Bath Bridge Lessons
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Hand of the Week
14.11.22 Hand from the lesson

This was an interesting hand from Monday's lesson.

North and South pass throughout and the first three East/West bids would have been 1♣ -1 -1♠ .

West has a choice. One option is to just bid 3NT with such a balanced hand. Another option is to use fourth suit forcing and find out more from partner. Partner can bid 3 which must be showing a shape of 4045. Then West can bid 3NT.

North has a horrible lead choice, but let's play the  7, fourth highest in the longest suit.

So how are the West's going to make this contract?

We need to count winners first, going suit by suit;

♠ - 0

 - 3

 - 2

♣ -1

So we are 3 short. Where can we make those extra tricks from? The first choice would be clubs, so after winning the heart lead, we can play ♣ 4. North plays the ♣ 2 and we play the ♣ 9 from dummy and South plays the ♣ J.

South plays another Heart which we win. What are we discarding from dummy? I think we can throw 2 spades and a diamond on our three heart winners.

Now we play the ♣ 10, North plays the ♣ 7, ♣ 3 from dummy and South plays the  ♣ K. This isn't going very well.

South plays the  9 which we win.

We are now up to 3 winners in Clubs, but still one short of our target. We can play on spades but if North were to win with the Ace then they can play some hearts and we will go down. Maybe we should have ducked the first heart?

So let's play a low diamond to see what is going on there first. We play the  2, North plays the  Q!,  A from dummy and the  3 from South. This may be our chance because North could have played the  J if they had them both.

So let's cash our club winners, throwing away a spade and a heart from our hand. Then lead the  10. If South plays low we play the  9 from our hand and hope. North discards a heart and we have made 9 tricks. In total 3 hearts, 3 diamonds and 3 clubs.


27.9.22 Using Blackwood

This week's hand is from Tuesday's open pairs and saw Tina and Sriram score 100%. 

Tina was North and the bidding has started as you can see in the box.


What do we know about partner's hand?

Do we have enough to bid Blackwood now?

We know South has an unbalanced hand because they did not bid NT on the first or second opportunity.

We know South has around 11-14 points because they have not bid beyond the barrier.

We know South has at least 5 hearts. Because we bid 2D, there was no room for South to show a second suit, so they may have 5 hearts and 4 spades or clubs. Or they may have 6 hearts.

North has first round control in three suits and we can assume/hope that South has good hearts. So yes, we can bid Blackwood here.

South bids 5D to show 1 Ace so we can bid 6H and try to make slam.

Tina and Sriram play Roman Keycard Blackwood which allowed Sriram to show that he also had the KH which gives you more confidence in the slam.

Note - Tina did not bid 5NT to ask for Kings even though she knew they had all the Aces, because she knew that there was very little chance of making all 13 tricks.

West led the 3D and Sriram made 12 tricks. They were the only pair in the slam so this scored 100%!

12.09.22 SWOT Analysis

This is a hand from the Wiltshire teams league match on Monday.

West's 2H bid is a convention we will learn soon. It says "I have at least 3 spades to support you and 10+ points". It allowed East-West to reach the spade game.

In teams the most important thing is to make the contract and overtricks are less important.

South leads the 6H to North's Q. North continues with the AH and South plays the 8.


How are the hearts splitting?

How are you going to make the contract?


South led the 6H and then followed with the 8. This suggests a Middle Up Down (MUD) lead, so the hearts are splitting 5-3.

S - We have 5 Spades, 2 Diamonds and 2 Club tricks, so a total of 9.

W - We are one short of our target.

O - We can ruff a heart in dummy to make our 10th trick. We could take a finesse in clubs. We could try to run the diamond to our Jack and finesse the Q.

T - We started with 4 losers (3 in Hearts and 1 in Diamonds)

So the plan has to be to win the diamond trick with the AD. Then draw trumps and we see that they split 3-1. Then play a diamond to the K and use dummy's last trump to ruff the third round of hearts to make 10 tricks.

While the club finesse or the diamond finesse could have allowed us to make an extra trick if they had worked; they would mean going one-off if they don't work. In the league match the most important thing was to make the contract so it was not worth the risk of trying the finesse when there was a sure way of making the contract.

16.6.22 Hand of the Week

North opens this 1H

East passes

South - we have taught that you need 10 points to respond with a bid of a new suit at the two level. However, when you have extra cards in a suit with good cards then you can stretch this a little. Here with the Ace of Diamonds which you may need as an entry and KQ10 of clubs it is worth bidding 2C.

West passes

North - Has a choice between bidding 2S or 2NT. My partner on thursday bid 2NT, i think this was because she felt that if we end up in 3NT it was going to be best to play the hand from her side.

East passes

South - You upgraded your hand so stick with it. If partner is showing 15-16 points, we should have enough tricks in Clubs to get us to 9. So bid 3NT

Against 3NT, the lead that was generally chosen was the 4D

North’s need to plan now.

Winners - We have 1 in Spades, 1 in Hearts, 2 in Diamonds and 0 in Clubs = 4 in total.

Where will the other 5 come from? The best chance is in Clubs because between our two hands we have 4 of the top 5, so we can handle anything as bad as a 4-1 split in the opponents club holdings. So our plan will be to force out the AC and then hope to win 5 club tricks

Threats? That Diamond lead means we will lose one of our Diamond stops. Which hand should we win it in? Definitely the North hand because we will need the Ace of Diamonds later as an entry to the South hand.

So trick 1 goes 4D-8-9-K

trick 2 - start on clubs - JC-5-3-6 (best to duck the first time in case North only has 1 club)

trick 3 - 2C-7-10-A

Now North can win anything that West plays and win 4 more clubs tricks to get to 9 in total.

This is what happened on Thursday

Those who bid 3NT made it.

Two Souths stuck to the system and responded 1NT to show 6-9 points (rather than 2C) and played that contract. Upgrading our hand to bid 2C worked this time but sometimes you can end up too high.

The pairs who ended up in Hearts or Spades seem to have Norths who chose to rebid 2S rather than 2NT. This was a tricky decision and is pretty much 50/50 in my opinion.

I hope this analysis helps. No player will get everything right but i just wanted to explain the thinking that went into the decisions that were made.