Badger Farm Bridge Club Winchester
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Bridge Tip of the Month


Some players are slower than others but there is also a lot of valuable time wasted at the Bridge table.  Always make the opening lead BEFORE you write down the contract on your scoresheet and at the end of the hand, North's number 1 priority is to enter the result on the traveller and get it checked by the opponents, NOT to fill in his own personal scorecard.


When partner opens a 12-14 1NT and you have 5-4 in the majors, with 11+ points transfer into your 5-card suit then bid your 4-card major (forcing).  With fewer than 11 points, with no aspirations towards game, use Stayman.


Try to avoid the losing Bridge practice of underleading an Ace as an opening lead against a suit contract.  Almost as bad is leading an unsupported Ace.  The lead of an Ace generally promises the King.  If you don’t have this, try to select another suit as the opening lead.


A good way to improve your Bridge playing techniques is to deal some random hands and see how suits break and cards lie.  One good one is to test out 'split honours'.  Give you and partner 13 cards each including eight spades missing the King and Queen.  Then deal the rest of the cards out randomly and see how often you would only lose one trick by finessing twice.  The odds are that you should succeed 75% of the time by doing this.

Another one you could try is to do as above but only missing the Queen.  See how often you would catch her by playing off Ace and King and see how often you would catch her by finessing.  You should find that it is much better not to play for the drop when you have only eight cards in the suit.  However, a variation on that is to have nine of a suit missing the Queen.  Normally it will be right to play for the drop rather than to take a finesse.


Whilst we have to continue maintaining Social Distancing, why not give online Bridge a try?  Bridge Base Online is free with a small charge made if you want to enter any of the club or county events that attract Master Points.


Many Declarers go wrong at Trick 1 because they play too quickly and don't plan the play.  When dummy goes down, take a few seconds to reflect whether you are in an easy or difficult contract, whether it will require some luck to make it and, if it looks easy, what are the possible dangers.  Should you win in hand, in dummy or duck the opening lead?  More haste, less speed at the start often means less time trancing during the middle of the play when things have gone wrong.


Always watch the vulnerability.  If you are vulnerable, going down can be very expensive.  Minus 200 at Pairs is nearly always a poor result.  When you are not vulnerable you can be more pushy, especially if you end up sacrificing against vulnerable opponents.  For instance going three down doubled in 5♣ non vulnerable is profitable against the opposition's vulnerable 4♠ but if you are vulnerable and the opposition are not, you cannot even afford to go two down doubled in 5♣.


The most underused word in the Bridge vocabulary by less experienced players is 'Double'.  It covers a huge range of scenarios but it is very important to have partnership agreement on whether the double is takeout or penalties.  Many more doubles are used for takeout rather than penalties compared to how it used to be.  For instance if you opened 1NT, left hand opponent jumped to say 3 and your partner doubled, what would that mean, takeout or penalties?  It's all down to partnership agreement and if you don't have agreement, you can't really do it at all.


Should you cover an honour with an honour?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no and sometimes maybe.  When you are defending, it helps to think ahead whether you consider it right or wrong to cover if Declarer plays a certain card.  If you don't think ahead, you will either play too quickly and maybe make the wrong decision or hesitate and completely give the game away.


Miscounting trumps is the downfall of many Declarers, either because they leave one out or draw one round too many.  There are two good ways of counting trumps.  One is to count them as they go but some Declarers lose track when somebody ruffs.  One good way is to count up your total trumps when you see dummy then mentally tick off the opposition trumps each time they play one.


A takeout double is probably the most useful tool in the bidding vocabulary.  Yet is is a much underused bid as many players are not sure when/when not to double and often nervous about doing so.


Continuing the theme of takeout doubles, many players do not know how to respond to it.  Rule of thumb is to respond at the lowest level with 0-7 points, jump with 8-10 points and cue bid the opposition's suit with 11+.  With a good stop in the opposition's suit, bid no trumps at the most appropriate level.  Occasionally with a very good holding in the opposition's suit, it may be appropriate to pass and turn the takeout double into penalties.


Ann Keighley

Many longstanding members will remember Ann Keighley who sadly died on Thursday the 1st of March 2018.  Ann was a keen Bridge and tennis player and a member of Badger Farm in the 80’s and 90’s, regularly partnering Wini Meikle for many years before moving to Surrey to be nearer her family.

Audrey Lee

Audrey Lee sadly died on Wednesday 3 May 2017.

Audrey was a longtime member of Badger Farm and played as often as she could though not so much in recent times due to ill health.

