Release 2.19q
Recent Updates
Improver Lessons
7th Jun 2023 18:20 BST
Wednesday 7pm
7th Jun 2023 18:19 BST
Wed Improver Pairs 7.30pm
7th Jun 2023 07:54 BST
2nd Jun 2023 09:52 BST
0 0 0 0 0 0
Pages viewed in 2023

There are lots of teachers available to teach Minibridge in Schools / or to teach youngsters as part of a comprehensive programme for introducing Minibridge and Bridge to school pupils and creating various school bridge clubs. 

If you would like to know how to run Taster Sessions in Schools please contact Douglas

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25th May 2018. In preparation for this, 3 Counties Bridge has published a Privacy Notice. This may be found by clicking on the link below.

3 Counties Privacy Notice.pdf

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 - 15th September

As I managed to play terribly this Tuesday (sorry partner!) I decided to pick a board that I think everybody bid incorrectly and comment on that one, as I can only tell you how NOT to play most of the boards.

On board 16, the contracts are 4♠ x by North twice, 4♠ not doubled by North once and 5 by West once.

On our table, the bidding went:

West 1 

North 2♠ (weak)

East Pass

South 4♠ 

All pass

Well bid Andrew and Stuart.

However, West has a losing trick count of 3.  What happens if West opens 2C?  Would North dare bid 3♠ ?  I suspect not.  This would give:

West 2♣ 

East 2 (7 or fewer points and no good  5 card major or 6 card minor)

West 2 (mention the 5 card major first)

East 3 (I have 3 card support)

West 3♠  (I have first round control of spades [with a void]) - possible lead directing double from North at this point

East 4♣ (I have first round control of clubs [with an Ace])

West now has 2 questions.  Does East have the K ?  Does E have Q ?  Assuming the partnership are playing standard 2♣ responses, no East does not have K .  The 2 exceptions to the 2  response for 7 points or fewer are:

  1. Up to 9 HCP but only queens and jacks, still bid 2 
  2. 7 HCP but holding an ace and a king, make a stronger bid (e.g. 2NT)

Therefore the outstanding question is the queen of hearts, which can be answered with Roman Key card Blackwood (RKCB), but only if you play 4130 RKCB

West 4NT (RKCB)


Version 1 - 3041 RKCB 

East 5  (3041 RKCB, which Manda and I play), showing 1 Ace, which partner already knows about.  Time to guess about Q or hope for a lucky split as you can't ask about the queen.

West 5  or 6 , depending on how lucky West is feeling.

NOTE:  There is no point in bidding this at all. As you already know the response will be 5 , make your guessdirectly from 4♣ (4 or 6 ).


Version 2 - 4130 RKCB

East 5♣ (4130 RKCB) showing 1 Ace.

West 5 (do you have the queen of trumps [hearts] partner?)

East (depending on which responses you use)  5NT (yes I have the queen but no kings partner)  or 6 (yes, I have QT partner)

West 6 (after 5NT response) or pass (after 6 response)

The diamond finesse doesn't make, so 12 tricks made.


With an LTC of 3, an aggressive West who had opened hearts instead of diamonds, bidding their 5 card major first, could also risk 5 over the 4♠ as a pass or correct bid.  However, being vulnerable and not knowing if partner has anything, this could easily go 3 or 4 down if East has no points, so a double of 4♠ is a safer bet.  Possibly East should double the 2♠ earlier on to show some ponts, but with only 2 card support in diamonds that could also turn out very badly if West and South are both of intermediate strength as East may end up having to put West into 3 with what could be only a 4 3 trump holding.  The weak jump overcall in spades by North and the level of fit raise by South stop East West from findind their slam in the auction.




Last updated : 21st Sep 2020 17:53 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 25th August

Board 4 - Good part score bidding

This board had a variety of bids and scores on Tuesday evening with the final contracts being:

1NT by E (making 9 tricks, 150 to East West)

2♣ by N (making 7 tricks, 100 to East West)

3NT by E (making 9 tricks, 600 to East West)

2 by E (making 10 tricks, 130 to East West)

Despite choosing this hand to write up due to the variety of contracts bid, I am not certain how the best scoring East West and North South pairs ended up in their respective contracts!

