear the suit giving North the Q hearts, South can afford to play for overtricks.  You can finesse in either clubs or diamonds into the West hand.  If the finesse loses you can be sure you won't lose more than one more heart trick (if they break 4-4).  

See what happens if South is allowed to win the first or second heart trick.  There is still communication in hearts between East-West.  Now South cannot risk a finesse because they will go down if it loses, and must just cash out.

At imps scoring this is less important, but at match point scoring it is the difference between top and bottom.   

 

 

 

Last updated : 21st Dec 2017 10:39 GMT
Slam on board 10

Hand of the week -  Tuesday 7 November

Slam on board 10

Board 10 gave us an opportunity to bid a slam. 

Dlr: East
Vul: All
 K 6 5
 10 5 4 2
 10 7 5
 J 5 4
Optimum
EW 7N
 Q J 10 9 8
 A
 Q 8 2
 A 10 7 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
10
SOUTH
 A 7 4 3
 Q
 A K 9 6 4 3
 K Q
  4  
13   18
  5  
 2
 K J 9 8 7 6 3
 J
 9 8 6 3
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 7 7 - 7 7
W 7 7 - 7 7

East has a lovely hand with only 5 losers, and opens 1 diamond.  How the bidding should proceed depends on South's call.

After a 3 heart overcall, West must bid 3 spades with their 13 points and only 6 losers.  East is now excited.  After Roman Keycard Blackwood shows West has 2 controls and the Q spades East can call 6 spades confidently.  (You can't bid 7 spades because the missing control may be an ace, and if it's the K of spades then a finesse would be needed.)

If South doesn't bid, West bids 1 spade.  With only 5 losers East raises to 4 spades.  Now West can see the slam is likely and bids 6 after checking controls with Blackwood. 

Last updated : 8th Nov 2017 16:06 GMT
Overcalling with a Strong Hand

Tuesday Hand Of The Week

On board 7 East had to decide how to bid their very strong hand after North had opened 1C before them. 

Dlr: South
Vul: All
 K Q J
 6
 9 5 3 2
 A K Q 8 2
Optimum
EW 4S
 9 6
 A Q 5 4 2
 Q J
 J 9 6 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
7
SOUTH
 A 10 8 5 4 3 2
 K J
 A K 8 6
 - -
  15  
10   15
  0  
 7
 10 9 8 7 3
 10 7 4
 10 7 5 4
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E - 2 3 5 3
W - 2 3 5 3

If North hadn't opened East would have opened a strong 2S, or the equivalent if playing weak two's.

After North's 1C call the standard with a strong hand is to double first.

West will call 2H, showing 9 or more points.  Now East can see game must be almost certain and calls 4S.   

So the two key points are to double with a strong hand and jump in reply with 9 or more points. 

 

Last updated : 18th Oct 2017 16:09 BST
Cutting defender communications

Tuesday Hand of the Week

Board 9 provided a classic example of holding up to cut communication between defenders.

Dlr: North
Vul: E/W
 Q 9
 K 6 2
 Q 10 7 4
 J 8 7 5
Optimum
NS 4SX
 7 4
 A J 8 5 4
 A 6 3
 A Q 10
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
9
SOUTH
 K J 3
 10 9 3
 K 5 2
 K 4 3 2
  8  
15   10
  7  
 A 10 8 6 5 2
 Q 7
 J 9 8
 9 6
  N
N - - - 1 -
S - - - 1 -
E 3 2 4 - 3
W 3 2 4 - 3

First we must get to the correct contract.

If South opens a weak 2S, West must double.  As East I prefer a 2NT response to 3C on such a miserable suit, and then West will raise to 3NT.

If South passes the auction is IH, 2C, 2NT, 3NT.

Assume East is playing 3NT and South leads 6S.  North plays QS and East must plan the play.  The line is to finesse hearts through South twice, making 1 spade, 3 or 4 hearts, 2 diamonds annd 3 clubs.  The risk is that North will win and lead a spade back.  You must resist the easy option of winning with the KS; when North takes the KH the spade return will trap your J.  Hold up and then South will never get in to take their spade tricks. 

 

Last updated : 11th Oct 2017 20:45 BST
Hand of the Week - 12 September - Slam in Spades

Hand of the Week - 12th September - Slam in Spades

Board 13 was a makeable slam in spades.

With the void in West's hand it is difficult to see the best way to check controls (cue bidding or Blackwood), but 6 spades should be bid.  After 1D - 1S - 3S West can see 5 losers opposite 6 so should not stop until the slam is bid.

Now how is West to make it.  There are 6 spade and 3 heart tricks; the issue is what to do with the 4 clubs.  One must be lost to the ace and one can be thrown on the diamond ace - the other 2 have to be ruffed.  You can test the trumps by playing the ace, but when North shows out you switch track.  Play a club immediately then ruff 2 more clubs with the 10 and Q before drawing the 2 remaining trumps with the K and J.

Congratulations to Barbara for finding the right line.

Dlr: North
Vul: All
 - -
 J 9 7 4 2
 J 10 6
 A Q 8 3 2
Optimum
EW 6S
 K J 9 5 4 2
 A Q 6
 - -
 K J 10 9
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
13
SOUTH
 A Q 10 6
 K 10
 A 8 7 5 4 2
 7
  8  
14   13
  5  
 8 7 3
 8 5 3
 K Q 9 3
 6 5 4
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 2 2 1 6 4
W 2 2 1 6 4
Last updated : 16th Sep 2017 07:47 BST
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 15th August - Strong Unbalanced Hands

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 15th August - Strong Unbalanced Hands

What do you open when you have a stong unbalanced hand. Lets look at Board 7.

 K 9 4
 A
 A J 10 6 5
 A K 6 4

My suggestion is always assess the strength of the hand and look at your options:

3, 1, 5, 4 shape, unbalanced. Losing Trick Count 5. Point count 19, but only 5 Playing tricks, not really a very strong hand.

If you are playing Standard Acol you would open 1  and if partner responds with 6 points, plan to then bid a game forcing bid of 3♣ and see what partner desribes.

If you are playing Benji Acol you would also open 1 etc.

So lets look at the suggested bidding when partner has:

 - -
 K Q 10 9 5 2
 3 2
 Q 10 9 8 5

0, 6, 2, 5 shape, unbalanced. Losing Trick Count of 5, but slightly Queeny so consider it a LTC of 6. Only 7 points

Suggested Bidding:

West North East South

                           1 

3♠      X       4♠    5♣ 

5♠     6♣     P      P

6♠     P      P      7♣ 

7♠     P      P      P

This hand is a very good extreme case of continuing to make a sacrifice with the East West hands since the score will be better than allowing North South to play in a contract.

