Ace Bridge Club Deal
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Learn to play Bridge

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Please do not attend a Duplicate Session if you are experiencing any Cold or Flu Symptoms

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Number of boards we play weekly

Following a membership vote on 13th May 2022 it was decided that we shall play between 21 and 25 boards each week. This will be reviewed at regular intervals

Hand of the Week
Hand of the Week 2nd September 2022

This should be called board of the weak. I have never played a weak no trump and this hand is a perfect example of why. South is the dealer a fair looking 8 points, has to pass and hope to get involved later. West has a hand which if you play a weak no trump matches the requirements, north has a 19 point hand with a no trump shape and must double, if you are going to play a weak no trump you are regularly going to get doubled, so you must have an agreed get out of jail system. Most people play bid a 5 card suit and if not redouble asking partner to bid their lowest 4 card suit. if east with his one point decides to bid 2 diamonds on a really rubbish diamond suit and a rubbish one count south now doubles, this cannot be for take out, because north has doubled 1NT for penalties and so 2 diamonds doubled has to be penalties, and it will go 800 off.† †As it happens, on our table, Graeme and Dave play a different system after a double and they cannot stop short of 3 diamonds, and so Graeme decided that this would be even more blood on the carpet, which it is, as it goes off 1100, so he passed. Now south has a nice 8 count which with north's 16 plus means we have enough for game, BUT BUT BUT south must check who is vul, and itís east west so the north south game is only worth 400, and 1NT must be going at least 2 off for 500. So Elaine passed and we didnít get the 100% right, but we got the contract 2 off for 500. The top score on the board was by Val and Jenny, where west playing 5 card majors opened a dodgy club, north doubled Delta holding the rubbish hand with diamonds, a suit her partner cannot hold because she opened 1 club passedand Jenny holding lovely clubs left it. When the dust settled north south were typing plus 1100 into the Bridgemate.† Sympathy goes to Sandra and Alan who reached 3NT but it was a bad score because of the two big penalties.

Hand of the Week 26th August 2022

Sometimes it is not a big hand that is the most important hand of an afternoon.

West is the dealer and has 11 points but with a great club suit, AKQTxx,† the opening bid will be 1 club, north with very little will pass east now bids 1 heart, 11 points and a five card suit, south will bid 2 diamonds, west having opened promises a rebid 2hearts, 4 card support, now all easts with an 11 point hand will bid 4, and thatís the end of the bidding. when west puts down dummy, declarer will be disappointed as dummy only has an 11 count and there are 4 losers, 1 spade, 2 trumps and a diamond. So the hand can never make, but yes the two defenders might give you the contract, if south on lead starts with the ace of spades, now east's king of spades is a winner and dummy's diamond loser disappears, or on a club opening lead west wins the tricks and declarer should play a trump, north must play low or the ace crashes southís king so the contract makes. At each table the defence was correct and all declarers made 9 tricks. So where did the east/wests go wrong, answer they didnít, the correct bidding sometimes means that the final contract cannot make.

A point of interest, if we switch east's king queen jack of spades with southís Ace xx, now east only holds 9 points, so the bidding will go 1 club,1 heart 2 diamonds from south, 2 hearts from west all pass and with 2 less points 4 hearts cannot be beaten.

So,† the correct accurate bidding means you cannot reach the best making contract.

That is bridge for you. Thatís why we come back again and again to play this extremely interesting but infuriating game.

Hand of the Week 19th August 2022

East is dealer and is 5 5 in the minors, the clubs are much better than the diamonds, AKTxx rather than Jxxxx but should open 1 diamond so that when the bus comes around again he can bid the clubs, because if he opens 1 club and rebids 2 diamonds now that is a strong reverse and shows 16 plus points, and this hand only has 11 points. So east opens 1 diamond, south bids a heart west passes north should bid 4 hearts and thatís the end of the auction. When dummy goes down declarer has 2 losers in clubs, and needs to finesse the king of spades which doesnít work, so thatís 3 losers and he has to find the queen of trumps, more on that in a minute.

On a diamond lead declarer wins the king in his hand and now should make the contract. Crossing to the ace of spades and cashing the Ace Queen of diamonds throwing the 2 clubs from his hand. West trumps the 3rd diamond but that costs him his trump trick. So, declarer loses a spade a diamond ruff and makes 11 tricks, but nobody did that. Instead at trick 2 they finesse the spade which loses and now east cashes his ace king of clubs. Now itís all down to the queen of trumps. Declarer has 9 trumps in total, so are the missing 4 splitting 2 and 2 so declarer can play for the drop, or should declarer finesse, so far,† East having opened has played the ace and king of Clubs and the king of spades, thatís 10 points, so to make up his opener the odds are that east holds the queen of trumps, so you finesse him for it. But he opened slightly light in points, and so declarer goes one off. Five declarers all went one off. One played it correctly crossing to the ace of spades and then throwing the clubs.

