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DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
DOUBLE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

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

Your QUESTIONS ANSWERED

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

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Menu 2

Tuna, mushroom, leek and red pepper tart

Roast chicken with three veg

Mixed fruit crumble

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Menu 3

Cheese tart

Tagliatelli puttanesca

Kiwi tart 

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Menu 4

Leek and potato soup with stilton

Steak and kidney pie with 3 veg

Fruit salad

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Menu 5

Melon and cured Iberian ham

Salmon and potato bake

Lemon tart

Menu 6

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Fish soup

Albondigas in tomato sauce

Apple pie and ice cream

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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.

Tips to improve results
TIP 1: If in doubt - LET the VULNERABILITY DECIDE

 

How often have you been in the position where you wish there was a bid in the box that said "three and a half spades". A situation where you are not sure whether to pass  - or bid the game. Try this method to resolve the dilemna:

 

If you are playing a PAIRS competition, look at the vulnerabilty and treat the colours as traffic lights :

Red = STOP (pass), Green = GO for it (the higher bid)

But, but, but...

playing a TEAM competition which.will be scored in imps, you should never stop at the lights when in doubt.

 even if vulnerability is showing RED, you GO through the lights.

In other words, if the odds of opponent`s king being in the correct hand for the finesse to work are 50/50, bid the game

 

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TIP 2: Don`t STRAIN the BRAIN

Treat yourself to a carrot, and cut out the post mortems

A three hour bridge session uses up more energy than 3 hours riding a bicycle. Many studies have shown the truth of that statement. It is a proven fact that many bridge players wilt towards the end of the session. Analysing your errors at the end of each round compounds the problem.

Not only does the brain need a few minutes rest, it needs oxygen. And the body needs sugar to keep the brain functioning efficiently.

Getting stressed about bidding mistakes reduces dramatically the oxygen supply to the brain. And stress causes us to use up limited supplies of sugar more rapidly.

Between rounds you should therefore go and take a few deep breaths of fresh air and...nibble a carrot. I am not joking. Carrots are the best non fattening source of sugar.

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TIP 3: DO YOUR SUMS

 

Bridge students are well advised to DO THEIR SUMS. To avoid a DOUBLE DISASTER 

We all know that a vulnerable contract of 2 Spades + 2 undoubled scores 170 points.

But not many know that making the same number of tricks DOUBLED scores over SIX TIMES that figure (1070)  

The moral of this story:

Be very wary of doubling someone into game 

Especially in team events where a foolish double can win the match for the opposition.

Even if all the other boards were won by your team

 

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TIP 4: Do NOt COMPLICATE a SIMPLE GAME

 

NO MISUNDERSTANDINGS = ZERO ZEROS

 

A partnership misunderstanding at the bidding stage invariably results in a zero. Even for expert bridge players. Usually because they use such complicated bidding systems

Less experienced pairs can profit doubly from these bidding errors by avoiding the zeros themselves. By keeping the bidding sequence simple and natural.

If you can master the basics of opening bids and first responses, you will be pleasantly surprised how bidding a natural system thereafter produces positive scores. Especially for pairs who think logically and are good at mental arithmetic. That is because the bidding systems are essentially based on the principle that a pair need, collectively, a fixed range of points for games and slams etc.

It then comes down to skill at playing the cards. And that is likewise about taking the logical route based on statistical probabilities.

Conversely, the more complicated you make a bidding system, the greater the probability your partner will misinterpret one of your bids. Especially if you have to chop and change partners.

If I play with someone for the first time, it is invariably "Back to basics". Keep it natural. Invariably that means no Landi, Roudi, Mikhael, Lebensohl, Drury, no key cards et al. Usually it won`t stop us beating higher rated pairs - and it doesn`t stop us bidding the slams as often as our peers.

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TIP 5: KNOW the RULES

MAGIC FORMULA

Brush up on the Rules.

Do not panic. Not all 93 laws, but just FOUR

 

4 situations which occur all too frequently in regular club tournament:. 

 

Opponent leads out of turn.

Case study: The bidding has just finished and you are declarer about to play 3NT. But your right hand opponent leads. Call the Director immediately. There are many advantageous options for you as declarer. The one most of you will not know about is Rule 54(b) where declarer becomes dummy: Yes, you can accept the lead out of turn. The choice to lay down your cards is yours only. (Not your partner`s).

Insufficient bid

It happens almost every week in almost every tournament. Your partner might have opened one no trump and your right hand opponent then bids one diamond. Call the Director immediately.  Because it might suit you to exercise your right to accept this bid under Rule 27A(1). If you do, the bidding restarts from 1D. Which means you can then bid 1H yourself as your overbid whereas you would otherwise have been forced to bid 2H. Useful to know if, for example, you hold 4 hearts and minimal points. A quirk of this rule is that, by accepting the insufficient bid, you can even repeat what your partner said. In other words, if you hold diamonds in this case plus 6 points and no 4 card major, you can bid 1 No Trump.

 

Unintentional bid

Case study: You have counted your points and are about to take the 2 hearts from your bidding box when you are distracted by a mobile telephone ringing at the next table. Instead of taking out the 2H bid you put 2S on the table and your left hand opponent immediately and eagerly tenders the red card. You`ve been doubled. You look down at the table and "Oops, what have I done?" is the question you ask yourself. Don`t panic. Rule 25A comes to your rescue. Call the Director immediately. You can change the bid to 2H with no penalty if it is clear to the Director that 2H was what you intended to bid. These unintended calls more commonly occur when the bidding box cards become worn and sticky.

 

HESITATION before passing

You can ponder over a bid for an eternity but, but...you should not then PASS!

Case study: Your left hand opponent deliberates for 2 minutes after you have bid 4 hearts - but then passes**. Your partner also passes but your right hand opponent then calls 4S** which is followed by three passes. If you feel that RH opponent only bid 4S by drawing the conclusion that his partner`s hesitation meant he was thinking of doing the same, then tell your opponent that you "reserve the right to summon the Director later" (under rule 16B2) and explain why. If your right hand opponent disputes your claim, call the Director immediately.. What then happens is that you play the hand and, if the Director discovers that very few pairs had bid 4S and it caused you damage, he may substitute an advantageous score for the aggrieved party.

**NB: If left hand opponent passes after a long deliberation, I hear many players telling their RH opponents they must then pass. NOT TRUE. 

 

In certain countries, and especially in non-affiliated clubs, there are very few people who will know these rules. Ignorance is to a certain extent bliss. The rules are complicated. No need to try memorizing many of them either . Unless, that is you play frequently in tournaments with prizes. All your more experienced opponents will be taking legitimate advantage of them.

If you are paying a hefty entrance fee, do your best to ensure you play on a level playing field!

If anyone would like further clarification of these or any of the WBF`s 93 Rules, send a mail and I will do my best to help.

.TMW 28/1/19