 

 

 

Last updated : 19th Aug 2017 16:26 BST
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 4th July

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 4th July

Bridge is exciting since one hand can provide many different bidding sequences and as a consequence provide Declarer with a specific challenge and the Defence the opportunity of defeating the contract. This then results in a score and when playing teams a measure of how good your score is relative to the other scores. Yes Bridge is not always simple.

Let us look at Hand 5 from Tuesday

 

Suggested Bidding

West North East South

         1      3♣    3♠ 

Pass  4     Pass Pass

Pass

The week jump overcall interfers and does cause difficulty for South and North. South does have the strength and shape to make a game forcing bid of 3♠ and North then chooses 4 .

East should not raise the weak jump overcall to 4♣ , since there is not extra length in the club suit.

even without the interference of 3 ♣  the bidding could have been:

Possible Bidding

West North East South

         1      Pass 1♠ 

Pass  2      Pass 3  a another game forcing bid

Pass  3      Pass 4 

Pass  Pass  Pass

 

Now North has the challenge of deciding the Declarer play. The Opening Lead is  9 

Congrats to Polly for finding the best line of play. North wins first trick with the  Ace, and decides that there will be two losers in clubs and probable two losers in  , but does not want to have a 3rd loser by allowing the defence to use a trump on the diamonds.

 

Therefore plays  3 to the  Ace and returns the  5 . This eliminates the two hearts in East and if there were three hearts in East, the 3rd heart was going to win anyway.

On this occassion Polly and Barbara obtained the 2nd best North South score, since Nick and Judy obtained the best North South score by doubling the 4♣ .

Last updated : 6th Jul 2017 18:24 BST
Hand of the week - 30th May

Board 4 - Finding 6 Clubs

You can make 6C on board 4, but bidding it is difficult.

Dlr: West
Vul: All
 9 5 4 2
 K 9 8 6 3
 Q 8 3
 Q
Optimum
EW 6C
 A K Q J
 J 10 7 5 2
 6
 6 5 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
4
SOUTH
 - -
 4
 A 10 9 5 4 2
 A K J 10 4 3
  7  
11   12
  10  
 10 8 7 6 3
 A Q
 K J 7
 9 8 7
  N
N - - - 1 -
S - - - - -
E 6 3 2 - 2
W 6 3 2 - 2

West makes a rule of 20 opening of 1H.

East intends to bid both suits, so bids the higher ranking first - 2D.

West is not strong enough to reverse, so bids 2H.

East now bids 3C (new suit by responder is forcing).

West shows the spade stop with 3NT.

East now bids 4C - taking partner out of 3NT must be forcing and showing probably at least 11 cards in the minors.

West shows their club support with 5C.

Now for the hard part . East has to decide how many clubs West has.  They know W has more clubs than diamonds or they would have bid 4D.  Can it be only 2 clubs?  Then W must have at least 6 hearts and would surely have tried 4H instead of 5C.  So with West having 3 clubs and therefore short in diamonds there must be a good chance of making the slam.  Have a go!

 

Last updated : 31st May 2017 17:15 BST
Tuesday 9th May - How do you win 9 tricks?

Tuesday 9th May Sim Pairs- How do you win 9 tricks?

This is not straight forward, no one managed to win 9 tricks on Board 18. Please have a look and let me know how you can make 9 tricks on a 7♣  lead.

Answer will be provided on Thursday by clicking on answer!

 

 

 

 

Last updated : 10th May 2017 11:04 BST
Hand of the week -Tuesday 2 May - Quantitative raise.

Board 24

 

Dlr: West
Vul: None
 9 8 5 4
 J 3
 A K 10
 Q J 10 7
Optimum
NS 6N
 A 7
 10 9 8 6
 J 8 7 4 3
 4 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
24
SOUTH
 10 6 3 2
 K 5 4
 9
 9 8 6 5 3
  11  
5   3
  21  
 K Q J
 A Q 7 2
 Q 6 5 2
 A K
  N
N 3 4 4 5 6
S 3 4 4 5 6
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

We had a chance to use the fairly rare quantitative raise in No Trumps on board 24.

South will open 2NT or get to 2NT via a Benji 2C.  North has 11 points facing a partner who might have 22.  33 points are enough for 6NT.  A bid of 4NT asks partner to bid 6 if they are maximum.  South only has 21 points and no 5-card suit so declines the invitation.  This is the correct contract.

(12 tricks can be made but only if West fails to cover the Jack of Hearts or you make the unusual play of finessing the 10 of Diamonds.)   

 

Last updated : 3rd May 2017 16:02 BST
Hand of the Week - 25 April - A neat end-play

Hand of the Week - Apil 25th - A neat end-play

Board 1

Board 1 needed an end-play to make 3NT.

Dlr: North
Vul: None
 A 10 9 7 3
 9 8 7 5 3
 10
 7 3
Optimum
EW 3N
 K 8 5 4
 A Q 4 2
 A K 5
 6 5
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
1
SOUTH
 Q J 2
 J 6
 9 7 6 4 3
 A K 4
  4  
16   11
  9  
 6
 K 10
 Q J 8 2
 Q J 10 9 8 2
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 1 4 2 2 3
W 1 4 2 2 3

The bidding (starting with West) would be either 1H - 2D - 2NT - 3NT or 1H - 2NT - 3NT.

Declarer can see 2 tricks in each suit and initially looks for the extra one in diamonds. Cashing the AK gives the bad news - a 4 1 split.  The fifth diamond cannot be established without giving South their club tricks (assuming an opening club lead).  Another plan is now required.

We are going to hope South has the H king and North the S ace and make 3 spade tricks.  Lead a spade towards the QJ and North cannot play the A without giving up 3 spade tricks easily.  Now cash the remaining high club to remove clubs from North.  Finesse in hearts and lead a spade towards East again.  Now cash the H ace and play another heart.  North can take their 3 heart tricks and A spades but must give up a trick to the K of spades. 

Last updated : 26th Apr 2017 14:32 BST
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 18th Apr - Subtleties of transfers

Hand of the week - Tuesday 18th April

Subtleties of transfers

Board 11 provided an opportunity  for West to describe their hand precisely if you use transfers.

Dlr: South
Vul: None
 Q 9 4
 A J 9 3
 7 6 3
 9 6 3
Optimum
EW 3N
 A K 8 3 2
 10 4 2
 A 9
 10 5 4
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
11
SOUTH
 7 6
 K Q 6
 K Q 10 4 2
 K J 8
  7  
11   14
  8  
 J 10 5
 8 7 5
 J 8 5
 A Q 7 2
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 3 4 2 3 3
W 3 4 2 3 3

South deals and everybody passes until East.  With a balanced 14 points East opens 1NT.

West has 11 points and a 5 card suit so is worth 2NT.  They explore a possible spade fit by bidding 2H (transfer).

