Brunton Bridge Club
Afternoon Play

Wednesday Afternoon Sessions
For club players and students. No partner needed.
2.30 pm - 4.45 pm
St Aidan's Community Centre.
From July 10th, we will be instituting an afternoon membership of £5.
Members will pay £2.50 per session, non-members £3.00.
Contact: Guy Herzmark 07967194107 or Peter Avery 07887428042

Release 2.19q
Recent Updates
11th Jul 2024 09:57 BST
Afternoon Play
4th Jul 2024 11:18 BST
Winners 23-24
29th Apr 2024 15:19 BST
0 0 0 0 0 0
Pages viewed in 2024
Summer Play 2023
Is it Compo or Clegg? Last of the summer wine

Today we are looking at the summer play for the last time this year.

We had questions about hand 8.

West & North pass and East has an obvious 1 opening South should pass (a 1♠ overcall should make it easier).

So it is now West's turn. West has 9 points (often a raise to the 2 level). But when we apply the losing trick count we see a 7 loser hand which says bid game. However, a direct raise to game is preemptive and bidding 1 - 4 could mean that we miss a slam if partner has a little bit extra.

So your options are

2 (usually a 9 loser hand)

3 (usually an 8 loser hand and 10-11 points

4  a preemptive raise

2NT Jacoby game raise usually 12+ points 4+ hearts and game forcing.

In the answer page we give our marks for each answer




First, 2  is just wet. Partner will pass with a balanced 15 or 16 points and game will be missed. Points out of 10 - 2

3 If partner is a minimum they will pass this limit bid and you could miss a game. However, as partner will expect an 8 loser and 10 or 11 points.when partner has substantial extra values they will cue bid. Points 8 out of 10

4 While the losing trick count says bid 4 this bid is a preemptive raise and can be made with lots of hearts and a 2 count you probably should not use this bid because a slam can be missed. Points - 4

2NT - A Jacoby game raise. As you have passed your partner knows that you cannot have 12+ points and so will get and accurate picture of your hand. Great bid and 10 out of 10

Simple agreements for great contracts

On hand 11 this week most people started the auction this way. However at one table West opened 1. This really is not an opening bid but it just might get you to the right contract. They played in the most difficult game to make, that is 4♠ 

However on to the recommended auction after a pass from West. The 1♠ from East is automatic and a 2 response after passing is 10-11 points and 5 hearts. 2NT is 15-19 balanced. Now opener might have 5 spades and so a 3♠ bid shows 3 cards and suggests that 3NT might not be the correct spot. However East bids 3NT.

What, if anything, now?  If you look at the double dummy analysis of the hand you can see that 3NT should fail (and it did) while 4 , 4♠  and 6♣  should make. You should be thinking of bidding here but you need a simple agreement.

4 of a minor is nearly always forcing. A bid of 4♣ is not wrong  and can lead to a safer contract. over 4♣ partner should cue bid but 4NT would be a sign off.

Note that  6♣ contract is not great and depends on finding the ♠ J. which is right. However, even 5♣ would get you a great score.

Defending 3NT on this hand by East:

South has an easy lead of the  J the question is what should North play?

First thoughts by North:

  • What values does South have?
  • How many diamonds does South have?
  • How does this affect what North plays?

The final question is when East runs his clubs which two cards does North discard?





Defence answer:


First thoughts by North:

  • What values does South have?
    I have 11 points,
    East has 15-19 points, lets say, 15
    West has 10-11 points

South then can only have 3 points at most so the lead cannot be from an interior sequence head by the Ace - so without your help South will not get in again.

  • How many diamonds does South have?
    At least four maybe 5 - time will tell
  • How does this affect what North plays?
    The big problem is if partner has five diamonds I, as North, need to get out of the way.
    So play the  K, assuming East doesn't win,
    Then play  Q, if East still doesn't win.
    Now play another diamond which East has to win.
  • East will cash  A,  K and then play four rounds of clubs ending in dummy, when he will cash the  Q and get the bad news

So which two cards did North discard?

North can easily discard both small spades and when he gets in with the ♠ A - he will now cash  J and a ♦.

On this hand the play of the diamonds is not crucial but if you are in the routine of carding correctly job done!



First you bid it, then you have to make it

On hand 14 this week you need a lot of bidding kit (most of which is covered in Dave's year 3 class starting soon).If you get to the slam it is not a great contract however, do not give up because you know if you do not make it you will get a terrible score.

After the 1 opening 2NT is Jacoby showing 4 hearts and at least 12 points or more.

