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Committee: 2023-2024


President: Bridie Kirwan

Vice President: Susan Mc Nulty


Chairperson;Geraldine O'Hagan

Hon.Secretary: Malcolm Goldsworthy

Hon. Treasurer: Sean Newcomen

Joe Bissett

Mary Browne

Phyllis Carew

Seamus Costello

Marie Kenny

Rita McGoey

Susan Mc Nulty

Marie O'Shea

Brendan Sheridan  

Kate Tammemagi

Deirdre Tuckey

Last Meeting : Friday April 5 2024

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Hand of the Week
This page has information and news of interest to the members. For a full list of forthcoming events, see "Calendar" on the menu and for a list of results see "Results".
Board No. 16 Tuesday morning 14th July

Board No.16 is likely to be played in 4♠ by South. North with a 4-4-4-1 shape hand will open 1 if following the rule that you open the middle ranking suit wihen you have a Black singleton and you open 1♣ with a Red singleton. West on lead is likely to lead a Club and against a suit contract and the correct lead from a holding of QJxx is the Q in a suit contract as you don't want to be giving a soft trick to the 10. An alternative lead would be a trump. On this hand no matter what the lead declarer should see that it is a classic Cross Ruff hand. Go to Answer for how the hand should be played.

On any lead declarer can come to 11 tricks playing the hand on a cross ruff. Suppose as we said West leads a Club, declarer will now follow the proper technique for a cross ruff by cashing his outside winners first and then ruffing losers in each hand in turn. Trick 1 is won by the ♣A in hand and the 3 is played to the A at trick 2. Declarer now played asmall Heart from dummy and when East played small, finessed the 10. When that won the A was cashed and the ♣2 was ruffed in dummy with the ♠3, declarer noted the fall of the ♣K from East as this probably indicated a doubleton and any subsequent club ruff would have to be high so as to prevent an over-ruff. Next the 4 was ruffed by ♠8 in hand, followed by the ♣3 ruffed in dummy with the ♠Q, follow by the 6 ruffed in hand with the ♠9, followed by the ♣7 ruffed in dummy by the ♠A and now declarer still had the ♠K and ♠J for two more tricks giving a total of eleven and the defenders took the two remaining tricks.

Last updated : 14th Jul 2020 15:29 BST
Board No.2 Tuesday Morning 14th July

On Board 2 the contract is likely to be 4♠ played by West. West knows that East has a minimum hand with at least 5-card Heart suit and a 4-card Spade suit and will be thinking that most of East's HCP's will be in Hearts and therefore it would be risky to go beyond game level. North has no better lead than ♣2 and now go to the Answer for how the hand should be played.

Declarer in making a plan can see one loser in trumps, none in Hearts, none in Diamonds and none in Clubs as one of the losers will go on the A and the other can be ruffed, assuming a 3-2 divide of the outstanding trumps. Following the ♣2 opening lead by North, declarer won trick 1 with the ♣A after South contributed the ♣K. At trick 2 declarer lead the ♠J and now it doesn't matter what North plays thirteen tricks are in the bag. Suppose North plays the ♠4, now delarer lets the ♠J run and will continue another trump on which North has to play the ♠K. Now declarer wins with the ♠A and takes out the remaining trump from South. Next the A on which a losing club is discarded and this is followed by running five Diamond tricks, ♣Q and a club ruff in Dummy. The final trump in declarer's hand is the thirteenth trick. Suppose on the other hand at trick 2 that North plays the ♠K, then declarer wins with the ♠A, cashes two more rounds of trumps and proceeds as above for thirteen tricks.

Last updated : 14th Jul 2020 14:45 BST
C.V. shows his skill in leading.

The Rt. Hon. Cirus Virona (C.V.) was playing with Sir Charles Webb-Mitchell in the Past President's Trophy in the new Bridge Centre in Bridgetown. It was one of the premier events in the calendar and this year 80 pairs were competing for the trophy. The first session had gone well for C.V. and Sir Charles and they were lying in 2nd place and only 2.4% behind the leaders. At the start of the second session C.V. and Sir Charles found themselves playing against the leaders from the first session. After the pleasantries were concluded South opened the bidding with 1, C.V. in the West seat made a Take-Out Double, North jumped to 4 and all passed. What card do you think C.V. led?