East bids 2S dutifully.  West now bids 2NT and East knows their hand perfectly - 11 points and 5 spades.  With 14 points they are worth game, and so East bids 3NT.  If they had had 3 spades they would choose 4S as the contract.

 

 

 

Last updated : 19th Apr 2017 15:05 BST
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 21st Mar - Bidding a Slam in Spades

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 21st Mar - Bidding a Slam in Spades - Is it possible?

 

 

 

Suggested Biddding

West  North  East  South

          Pass   Pass  1♠ 

Pass   2♣      Pass  2NT

Pass   3♠      Pass  4♠    (North bids 3♠  since South may have a 5 card spade suit and 16 points)

Pass   Pass   Pass         (North has a Losing Trick Count of 7 but since it does not have 1st or 2nd round control in Clubs, decides not to consider a Slam)

 

Just because the Double Dummy Analysis shows that 12 tricks can be made, it does not mean that a Slam in ♠  should be bid.

Finding the Game contract in Spades gives the best result See traveller below.

Board No 17 None Vul Dealer North
Deal: 20170321Grey
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

1

2

4♠ S 10 11 450   6 2

3

7

3NT S K 8   50   8

8

5

3NT S K 9 400   4 4

9

4

3♠ S K 11 200   2 6

10

6

4♠ S K 12 480   8  

 

Last updated : 29th Mar 2017 10:05 BST
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 7th Feb - Finding the slam on board 3

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 7th February - Finding the slam on Board 3

Dlr: South
Vul: E/W
 A 10 8 7 6 2
 10 5
 K 8 7 4
 A
Optimum
NS 6D
 K
 J 7 6
 10 9 2
 9 7 6 4 3 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
3
SOUTH
 J 9 5 4
 Q 9 4 2
 6
 K Q 10 5
  11  
4   8
  17  
 Q 3
 A K 8 3
 A Q J 5 3
 J 8
  N
N - 6 4 5 4
S - 6 4 5 4
E 1 - - - -
W 1 - - - -

Finding 6 Diamonds on this board is not easy.

South opens 1D, North responds 1S and South then reverses with 2H.

North wants more information.  There is a diamond fit, but spades or NT may be better.  North bids 3C, fourth suit forcing.

South has nothing better to say than 3D.

But now North can construct South's hand.  They have exactly 4 hearts, 5 or 6 diamonds, and no more than 2 spades.  They also don't have C king or they would have probably bid 3NT.  The reverse has shown 16 points, so probably have 13 or 14 points in the red suits.  So in diamonds you can count a maximum of one loser in spades and at worst a finesse to avoid any red suit losers.  Six diamonds is the call.

In the play you have to ruff 2 hearts and a club in dummy.     

 

 

 

 

 

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 31st January - Fourth Suit Forcing

 

Dlr: South
Vul: N/S
 K 4 2
 Q 10 2
 J 5
 A Q 9 8 6
Optimum
NS 4S
 J 7 5
 A 9 7
 8 6
 J 10 5 4 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
15
SOUTH
 Q 8
 K 6 5 3
 Q 10 9 7 4
 7 2
  12  
6   7
  15  
 A 10 9 6 3
 J 8 4
 A K 3 2
 K
  N
N 3 2 2 4 3
S 3 1 2 4 3
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

Board 15 provided a classic opportunity to use fourth suit forcing.

I expect all tables began the bidding with 1 spade from South, 2 clubs from North, then 2 diamonds from South.

North has 12 points and 7 losers so expects game is on - but which one.  Partner must have 5 spades for this bidding, so 4 spades looks safe.  In pairs, however, 3NT may score better, but Q 10 x in hearts is only half a stop, and the opponents are almost certain to lead them.

We have a tool to explore further, however.  A bid of 2 hearts from North asks South for more information.  (You should alert this.)  With a heart stop South would bid 2 NT, but on this occasion they bid 2 spades.  Now North abandons NT and bids 4 spades with confidence. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 24th Jan - 6 Different Scores

There are occasionally hands which are interpreted differently by all the pairs playing them, which result in different scores. On this specific hand which was played 6 times, there were 5 different contracts and 6 different scores. I wonder who did well!

Dlr: East
Vul: N/S
 9 6 3
 9 5 3
 A K 8 2
 Q 7 4
Optimum
EW 1C,EW 1D,EW 1S
 K J 8 4
 K 6
 10 7 5
 9 6 5 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH

E
A
S
T

2
SOUTH
 A 10
 Q 4 2
 Q J 9 3
 A K 10 2
  9  
7   16
  8  
 Q 7 5 2
 A J 10 8 7
 6 4
 J 8
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 3 3 1 2 1
W 3 3 1 2

1

Lets look at the bidding first. Suggested bidding:

West North East South

                   1    1     Most Easts would open higher ranking suit, but some may open 1♣ 

1♠     2      ??             What does East Bid?? On 2 tables when North did not bid 2  (bidding to the level of fit), 1NT was bid, thinking that there is a balanced hand 15 - 16 points, but only a half stop in hearts. Lets hope partner has something in hearts!

On 3 tables when North did bid 2 , some partnerships would say "I was going to bid 1NT, but my bid has been taken away, I do not have the strength to bid 2NT implying 17 - 18 points, and I do not have sufficient stops in hearts so I have nothing else to bid and Pass" - GOOD RESULT

Another partnership could say "We have the majority of the points at least 22, we do not have a fit in a major to compete over the 2   bid, the oppostion are vulnerable, so if they do go 1 down it is 100" - GOOD RESULT

Another partnership could say "I was going to bid 1NT, but my bid has been taken away, I do not have the strength to bid 2NT, and I do not have a stop in hearts, but we do have the majority of the point, at least 22!, therefore I will ask my partner to bid again with the Double." - GOOD RESULT

If East Doubles West would bid 2♠ , so that if East does have 3 cards in spades, there will be at least a 7 card fit at the 2 level. Since East only has 2 spades, East has choice of bidding its next lowest ranking 4 card suit, which is clubs.

The aim is to find either a 7 card fit at the 2 level or an 8 card fit at the 3 level, when confronted with the oppostion bidding to the level of fit with a weak hand.

East does not wish to bid 2NT and definitely not 3NT. If they bid 2NT or 3NT - BAD RESULT

As you can see from the different interpretations there will be a variety of contracts and scores see the traveller below:

Board No 2 N/S Vul Dealer East
Deal: 20170124Yellow
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

4

11

3NT E 8 6 150   10  

6

5

2 E 7 8   90 4 6

8

3

2 S ♣3 6   200   10

9

1

1NT E 8 9   150 2 8

10

7

2NT E 8 6 100   8 2

12

2

1NT E J 6 50   6 4

 

 

Last updated : 8th Feb 2017 18:25 GMT
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 3rd Jan - 7 slams in one night

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 3rd Jan - 7 slams in one night.

