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Play & Learn News
Play & Learn News

At last a decent coffee machine!

Yep. Got them in Bath too.

We have tablet scoring. 

In Bath, too. Same.

Welcome to Bridge @ Box
Play & Learn ...
Play & Learn ...

... is alive and well, face to face and now running at Bath Bridge Club under the name

Assisted Play

Same teachers  |  Chris & Trevor directing, with expert assistance from one or two experienced and friendly Bath players

Same formula  | 14 hands previously played at Bath, complete with 'travellers' – help always at hand when needed

plus  a short presentation of a 'Hand of the week', usually one of last week's hands

Same coffee and biscuits!

Same time (almost)  |  Wednesday 9.45 for 10 am –12.45 pm (no Bath rush hour)

Same table money  |  £7 pp

Sessions are held at Bath Bridge Club, Shaft Road, Bath  ♦  Ample parking    Click below for links to the club

Under the spotlight

Each week we're highlighting a different topic using at least one HOTW  from the Library –  see below.

Under the spotlight

Here are a couple of examples of the Gambling 3NT opening ...

HOTW 05 Dec 2012 | Gambling 3NT (Using conventions)
Gambling 3NT
It doesn't come up very often, but when it does it's really handy. No-one with a 'proper' strong hand would ever open 3NT (you'd use 2 or 2 instead, wouldn't you?), so an opening 3NT can be used for something a bit oddball, viz:
A solid minor suit (that is, at least AKQxxxx, preferably with the J as well)
and next to nothing in any other suit – maybe a Queen, but no more).

Why? Well, for one thing it's preemptive: if you have a great big long minor suit, chances are that one of your opponents has a great big long major suit, and this helps to stop him bidding it.

for another, it could be just the contract you're looking for.

Let's look at it from partner's point of view. You're sitting South, and your partner opens 3NT, showing a solid (at least 7-card) minor, and precious little else. Can you stand it? Well, you certainly have stops in each of the three other suits – you're likely to be worth at least 2 tricks in addition to partner's 7 – and (crucially) you have a diamond, so there's an entry to partner's hand. So 3NT suits you perfectly – pass!

But what if you'd been weaker (say, without a club stop)? Then you'd rather have partner's suit as trumps. So simply bid 4
, and partner will either pass or correct to 4, depending on what her suit is.

As you can see if you look at all the hands, 3NT works out very nicely. East will probably lead the Q: your King takes the trick, you pop over to hand and cash 7 diamond tricks, and the A makes trick 9: 3NT bid and made.

So that's the gambling 3NT. It doesn't come up that often, but when it does it can be worth its weight in gold. Easy to remember, too.

In Bath

About half the pairs in Bath ended up in (and made) 3NT for 600+. Two pairs, who evidently didn't know this convention, ended up in 3
+1 (making a miserable 130) and 5-1 (for an even more miserable -100) and at all the other tables EW sacrificed in hearts or spades (yes, they had a fit of sorts in both majors) for something in between.
HOTW 09 May 2018 | Gambling 3NT (2) (Using conventions)

Gambling 3NT (2)

This topic last came up as a HOTW in December 2012, so it's high time we gave it another airing.

Sitting North on this hand, your first instinct is to open 1 - unless you and your partner have agreed to play the 'gambling 3NT'. It's perfectly designed for hands like this: a long, solid MINOR suit and no more than a Queen in any other suit.

Your partner will know immediately if 3NT is where you want to stay: she'll need stops in all three other suits and at least one card in your suit (to get over to all those lovely winners). Failing that, she'll take you out into 4♣, which you'll pass or correct to 4 if that happens to be your suit. (There are other possibilities, too: if South has something like ♣ Q 5 3   9 4 2   A K Q 4  ♠ A K 4 she'll probably decide that 3NT is too risky but put you into 5 instead - maybe even 6!

What happens here? Have a look at South's hand. She can see immediately that your suit is diamonds (your 'solid suit' can't be clubs!) and that she has stops in all three suits, so she passes: 3NT it is. And it makes comfortably.

What about a slam?

With a slightly stronger hand, an alert South might respond with a gamble of her own and try 6: with any spade lead coming round to her K J, it might just make. But I reckon you need to add a king to make it a worthwhile punt (North has no more than a queen outside diamonds, remember). Yeah, I know it can make on this deal, but only because the clubs are well placed: it's not a good slam to be in. 

In Box and Bath

In Box, half the room was in 3NT making an overtrick (you simply let the opening heart lead run round to your Q for 10 tricks). The others were in 5, not all making (and even if it makes it scores less than 3NT + 1).

The Bath results were a surprise: only 3 of the 11 tables found 3NT. The rest were nearly all in diamonds, mostly for a poor score. One EW pair ended up in 3♠X for just one down and a penalty of 200, a great result that points up a further advantage of the gambling 3NT opening: it stops the opposition from poking their noses in!