C.V. was not only an expert declarer, he was also very astute when it came to making opening leads, having studied Card Play Technique by Mollo and Gardener for many years. C.V. knew that most players would lead the A, because it is relatively safe, and it allows the leader to see dummy and decide what to play next. With 15 HCP's himself C.V. couldn't see Sir Charles holding any worthwhile cards and decided against the lead of A as he felt it would give away the tempo to declarer, who would be able to establish diamonds before the ♠A and ♠K have been forced out. C.V. thus led the ♠Q, the only card to defeat the contract. C.V. knew it ran a risk for sometimes in this situation dummy might hold ♠ K10 x or ♠ A10 x, however, he reasoned that Sir Charles was more likely to hold the ♠10 than the Q. C.V. and Sir Charles did have another very good session, however, on this occasion finished second overall, the winners being two ladies from Bridgetown itself.

Last updated : 18th May 2020 22:31 BST
Sir Charles shows Timing and Control

Rt. Hon. Cirus Vorona (C.V.) and his partner Sir Charles Webb-Mitchell had entered for the Willie McQuillan Cup which was being played in the new Bridge Centre in Bridgetown. The premises was a state-of-the-art building which quickly came under the eye of the Bridge Association as a possible venue for National events. C.V. said to Sir Charles "I think if in the future a bar was added it would enhance the Centre even more." C.V. has always extolled the health benifits of a glass or two of port at evening time. On the second round they faced two of the best card players in Bridgetown and after greeting one another and announcing their respective systems, Sir Charles sitting South opened the bidding with 1♠. West overcalled 2 and C.V. responded 2♠. Following East's pass, Sir Charles jumped to 4♠ and this ended the auction. West led the  A and shifted to the ♣10 at trick two. How do you think Sir Charles made his contract against such strong opposition?

Sir Charles as always made a plan. He could see four losers, one in hearts, two in diamonds as surely the K was with West, and one in clubs. Sir Charles knew that he was going to have to end-play West, otherwise his contract was doomed. Having studied the most excellent of books on card play, Card Play Technique by Mollo and Gardener, Sir Charles allowed the ♣10 to win. Winning the club continuation at trick three, in hand, with the ♣K, Sir Charles crossed over to dummy with a trump and led the 8 which he ruffed. Next he drew trumps and then he played a club to the ♣A in dummy and led the Q on which he discarded the 2. West on winning found himself having to lead a diamond into Sir Charles A-Q or concede a ruff and discard. C.V. looked across the table and said "Well played partner." Sir Charles' opponents were full of praise for his excellent play.

Last updated : 21st Apr 2020 14:14 BST
Sir Charles shows his technique

The Rt. Hon. Cirus Vorona (C.V.) was playing with Sir Charles Webb-Mitchell in the Club Pairs Championship. C.V. knew they had a fair chance of winning provided that their bidding was reliable. C.V. had long held the view that bidding accounted for much more of the match-points gained than did card play. C.V. knew he could play and defend to a high level of expertise, and he could rely on Sir Charles too, for they had both studied Card Play Technique by Mollo and Gardener.

At the third round of play C.V. and Sir Charles were sitting North-South and their opponents were two of the best players in the club. Having greeted each another and announced their basic systems, West opened the bidding with 1, C.V. passed as did East and Sir Charles entered the bidding with  a take-out double. West passed and C.V. bid 2, East passed and now Sir Charles jumped to 3♠ to show an excellent spade suit and a hand with five losers. West passed and C.V. was now well placed to judge and so bid 4♠ which was passed by all.

West led the ♣K and East played an encouraging ♣7. How do you think Sir Charles handled matters as declarer?

Sir Charles in making his plan could count six spade tricks and the ♣A and A and as West opened the bidding the diamond finesse was likely to be right. That was nine tricks and there was little hope of a heart trick. Sir Charles was aware that the defenders were threatening to take one club trick, one diamond trick and two heart tricks. He decided his best line of play was to set up the diamond suit for heart discards and needed to find them breaking 3-2 and as long as West didn't have three diamonds to the KJ10, his plan would work ok. Sir Charles had to prevent East from gaining the lead as surely a heart would be played. With this in mind Sir Charles ducked the opening lead and won trick two with the ♣A. Next he drew trumps and played a small diamond, when West played the 7, Sir Charles finessed the Q and when it won played his third club and ruffed it in hand. Another small diamond and when West played the K, Sir Charles ducked it in dummy. West now has to cash his A otherwise Sir Charles makes an overtrick as he would have been able to discard both hearts on the long diamonds in dummy. C.V. acknowledged Sir Charles' fine play with "Well played partner."

