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It was certainly a very happy birthday yesterday for Valentina.

Despite her physical handicap, she made it to my party to celebrate her own big day. By her own admission she is a crazy Rumanian lady.

I can certainly go along with that self assessment after partnering her at the club the past two weeks. 

But, with equal certainty, I can say that she is a very good bridge player.

Trevor 1838 on 22/7/21


Online or Face to Face. Where does bridge go from here?

How can we play competitive F2F bridge NOW?

Will bridge clubs survive?

Will table fees increase when clubs reopen?

When will “clinically vulnerable players” be able to safely return to the bridge table?

In the perceived absence of any sensible and useful guidance from bridge administrators, I endeavour to reassure players via my diagnoses and prescriptiona for resolving common concerns. You can read my analyses on the “Keep Bridge Alive” page.

Trevor 22h40 on 10/1/21

Update 23/2/21.
Update 23/2/21.

The ACES mobile club - and especially the bridge school - is now in full swing. Last week it was the French connection when Irish and English were invited to join Thierry at his home in Santa Cruz. Yesterday it was the turn of our friends in Palmmar. This time it was Gaby and Juergen from Hamburg honouring us with their presence.

Trevor 15h00 23/2/21

DINNER DATES in Tenerife

Life goes on at ACES with the ever popular Bridge (or Rummikub) sessions with dinner. For 4 persons only, they are afternoon games played outdoors starting at 3pm. Dinner is likewise served on the terrace. Charge inclusive of table fee plus 3 course dinner with drinks is E12 p.p.

Here are the home-made menus available:

Menu 1

Cream of spinach soup

Duck in orange sauce

Lemon or Chocolate Cheesecake


Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble


Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 


Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad


Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6


Fish soup

Albondigas in tomato sauce

Apple pie and ice cream


Dinner dates can be enjoyed as much by beginners as by experienced players in search of competitive bridge. 

You will need to provide evidence to satisfy me beyond reasonable doubt that you are not a carrier of the virus. To protect the existing members of the “ACES bubble” of which several are, like me, categorised as “clinically extremely vulnerable”. That assessment will be subjective and based on my experience over several decades of working with severely ill cystic fibrosis sufferers. They necessarily had to avoid close contact at all costs with anybody suffering from even the most innocuous of viruses (such as the common cold) which could prove fatal to CF sufferers. 

Trevor 00h05 on 20/7/21

Los GIGANTES, Tenerife
Los GIGANTES, Tenerife

An ACES bridge star finds serenity at the foot of the giant cliffs from which this coastal resort gets its name

TMW 12/2/21.

Bridge lessons

Before you read these 4 simple lessons, an explanation for those who have already had lessons.

This mathematical system is almost identical to most basic systems based on the point count. It was developed to cope with the two problems of having (a) one teacher for hundreds of adult and junior pupils and (b) satisfying the need for every one of those students to be able to play with a different partner every session. The main difference between this and the other basic systems is that, for it to be successfull in such circumstances, strict attention had to be paid to the point count in certain opening bids and first round responses. Especially for the no trump openers and responses. That said, if two beginners learn by heart and strictly apply the principles in the four short lessons below, that should be enough for them to then be able to enjoy a game at a club anywhere in the world.



If you can remember the basics for opening and replying at the one level as summarised below, you are well on your way to becoming a club player. 80% of hands you pick up fall in to one of these categories - or simply merit a PASS if they don`t fall into this category.


To count your points: ACE = 4; King = 3; Queen = 2; Jack = 1

TO OPEN THE BIDDING: You need a minimum of 12 points. But you must open if you have 12 points. i.e. you cannot pass.
With 12 to 19 points you open one of a suit = one club, diamond, heart, spade or one no trump BUT...
----To open one heart or one spade, you must have at least five of that suit.
----To open one no trump you must NOT have five or more hearts / spades AND you must have 15-17 points. No more, no less.
If your hand does not fit one of the above categories, open the longer of the minor suits. If you have the same number of clubs as diamonds, open one club.

TO REPLY to your partner who has opened one club, diamond, heart or one spade...
You need only minimum six points.
You can reply one heart or one spade with only four of that suit. If you have 4 hearts or spades, you must bid that suit first even if you also have 5 or 6 clubs or diamonds
There is no maximum limit to the number of points you hold to reply at the one level. i.e. when you reply one heart to your partner's opening bid of one diamond, you might have 6 or 19 points.
If you do not have four hearts or spades when your partner has opened one club or one diamond AND if you do not have 3 cards in your partner's suit (if he has opened one heart or one spade} if you have SIX to maximum TEN points, then you reply one no trump.
But if you do have 3 or 4 cards in your partner's heart or spade suit AND you have the same range (6 to ten) of points, you instead reply two hearts / spades as appropriate.




I said that 80% of opening bids will be at the one level. The point count will be between 12 and 19. The remaining 20% fall into one of two categories:

WEAK hands (6 to 10 points):
(a) Open at the TWO level when you hold 6 to 10 points and 6 cards in one of the MAJOR suits (hearts or spades) AND provided at least
two of that 6 card suit are honours. Remember that the five honour cards are A,K,Q,J AND the TEN of that suit.