What a night.  Seven slams can be made, although on board 19 you have to play for a singleton K of trumps instead of finessing.

The play on board 2 is interesting.

Dlr: East
Vul: N/S
 9 8 6 5 3
 10 3
 8 7 4
 K 9 7
Optimum
EW 6N
 A K Q
 Q 5 4
 K Q 6
 Q 10 4 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
2
SOUTH
 10 2
 A K 7 2
 A J 3 2
 A 5 3
  3  
18   16
  3  
 J 7 4
 J 9 8 6
 10 9 5
 J 8 6
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 6 6 6 4 6
W 6 6 6 5 6

Assuming E-W are in 6NT there are 11 tricks on top (3S, 3H, 4D, 1C).  The twelfth can come from a 4th heart or a club.

So you try a low club lead from E.  If you guess right and play the 10 from W you are home and dry - the CQ is the 12th trick.  If you play the CQ instead, losing to the K, all is not lost.

Play out your winners to leave W with SQ, H5 and C10;  E with HK7 and C5.  When you play the SQ and throw your C5 South is squeezed, unable to keep CJ and 2 hearts.  6NT made.

 

Last updated : 5th Jan 2017 07:56 GMT
Hand of the week - Tuesday 1 November - Finding 4H or 4S

Hand of the week - Tuesday 1 November - Finding 4  or 4♠ 

Only one pair found 4 of a major on board 9.

Dlr: North
Vul: E/W
 A 9 2
 A Q J
 A Q 9 5
 Q 4 2
Optimum
NS 4S
 Q 6 4
 K 8
 10 7
 A K J 9 6 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
9
SOUTH
 10 7
 10 3 2
 K J 8 6 3 2
 8 5
  19  
13   4
  4  
 K J 8 5 3
 9 7 6 5 4
 4
 10 7
  N
N 1 1 4 5 2
S 1 1 4 5 2
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

For those who play 19-20 2NT opening North's opening bid is obvious.

South has only 4 points, but also only 8 losers.  North must have 3 cards in one of the majors, so we want to play in 4 of that.

If you play transfers South bids 3   , North 3 ♠  , and then South bids 4  .  North now knows that South has 5-5 in the majors and can choose 4  or 4♠ .  (With only 4 in one of them South would have used Stayman.)

If you don't play transfers South bids 3♠ , showing a 5 card suit.  North bids 4♠ .  (South is prepared for North replying 3NT if they have only 2 spades - they will bid 4  next.)

If North can't open 2NT they have to open 1 .  Although South has only 4 points the hand has too much potential to pass, and should bid 1♠ .  West will probably bid 2♣ .  Qxx in clubs is not good enough for North to bid 3NT, so they bid 3♣ ( a Cue Bid)  or a Double seeking more information from partner.  South shows their hearts now, which let's North know that South has 5 spades.  4♠  is then bid.

Board No 9 E/W Vul Dealer North
Deal: 20161101orange
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -
3
4
2NT N 6 8 120   -2.2 2.2
6
9
2♠ S ♣A 10 170   -0.5 0.5
7
5
3NT N 6 9 400   5.8 -5.8
8
1
3NT N ♣8 5   200 -10.2 10.2
10
2
4 N 6 11 450   7.2 -7.2
Last updated : 3rd Nov 2016 14:35 GMT
Hand of the week - Tuesday 25 October - Slam and sacrifice

Hand of the week - Tuesday 25 October - Slam and sacrifice

Board 8 shows the benefit of using the losing trick count, and provides south with some difficult choices.

Dlr: West
Vul: None
 J 8 2
 Q 10 8 4 2
 8 5
 J 9 3
Optimum
NS 7SX
 9
 A J 6 5 3
 A 9
 A 8 7 6 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
8
SOUTH
 A 6 3
 K 9
 K 7 4 2
 K Q 10 5
  4  
13   15
  8  
 K Q 10 7 5 4
 7
 Q J 10 6 3
 4
  N
N - - - 1 -
S - - - 1 -
E 7 2 5 - 4
W 7 2 5 - 4

West opens 1H and East responds 2C.

South may make a weak jump overcall of 3S, or may consider the 6-5 shape makes the hand too good for this and bid just 2S.  The lack of any defensive values suggests that the preempt to 3S is better.

West counts their losing tricks - 6.  So a bid of 4C is right whatever S has bid.  (I know it's pairs scoring, but this doesn't look like a NT hand, and you're not strong enough for 3S.)

Now East counts his losers - also 6.  6+6 = 12, so 6C should be on.  Blackwood is useless since a response of 5D commits you to 6C anyway, so bid 6C straightaway.

The computer says you can make 7C.  It's an awful contract, but can be made double-dummy.  Can you see how?  (Hint - you need 3 heart tricks.)

Finally, should South sacrifice in 6S.  Looking at their own hand they can see probably 5 spade tricks and 3 diamond tricks, so only 4 down.  That's 800, better than 920 for the slam!

Board No 8 None Vul Dealer West
Deal: 20161025Orange
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -
4
5
5♣ E 7 12   420 6  
7
6
6♣ E 7 12   920   6
8
2
3NT E ♠7 10   430 3 3
10
3
3NT E ♠7 10   430 3 3
Last updated : 26th Oct 2016 22:20 BST
Hand of the Week - 11 October - Doubling 1NT

Board 14 provided difficult decisions for both North and South this week.

Dlr: East
Vul: None
 10 9 7 4 3 2
 K 6
 8 2
 J 8 7
Optimum
NS 3SX
 K 8 6
 8 4 3 2
 Q 10 7
 Q 6 4
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
14
SOUTH
 Q 5
 A Q J 5
 J 5 3
 A 10 5 2
  4  
7   14
  15  
 A J
 10 9 7
 A K 9 6 4
 K 9 3
  N
N - - - 2 -
S - - - 2 -
E 2 1 1 - 2
W 2 1 1 - 2

East  opens 1NT and South has to choose what to do with their good hand.

With 15 points and a good suit South can see at least 5 tricks in their own hand.  Double looks the right bid, rather than 2 diamonds.

West passes happily, and now North has a dilemma.  Usually you don't take partner out of their double of 1NT, especially when they have the opening lead.  On this occasion, though, North can see that getting 1NT down may be touch and go, but if partner has 15 points there must be a good play for 2 spades.  So rescue. 

The play is tricky.  After East opens with A and another club (best), cash A and K of diamonds and ruff a third.  Now A spades followed by a fourth diamond, discarding a club.  Whichever defender ruffs it is with a winning trump, so you lose 1 club, 2 hearts and 2 trumps.

A plus score for North/South!

