Badger Farm Bridge Club Winchester
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Improve Your Bridge Workshops

Bridge workshops in Broughton Village Hall are on hold until further notice.  

As soon as it is safe to resume, I will email those who are on my email circulations.  In the meantime I am now running private sessions for groups of four at my house in Broughton.

If anyone is interested in joining in the future, please don't hesitate to contact me.

These Bridge sessions are informal, hands-on and interactive and good for extending your Bridge knowledge to the next level.  No partner required.

Further details from Fred Hotchen, tel 01794 301 185, mobile 07771 854 347 or email

Monday Pairs
Director: Fred Hotchen
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
Monday Pairs
Director: Fred Hotchen
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
Monday Pairs
Director: Fred Hotchen
Scorer: Fred Hotchen
Welcome to Badger Farm Bridge Club Winchester
Sheila Stubbings (4 April 1922 - 24 August 2022)
Sheila Stubbings (4 April 1922 - 24 August 2022)

I am sad to report the passing of Sheila Stubbings on Wednesday 24 August.  Sheila achieved an incredible milestone in April when she reached the ripe old age of 100.  

I had personally known Sheila for over forty years when I first started playing competitive Bridge.  She looked after herself very well and when Linda and I last visited her in April, it made me think that in all those years she had hardly changed at all!  

Sheila’s regular Bridge partner for many years was Jeremy Baker.  They had a very successful partnership, a highlight of which was their winning a National Pairs title in the mid-80’s.

I played in many county and national teams events with Sheila and Jeremy and in April 1982 we went to the Jersey Bridge Congress and came second in the Teams with my partner Garth Shilstone.  As well as winning lots of master points and prizes, we had a thoroughly good time away from the Bridge table with glorious weather and I will always remember this as being one of my most enjoyable Bridge experiences.

I also played Bridge with Sheila regularly for many years, often at Badger Farm.  At the Bridge table Sheila was kind and friendly to her partners and opponents alike.  She was a natural card player and often deceptively cunning.  She would come across quite unassuming but had a sting in her tail and many of her opponents foolishly underestimated her capabilities and left the table more than a little bruised. It all provided for great entertainment and amusement!

Away from the Bridge table Sheila was always fun to be with, she had a great sense of humour, she was always cheerful and interested in everything that was going on.  She was also very modest about her own background and achievements.  She originally came from a wealthy farming family in Dumfriesshire and during World War Two Sheila was parachuted into France (and later Belgium) providing intelligence to the U.K. for which she was awarded the British Empire medal. 

Linda and I had the pleasure of being part of Sheila’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2012 with her son Chris, daughters Moira and Jennifer and her wider family.  Jeremy and Anna were also invited and it was a wonderful celebration which we all thoroughly enjoyed and was a treasured memory for Sheila.

Sheila, you will be remembered with great affection by many people from Bridge and beyond.  To me personally you were a lovely Bridge partner and a good friend.

Monday afternoon Bridge in Awbridge Village Hall

Awbridge Monday afternoon Bridge is operating as a satellite of Badger Farm Bridge Club.  Membership is £5 and includes membership of the English Bridge Union until 31 March 2023.  As an affiliated club, Awbridge Monday afternoon Bridge also attracts masterpoints.

Our September session was won by Paul and Ruth Varner with a score of 58.3%.  There was a slam on board 15.  Several bid to 6NT but Anne and Jill reached 7NT which Anne made on a squeeze.  Well done Anne!

The next session will be on Monday 10 October at the usual venue, Awbridge Village Hall, Romsey Road, Awbridge, providing there is a minimum of three tables.

Please arrive by 1.20 for a 1.30 start.  The session will end by 4.30.  Table money is £4 for members and £5 for non-members, collected at the start of the session.  

You can come with a partner but if you don’t have one, partners can be found either in advance or on the day.  I appreciate knowing in advance if you are coming so I have an idea of numbers though it is not necessary to do so.

Fred Hotchen

Tel: 01794 301 185 or 07771 854 347

Awbridge Hand of the Month - Monday 11 April 2022

The above hand (board 14) seemed to provide more than its fair share of anguish in the Awbridge April duplicate.

Depending on bidding systems, the bidding would have varied but an opening 2NT would be popular by many players.  Responses by North would have been geared to locating a 4-4 fit in one of the majors, either using ordinary Stayman, otherwise Puppet Stayman or Baron, all bids of 3♣.  In the above example a reply of 3NT by opener would have been appropriate opposite Baron or Puppet Stayman, both showing no interest in either major.

One South decided to open 1♣, not wrong, but unfortunate as West made a weak jump overcall in spades which was passed back to South who then made a takeout double.  North then bid 3 and played there.  Not ideal.  Another pair somehow found their way to 6NT which was way too high and went four off.  Not sure how that happened.  3NT was the normal and sensible contract but nevertheless provided most Declarers with difficulties.  Let's therefore take a look at the play...