Last updated : 12th Apr 2020 15:55 BST
C.V. at the helm No. 4

The Rt. Hon. Cirus Vorona (C.V.) was playing with his usual partner Sir Charles Webb-Mitchell in one of the Regional Open events, The Tom Lane Trophy. Board 6 presented itself with C.V. the dealer who opened 1♠, pass on his left and Sir Charles responded 2and this was passed to C.V. who rebid 2. Back around to Sir Charles who bid 3NT as he could see no better bid at this stage. Next C.V. bid 4♠ as he knew he was now showing a hand with a 6-card spade suit and a 4-card heart suit. Sir Charles now seen his hand in a much better light and bid 5♠ asking C.V. if he had a little more than he had already shown. C.V. could see he had and also he had a great belief in his own card play, having studied Card Play Technique by Mollo and Gardener since he first began playing bridge. West led the K. so how do you think C.V. made the contract?

C.V. as always began in making a plan. He counted his losers, one in trumps assuming the outstanding spades divided 3-2, none in hearts, none in diamonds and none in clubs, 1 loser only, so what could go wrong? C.V. on winning the first trick thought what if I ruff a heart; cash the ♣A and ruff a club in hand; ruff another heart; return to hand with a further club ruff and then play two rounds of trumps and then play on diamonds, hoping that two rounds stand up. Then on the third diamond, discard the losing heart, conceding one trump trick. C.V. knew that this line fails when the diamonds divide 4-1 and the hand with the singleton has the outstanding trump. Now a heart will be lost. It will also fail when the outstanding hearts are divided 6-2 or worse and the hand with the hearts short also has only two trumps. Now two trumps tricks will be lost.

C.V. could see the safe way to make the contract, providing the trumps divided 3-2. He simply ducked a trump at trick 2, retaining a trump in dummy in case of a heart continuation. It now doesn't matter what the opposition continue, C.V. wins and draws trumps and with the diamonds behaving no worse than 4-1 the contract is assured as he discards his losers on those lovely diamonds. The hand proved vital as it gave him and Sir Charles a top and they went on to win the Tom Lane Trophy.

Last updated : 1st Apr 2020 20:43 BST
C.V. at the helm No.3

The Rt. Hon. Cirus Vorona (C.V), member of parliament for Lebensohl South East, cut quite a dash with the ladies in the club, who admired not just his expert bridge technique, but also his charming manners. His partner Sir Charles Webb-Mitchell was quite a dandy too and he always had a clove carnation in the lapel of his Savile Row suits. Here again we see C.V. as declarer in a contract of 3NT.

C.V. opened 1NT (he had always admired the Weak No Trump and had little time for those who espoused Strong). Sir Charles responded 2♣ (Stayman) and following C.V.'s 2, Sir Charles jumped to Game in No Trumps. West led the ♠6. How do you think C.V. played to assure making nine tricks?

C.V. in making his plan could count two tricks in spades if he played small on the opening lead, one in hearts, three in diamonds and four or five in clubs if he finessed the right way or the ♣Q might present itself when the suit was first led. C.V. knew the quality of his opponents and thought to himself  'what if East won with the ♠K and then switched to a heart, the contract could be in danger'. C.V., as we know had studied Card Play Technique by Mollo and Gardener for years, won the first trick with the ♠A and then tabled the ♣K at trick 2 and this was followed by the ♣J, finessing into West. C.V. didn't mind losing this trick for he knew if West continues with spades he will then get 10 tricks and should he switch to another suit he is assured of 9 tricks. 

Last updated : 26th Mar 2020 21:25 GMT
C.V. at the helm No. 2

The Rt. Hon. Cirus Vorona (C.V.) was playing in the club with his regular partner Sir Charles Webb-Mitchell. C.V. had introduced Sir Charles to Card Play Technique by Mollo and Gardener when they first started playing together and after some study Sir Charles was now considered to be a most excellent player. On this hand C.V. finds himself in 4♠ after his opponent East had opened the bidding with 1. C.V. overcalled 1♠  and after West passed Sir Charles jumped to 4♠. How do you think C.V. made ten tricks after West led the  2?

C.V. in making a plan could see 1 loser in trumps, 1 in diamonds and possibly 2 in hearts. C.V. knew that the lead of the  2 suggested West was leading from three or four cards to an honour and therefore, if he won the first trick with the  A and then played on trumps, East who was very likely to have the Ace would win and return a high diamond to West who would win with the  K and then switch to a  . This as you can see will lead to the contract being defeated. C.V. knew immediately what to do, having learned the required technique from studing Mollo and Gardener. He simply allowed East to win the first trick. Now East can do no better than take his ♠ A and his  A and of course if he doesn't take the  A he will not get it as declarer's hearts will go on the long clubs in dummy. C.V. has always been a great advocate of the need to make a plan once dummy's hand is placed on the table and it has always served him well.