 

Board No 14 None Vul Dealer East
Deal: 20161011Green2
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -
2
1
2 S ♣4 6   100 0.4 -0.4
4
7
2 S ♣4 6   100 0.4 -0.4
9
5
2 S ♠6 6   100 0.4 -0.4
10
3
1NT E A 8   120 -0.8 0.8
11
8
1NT E A 8   120 -0.8 0.8
12
6
2 S 2 6   100 0.4 -0.4
Last updated : 12th Oct 2016 18:12 BST

Hand of the Week - 4 October Defence Tips

When to win with the Ace of Trumps on the first Trump trick?

Board 10 - Typical Contract 4  Opening Lead  ♣ Q

The defence starts with the Bidding. Lets assume you are South and sitting with the following hand:

 10 5 3
 A 4 2
 10 4 2
 Q J 10 6

East is Dealer and the Bidding is as follows:

West North East South

                   1    Pass

2     Pass  2    Pass

3    Pass  4    All pass

South as defender says East has 14 - 15 points or a LTC of 6, with 5 cards in the heart suit. South has 7 points so can expect a maximum of 8 points from partner. South has 3 cards in heart suit, West has 3 cards in heart suit, so partner has probably a maximum of 2 cards in hearts.

South has 1 heart trick and may be able to get 1 or 2 club tricks. South will need a couple of tricks from North to defeat the contract.

South chooses Opening Lead ♣ Q.

Dummy is placed on table. Nothing too revealing. ♣ A is played and north gives encouraging signal of ♣ 9, which indicates North has ♣ K. Declarer then makes the fatal error of not eliminating a loser in clubs by playing  A followed by  Q and discarding losing ♣ . 

Instead Declarer is greedy and plays  3 to the  K, then plays a low heart, 7.

The South defender has to rise to the challenge, go up with the  Ace, play a club to win 2 club tricks, and 1 spade trick to defeat the contract.

The full hand is below:

Dlr: East
Vul: All
 A 4 2
 6 3
 J 8 7 6 5
 K 9 7
Optimum
EW 4H
 J 8 6
 J 10 5
 A Q 9 3
 A 4 2
W
E
S
T
NORTH

E
A
S
T

10
SOUTH
 K Q 9 7
 K Q 9 8 7
 K
 8 5 3
  8  
12   13
  7  
 10 5 3
 A 4 2
 10 4 2
 Q J 10 6
 

 

The traveller for last night is:

Board No 10 Both Vul Dealer East
Pairs Contract Scores Points
N/S E/W Bid By Ld Tks N/S E/W N/S E/W

1

8

3NT W 8 8 100   10  

3

6

4 E ♣Q 11   650 1 9

9

4

4 E ♣Q 10   620 5 5

10

2

4 E ♣Q 10   620 5 5

11

7

4 E ♣Q 11   650 1 9

12

5

2NT W 6 9   150 8 2

 

Last updated : 5th Oct 2016 10:05 BST
Hand of the Week - 13 September Bidding Slams

Hand of the Week - 13 September Bidding Slams

Bidding slams in a minor suit is often difficult due to two reasons:

       1    players prefer to bid 3NT rather than a game in a minor, thereby not exploring further

       2    often the slam convention will take you above where you can safely escape at the 5 level

Therefore the question has to be asked when do you bid above 3NT and try for a Slam in a Minor. Answer when the combined Losing trick Count is 12 or better. Lets look at Board 13 when the majority of players played in 3NT making 11 tricks.

Dlr: North
Vul: All
 A J 4 2
 10 9 7
 7 6 3 2
 9 2
Optimum
EW 6C
 Q
 K Q 8 4 2
 A J 8
 K Q 8 5
W
E
S
T

NORTH

E
A
S
T
13
SOUTH
 K 10 9 8 7 6
 A
 Q 10
 A J 6 4
  5  
17   14
  4  
 5 3
 J 6 5 3
 K 9 5 4
 10 7 3

 

East has a 6 1 2 4 shape, remember the saying 6 and 4 Go More, LTC of 6, points 14. Looking for a Spade or Club fit. Can open 1♠  and if Partner responds 1NT can bid 2♣ . If Partner responds 2♣ , what do you bid 2♠  or 4♣ ?

West has a 1 5 3 4 shape, LTC of 5, points 17. Looking for a fit in Hearts or Clubs. Should say to themselves if partner opens, we have  7 + 5  = 12 LTC , therefore possible slam.

The bidding proceeds accordingly

West North East South

         P        1♠    P

2     P        2♠    P

3♣     P       4♣    P

The west Bid is Game Forcing and therefore should have sufficient in hand to reach either Game in 3NT, therefore a Diamond stop, or a couple of spades in case partner repeats spades, or 16+ points in case partner has opened on rule of 20 and has a horibble 5 2 4 3 shape.

The East would consider the West bid and appreciate there is a typical  2 5 2 4 (a couple of spades), or a 1 5 3 4, (a diamond stop)or a 2 5 1 5 (a couple of spades) or a 1 5 2 5 (LTC of 6 or better or 16+) . The key aspect is that East has a shapely hand with trumping potential, West has also just said that its hand is shapely with trumping potential. East can trump the hearts and West can trump the Spades. It is worth agreeing the Clubs, since if West has a LTC of 6 or better, there is slam potential.

When East has bid 4♣ , it is easy for West since with its LTC of 5, there is definite slam potential.

Now we have to deal with the Aces!

Does West use Cue Bidding or Cue Bidding & Blackwood. On this occasion West only has 1 Ace and therefore needs partner to have 2 Aces! If partner has only 1 Ace and responds 5 , then one is above 5♣  so one safely can't escape!

Cue Bidding allows West to show Diamond Ace and for East to show Heart Ace.

However, since Balckwood will not help and since Cue bidding can't be continued, West now has dilemma do I safely back out and just bid 5♣  or do I risk the 6♣ . What are your thoughts???

 

 

Last updated : 15th Sep 2016 07:29 BST
Hand of the Week - How to Bid a Slam safely?

Hand of the Week - How to Bid a Slam safely?

 

Lets look at Board 16. Several pairs thought to themselves, that there is Slam potential, but how can we bid it? A couple of other pairs decided that there was a possibility if partner held either the Club Ace or King, then they bid 6♠ and prayed.

However is there a safe way to bid 6♠ ?

Dlr: West
Vul: E/W
 A K 10 3
 - -
 A K 10 7 2
 Q J 9 6
Optimum
NS 6S
 4
 K 10 7 4 3 2
 J 5 4 3
 7 3

W
E
S
T

NORTH E
A
S
T
16
SOUTH
 Q 2
 Q 8 6 5
 9 8 6
 A 10 8 5
  17  
4   8
  11  
 J 9 8 7 6 5
 A J 9
 Q
 K 4 2
  N
N 5 5 - 6 4
S 5 5 - 6 4
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

 

North looks at the hand and says 4 0 5 4 shape, Losing trick count of 4, 17 points. The plan will be to open the longest suit  and then probably bid ♠ to show the strength by doing a reverse bid.