Hands like these are not easy as there is no obvious line and to some extent the outcome is dependent on what the opposition does.

A spade lead was commonplace.  The correct card is the ten.  That is 'top of an interior sequence' though many players these days play 'strong tens' against no trumps so if the 10 is led, it promises a higher honour (not the Jack).  Some Declarers covered with the Jack which was the first mistake as playing this card cannot be beneficial to Declarer in any way.  West would hardly have been leading the 10 from KQ10.  Anyway for those who didn't cover, the Queen then appeared from the East hand and Declarer now has to make a decision whether to win or duck.

Let's say Declarer wins.  Looking at all four hands, nine tricks are now there - Two spades, four clubs, two diamonds and a heart.  Easier when you can see all four hands rather than at the table but if you count your tricks and place the cards correctly, it all falls into place.

Now let's say Declarer ducks which happened at one table I watched.  East switched to a diamond and Declarer played the ten beaten by the Jack and Ace.  Declarer lost a club trick but didn't make the Jack of spades as the defence attacked diamonds instead and Declarer went one down.  Nine tricks can be made on the diamond switch.  Playing the 10 is a fruitless exercise as East is bound to have the Jack or the Queen.  The winning line is to play the 8 and finesse against the 9.  This takes the Jack and Ace as before but now Declarer can make the 10 of diamonds by finessing against the Queen.  This is the correct way to counter the diamond attack - Once the 8 of diamonds finesse succeeds, Declarer can now play for 'split honours' whereby West will have either the Queen or the Jack 75% of the time, a pretty good bet.  The nine tricks now come from one spade, one heart, three diamonds and four clubs.

3NT can always be made with careful play.  The difficulty is that there is no obvious line of play or source of tricks.  Declarer has to respond to whatever the opposition throw at him and delicately keep the hand under control then, one way or another, he will come to nine tricks.  Communication between the hands is not all that easy so any strong lines of play may result in difficulty getting between the hands.  At the same time, the defence also have issues and can easily get overactive and let the contract through so a bit of a tricky hand all round.

Awbridge Hand of the Month - Monday 14 March 2022

♣ The above hand appeared in the Awbridge duplicate pairs and is one of the most crazy hands I have seen and it was not even computer generated!

I watched it being bid and played at three tables but I'm quite sure that if it was played at a hundred tables, everyone would have done something different!

At the first table East opened 1♠.  Personally I would have opened 2♣.  Anyway, after a pass by South, West jumped to 4♣ which I presumed was a splinter.  I went round to have a look and was amazed to see nine clubs and four diamonds.  I was busy wondering why West would pre-empt with this hand, especially opposite partner's opening bid.  However it soon became apparent that 4♣ was intended as Gerber to which East answered 4.  West then continued with 4NT.  I don't know what that was meant to be but East replied 5♣ which West raised to 6♣.  East now went into a short huddle and bid 6♠, the final resting place.  Fairly quickly Declarer went five down for a score of minus 250.

I couldn't resist following the board to the next table where the bidding started the same with 1♠ but there the similarities ended.  South decided to jump to 3, possibly a little dubious at this vulnerability.  West continued quietly with 4♣ but then North piped up with 4.  East quickly reached for the double card but just as quickly South continued uneasily to 5 and West then also pulled out the double card which ended the auction.  5 doubled went for 1400.

Without making it too obvious, I loitered near the next table to see what they would make of all this.  This time East opened 1 followed by a pass and West jumped to 5♣.  East now bid 5♠ which was passed out and went three off.

Unfortunately I didn't witness any of the other auctions but inevitably I was asked how I would have bid the two hands.  Well for starters I would have opened 2♣ on the East hand as it has huge playing strength.  As West I would bid 3♣, obviously a game forcing situation so no need to jump anywhere at this stage.  East would bid 3♠, West would continue with 4♣ and East would now bid 4

Much as I would like to ask for Aces, no suit has been agreed and I would worry that some partners might pass this.  Without any easy way of finding out about the Ace of clubs, I would probably jump to 6♣ and have done with it. 

As for the play and being in the right spot, you might as well be spinning the roulette wheel.  On my auction, East would be Declarer so South would be on lead.  North may have made a 'Lightner Double' asking for South to make an unusual lead, hoping his partner will find a diamond lead for him to ruff.  That would result in 6♣ doubled probably going three down, an initial diamond ruff, the Ace of trumps and two more diamond losers.  However, if South leads a heart or a spade, Declarer has the possibility of discarding all four of his diamonds and losing just the Ace of trumps, though he might not be aware he needs to do this - He might just discard two diamonds and when South gets in with the Ace of trumps, he might lead a diamond and give his partner a ruff.