Suggested bidding assuming weak NT with comments:

West North East South
Pass Pass 1 (16 points, only 4 card suit is diamonds Pass
1♠ (mention your 4 card major) Pass or double to show decent points, 4 x Hearts and 3 x cards in clubs 1NT (15 - 16 points) Pass or 2♣ (after partner's double I would bid 2♣ , though I can only think that being vulnerable, Ian passed OR Barbara did not double)
Pass (with 8 points over 1NT) or double over 2♣ to show points or bid 2 to show the fit  Pass (though I think Barbara decided that after Ian's pass, with no heart support he must have clubs, so bid 2C OR they have a partnership agreement and bid the lower ranking of the unbid suits on a pass or correct basis) Pass (or 2NT over partner's double.) Pass

 I think that explains the 2♣ by North (rather than South), but I'm not clear where the 3NT with a maximum of 24 points and a minimum of 23 points comes from.

So what to learn from this?

The pair in 1NT making 9.  Well bid.  North (me!) missed his opportunity to double and couldn't double the subsequent 1NT bid as that would be for penalties.  You can't always sit and wait to see what happens, though you do have to be careful when vulnerable with a points minority.

The pair making 2♣ -1 by North, with 8 points why did West not bid 2NT or 2D?  Probably lack of a club stop explains not bidding 2NT, in which case, West should double to show points or bid 2D and East should bid 2NT with the club stop or leave it in 2 .

The pair making 2 + 2 were unlucky.  Normally that would score better than the part score in NT, but this time 9 tricks can be made in NT despite EW having only 24 points in total (1NT + 2 = 150 points, 2D +2 = 130 points, whereas 1NT+1 = 120 points).

The pair making 3NT were Roger and Rebecca.  I don't know how you worked it out, but very well bid!






Last updated : 16th Sep 2020 01:21 BST
Tuesday Hand of the Week - 19th August

Board 5 from the evening duplicate session

I would like to suggest that there were 4 very lucky pairs on this board and 4 very unlucky pairs.

Depending on your precise conventions there are several ways to bid this hand, but I will cover a few of them.

After passes from North and East, South opens their strongest bid of 2♣  (3 weak 2’s) or 2  (Benji) [having only 19 points, but a losing trick count of 3].

For any of Douglas’ current first, second or third year pupils, I will put the suggested bidding in accordance with current teaching at the end, but I want to show what some of your opponents may bid too.

Again, different responses depending on what you play.  Some people play a relay bid of 2  after 2♣  or 2  after 2  (Benji) to show a hand that doesn’t have a good 5 card suit to bid.  Others only play that bid to show 7 or fewer points, so will respond 2NT (8+ points and a balanced hand).

NOTE that as S can open 2♣  or 2  based on a very strong hand that does NOT contain 23 points, as in this case, N must not rush the bidding and add their 11 points to 23, get 34 points and bid 6NT.  The strongest opening is forcing to game (except via 2♣ , 2 , 2NT if responder has fewer than 2 points), so do not rush to what may not be the right game bid.  You have at least 1 more bid.

After 2NT from responder the second bid from opener should be 3♣ .

This shows at least 5 clubs (6 for some people as it is a minor) so North can then support clubs and bid 4♣ , allowing South the perfect opportunity to bid for controls.  However, South now has a problem.  What South really wants to know, is does North have A♣ , K , Q  and J . How to find out?  Bidding for controls will only find out if N has A♠  and if North does not, the 5♣  response will prevent South from using Blackwood.  For those pairs where North’s response was 2NT, S knows that N has 8+ points, but with South’s 19, that could still be 2 missing Aces.