North opens the bidding 1 

When South bids 1♠ , showing 6 points, assumed Losing Trick Count of 9, North has a dilemma, how to find out more about South's hand and specifically to find out about the missing Club Ace or King or both? North can't do a Splinter Bid since it does not have  asingleton, and can't Cue bid yet, since there is not a stated agreed suit. North wonders whether by making a Forcing Bid whether the South person will reveal any more information. So North jumps to 3♣ . This is a Jump Shift, which is game forcing, and showing typically 18 / 19 points.

What would South now bid?

South has a choice does it bid 3NT to show the stop in   or does it bid 3♠  to show 6 spades? 

When South bids 3NT, North can now bid 4NT Roman Keycard Blackwood with Clubs as the assumed trump suit. When South answer 2 key cards without the queen, 5 , North can now safely bid 6♠ .

If South answers only 1 key card, then North either stops in 5♠  or gambles in 6♠ .

 

 

 

 

Last updated : 22nd Jun 2016 07:44 BST
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 16 February - Declarer Play

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 16 February - Declarer Play

This is definitely the week for Declarer Play. Various Beginner groups are covering Declarer Play for the first time, a couple of Improver groups are examining Declarer Play in more detail, undertaking a SWOT and deciding which of various options to choose and an Advanced group is examining when to finesse, how to finesse and the optimal timing for  these choices.

Well not only that, we have a feast of hands in the Surrey Sim Pairs when the Declarer Play, optimising the number of tricks is key to doing well. Also you can see the frequency of how often players achived certain contracts and number of tricks, along with the ability of replaying the boards.

 

Lets look at Board 13 - How many tricks did you make as East West?

By clicking on 13 you will see the frequency and then by clicking on  View DD analysis and replay hand * you can then replay the hand.

What not try and make 13 tricks on board 13?

Can you see how you can bid 6  and make 13 tricks?

Lets look at Board 3 - How many tricks did you make as North South?

By clicking on 3 you will see the frequency and then by clicking on  View DD analysis and replay hand * you can then replay the hand.

Can you see how you could bid 4  and make 11 tricks

 

Last updated : 17th Feb 2016 10:43 GMT
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 2 February - Slam Bidding and Play

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 2 February - Slam Bidding and Play

There were several slams which were missed on Tuesday evening.

Board 12 was bid by 3 pairs and with a Losing Trick Count of 4 in one hand and 7 in the other and 1 ace missing, the 3 pairs correctly bid 6♠ , making 12 tricks. Combined 31 points.

Board 2 was bid by 1 pair and with a Losing Trick Count of 5 in one hand and 7 in the other, bid 6 . Combined 28 points. How do you play this board to make the small slam. How do you play the board to make 13 tricks? A suggested bidding is provided below the hand in the results.

Board 4 slam was not bid. With a Balanced hand of 16 points in one hand and a Losing Trick Count of 7 in the other, the initial indication is that it is difficult to bid. Combined 26 points. How do you play the board to make 12 tricks? Look carefully at the hands and you can see that both hands are strong in that they are all Aces and Kings and not Queens!

Board 6 slam was not bid. With a Losing Trick Count of 5 in one hand and a Losing Trick Count of 7 in the other, the initial indication is that a small slam may be possible. However there is not a fit in any suit and with only 30 points between the hands the players safely stayed in 3NT.

The most difficult Board of the evening is Board 3. One hand has a Losing Trick Count of 5 and the other a Losing Trick Count of 7. Combined points 24. Is a small slam biddable in Spades and how do you play it to make 12 tricks?

The best answers to the various questions will receive a prize at the end of the month.

 

 

Last updated : 4th Feb 2016 07:57 GMT
Hand of the Week - Tuesday 19 January - The difference between a top and a bottom

Hand of the Week - Tuesday 19 January - The difference between a top and a bottom

is not much. It could be one trick, it could be the Opening Lead and it could be a different game contract.

 

Lets look at Board 19

Dlr: South
Vul: E/W
 K 10 9 4
 8
 K Q 3
 A J 6 5 4
Optimum
NS 4S
 7 6
 J 3 2
 A 9 8 7 6 2
 8 7
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
19

SOUTH

 Q 3 2
 Q 6 5 4
 5
 K Q 9 3 2
  13  
5   9
  13  
 A J 8 5
 A K 10 9 7
 J 10 4
 10
  N
N 2 3 4 5 3
S 2 3 4 5 3
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

Suggested Bidding

West North East South

                           1 

P      2♣      P      2      Note South is not strong enough to bid Spades which would be a reverse bid

P      2♠      P      3♠      Note North's bid is a Resonders'Reverse which is Game Forcing. 

P      4♠      All Pass

 

Lets look at the Traveller. You will see that the Pair who played in 3NT can only make 9 tricks so only score 400. The other pairs who played in 4 ♠ had two different Opening Leads. I would suggest that the best opening lead is 5 , and the pair that led the K♣ , helped North to make 11 tricks more easiliy. However it is possible for North to make 11 tricks with the 5  lead. How should North make 11 tricks?

Board No 19 E/W Vul Dealer South
Deal: 20160119Yellow
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -

4

3

4♠ S ♣K 11 450   8  

6

1

4♠ N 5 10 420   4 4

10

5

4♠ N 5 10 420   4 4

11

2

4♠ N 5 10 420   4 4

12

8

3NT N ♠2 9 400     8

The first correct answer drawn will receive a prize at the same time as we announce the Player of the Month for January.

 

Last updated : 20th Jan 2016 10:53 GMT
Hand of the Week - 5 January

Hand of the Week -5 January -Sim Pairs 

I thought I would show you a hand which very simply illustrates what information is available on the EBU website.

It is also a hand where the majority of you could examine, in terms of how to bid a Small Slam or Grand Slam, how to use Cue Bidding and how to make 13 tricks.

 

Any questions please ask.