Last updated : 20th Mar 2020 20:19 GMT
C.V. at the helm No. 1

The following hand was played by the Rt. Hon. Cirus Vorona (C.V.), member of parliament for Lebensohl South East. The bidding was straightforward, C.V. opened a weak NT (12-14 HCP's) and North rolled out good old Stayman. C.V. responded 2 and North raised to Game by bidding 3NT. West led the ♠ K, so how do you think C.V. played the hand?

In making a plan C.V. could count eight winners, one in spades, two in hearts, two in diamonds and three in clubs. There was also good chances of an extra trick in the red suits and hearts appear to be the better option because you can guarantee an extra trick in that suit by knocking out the  Q. The only danger is losing four spade tricks as well as the  Q. This can only happen if one defender holds five spades. So C.V. knowledgeable in the Rule of 7, (The rule of 7 states that when holding the Ace of a suit led by the defending side, you hold up playing the Ace depending on the number of cards you hold in that suit. e.g. if you hold six cards in the suit between your hand and dummy's then you subtract 6 from 7 and hold up for one round, should you hold five cards in the suit then you subtract 5 from 7 and hold up for two rounds) decided to cut the defenders' communications, by holding up his ♠ A until the 3rd round of spades. On winning with the ♠ A, C.V. played the  8 and when West played the  3 C.V. finessed the  10. He didn't mind losing a trick to East, for if he held another spade then the suit was breaking 4-4 and would only lose three spade tricks and one heart. Here C.V. was rewarded for his knowledge and made ten tricks, 3NT +1.   

Last updated : 17th Mar 2020 23:12 GMT
Nicely Played at John Lane Cup 2017

Following two passes West opened with a Tartan 2 bid, showing a 5-card Heart suit and a 5-card minor. North with a very shapely hand overcalled 2♠ , Pass by East and raised to 4♠ by South. When it came around to East he, faster than lightening, Doubled and this was passed all round. East led 9, smal from dummy and from West and declarer won with the A. Declarer led the ♠3 and when East played the 7, he played dummy's ♠8 which won the trick. This was the key play as declarer had reasoned that in view of the Double from East that was the hand likely to be long in trumps. Now Dummy's ♣A was played and followed by the ♣8 to the King. Declarer continued with Clubs discarding a heart from dummy. On the fourth Club by declarer, East ruffed in with the ♠Q and declarer discarded 8. East now played his second Heart and on winning the trick West shifted to a Diamond. Declarer ruffed this and simply continued to play Clubs. There was nothing East could do and only won one further trick with the trump Ace. Declarer made 4♠X, losing two trump tricks and a Heart trick.

Last updated : 16th Feb 2017 22:25 GMT
Simple Duck

Contract 4 and West leads the ♠ Q. When planning the play declarer (you) can see that you can probably lose two spades, a diamond and a club. Watch what happens if you win the trick with the ♠A. Your plan to ruff a spade won't work as the defender that wins the trick will immediately play a trump and any thoughts of playing a club so as to establish a discard on the ♣K in dummy won't work as you have no way back. The solution is to duck the opening lead and now West has a dilemma. If he leads a trump, the ♠A will be an entry for the ♣K after you have forced out the Ace; and if he leads a spade to kill the entry to dummy you will be able to ruff the third round of spades.    

Last updated : 15th Jul 2016 15:02 GMT
Playing in the right order.

After the lead of ♠ K declarer can see eight tricks on top and the ninth could come from the diamond finesse or various possible plays in the club suit. Playing for the drop in clubs is not the best percentage play of the club combination in isolation, but by cashing your top cards in the suit where the missing honour is more likely to fall and then finessing in the other suit, you give yourself the best chance of nine tricks without losing the lead. 

Last updated : 8th Mar 2016 12:52 GMT
Discovery by counting distribution

Against 4, West leads the ♣A and continues with ♣K and ♣4 ruffed by East who returns a trump. (Note: East here showed a doubleton first playing the ♣9 and at trick two played the ♣3). Having lost the first three tricks declarer now knows that the success of the contract depends on finding the Q. Declarer takes the trick in dummy with K, plays the ♠Q to the ♠A and ruffs a spade. Next he plays a trump to J, West discarding a club, and ruffs another spade, West again discarding a club. These ruffs didn't bring any extra tricks, but they served to uncover the the distribution of the opponent's cards. Since West is now known to be 2-1-5-5, declarer should play West who has more diamonds than East (5 v 2), to have the Q. Declarer plays a trump to the A, next plays the J and if not covered by West, runs it. Contract made.

Last updated : 8th Dec 2015 19:48 GMT
Rule of 11

WHAT HAPPENED: West led 6. Declarer rose with the K in dummy and then led to the AKQ, but with the suit failing to break 3-3, soon found he could not make more than his eight top tricks and the contract was down one.

