Ashtead Bridge College
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Phone - 01372 815162 - or email John Cumming ( for details of the upcoming term.

The Night of the Stars

The auction for the Night of the Stars took place at Richmond Bridge Club in November and early next year the big event is again at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in February.  John Cumming will be playing with Thor Eric Hoftaniska.  Fantastic!!

Our Hands
Opening One-of-a-Suit
Opening One-of-a-Suit

This hand was put together by the beginner's class on 2nd March 2010 to demonstrate an example of an opening bid of one-of-a-suit.

North opens 1 and South, with 12 points gives an immediate game rise.

West leads 5 ♣ to the Jack, 4 and 2.  South cashes Ace and then draws trumps in 2 rounds.  A Spade to the Jack loses to the King.  A Diamond return loses to the King and West cashes the Ace, noting the drop of Queen and Jack.  A Spade follow-on is taken by the Ace and the rest of the tricks are declarer's - contract making 4.

Morton's Fork

The bridge coup named Morton’s Fork, originates from a tax collection policy devised by John Morton, Lord Chancellor, in 1487.  He approached a wealthy subject as someone able to give copiously. But further, and insidiously, if the subject lived frugally, the man was assumed a miser with substantial savings and could therefore also afford much. This dual approach comprised the two prongs of the fork and regardless of being either rich or seemingly poor, there was no escape.

On this hand, in 6♠, South receives the J lead.  Now, it appears that there are both heart and club losers – contract unmakable.  Although South can establish a diamond winner, just one discard on a diamond honour doesn't help.  However, there are two ways that the contract can make.

  • South might manage to avoid a heart loser; or
  • South might take two heart tricks; in this case, South can discard one club on the K and another club on a diamond honour. 

A two pronged approach!!

Judging from the opening lead, East holds the A, so at the first trick, South plays the 9 from dummy, ruffs in hand and draws trumps in one round.  Hoping that West holds the A, South then leads the 7, executing Morton's Fork: –

  • If West takes the A, declarer wins the return.  Declarer then (a) unblocks hearts, (b) trumps the A and (c) discards two clubs one on dummy's winning diamond and the other on the K.  So, in this case South loses only a heart.
  • If West ducks South's lead of the 7, declarer wins dummy's K, trumps the A, and throws the Q on the established diamond winner.  In this case South loses only a club.

Note that declarer must take care not to play a high diamond on the opening lead—South must get a discard on a diamond honour eventually, but not before West has been forced to decide whether to take the A or duck it. Only then will South know whether to discard a heart or a club on the diamond winner.