 

 
Dealer West 
N/S Vul
 4 2
 A K 8 4
 K 9 8 4 3
 A 7
 K J 10 6
 10 7 2
 10 7 6 2
 9 6
 Q 9 8 7 3
 9
 Q J 5
 Q J 8 5
   A 5
 Q J 6 5 3
 A
 K 10 4 3 2
West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 1
Pass 3 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 (0 /3)
All Pass      
N/S should reach slam and some will at least investigate the grand slam. The auction given is rather agricultural: North is minimum for 3 but then South cannot investigate whether there is a second fit for clubs. South decides to keep the auction short and perhaps get a helpful lead: even when the grand slam can be made 6+1 should be a good score. The easiest route to thirteen tricks is to ruff two clubs in dummy while being careful about the entries and making sure that an over ruff by the defence will not lose two tricks. On a spade lead, something like: A, A,  to the A, K (discarding 5), A,  to the K,  ruff,  to the Q,  ruff,  ruff, J and claim. Dummy has to keep a heart honour to guard against East ruffing a club with 10.commentary by Robin Barker
Hide uncommon scores | View DD analysis and replay hand *
N/S Score Frequency N/S MPs E/W MPs %
2210 6   743.0 5.0 99.33  
1460 41   695.7 52.3 93.01  
1430 42   612.3 135.7 81.86  
720 2   568.0 180.0 75.94  
710 68   497.7 250.3 66.54  
690 1   428.3 319.7 57.26  
680 101   325.7 422.3 43.54  
650 66   157.8 590.2 21.10  
630 8   83.5 664.5 11.16  
620 4   71.4 676.6 9.55  
600 1   66.4 681.6 8.88  
500 2   63.3 684.7 8.46  
450 1   60.3 687.7 8.06  
230 1   58.3 689.7 7.79  
200 5   52.3 695.7 6.99  
150 4   43.2 704.8 5.78  
130 1   38.2 709.8 5.11  
110 1   36.2 711.8 4.84  
100 2   33.2 714.8 4.44  
-100 13   18.1 729.9 2.42  
-200 3   2.0 746.0 0.27  
 
Last updated : 6th Jan 2016 10:20 GMT
Hand of the Week - 22 December - The Negative Double (Sputnik)

Hand of the Week - 22 December - The Negative Double (Sputnik)

The Negative double is a very simple way of describing a Resonders Hand after there has been an Overcall by the opposition. Lets look at Board 7.

North opens 1  after two passes and then East bids 2♣ . South was going to respond 1  to North's 1 , but because of the interference South's bid has been taken away. South now can't bid 2 because that would be showing 5 cards in the heart suit. So South can bid a X.

This enables North to bid 3 , assuming a fit in Hearts and South duly bids to 4 . Well done pair 4.

 

Dlr: South
Vul: All
 Q 4
 A 5 3 2
 A K J 9 8 7
 3
Optimum
NS 4H
 A 9 8 2
 10 9 6
 Q 10 4
 10 7 5
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
7
SOUTH
 J 10 7 5
 J 7
 5 2
 A K Q 8 4
  14  
6   11
  9  
 K 6 3
 K Q 8 4
 6 3
 J 9 6 2
  N
N - 5 5 - 3
S - 5 5 - 3
E - - - 1 -
W - - - 1 -
Last updated : 23rd Dec 2015 07:50 GMT
Hand of the Week - 8 December - Difficult Declarer Play

Hand of the Week - 8 December - Difficult Declarer Play

How do you choose between various options? The first principle is, it always depends on how many tricks are required. Choose the option which gives you the highest chance of obtaining those tricks, even though the probability may be quite low.

 

Lets look at Hand 4

Board No 4 Both Vul Dealer West
Deal: 20151208Yellow
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -
2
9
2 N ♣7 9 110   3 7
4
14
4♠ N ♣Q 9   100   10
5
8
4♠ N ♣7 10 620   9 1
6
10
4♠ N ♣Q 10 620   9 1
11
3
2♠ N ♣Q 8 110   3 7
13
12
2♠ N ♣Q 11 200   6 4

 

I usually look at the traveller first and see what all the pairs bid; 3 a game in ♠ , another 3 a part game in 2♠  and 1 pair in 2 . That initially tells me it was difficult to bid!. Then I look at the resuts in terms of number of tricks, in ♠ , anything between 8 and 11 tricks, that tells me the play was not straight forward!

So lets look at the Hands

Dlr: West
Vul: All
 A Q J 9 4
 A 10 6
 A Q 8 7
 2
Optimum
NS 6H
 K 3 2
 9 3
 K 10 6 5
 K 10 8 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
4
SOUTH
 10 7 5
 K 7 5
 J 9 3
 Q J 9 7
  17  
9   7
  7  
 8 6
 Q J 8 4 2
 4 2
 A 6 5 4
  N
N 2 3 6 5 3
S 2 3 6 5 3
E - - - - -
W - - - - -

Suggested Bidding

West North East South

Pass 1♠      Pass 1NT

Pass 3      Pass  3♠ 

Pass 4♠      all pass

In the bidding the choice players have is does their style allow the partnership to bid a Jump Shift to 3 , which is Game Forcing, with a point coiunt of 17 and a LTC of 5. Seems reasonable to me!

Most Openers would lead Q♣ against a 4♠  contract, (top of a near touching sequence.

How do you plan the play to win 10 tricks. Declarer can afford to lose 3 tricks. Count Losers 1♠ , 1 , 1  and zero ♣ . However there are 3 Finesses to be done but only 1 obvious entry into Dummy.

There is a saying about Finesses, which is if you can't keep on Finessing to capture the missing card then there is no real point in choosing a finesse in that suit.

In ♠ you can only Finesse once, not enough time sto capture the King

In  you can Finesse 3 times but you run the risk of being trumpedif you have not drawn trumps

In  you can successfully Finesse once and then get back to Dummy by playing the Ace and then trumping the 3rd diamond.

It is this third choice in Diamonds which give you the greatest chance of success.

Once you have won the third diamond trick in Dummy, you now also have the opportunity of Finessing in  , by playing the Q  towards the the ace. Choosing the Q , gives you a second Finesse, if the Q  wins. If East wins with the King (you can now draw trumps) or ducks (you can Finesse again).

Therefore you only lose two tricks to the K♠ and K , making eleven!

 

Last updated : 9th Dec 2015 07:42 GMT
Hand of the Week - 1 December - Request by Eddie

Hand of the Week - 1 December - Request by Eddie

Board 7 - Declarer Play - how should you play to make 13 tricks??

 

Dlr: South
Vul: All
 10 4 2
 K 10
 K 7
 J 10 6 5 4 3
Optimum
EW 7N
 9 3
 Q 9 4
 A J 9 8 3
 A Q 9
W
E
S
T
NORTH E
A
S
T
7
SOUTH
 A K Q J 5
 A J 8 5
 Q 10
 K 7
  7  
13   20
  0  
 8 7 6
 7 6 3 2
 6 5 4 2
 8 2
  N
N - - - - -
S - - - - -
E 4 6 7 7 7
W 4 6 7 7 7

 

Contract 6NT by West Opening Lead 5♣  and Brenda puts the East Hand down and Eddie says "Thank you partner"

Eddie immediately counts his Winners off the top and sees 4♠ , 1 , 1  and 3♣  making 9 only 3 more to go.

He thinks that with 7 cards in the Spade suit and 6 cards missing there is a 84% chance that there will be a favorable split (3-3 36% and 4-2 48%) and therefore should get the 5th♠ 

Only two tricks to go.