The RULE OF 11 is more than a guideline it is mathematically foolproof. It is used, when the opening lead is the 4th best card, by 3rd hand (partner of the opening leader) and by the declarer. Here is how it works: (a) subtract the size of the lead from 11. (b) the answer tells you how many cards higher than the lead are in the other three hands (apart from leader's). (c) look at your hand and dummy's and count up how many cards are higher than the lead. From this work out how many cards higher are in the other hand.  

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN: LEAD: 6. Apply the rule of 11 to the 6. (a) 11-6 = 5. (b) there are five cards higher than the 6 in the North, East and your own hand (South). (c) Declarer can see the North South hands have five cards higher than the 6, which means East cannot have a card higher than the 6. Therefore the 10 will win the first trick. So declarer can play the 10 and now cash the remaining eight top tricks. Contract made.

Last updated : 1st Oct 2015 20:41 GMT
Hand from Tuesday 24 Mar 2015

East plays in 4♠ and South led Q. In making a plan, declarer can see that there is 1 or 2 losers in trumps, although when missing two honours you can play for split honours, i.e. one to be with North and one to be with South, in which case one trick will be lost. No heart or diamond losers as you have plenty of trumps and one or possibly two losers in clubs as you may be restricted ruffing in dummy should the outstanding trumps divide 3-1. 

Declarer should win the first trick in hand with the K and next play a trump towards dummy with the intention of finessing the Jack. As it happens South plays the ♠K which is won with the ♠A in dummy. Another small trump comes next which North wins with the ♠Q. North now plays the K on which declarer wins with dummy's A. Now take out the remaining trump from North by leading the ♠J from dummy. Cash the A and then play a club to the ♣A and next play the ♣K. Next lead the 10 and ruff with dummy's last trump. Then lead your last Club from dummy and North can do no better than play the ♣Q and you win the last three tricks with two trumps and the ♣10, making the contract plus 1.

Last updated : 26th Mar 2015 18:35 GMT
Trump Management and Timing

This hand is taken from Monday night's competition and demonstrates two important techniques, 1. Trump Management and 2. Timing.

Following three passes South opened 1, North responded 3 showing four card support and 10-12 pts. South bid 4 which was passed all round and West led a club. Declarer made a plan and went about the play in expert fashion. East won the first trick with ♣A and played back a club which declarer won with the ♣K. Next the J was successfully finessed and then a spade played to the King which West won with ♠A. West got of lead with the 7 and declarer won East's J with the A. Declarer played a trump to dummy's Ace and although the King of trumps was still at large, declarer was in total control. The K was followed by a diamond ruff, West declined to over-ruff. Declarer next played the ♠Q and then ruffed a spade in dummy. Another diamond from dummy and ruffed with declarers last trump and over-ruffed by West. Dummy scored the last two tricks with a trump and the fifth diamond. 

Last updated : 23rd Dec 2014 11:00 GMT
Working out the Opening Lead

South plays in 3NT and West leads 6. The natural-looking plan is to duck the lead, East will win and shift to the ♣J to set up three club tricks for his side and will score another heart or diamond trick to defeat the contract. The declarer, who recently had read a book on opening leads, analysed it and realised that the 6 is not a fourth best as he held six higher hearts between his own hand and dummy's hand and only five are possible by the Rule of Eleven, if it were a normal lead. Winning with A, he ducked a diamond. East won with the J and shifted to the ♣J, however, declarer was in control, winning with the ♣A he now played on diamonds. Declarer made four diamonds, three spades, A and ♣A for the contract. Note: the 9 is a fourth-round stopper.

Last updated : 4th Nov 2014 17:36 GMT
Ducking to preserve an entry.

South plays in 6♠ and West leads the J. In making your plan to get 12 tricks, you immediately notice you have 11 winners and 2 losers, i.e. a club and a diamond. You must aim to establish dummy's club suit, so you can discard the diamond loser. You win the the heart lead and draw trumps in three rounds. If your next move is to play a club to the Ace, you will go down. You will not have made full use of the ♣A. Instead you should duck the first round of clubs, playing a low club from both hands. In this way you will preserve dummy's ♣A as an entry on the second round of clubs. East wins the first round of clubs and switches to the J. You win with the K, saving dummy's A as a later entry to dummy. You cross to the ♣A and ruff a club in your hand. The clubs break 3-2, you are pleased to see, and the club ruff establishes the suit. You now cross over to the A to play one of the good clubs, throwing your diamond loser. Slam made.