South has 2 choices. Either do as we are taught not to, and use Blackwood with a void, finding a missing Ace and not knowing which one it is, then bid 6♣  and hope OR, knowing that North has some points, bid 6C and hope North’s points will cover at least 3 of the 4 losers.  I tend to favour using Blackwood to allow a pass of 5♣  if partner has no Aces.

There is one other way to look at it having got to 4 or 5.   At this point, assuming partner has a spade stop or 2, anyone in 3NT is going to score better than you, so in duplicate you might as well bid 6C anyway and hope it works.  This is not a recommended strategy in teams!

So I would suggest that, despite bending the Blackwood guidelines, given the hands held, the ideal bidding for someone is current classes is:

S              N

2♣          2NT

3♣          4♣ 

4NT        5 


As it happens, the Ace held by North is A♣ , trumps split 2 2, allowing a ruff of South’s 4th diamond by dummy even after drawing trumps and the heart finesse works giving 13 tricks in clubs, though I would suggest that most of us are not advanced enough to bid it.

So what about the unlucky pairs?  Well, those are the ones who got to the “correct” 6♣  contract and the opponents of those who got to 6  and 6NTx.

Firstly the 6 .  Even once you can see what cards you and partner have, after the bidding to get to 6 , with only seven hearts between North and South, split 4, 3, to make 13 tricks you need the trumps to split 3 3 (35% chance), the heart finesse to work (50% chance) or you could easily lose a heart AND a diamond as you cannot afford a trump to ruff a diamond.  However, everything comes together and the very unlikely 6 hearts makes +1, scoring higher than the 6♣  +1.

Secondly 6NTx.  West has AK♠ .  All West needs is for partner to lead a spade and the 6NT is down 2.  However, at no point during the bidding has West been able to indicate that he/she would like a spade lead.  From the bidding, East knows not to lead a club, but has no other clues unless NS bid for controls.  East has 2 x 4 card suits and diamonds are stronger.  East then has to decide whether to lead a defensive second highest spade or a more attacking 4th highest diamond promising an honour (or indeed, 9 , top of an internal sequence).  East chose a diamond.  6NTx +1 made, scoring higher even than 6H +1 without the double.

Last updated : 19th Aug 2020 17:55 BST
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    

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                    

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:



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.


♠ 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


♠ 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


♠ 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


♠ 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:


♠ 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


♠ 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:


♠ 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


♠ 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



♠ 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


♠ 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

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.


♠ 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


♠ 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


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 + -



4spade N heart3 13 710   6 6



4spade S diamondQ 12 680   2 10



4spade S club9 13 710   6 6



4spade N club7 13 710   6 6



3NT S diamond10 13 720   10 2



3spade N club7 13 260   0 12



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 + -



2heart N diamond4 7   50 6 2



2diamond N clubJ 9 110   8 0



2spade W clubQ 12   230 1 7



2spade W diamond2 11   200 4 4



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 + -



1NT E spade5 8   120 3 5



2NT E club10 7 100   7 1



2NT E spade5 9   150 0 8



2NT E heartQ 7 100   7 1



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 + -



4heart E spade6 10   420 2 6



4heart E diamond9 9 50   5 3



4heart E club3 8 100   8 0



4heart E diamond9 11   450 0 8



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


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 + -



6heart S spadeQ 12 1430   7.00 3.00



6heart S spadeQ 12 1430   7.00 3.00



4heart S club3 12 680   1.00 9.00



6heart S club3 12 1430   7.00 3.00



4heart S spadeQ 12 680   1.00 9.00



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



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



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



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



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



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



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 + -



6diamond S spadeQ 11   100 2 10



4NT N club8 12 690   7 5



6spade S heart8 13 1460   12 0



4heart* W diamond2 5 1100   10 2



6NT S heartJ 10   200 0 12



3NT N heartQ 12 690   7 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


P      2NT P     3♠ 

P      4♠   P     4NT

P      5   P     6♠ 

all Pass


Last updated : 28th Jan 2019 06:37 GMT