(b) Open at the THREE level in both major or minor when you hold 6 to 10 points and SEVEN cards in that suit. There is no requirement to hold honour cards this time because, when you hold seven, the high cards in the other hands will normally fall in the first two rounds when you play a low trump.

(c) Open at the FOUR level when you have 6 to 10 points in a major or minor suit if you hold eight cards in that suit.

Note: Do NOT forget to place the STOP card on the table before making any of the above opening bids.

STRONG hands (20+):

(a) Open TWO NO TRUMPS with 20 or 21 points and a fairly balanced hand but note:
- you can open 2NT with a five card minor suit but NOT with a five card major
- A "balanced" hand can, exceptionally, be one which contains five cards in a minor suit and two doubletons. 
- The 20/21 is a strict limit. With one point less you normally bid one of the suit, and with one point more it is....

(b) TWO CLUBS = 22+ honour points OR 8 playing tricks. (There is no upper limit)

The big difference between the weak / strong bids above is that they require a totally different response from partner compared with the responses already learnt when partner opens one of a suit. Finding the right opening bid is generally simply a question of counting the points and bidding accordingly.






NO TRUMP Opening bids and partner's RESPONSE

1NT = 15 to 17 HONOUR points.
Must have at least two cards in each suit. Only exception is for a singleton ACE
Can NOT open 1NT if you have a five card major, but OK (and often advisable) to bid 1NT with five card minor.

2NT = 20 or 21 HONOUR points. No more, no less.
Same rules re 5 card major and singletons etc as for 1NT

Responding to 1NT
Ask yourself simply these two questions and in this order:
1. Do I have five or more cards in a major suit. If so - whether you hold ZERO points or 19 points - you must immediately tell you partner via a TRANSFER bid. i.e. if responder holds 5 or more cards in a major, the stayman convention below is NOT an option. For the transfer, you bid 2 Diamonds if you hold 5 or more hearts, and 2 Hearts if you want partner to bid 2S. Opener (your partner who bid 1NT) then bids 2H or 2S as 'instructed'.

Remember that you (NOT opener) are boss and decide what level you then play thus:

If you have five of the major and less than 7 points, you normally pass and play in 2H or 2S.

If you have 7 or 8 points, you bid 3. Partner then raises to 4H or 4S if he has the maximum 17 points.

But note that, if you have six cards in the major, you need less points to go to game or slam etc.

2. If you haven't got a five card major, next question to ask yourself is do you have a 4 card Major AND at least EIGHT points? If yes, you say two clubs (The "Stayman" convention) asking your partner to declare whether he has a four card major. But, if you have 7 points or less, you must pass. Even with four hearts or spades. Even with 6 clubs or diamonds.
Responses by opener to your staymen 2 club bid are as follows:
2D = neither four hearts or spades
2H = four hearts
2S = four spades
2NT = both four hearts and four spades
Once you know, you then must decide what level to go to. If only 8 or 9 points and no fit (opener does not have 4 cards in your major suit), you say 2NT. Partner should then raise to 3NT if he has the max 17 points. Similarly, with 8/9 points bid 3H or 3S if partner has four of the same major as you. An invitation for partner to bid the game if holding max 17 points. In both cases, the opener should pass if he had omly 15/16 when opening 1NT. 

Responding to 2NT
Exactly same principle as for 1NT re 5 card major and staymen except that you need less points (only 4) to use staymen 3C. And only 5 points to go to game using the transfer system.


Explanation: All these responses are based on the principle that a pair normally need a combined holding of 25 points to bid the game in no trumps or a major suit.

BLACKWOOD asking for ACES.

When anyone bids 4NT, they are almost always asking partner how many ACES they hold. Replies are as follows:
5C = 0 or 3 Aces
5D = 4 or 1 Ace
5H = 2 Aces

if you are happy to go on and ask for kings, you then bid 5NT. Responses again under the 30 / 41 formula.





Quantitative bids are the names given to responses to 1NT and 2NT only. They enable you to find slam contracts from number of points held rather than by asking for aces. Here are the circumstances where you use them:

Replying to ONE NO TRUMP (15 to 17 points):
Responder says 4NT if he has PRECISELY 16 points and no 5 card major. Opener then goes direct to 6NT if holds max 17 points. But PASSES if holding 15 or 16.
After partner opens 1NT, responder says 6NT direct with 18 or 19 points and no 5 card suit. Opener PASSES.
After partner opens 1NT, responder says 5NT with precisely 20 points. Opener MUST NOT PASS but goes 6NT if only 15 or 16 points and 7NT if maximum 17.

Replying to TWO NO TRUMP
Rresponder says 4NT with 12 points PRECISELY. Opener goes 6NT if max 21, otherwise passes with 20
Responder says 6NT with 13 to 15 points and no 5 card suit. Opener MUST PASS 
Responder says 5NT with 16 points precisely and opener MUST NOT PASS. Says 6NT with 20 points and 7NT with 21 points.
Quantitative bids are based on the principle you need 33 points between you for 6NT and 37 for 7NT - IF you do not have a five card suit. In the latter case of five or more cards in one suit, you need fewer points as a rule. You therefore go through a slow process of declaring the long suit and asking for aces in normal way (Blackwood)
Warning: Some people responding to a bid of 4NT (asking how many Aces) include the king of agreed trumps when it is obvious what suit they will play. They call this the key
card system