About 25 years ago there was a series of articles, l think it was 3 by a very very good player entitled declarers nightmare card. The Queen of Trumps. With no clue from the bidding holding 9 trumps the end percentages on whether to drop the queen by playing out ace king of trumps or finessing are 50./50. So holding AJxxx in one hand and KTxx in the other the best plan is to decide which hand to finesse and play the high card from the other hand first, just in case it drops the singleton queen on the wrong side. This increases the odds by 5% in declarers favour and every little helps.

Note: in this hand it doesnít but thatís bridge for you.

Hand 2 of the week 12th August 2022

Hand 18. Now the box says that you can make 12 tricks in clubs, but how to get to the slam, actually how to get to the game. West holds a brilliant hand AQxx,void,Ax, KQJT98x. In high card points he only holds 16 points, but he must make 8 tricks, 6 clubs, and two aces.

This hand far exceeds 16 points, and we have to go to the glass half full or half empty, with this hand itís 90% full. So no way can you only open it 1 club, if your armoury includes the multi 2d you can certainly open it 8 playing tricks in Clubs, by opening 2 diamonds, partner should bid 2 spades to show at least 3 hearts and less than 14 points, thatís no help to me at all, so l bid 3 clubs to show 8 playing tricks in clubs and both my regular partners Dr Nes and Elaine say they will pass as they hold nothing to help me and are void in my suit. So l play in 3 clubs. If however you are playing Benji Acol you can open to show 8 playing tricks in a suit, and when you tell partner itís clubs they pass. Now if that suit was Hearts or Spades l would open in our system 2clubs saying l want to be in game whatever happens, yes if partner holds nothing l am going off, but this suit is clubs and itís a long way to 11 tricks, so l can understand pairs playing this hand in 1 club or 3 clubs, here you need help from the opponents AGAIN they might push you to where you didnít what to be but are delighted when you get there. Partner holds just 6 points, but not any rubbish 6 points they are two kings and exactly the two you wanted. Partner has turned up with the Crown Jewels and if you bid the slam or even the game buy a lottery ticket on the way home, itís your lucky day.

Hand of the Week 12th August 2022

I was not there on Friday because Dr Nes and myself were attending the EBU congress at Eastbourne. Therefore l am at a disadvantage in that l didnít see the boards being played, and therefore spot something of interest. So l am actually cheating this time by picking two boards, board 15 because of the play, and board 18 because of the bidding.

Board 15. West holds 13 points and west holds 17 points, so there should be no trouble in bidding 3nt. The little box at the side of the board says that declarer can make 12 tricks in 3nt. So letís look at the hand. Remember that the box showing the number of tricks is done by a computer playing best declarer play against best defence play.

In top tricks declarer has Ace king of spades, Ace king queen jack of hearts,Ace of diamonds and Ace King of clubs, so thatís 9 tricks on top, so the contract is not in danger. The defence is going to attack spades at trick one, but there is no danger because you have them stopped twice. Declarer has a choice at trick two whether to attack clubs for extra tricks or diamonds. The answer is simple, neither he should take out the four rounds of hearts, the defenders between them have to discard 3 cards, and you should watch exactly how many clubs and how many diamonds get thrown, and then that will give declarer a clue as to who holds what and which suit to play on.

Assuming that the defenders are not being helpful, they will both thrown spades, assuming they do, declarer should have played the hearts to finish in the east hand. Now he should play a small diamond towards the queen. If south sitting with king 10xx goes in with the king the game is over, declarer should note the fall of the jack and play the suit to win 4 tricks bring home 12 tricks south must understand that his KTxx is too good and this was the suit declarer is trying to make tricks in, so he ducks now† declarer wins the queen but will lose 2 tricks to south if he continues the suit.

So having stolen a diamond trick declarer should now switch to the clubs, cashing ace king and giving up the queen and now the suit is all good, so declarer makes 12 tricks, 2 spades, 4 hearts,2 diamonds and 4 clubs. But in reality most declarers who make 12 tricks will be because south started with a small diamond from KTxx which is a crime and when the jack falls declarer now knows each diamond south holds. So sometimes a lead gives declarer every clue they need. So it is not always true that your enemy is sitting on your left and right, they can be sitting right opposite you!!

Hand of the week 5th August 2022

After a couple of weeks of boring hands along comes a very interesting hand, and it has several points of interest rolled into one. The auction, planning the play and the opening lead.