Last updated : 15th Aug 2014 18:12 GMT

The term AVOIDANCE is given to any tactical manoeuvre designed to keep one particular defender, known as the 'danger' hand, from obtaining the lead.

South plays in 4 after the bidding shown. Whereas South held a balanced hand in the range 12-14 HCP's and therefore could have opened 1NT, he correctly opened 1 as he held a good 5-card suit and could then rebid the suit. Holding a poor 5-card major (e.g. J9764 or Q8432 in the range 12-14 HCP's it is best to open 1NT as the suit is not rebiddable. West decided to lead from his long suit and led the ♠6. Declarer saw he could afford to lose a spade, a heart and a club, but that it was essential to keep West from obtaining the lead again for what might be a fatal club switch. When East played the ♠K he allowed it to hold - the first move to prevent West from getting in. Winning the next spade, the declarer did not make the mistake of playing the trump Ace, a pseudo-safety play, but ran the 8. It was possible that West might hold four trumps to the queen. When the 8 won, the 10 was finessed, and the K cashed, and declarer came back to his hand with the K, drew the remaining trump, and made the diamonds to score eleven tricks. 

Note: it was perfectly safe for declarer to run the 8. Had East held the Q, he could win the trick, but could do no harm to the declarer. 

Last updated : 3rd Jul 2014 14:09 GMT
Ruffing High

South plays in 4 and West leads the J. South when making his plan sees he will lose two diamond tricks, the Ace of trumps and there is a likelyhood of losing a club trick also.

The play: On the J declarer plays dummy's 3 and East makes an attitude signal by playing 8 (high card says "I like") and declarer the 2. The10 is continued and East takes this with the K and then plays A which declarer ruffs. Declarer next cashes ♣A and ♣K and then ruffs the ♣7 in dummy. If declarer plays a trump now, West will take his Ace and give East a club ruff. Instead, declarer should come back to hand by ruffing a spade and the ruff his ♣Q with dummy's last trump.

Note: Did you notice that East could have defeated the contract, when winning the 2nd trick with the K he then switches to a trump. However, the trump switch is unlikely.

Last updated : 8th Apr 2014 13:19 GMT
Easily Overlooked

Sometimes the play is so simple that we overlook it. In this example South ended in a contract of 4♠ and the opening lead is the A. At first glance we see declarer has five trump tricks, four club tricks and the A, giving ten tricks. The Play: The declarer, obliged to ruff the heart lead, is reduced to four trumps. He cashed dummy's two Ace-Kings, but can only return to hand by ruffing another heart. With the trumps breaking 4-2, East is left with the odd trump and the contract fails. incidently with 6 cards missing, they will break 3-3 36% of the time and 4-2 48% of the time.

Declarer was obsessed with the idea of cashing the two club winners that had become established, but it is just as good to ruff them! At trick two the declarer must cash the A, then ♣A and ♣K. The contract is now cold. Declarer next ruffs a heart, ruffs the ♣J with trump King, heart ruff back to hand and ruffs the ♣Q with the trump Ace and ten tricks made. Declarer makes seven trump tricks as well as A and ♣A and K.

Last updated : 6th Mar 2014 10:58 GMT
Establishing a Side-suit
West leads the Q against South's 4contract. Declarer in making his plan sees that he has five potential losers i.e. one spade, one diamond, and three clubs. So in order for the contract to succeed must reduce his losers to three and the long spade suit in dummy can be established to park two losers from declarer's hand.
Declarer wins trick 1 with the A and leads a spade to dummy and finesses the Queen. That wins, so he continues with the ♠A and then a third round of spades is ruffed in hand with the A. East and West have each followed three times to the spades, so dummy's two remaining spades are winners. Declarer now cashed the K, then played 2 to dummy's 9 and followed this with the J so as to remove the last trump from the defenders, and declarer  was careful  to play the 10 on the Jack so as to remain in dummy. Now dummy's two spade winners are played and declarer discards a losing diamond and a losing club from hand and so making ten tricks.
Last updated : 13th Feb 2014 11:32 GMT
Mick's first game of bridge

I had arranged to meet my friend Bill at a local club, after he had finished playing in his weekly duplicate bridge tournament. I arrived to find him a little agitated, his partner Fred had received word of a domestic crisis (the premature birth of his first child) and, somewhat reluctantly, had left.

“It’s the last hand of the session”, said Bill, “and you will have to take Fred’s place”.

“But I've never played the game” I protested. “Never mind”, Bill explained, “just tell me what cards you have in your hand, keeping the bids as low as possible. The pair bidding the highest gets to play the hand – then it’s just a question of taking tricks, like Whist”.

