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Release 2.19q


There now follows a bidding quiz, in the style of The Bridge World’s ‘Master Solvers’ Club’.
For these problems, assume you are playing standard bidding methods (strong NT, 5-card majors, 1Dx promises four, three weak twos) with an expert partner, but without any more sophisticated agreements.

Email your answers to me ( with your choice of call, and the reason why you would choose it, ideally accompanied by a suitably witty comment. Email them please – don’t post them here.
The solutions (as I see them) to follow.



Vul against not, N dealer, imps. You, South, have:






Non-vul against vul, West dealer, matchpoints. You, South, have:





Non-vul against vul, North dealer, imps. You, South, have:



 If it makes any difference, North is neither very aggressive nor very conservative when it comes to pre-empts – expect something ‘middle of the road’.



All vul, imps, North dealer. You, South, have:





None vul, matchpoints, South dealer. You, South, have:







Hand of the Week (Copy)


Hand of the Week

Interesting hand from the Regent Premier League Teams:    "Teams Tactics" - courtesy of MN Peter Stewart


After West opened with their shapely 5-5 hand, N/S bid to game with the sequence shown above  (*INT = 15 -18 maybe no spade stop / **2D  = transfer / ***2NT positive / ****3C feature only 3 points but 8 1/2 loser hand)

Partner leads S2 and dummy goes down....

So you win with SK and think ok if I get a diamond ruff I get this down.  

Do I cash the spade first recognizing dummy has 3 and therefore declarer has only 2?    No - because that makes it too easy for declarer to get a ruff in hand.   Lets play D switch and hope partner has H or D entry.   So D switch and declarer let the Diamond return run to the jack in dummy, with partner indicating no interest in diamonds.   Declarer declines to take out trumps (looks like he might have only 3 and missing 1 of A or K) and rather ruffs a club in dummy and leads a spade.....  

So what now??   If you woodenly go up the spade ace and switch to a heart hoping for partner to have the A or for declarer to leave it round to the Q, declarer can go up the A, ruff a club, ruff a spade, and game over!!!

You know declarer is a capable player, and he needs a spade ruff in hand before he plays trumps.  

But to get the contract down we will need another spade a trump trick from dummy and a ruff by me so you must think about how to get partner in?  

Does partner have the spade Q (in which case you DUCK the 2nd spade hoping your partner has the Queen) OR do they have the Ace of Hearts?

The answer is what card their play in Diamonds defines which card they have! 

On the diamond return from you - clearly a singleton - and declarer playing low from hand to finish in dummy, the card played by partner is a SP card and defines where lies his entry.

With you playing the King at trick one partner knows that you hold the Ace, therefore the Queen of spades is an entry for the diamond ruff. 

The ten of diamonds at trick two clears up the problem - with the Jack of spades and the Ace of hearts East would play a low diamond - again SP.

So you can safely DUCK the 2nd spade letting it run to your partners Queen and down one!!   Any other play and declarer makes his contract!

Tip:  Teams Tactics - When defending, be sure to agree with partner as to what kind of signals you're using - the situation sometimes defines the card you play, and this is your way to communicate 


Hand of the Week (Copy)


Hand of the Week

Board # 17, 29th October 2019:  "Splinter on the way to Game"

How often do you hear the question asked: “How many points had you”?  (9 and 16 – we should have enough for game.)

Good distribution is frequently more valuable than high card points.  East is well worth a splinter bid of 4C, showing a club singleton or void, four card trump support, and control of three suits. 

West with wasted values in clubs and minimum values will simply sign off in 4H.  

In the play a club lead makes life difficult for declarer.  They will need to play a spade towards the queen early as if declarer draws trumps they will run out of steam.  A cross ruff after establishing a spade trick is the best way to 10 tricks.

Tip: Splinter when you at least have values for game - it allows your partner to evaluate their hand 


Hand of the Week (Copy)


Board # 4, 15th October 2019:  "Don't leave the Gate Open" 

The Bidding

W                N                  E               S

P                 1S                  3H            P

4H              ?

West with good trump support should should raise his partner’s 3H bid to 4H.  North has a difficult decision after the initial pass fom partner. In practice he will be tempted to bid 4S. It is not easy to introduce the four card diamond suit at the five level. If West had passed and left the gate open it is much easier for North to introduce his diamond suit at a lower level.

In a 4S contract North can ruff the opening heart lead and enter dummy via the club Ace to enable him to take the successful spade finesse. In the later play he will be forced to play the diamonds from hand, drop the singleton kingand so a losing club will disappear on the long diamond.

Tip: Support your partner early on – dont leave the gate open for the bull to break in.


Hand of the week (Copy)


HAND OF THE WEEK 12th Nov 2019 – A DUMMY REVERSAL … IN THE AUCTION?  -  By Justin Corfield

On Board 24 of Tuesday’s game (none vul, West dealer, matchpoints), East had:





There are two passes to you. You open 1C, South overcalls 1H, pard bids 1S (showing five – with four spades he would usually make a negative double), and North raises to 2H. Your go.

It is clear to double 2H, showing three-card spade support. South passes, and pard jumps to 3S, inviting game.  What now?

Generally, balanced 13-counts opposite passed hands do not produce ironclad game contracts. But the game is not played ‘generally’. Consider what the hand opposite will look like, and how the play is likely to go.

We know that West has five spades (to invite game in that strain opposite known three-card support). We also know that West has a singleton heart (the oppo have overcalled in and raised the suit, so they rate to have an eight-card fit there). For a hand that was not worth an opening bid to want to invite game now he clearly has nine to eleven points. The West hand thus rates to be 5=1=3=4 or 5=1=4=3 with about ten points. If you picture West’s hand as a 5=1=4=3 ten-count, you will be within a point, and within a card, of what he actually holds. Sometimes you can judge very accurately what the hand opposite will look like, but only if you are in the habit of giving your mind to these things.

The first candidate West hand that occurred to me was:





This hand matches what we know from the auction: five spades, a singleton heart, and ten points.

How many tricks will West make in spades if this is his hand?










At first glance, unless diamonds break 3/3 there will be five trump tricks, one diamond trick and three club tricks, for a total of nine.

Fortunately, we don’t have to play the contract after one glance. A second glance is permitted. In fact, it is rather expected of you. At second glance, declarer can reverse the dummy by ruffing three hearts in hand (ruff two hearts low and then one heart high), thus coming to three trump winners, three heart ruffs, three club tricks and a diamond, for a total of ten tricks, with no diamond break required.

Don’t just count your points and bid accordingly – mentally play the hand through. It will often help you to evaluate your cards more accurately.

As you will have gathered, I raised to 4Sx with the East cards. The actual hand opposite was like so:










The DxK was offside, but the DxJ was on, so the defenders could take only one diamond trick and one heart. The actual layout was so friendly that the spade suit came in for five tricks, so the Dutchman duly knocked in eleven tricks for 450.

Four tables played this one in 2Sx, taking nine or ten tricks. One table got close and played it in 3Sx, where they managed eleven tricks. One East-West pair doubled North-South in 2Hx, which was not a terrible idea, but then dropped a trick on defence, which was, and they collected only 100. Only one pair bid this combined 22-count to game.