The auction starts with east, and few pairs at Ace play a system called Lucas which shows a hand with exactly 5 cards in a major and 4 or more in a minor and less than an opening bid, so it is pass from East, pass from south, now west looks at his monster hand, AKQxx,xx,AKQx,KQ 23 lovely points a good suit AKQxx and they are spades with a wonderful back up suit of AKQx in diamonds, so 2clubs is the opening bid, north has nothing to say and if the pair is playing Acol then east holds 9 points for a positive bid and a 5 card suit, yes itís a rubbish suit Jxxxx but his partner has bid 2c so he should hope that partner can help out, is the glass half full or half empty, l always prefer to think of it as a full glass with a bit missing, so 2spades, now west can hardly believe his ears, partner has a positive and a 5 card suit and l hold AKQxx in HIS suit. west knows a lot about partners hand because he passed to start with and now he is playing catch up ,and 2spades has to be a 5+ card suit, otherwise partner would bid 2 NT a positive but no suit. Blackwood springs to mind and he hears one ace, and one king. So the contract is 6 spades, now letís ignore the lead for a moment. East as declarer sees dummy and it is an exact mirror hand both of them hold 5 spades,2 hearts 4 diamonds and 2 clubs.So there are no throw aways from either hand. Also the clubs between them they hold AKQ but only 2 each so the queen is a waste so thatís 2 points in the bin. So declarer has only 1 hope that after drawing trumps he plays a small heart from dummy and north holds the ace of hearts, now declarer has 12 simple tricks, 5 spades, 1 heart 4 diamonds and 2 clubs, thank you very much, but unfortunately the ace of hearts is in the wrong place and there is nothing that declarer can do about it. DECLARER CANNOT MAKE THIS SLAM, but just now l said that declarer has only 1 hope, that is wrong because this is where the whole hand turns around to south as defender, what does he lead, declarer cannot make the contract but the defender on lead can make it for him.

South having heard the auction a strong 23 plus from west, a positive 8-10 from east so what does south play. He holds ace queen of hearts, now he knows that these are just about the only points that north south hold between them, partner might just about hold an odd jack somewhere. East only holds about a quarter of the points that east west hold between them, so the odds are 3 to 1 or 75% that dummy holds the king of hearts. So south must play something, does he play another suit and look at dummy and risk that declarers hearts or dummy's hearts get thrown away on a long side suit.

We played this hand as one of our first hands and because we were playing Terry and Graham we finished early and spent ages looking at this hand whilst we waited for 15 plus minutes for other tables to finish. Elaine was on lead against 4 spades so didnít touch the hearts so she collected her 2 heart tricks later. We both agreed having done the sums that if we were on lead we would play the ace of hearts, not risking that the trick would disappear on a long side suit. At the club only one pair bid the slam and they were rewarded when the opening lead was the ace of hearts every other declarer played in game and made 11 tricks. So sometimes declarer has a friend at the table and itís not his partner but the defender on lead.

22nd July 2022

This week the dealing machine did not produce the kind of firework hands we have been treated to in the previous couple of weeks. Recently we have had a rash of deals with wonderful distributions like 5521 6511 and 6520, these hands donít have to hold a lot of points to still make the auctions spicy.

The deal l have chosen this week is board 11. South as dealer has a fairly boring 9 count with a 3244 shape, so itís a pass. Poor west holds a hand with no pictures and one 10, a 5431 shape but nothing to say and ready for the next deal. North holds a 20 point picture gallery 4234, and east hold 11 points with very nice hearts, KQJTx. So north south hold a very handy 29 count and 2 flat hands, much more than enough for 3nt and just short of the 32-33 or 33-34 wanted for 6nt.

So, everyone should be playing in 3nt making something like 10 or 11 tricks. However it was not to be. North as the opener holds this flat 20 count, every suit stopped so if you are playing 20-22 as some pairs do the opening bid is 2nt and south with a 9 count and no 5 card major to transfer to, and no 4 card major just bids 3nt. End of story. However, if a pair has the multi 2d gadget in their armoury then north opens 2 diamonds, south bids 2 hearts, which shows fewer than 14 points and not 3 or more hearts, north rebids 2nt to show 19-20 and south kills the auction with 3nt. Otherwise north opens 1c south has already passed so will bid 1nt to show no 4 card major, itís pretty pointless bidding 1 diamond and 1nt tells partner a lot, no 4 card major and 5-9 points maybe 5-10. North raises to 3nt and that puts the auction to bed.

So, all auctions lead to 3nt, so why is there any interest with this hand, how come it made it to my deal of the week, well l said at the outset that is was a boring set of hands with no meat on the plate. BUT BUT BUT, if north plays it, east west will bang down the king of hearts and he knows that he will get 4 heart tricks and the ace of diamonds to defeat the contract by one, but north will run for home top 4 clubs top 4 spades and the ace of hearts. So itís a bog standard 3nt just made, well yes and no, because if south plays it, now west will play a top spade which means south can win the first spade, play out 4 top clubs and declarer still has complete control, so he plays another spade or two, now east is in trouble as he wonít want to throw any of his lovely hearts so he parts with a diamond or 2 and now south knocks out the ace of diamonds and lands 12 tricks, and the traveller looks 3nt by north 400, 3 nt by north 400, 3 nt by north 400 3nt by south 490 and 3 nt by north 400. One north south have got a great top on the board, purely because south played the hand. It doesnít matter who the better player was out of the 2, they were lucky that they played it by south and every other pair played it by north.