Now Whist I understand, so, somewhat relieved, I sat down in the South seat. We each picked up our hands and I found myself looking at:

♠ J2

♥ 432


♣ A

I had to bid first, so of course I said “One Club”. West said “One Spade”, “Two Hearts” said Bill. East and West had nothing more to say as the bidding continued:

Me - “Two Spades” (Bill pulled out a card which said “Alert”, I thought I was!)

Bill – “Three clubs”

Me - “Three Hearts”

Bill - “Four No-Trumps”

This gave me an anxious moment. I didn't appear to have any of them!

However I recovered and gaily finished describing my hand with “Seven Diamonds”.

They all looked at me strangely, before West, with a pitiful expression on his face, said “Double”.

West led the ♠ K and Bill put his cards on the table:

♠ A9

♥ AKQ65


♣ Q1054

The play was easy for an experienced Whist player like me. I won A on the table, cashed AK, which drew the outstanding trumps, then AKQ6, throwing the J from hand. I then lay down my remaining cards saying “I appear to have the remaining trumps”.

West (who Bill told me later was the most experienced player in the club, and had represented Skerries in a team game against four bridge experts from Rush) had been increasingly squirming in his seat and growing red-faced during the play, then spluttered “I would like an explanation of the bidding”. To which I replied, of course, “I was only describing my hand as Bill asked”.

Last updated : 22nd Jan 2014 18:03 GMT
Contract is 4♠ by South. West began with A, K and a third Heart. This was ruffed by East and over-ruffed by South. Declarer next led the ♣3 to ♣K in dummy and led the ♠Q, when East followed low, declarer finessed and this lost to ♠K. West exited on a Spade. Declarer led another round of trumps which revealed that West had three trumps. The information gathered did not seem to be of much use, and it still appeared declarer would have to take the Club finesse to make the contract. West is known to have six Hearts, three Spades and one Club so far; and if his other three cards are Diamonds then they are breaking and the thirteenth Diamond will see declarer home. Declarer continued with his last trump to leave a five card ending with East holding on to his four Diamonds and one Club, and West with two Diamonds, two Hearts and ♣Q. Declarer next led the three top Diamonds, finishing in dummy. When West showed out on the third round of Diamonds, declarer knew that East had one Diamond and one Club left. When he led the ♣6 from dummy and East's ♣10 appeared, he knew that West's ♣Q was dropping under the ♣A. It is not always necessary to count out the defenders' distribution on every hand that you play, however, getting into the habit of counting will bring it's rewards at the table.
Last updated : 27th Nov 2013 19:29 GMT
John Lane Cup
This hand, board 21, is taken from the first night of the John Lane Cup in the club. North passed as dealer and East opened 1♣, West responded 1♠ to which East rebid 1NT showing 15/16HCP's. West now forced with 3, East bid 4♠ showing 3-card support. West now bid 4NT (Roman Key Card Blackwood), 5♠ by East showed 2 key cards and the Queen of trumps. West signed off in 6♠.
After the lead of ♣K, declarer quickly wrapped up 13 tricks. Winning with the ♣A played ♦6 to the Ace, back over to dummy with ♦K and played ♦Q and played the losing club from hand on it. Next came ♥A and a heart to the King followed by a heart ruff in Dummy with the ♠4. A club was played and ruffed in declarer's hand to be followed by another heart and ruffed in dummy. Note it doesn't matter whether North ruffs in front of Dummy as if the ♠10 is played Dummy then over ruffs with the ♠Q. Now the last trump is played from Dummy and declarer wins the remaining tricks.
A few partnerships played in 6NT which failed going 1 off.
Last updated : 24th Sep 2013 09:55 GMT
Hold Up
South plays in a contract of 3NT and recieves the lead of the ♣Q. In making a plan South can see two tricks in spades, two tricks in clubs, diamonds will provide four or five tricks depending on the location of K and hearts will provide two tricks once the A has been got out. In playing to establish tricks in diamonds and hearts you should play on the assumption that you will lose the lead twice. You hold up on the opening lead (i.e. allow West to win the trick). West will continue with the ♣J which you win. If the diamond finesse fails you will only have eight tricks and you will need a heart trick to make the contract. What you must guard against is West getting his Clubs established while he still has an entry. His only entry can be the A so you should try to remove this from West before Clubs are established. So after winning with the ♣K you lead a heart to the King. If West ducks you should come back to hand with a spade and continue by playing the J and finessing when West plays small. East can win with the K and he then returns his remaining club. Here you win with the A and can now play your remaining winners and make your contract. If on the other hand West goes up with the A and continues with the club attack, you win as before with the ♣A, play the J and if East wins he does not have a club to return to partner. 
Last updated : 17th Sep 2013 14:51 GMT
Morton's Fork Coup
The type of play that follows happens so often that it has been given a special name that is now part of bridge terminology.
The declarer, Zia Mahmood, won a prize for the best-played hand in the World Bridge Federation's World-Wide Epson contest in 1993.
The bidding is standard up to 3NT, North's 2♠ is a jump shift showing 16+ HCP's and 4-card spade suit and at least 5-card diamond suit. Zia who is not only one of the great technical experts at the table, but also is both astute and imaginative in his bidding. He bids 5NT asking partner to bid 6NT where he has extra values.
West led 2. When the heart finesse won Zia realised that after cashing some diamond winners- either 3 or 4 - a low spade would catch East in a Morton's Fork Coup. If East rises with the ♠K, declarer will have 3 tricks in the suit, and if he ducks then declarer can win with the ♠Q then abandon spades and develope an extra trick in hearts.
The coup derives its name from Henry VII's chancellor, Cardinal Morton - if you spent a lot you could afford to give money to the king and if you didn't spend then you had money to spare for the king. Either way you are caught in the net.
Last updated : 27th Mar 2013 09:51 GMT
Well Bid Partner
East opened 1♣ and South overcalled 1♠. West responded 2♣ and North with ♠ support, 2 Aces and a 5-card side suit jumped to 3♠. After East passed, South bid 4♠ and followed by three passes.
West led  the ♣4 and East won with the ♣K and continued with the ♣A. How does declarer play to make 10 tricks? As the old bridge maxim goes 'If you're going to bid them well, then you better play them well'.
Declarer proceeded by ruffing the ♣A. As you see you have a loser, possibly one or two losers and a possible ♠ loser. Declarer's plan was to finesse against opener (East) to hold the trump King. Should that work then two tricks can be lost and the losing can go on the 5th . As declarer needs to play on diamonds early, he carefully played the 10 to the Ace noting West's Jack and the led the ♠J from dummy, East played small and declarer finessed succesfully. He then continued with the ♠3, East ♠K and declarer ♠A. Next declarer played a 2nd diamond (9) and is in total control. East wins with the Q and as you see cannot play a ♣ as dummy still has the ♠9 to ruff with if required. A heart from East now and declarer rises with the K, takes out trumps and plays 8. East wins with the K and now if a ♣ is returned, declarer ruffs with his last trump, discarding a small heart from dummy and the remaining tricks are in dummy i.e. A and 7 and 6 of diamonds. If on the other hand East returns a then declarer wins in dummy with the A, cashes the two established diamonds, discarding his losing heart and the ♠10 wins the last trick.
Last updated : 16th Jan 2013 14:50 GMT