Audrey loved her Bridge and always played the game with good spirit and humour.  Always polite and courteous to partners and opposition alike, Audrey made Bridge fun and it was a pleasure to play with her or against her.

Lorna Fewtrell

Clare Podger gave me the sad news that Lorna Fewtrell passed away on Tuesday 30 August 2016.

I had personally known Lorna for over 33 years when she came to one of my Bridge classes though some members had known her for considerably longer than that.  Lorna was then  an original member of Badger Farm Bridge Club when it was held in Olivers Battery.  She continued to be a regular attendee right up to just a few weeks before she died and playing  good club level  Bridge at the age of 95 is no mean feat!

Lorna was always extremely polite and courteous at the Bridge table and had a great spirit in her approach to the game.  I remember running a Bridge Weekend in Weymouth in 1985 with many club members in attendance.  I partnered Lorna and although we had never played together before, we had a very sensible session and came top which I think was a great experience for both of us!

Eva Jensen

I’m sad to announce that Eva Jensen died on Thursday 18 January 2018 after being taken ill suddenly the previous weekend.

Eva was a popular member of Badger Farm and had been a regular since its start in 1984, playing in those days with Jenny Smithers.  Jane Bolwell was a best friend of Eva’s and had known her for 28 years.

I think I must have known Eva even longer than that and I will always remember her for her nice manner at the Bridge table and her cheery approach to the game which is exactly what makes Badger Farm such a friendly Bridge Club.

Eva’s regular partner in recent years was Verna Petty and although Eva had not been coming much during the last few months, she was intending to resume again in the spring and sadly that is not now to be.

Dr John Moore

I am very sad to learn of the passing of John Moore on the 1st of October 2018.  John was not a member of Badger Farm as he played at Fawley Bridge Club which also played on Tuesdays but John and I played regularly together when I first played national Bridge in the early 1980s.  We enjoyed considerable success both at county and national level and in 1983 we won the Stars and Masters, a Pairs event held in London and, later that year we won the Sobranie Teams Championship, also in London with Jeremy Baker and Garth Shilstone.

Not only was John a very good Bridge player, he was a true gentleman at the Bridge table, calm and thoughtful and always polite and courteous to the opposition.  Away from Bridge John was a keen athlete and took part in many marathons.

Connie Penfold

I am sad to report that Connie Penfold has passed away aged 92.  Christina Leach-Lewis rang me to say that Connie died on Thursday 10 January 2019.

Connie was a delightful lady.  She was always very jolly and lived life to the full and was here, there and everywhere even when she became less mobile.

I remember Connie coming to one of my seminars in Stockbridge a few years ago when we were looking at action after an opening weak no trump.  Connie overcalled 2♣ on 19 points and a four card suit.  I asked her why she hadn’t doubled but apparently she had never doubled one no trump as she thought it was too unfriendly!

Due to ill health Connie had not been able to get to Badger Farm since the summer of 2017.  I was always hoping she would come again at some point but sadly that wasn’t to be.

Stan Trussler

Andrew Beadle has emailed me to let me know that Stan Trussler sadly died on Wednesday 7 October 2015.  I gather Stan had been unwell for some time.

Andrew and Stan played very nicely together and had been a regular partnership at Badger Farm for many years until a couple of years ago and I think everyone will remember Stan for being a real gentleman at the table, always very polite and courteous.

Phil Philbrick (1918-2015)

Some of our original members will remember having a very enjoyable weekend of 'Bridge with Phil' in Weymouth organised by Phil Philbrick.  Well sadly Phil passed away on Saturday 20 June 2015 aged 96.  Phil ran many Bridge events, particularly in the 80s and 90s and I had the pleasure to run some of these with him, including a couple of Christmas and New Years in Gibraltar.  Phil was charismatic and an archetypal sergeant major, running his events with military precision.  I will miss his good sense of humour as Phil always aimed to make the Bridge friendly and fun.

Betty Weeks

I am sad to report that Betty Weeks died on 4th April 2015. Betty was 94 and had been a member of Badger Farm until she stopped playing a few years ago.  

I had personally known Betty since 1980 when I first started playing Club Bridge in Winchester and played Bridge with Betty many times.  Betty loved her Bridge which provided her with many decades of enjoyment and many friends.  She was a good spirited player and it was a shame when she had to give it up.

Juliet Edwards

Juliet Edwards sadly passed away on 16th January 2015.

Juliet had been a member of Badger Farm for around 25 years, nearly always partnering Jean White.   Jean and Juliet played well together and were a composed and thoughtful partnership but at the same time they were always polite and friendly to their opponents which is exactly what Badger Farm is all about.  We will miss Juliet's presence at Badger Farm.