The 3NT shows a balanced hand and 15+ points and forcing asking partner to cue bid, showing first or second round control. That is A or K or a singleton.

4♠ is a cue bid showing first or second round control in spades

4NT is now Roman Keycard Blackwood and 5 shows 2 of the 5 keycards; that is 4 Aces and the trump King.

The small slam is now bid and all you have to do is make it. It is a trump contract and so keep C. A. L. M.

Count your quick tricks by power. We have 4 hearts, 3 diamonds and 2 clubs. Total 9.

Add tricks from other sources. We have a slow trick by power in spades and a possible trick by position in diamonds. total 9 + 2. 11 still not enough. The only other possible place is to trump something.

Loser check. We have a definite spade loser and if we run out of trumps in the North hand we have at least one club loser.

Manage the hand. This hand is too complex to plan it all before touching a card and we will need to return to plan some more times.

Manage 1. Only one table entered the lead and so we assume that card is led. Lead 2. This looks like 4th highest and so we are going to play them for the Jack but we are not going to commit ourselves yet.So low from dummy and win. we now start to draw trumps and play the Ace and King and get the bad news.

Manage 2. We need to get to our spade trick and we need to see what happens when we lead a spade from dummy. If East plays the Ace we have 2 spade tricks and so we assume they play low and the queen wins.

Manage 3. We now need to ruff a club. So, Ace then King and play a third intending to ruff. When that goes well we cash the last trump in dummy.

Manage 4. We then come to hand with a diamond and draw the last trump throwing a spade, Now we lead our diamond and finesse and shut our eyes.  When we open them the finesse has worked and we have 12 tricks, 1 spade, 4 hearts and a ruff, 4 diamonds and 2 clubs. 

Dummy must NOT say well done unless the opponents do but "well played"

MORAL = If you get into a poor contract assume the cards are in the right place and play. If they are not you are in for a poor score anyway.


That TNT thing!

Just what do you do when you are in a competitive auction and you have a fit?

There are two situations

  1. You have a poor hand where you want to make a pre-emptive raise
  2. You have a hand where you want to raise constructively

You cannot make the same bid with both types of hand because partner might well get it wrong

So what to do?

We handle it in a very simple way. With a constructive hand we start by bidding the opponent's suit (called an "unassuming cue bid").

With a pre-emptive hand we jump to the level of the fit. What does that mean? We assume that partner has opened the bidding at the 1 level with 5. We add the number of trumps in our hand to those assumed in partner's hand.

So with the hand given we have 4 trumps and we assume partner has 5. Total 9. We have a pre-emptive hand and 9 trumps and so we bid 3♠ (This is called a TNT raise").

Here, should opener bid 4? Partner might not have a point but we quite understand with our 19 points for you to bid the 4th. Should game make? See the answer tab

4♠ should not make but it almost always will if it is played by West.

How do we break 4♠ ?

North must lead the A and give partner a ruff. A club return gets you back in to give a second ruff. 

If that happens my tip is HOLD YOU CARDS UP.

The play is the thing

First we should talk about the bidding, We must remember that after a notrump opening we /MUST remember Stayman and transfers.

Now we get to 4 and we must consider the play.

This is a trump contract and so keep C. A. L. M.

Count your top tricks by power. You have 1 spade and 3 diamonds. Total 4

Add tricks from other sources. Slow tricks by power, tricks by length and possible tricks by position.

Slow tricks by power. 4 in hearts and 3 in clubs. Plenty in total.

There are no tricks by length or tricks by position but that is no problem we have enough.

Loser check. Count our losers. We have 1 spade loser, 1 heart loser and 1 club loser. 3 in all and so that is found.

Manage the hand. We have sufficient winners and not too many losers and so we should draw trumps. So after the presumed spade lead we play a trump. The only thing we have to be careful of is that after the opponents win the trump Ace, cash their spade and plays another we must ruff high and draw the other trumps. 

Easy, Play the hand



My worst nightmare

Dave was an engineer and has used mathematics to solve problems for many years. He solves problems at the bridge table in the same way!

Bridge bidding is about information and with every bid you make you should be adding to the information that partner has about your hand.

With the North hand shown today you have to break those rules (but hopefully for 1 round).

Usually a double will be short in opener's suit however sometimes it shows a balanced hand that is too strong to overcall 1NT. It is that option that makes me nervous as partner could well assume that you have the usual 4 cards in a major and bid game.