Thursday nights bridge has really taken off well in the club and the following hand is taken from the first week of the Shambo Trophy, played for by members who are of Inter B and Novice grades.

The bidding: S passed as dealer and W opened 1, N overcalled 1♠ and E jumped to game in .

The play: North led
♠A and declarer planned the hand carefully. On the face of it declarer could see three possible losers i.e. two spades and one club, and in order to make the contract one spade and one club loser would have to be ruffed in dummy. N after winning the first trick continued with the ♠K which won and then played a third ♠, this is very much decision time for declarer who has to ruff in dummy. Declarer passed the test with flying colours and ruffed with the J; if declarer ruffs low, then S will over ruff and a club switch will see the contract go down. Declarer next played two rounds of trumps, played ♣K which was won by N. The return was won by the Ace and after a ♣ to the Queen, the remaining club was ruffed in dummy. Contract made and I think you will agree the hand was both bid and played excellently by one of the novice partnerships who only completed classes earlier this year.

Last updated : 1st Oct 2012 12:47 GMT
Defensive Signalling
Explanation of bidding: S opens 1♠, W makes a Take-Out Double, N responds 3♠ ( playing Acol, when partner's opening suit bid is Doubled for TO, then with support for opener's suit respond 2 of the suit with 0-5pts, 3 of the suit with 6-9pts and with invitational values 10-12pts then bid 2NT.) S with a 5 loser hand will bid game.

W leads the ♣A and  E peters with the ♣8. W continues with ♣K and E plays the ♣5. West knows by his partner signalling that he either has 2 or 4 cards in the suit and nows continues with the ♣6 telling partner that after ruffing to return a (the higher of the remaining 2 suits outside of trumps, if partner wanted a returned then the ♣3 would have been led - this is called a Suit Preference Signal). This leads to an excellent contract being defeated by 2 tricks.
Last updated : 17th Sep 2012 09:24 GMT