Bookham Afternoon Bridge Club
Release 2.19q
Spare Partners

To all members,

Please check the Spare Partner list at the club; if you are able to sign up for a vacant slot it will be much appreciated; slots from June through to October 2024 are available for sign-up and we are happy to inform members that we now have  a host for Bank Holiday Monday 27th May.

Many thanks to all who have acted as host on multiple occasions recently. It is worth remembering that if all members signed up we would all only need to do one Spare Partner duty per year.

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Count your certain tricks when a small slam may be possible

Count your tricks - you can make 6NT with only 32 HCP

Board 19 was played on Thursday 25th August.  South passes and West will almost certainly pre-empt with a 3 Diamond bid.  North passes, and East finds themselves holding a strong hand with 22 HCP.  Two aspects are important.  East is responsible for the final contract and they are entitled to expect a vulnerable pre-empt to show a seven-card suit with real merit.

East bids 4NT (Blackwood).  If West bids 5 clubs to show no Aces, East can settle for 5 diamonds as the final contract.  However, West will bid 5 diamonds to show one Ace.  East now COUNTS their total tricks under the two possible scenarios. If West holds the diamond Ace, East will almost certainly make 7 tricks in this suit.  The club holding will generate 2 tricks, together with 2 in Spades and the Ace of hearts. You have 12 tricks.  If West has the club Ace, East can count 6 tricks in diamonds, 4 in clubs and certainly 2 more in the majors.

You have to lose one trick.  Whichever Ace is missing, you can count an almost certain 12 tricks and confidently bid 6 NT.  Congratulations to the pair that achieved this outcome. A second pair got a high score playing in 6 diamonds.

Stuart Wabe


Splinter bids - A valuable aid to bidding a slam

Splinter bids - A valuable aid to bidding a slam  

Board 15 played on Thursday 14th July generated a highly unusual traveller. Every pair played in 4 Hearts and they all made twelve tricks. It was a perfectly flat board with everyone scoring 50%.

However, why did nobody bid the Slam? Splinter bids provide the answer.

The bidding should be relatively straightforward.  South will open 1NT,  North bids 2  and South will bid 2.  North has a powerful five loser hand and must now consider the possibility of a Slam in Hearts.  However, they need to be cautious as a weak no-trump opening is a balanced hand and usually has eight losers.

North can now make the "splinter bid" of 4.  This tells partner we can definitely make 4  and I have a singleton Diamond.  The South hand now becomes extremely powerful as their Diamond losers disappear. 

South can bid 4 NT (Blackwood), North bids 5 to show two Aces and South bids 6.

From Stuart Wabe


The value of a long suit in a NT contract

Recognising the trick-taking potential of a long suit in a NT contract:  if partner opens a weak 1NT and you have 11 HCP and a long and strong minor suit, you should consider bidding game.  

In this hand South, with 13 HCP, would almost certainly open 1NT.  North has 11 HCP and a potentially strong Club suit.  However, the Club suit may be missing two Honours.  What should North bid?

1)  South may have one of the missing Honours and the Club suit may deliver five tricks.

2)  The two missing Honours are split between West and East and you would be unlucky not to make four tricks.

If you can secure (at least) four tricks in Clubs, with only minimal help from partner, you will usually be able to develop another suit and make nine tricks.  North should raise the opening bid to 3NT,

There will be occasions when the Game bid fails.  Everything is possible in bridge and it may be that East has both missing honours   However,  I would suggest that you would  have a success level of some 80%.  When this hand was played at Bookham, all declarers made ten or eleven tricks.  However, only one pair bid to Game.  Congratulations to them.

(Board 18 Monday 16th May.  From Stuart Wabe)


Transfer after 1NT opening

Transfer after 1NT opening -  You open 1NT (12-14).  Your partner has 5 or more of a major (say, 5♠) and bids 2 to start the transfer.  If you have maximum points and good spade support you should jump to 3♠ rather than respond 2♠.  Partner can Pass with a weak hand or raise to 4♠ with a moderate hand or better.  A strong transfer signal will help you bid to game when responder only has a moderately strong hand. (From Mieke)

Board 16 - Thursday 7 April 2022

North opens 1NT (14pts).  South has only 7 points and bids 2  to transfer to ♠, intending to pass and leave the contract in 2♠ .  But North is excited.  Maximum points (14) and very good ♠ support.  North bids 3♠ to show excitement and strength.  South's hand is now looking much better so South raises to 4♠.  Contract makes (10,11 and even 12 tricks made).  Big smiles from North and South smileysmiley.  South would have passed if North had replied 2♠ to the transfer.