Elaine and l play a lot of gadgets in our bidding but nobody has in the last 100 years ever invented a gadget that asks the opponents if we bid 3nt what suit are you going to lead so that north south after those answers can judge who should bid the no trumps first to play the hand.

Hereís hoping that the dealing machine is less bland this week

Bill Gardner.


This deal will almost certainly be deal of the month, and  will be a major contender for deal of the year. If it doesn’t make it into the top 3 for deal of the year, we are in for a truly excellent year of interesting hands.

I wish to start with the south hand,

x, x, JT9xxx, QJTxx

This is a total load of rubbish 4 points, and you are vulnerable, but you are not the dealer. If you are you have nothing in the hand and therefore nothing to say. But the hand in front of you opens 1 spade, now your hand has got a little bit better, the reason for this is that there is a convention or gadget called the unusual 2 notrump overcall, ( also there are similar gadgets called Ghestem and Michael’s) and all 3 of these allow the south hand to show hands that are 5-5 or longer in 2 suits.

My partner Elaine, decided that having heard me say numerous times something like, “ if we have a bloody gadget in our armoury then use it.” and actually this hand has 2 bonus extras

1) the hand is 6-5 in the two suits so one extra card  and 2) all the points all 4 of them are in the two suits, so she bid 2nt which promises at least 5 clubs and at least 5 diamonds. the next hand bid  3spades and l as north bid 4 clubs, l hold a 6 card support for my partners 5 or more and l hold Ace King of clubs and king of diamonds so all my points are in my partners suit, so nothing is wasted, the dealer now bid 4 hearts showing their second suit, Elaine now followed the instruction, which is on all fireworks, having lit the blue touch paper retire immediately, this states, in our system, my overcall has 13 cards and very few points and l have done my bit, some might think more than her bit, but she paid her table money, pass west passed and l had another go with 5cclubs pass, pass, 5 hearts, and l had no choice but to bid 6 clubs because l held no defence to their contract and this finished the auction. We got a just over average score for this, 2 pairs reached 6 spades which easily makes against opponents that don’t have this bid in their armoury.

So this just goes to show that the shape of the hand is just as important as the number of points you hold.



By using predealt hands for our events it means that not only can you see the result for the afternoon, but your score for each board, whether it be a top a middle or a bottom, and also the traveller which shows exactly what happened on each table when that board was played.

Here north south are vul and east west are not vul. East who is last to bid holds AKJT98,5,T9874,6.

This is a powerful hand and because of the vul if north south bidgame they score 600, so east west can save on the board by going 3 off doubled and only losing 500 for their troubles. Let’s look at the east hand, 8 points all in spades in defence with a 6 card suit like this normally the most this hand is worth 2 tricks if both north and south have two spades. From east's point of view in 4 spades he must win 5 tricks in spades so the worst he can be is 5 off, but that is 1100, however he has 5 diamonds 109874 and this should be at worst only 4 losers, so he should make 6 tricks, 5 spades and a diamond. So the worst he will go off is 800.Therefore this is worth the risk if north south get to 4 hearts east must bid 4 spades. The auction at most tables would start pass by south pass 1 heart by north, east should jump to 2 spades to show a weak hand with 6 spades, now south who holds 11 points so only just passed and holds 4 of his partners suit must support his partner, and if they are playing 5 card majors his 6432 of hearts are valuable cards and he should bid 4 hearts, it is not quite so clear cut if they are playing 4 card majors, now south might only go 3 hearts but this doesn’t matter because north had 18 points for his opener so he will bid 4 hearts, and now east bids 4 spades, which south has to double, and that ends the auction. Dummy goes down with a load of rubbish, xxx,Txx,Jxx,Qxxx so east immediately knows that north south were easily making 4hearts, but west in that total load of rubbish has one useful the card jack of diamonds, and this helps easts hand tremendously because now he only loses 3 diamonds and makes 2 tricksin the suit so with 5 spade tricks he is only 3 down for 500.

This was an excellent save but only one east, Graeme was brave enough to try it and got the top his bravery warranted. NOTE well, if the east hand was, AKJT98,xx,xxx,xx then the idea of a save will not work at all because the hand has a spade loser, 2 heart losers and 5 losers in the minors, but the backup suit of 109874 which is pretty useless in nearly all cases was valuable to help declarer after trumps have gone.