For anyone playing in clubs from the West hand, a trump lead would kill the contract as Declarer would have no access to dummy.  On a major suit lead, Declarer has a similar opportunity to discard all his diamonds on Ace of spades and Ace, King, Queen of hearts, South ruffing the Queen of hearts with the Ace of trumps!  But again, would Declarer really know he had to do this?  If he throws two diamonds, he probably thinks it is now time to draw trumps but South wins the Ace and can give North a diamond ruff.

What about a dubious contract of 6NT?  On a heart lead, Declarer throws a couple of diamond losers but maintains vital access with that valuable singleton diamond.  Obviously North can't lead a diamond as he doesn't have any but a club lead would destroy 6NT providing South continues with a diamond.

At the table where South played in 5 doubled I was amused to see the opening lead of the 5 of clubs, the first time I've ever seen a lead of 9th highest!

Interesting when you realise that with this incredible hand, on correct defence, any slam is impossible and the only game that can be made with reasonable ease is 3NT but it would be inconceivable to play there.  The most likely game contract is 5♣ which is easy to let through at the table.  However, if you can see all four hands, the only way to make it against perfect defence is quite incredible.

A heart or spade lead by North concedes the contract at trick 1, obviously a diamond lead is not possible so it has to be a club lead.  South wins with his Ace  and best defence is to play back the Queen of diamonds.  If North ruffs he has to play a heart or spade and Declarer makes his contract.  North therefore refuses to ruff so Declarer now draws the outstanding trump.  The key play now is to exit with a low diamond.  South wins but whatever diamond he returns, Declarer can now make his 9 to make his contract so 5♣ cannot be beaten on optimum defence and Declarer play.

Bridge for fun online

What's the biggest score you've ever achieved on a single hand?  I think a grand slam redoubled and vulnerable losing all 13 tricks must be the max and that would 'achieve' minus 7600 though in practice, quite an improbable score!

The above hand looks fairly innocuous.  Nobody can make a game and you would expect one side or the other to end up in a part-score, certainly not 7NT redoubled!  Let me explain.

Having got bored with Candy Crush, out of curiosity I thought I'd try playing a few hands on BBO (Bridge Base Online) where you can just join a casual game with three other unknown players.  Not sure how the scoring works but it is 'imps' so some kind of teams scoring and when I joined I found myself partnering Isabella from Italy whose current score was minus 52 imps.  I don't know if this is why her previous partner had left the table but anyway we played a couple of hands and I quickly realised nobody had much beyond a basic understanding that it was Strong No Trump, Stayman, Transfers and weak Twos.

On the first hand I watched Isabella play herself off in a cold 3NT and on the second hand the opposition could have bid a lucky slam but only got as far as 3 Clubs.

The above hand then came up and I hoped I might be able to reach a decent contract, maybe in spades or No Trumps.  However, I was fourth caller and Lois from the USA opened a strong No Trump to my left which was passed round to me so I doubled.  It was then passed round to Leo from Poland who bid 2 Clubs.  Much as I would like to have bid something, I was on best behaviour so I refrained and Lois bid 2 Hearts.  Partner passed and Leo bid 3 Clubs but Lois was having none of that and bid 3NT.  I didn't really know what was going on but I was just contemplating a friendly double but before I had the chance, the already bizarre bidding went completely crackers when Leo raised to 7NT.  Well I couldn't resist that so I doubled but that wasn't quite the end of the auction as the redouble card then landed on the table!  Partner led a small diamond but by the time dummy appeared, a robot appeared in the East seat and Leo had vanished, probably with a few Polish swear words!

It wasn't too difficult to defeat the contract.  Declarer won the first trick, switched to the King of hearts.  I didn't bother to duck, played the King of spades then returned partner's suit and, after running it, bless her she returned a spade, not the Queen unfortunately but Declarer had discarded the Jack of spades from dummy and the 7 and 10 from her own hand so I was able to 'risk' the 9 then play the Ace to crash partner's Queen and collect several more spade winners.  7NT redoubled went 10 down for minus 5800.  I don't remember ever scoring anything even half that and I'm always quite happy with an occasional plus 800.

Nothing so spectacular has happened since but the random deals online are often quite entertaining and from someone who never wanted to play online, I actually quite enjoy it.  These casual games are free by the way and you can also play with your own partner so a good opportunity to have a practice and make sure you don't have any similar misunderstandings.  Despite the above fiasco the standard of Bridge is variable though not unreasonable but obviously the bidding is pretty unsophisticated.  I haven't yet tried playing with a regular partner but if you are playing against another regular partnership I expect you would get a better game.