He thinks that he has to succesfully Finesse either the Heart suit or the Diamond suit or perhaps both. However which suit to choose first? There is only 1 suit where he can Finesse twice toward the Ace which is in Hearts. Unfortunately he can only finesse once towards Ace in Diamonds. Since he needs to win the two additional he chooses the Hearts first.

It is Eddie's lucky day. After K♣ wins first trick, 5 rounds of ♠ s are played, the 7♣ is played to the A♣ . Then 4  towards J . When 10 is played by North, and the J wins, it means that there are 3 additional tricks in the Heart suit making 13 tricks in total.

In the event that the J  lost to the K if it was in the South Hand then Declarer still had the opportunity of finessing the diamonds if necessary.

Last updated : 5th Dec 2015 17:15 GMT
Hand of the Week - 27 October - Declarer Play

Hand of the Week - 27 October -  Declarer Play

Are you a good Declarer? Do you obtain the maximum number of tricks possible? how many times were you Declarar on Tuesday evening?

The analysis tells you how many times you were Declarer! The traffic light colours indicate if you obtained a good or bad percentage. However you may have played excellently as Declarer, obtained the maximum number of tricks, but we're playing in an incorrect contract and obtained a bottom. Alternatively you may have bid brilliantly and be the only ones in a game, but failed to make the correct number of tricks, also obtaining a bottom.

A way to improve your Declarer Play is to understand how you played compared to the possible number of makeable" tricks, which are specified in the matrix.

 

Lets consider Hand 1:

Dlr: North
Vul: None
A J 8 2
J 6
J 6 4 2
Q J 2
Optimum
NS 1N
Q 10 9 4
K 8 3 2
Q 7 3
A 9
W
E
S
T
NORTH
E
A
S
T
1
SOUTH
7 5 3
A Q 4
9 8 5
10 8 7 4
  10  
11   6
  13  
K 6
10 9 7 5
A K 10
K 6 5 3
  N
N 3 3 1 2 2
S 3 3 2 2 2
E - - - - -
W - - - - -
 
Board No 1 None Vul Dealer North
Deal: 20151027Green
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -
1
8
2NT S 3 7   50 1 11
3
12
1NT S ♠10 7 90   4 8
4
7
1NT N ♠4 8 120   8 4
5
9
1NT S ♠4 8 120   8 4
6
11
1NT S 2 6   50 1 11
10
2
1NT S 2 10 180   12  
14
13
2NT S ♠4 8 120   8 4

There are 8 makeable tricks in NT by South from the matrix.

One would expect from the hands for South to end up in a contract of 1NT. If you look at the Traveller two Souths Pair1 and 14 ended up in 2T since North unneccessarily bid 2NT! (one pair 4 entered the declarer incorrectly)

There is a vast difference of obtaining a Match point score of 12 versus zero, when it is purely dependent on how the Declarer cards are played.

On the opening lead Declarer should count the number of winners off the top: 2♠ , 0 ,2 and 0♣ s. 4 tricks in total.

Declarer says need another 3 to make the contract of 1NT (or 4 to make the contract of 2NT):

Possible extra ♠ with a finesse. If 4♠ has been led it marks West with Q♠ , therefore successful finesse.

Possible extra  if hearts are led to you and you do not waste J, 10 or 9  under A, K or Q

A definite extra  , since declarer has both J and 10 , one of which must win, and then there may be chance of establishing length trick in diamonds

Two definite extra ♣ s, when the Ace of Clubs is forced out.

Therefore there are four extra tricks in total: 1♠ , 0 ,1  and 2♣ s. Therefore 8 tricks will be made, is there a chance of a 9th trick? Not really, only if Defenders give a trick away!

Last updated : 1st Nov 2015 10:38 GMT
Hand of the Week - 13 October - Part Score Battle and Defence

Hand of the Week - 13 October - Part Score Battle and Defence

The most often hand in bridge is when both pairs are competing for a Part Score. They are very fascinating and challenging, and one trick makes all the difference and therefore the defence has to be good. Also it is an occasion, since at least 3 players are bidding, when there is more information for the defence.

Lets take a simple auction:

West North East South

                   1♠     P

1NT  P        2     P

2♠     P        P      P

South has said to themselves during the bidding East has 5 spades 4 Diamonds and probably 2 Hearts and 2 Club cards, and 12 - 15 points. West also has 6 - 9 points and prefers Spades

Souths hand is as follows

K
J 10 8 6 2
8 4
A Q 8 4 2

With this hand South would probably not overcall 2 after the opening bid of 1S, since the 3 points in K♠ are not good, and South does not really want a Heart lead. However with the 5 5 shape South bides ones time. When the bidding has reached 2 by East, South now knows that both East and West are WEAK and WEAK, therefore I as South would now X, asking partner for best unbid suit! South should have a fit in either Hearts or Clubs and with a LTC of 7, expects North to have at least 6 points and a LTC of 9. North now bids 3

 

The four hands are below and certainly with the bidding as above East then went to 3♠  which was then passed by all.

 

Dlr: East
Vul: N/S
A J 7 4
A 4 3
Q 6 5 3
7 6
Optimum
EW 1S
10 9 6
9 7
A J 2
K 10 9 5 3
W
E
S
T
NORTH
E
A
S
T
2
SOUTH
Q 8 5 3 2
K Q 5
K 10 9 7
J
  11  
8   11
  10  
K
J 10 8 6 2
8 4
A Q 8 4 2

Now lets look at the defence to a Spade contract by East. Opening Lead is J 

North wins first trick with A  leads back 4  which is won by East with Q . South now says that the shape of the Declarer hand is 5 Spades 3 Hearts 4 Diamonds 1 Club. So when the singleton club is played by Declarer South wins the trick with the A♣ . Therefore South had a reason for playing high on the first club trick and defeated the contaract of 3♠ 

AS A DEFENDER MAKE IT YOUR MISSION TO DISCOVER THE SHAPE OF DECLARER'S HAND

You can learn alot more about discovering the shape of Declarer's hand on the Defence Play Learning Weekend.

Board No 2 N/S Vul Dealer East
Deal: 20151013Grey
NS EW Bid By Ld Tks +Sc -Sc + -
1
8
3 S ♠10 7   200 -0.8 0.8
3
12
2♠ E J 8   110 2.3 -2.3
4
7
Pass           5.3 -5.3
5
9
2♠ E J 10   170 0.2 -0.2
6
11
3 S ♠9 5   400 -6.3 6.3
10
2
3♠ E J 10   170 0.2 -0.2
14
13
3 S ♠6 7   200 -0.8 0.8

 

 

Last updated : 17th Oct 2015 11:58 BST
Hands of the Week - 6 October -British Sim Pairs

Hands of the Week - 6 October -British Sim Pairs

I will not repeat what is contained in the British Sim Pairs commentary, since the write up of the majority of hands is very good. Mike Swanson provides succinct relevant comments.

What do you bid with the following hand when you are West