This is the case here, we are too strong for 1NT and so we must double. 

Now we come to the South hand. What are you going to bid? You cannot pass and 1NT is out without a diamond stop so they must bid a major.

With the knowledge that  South might well be playing in a 4-3 fit choose the stronger, so 1♠ 

This is lucky. If you had chosen 1  partner would probably have raised hearts to a level that is too high.

But after 1♠ partner shows strong and balanced with 1NT.(18-20) Phew!



How forcing is forcing?

We have some questions here.

  1. Is the 2NT rebid forcing?
  2. If it is forcing what is it forcing to?
  3. What are the possible final contacts?
  4. What is the best bid to keep all options open
  5. If you get to 6  how do you play it.

It is crucial to be absolutely sure of the answers to questions like this to be able to bid with confidence and accuracy. 

Bidding is not about knowing lots of conventions but mostly it is about what is forcing and to what level,


Answers to the questions

  1. Yes it is forcing. Opener has promised 18-19 and responder 6+.
  2. It is forcing to game. That being so any bid now that is not game cannot be passed
  3. Well,
    1. 3NT is possible .Probably not the best with your singleton in hearts
    2. 4♠ Partner has 2 or 3 spades and even if it is 2 that should be enough. We expect that 4♠ will make perhaps with an overtrick
    3. 6 With 2 Aces and a singleton is possible
  4. What we need then is a bid that gives opener all of the options. 3 does just that.
  5. Win the open lead (probably a heart) and play Ace and another spade. Win the return in the North hand and breaking the rules (honours from the short hand first) draw trumps finishing in the dummy. Ruff a spade. Cross to dummy with the ♣A  and cash the spades.
They Doubled ME!

Most  of us know that a double of a 1NT opening bid or overcall is for penalties. What we might have to discuss here is what happens next?

First we should discuss the action of the opener's partner. The simple (but effective) way to play here is with a weak hand and 5 or more cards in a suit is to bid it.

So here the bidding should go 

p 1NT x 2 
p p 2♠  p
4♠  AP    

However,  if 1NTx is passed out  you must ensure to take all of the tricks available to you. On the day 1NTx was taken 2 off which was 500 against 620. A poor score. 

How should you defend?

What should West discard on the 5 and sixth round of spades


The lead should be the ♠ Q. Playing low-likes and hold the King West should encourage by playing the 5. (Playing High for Aye they should play the 8)

A low card to the King allows all 6 spades to be cashed.

On the fifth spade, again playing low like West should play ♣ 7 - high hates. On the sixth spade the  4 should be played. East might get a clue and play a diamond.

The defenders should take the  K in the end. 10 tricks and 1100


What is "the losing trick count"?

The losing trick count

The losing trick count is a method of evaluating a hand WHEN YOU HAVE A FIT FOR PARTNER AND THE OPPONENTS ARE SILENT. It works like this -

In each suit count a loser for every Ace, King and Queen that you are missing but do not count more losers than cards in the suit.


K Q 7 6 - 1 loser. Q J 10  - 2 losers. 8 7 6 5 4 - 3 losers.   7 4 - 2 losers.

We assume that when partner opens 1 of a suit they have a 7 loser hand or better and we use the Losing trick count to ADJUST the level for a raise

  • To raise to the 2 level we are 6-9 points or 9 losers (even is you have 10 losers the 6 point overrides and you raise to 2. But with 8 or 9 points you might have 8 losers and we adjust the level of the raise
  • To raise to the 3 level we are 10-11 points or 8 losers
  • There are some minor adjustment and the most important of these are
    • With no Aces add a loser
    • With more than your share of Aces (2 or more) subtract a loser

When we have counted our losers we add them to opener's assumed 7. We then subtract that sum for the magic number of 18 and bid to that level. So if responder has 9 losers 18 - (7 + 9) = 2 raise the 2.

So the question is how should the hand shown be bid?

The East hand has these losers - 2 spades, 2 hearts, 2 diamonds and 1 club. 7 losers but no Aces so adjust to 8 loser hand. Assume opener has 7 losers  18 - (7 + 8) = 3. Bid 3 

The opener, West, has these losers - 1 spade, 1 hearts, 3 diamonds and 2 clubs. Total  - 7 losers but more than his share of Aces so 6 losers. Partner has assumed you are 7 losers so you can bid 1 more. Bid 4♥.

If you had bid this game you would have been the only pair to do so.

Use the losing trick count, it works. There is a bit more to learn but that is enough for now.

The 5 level belongs to the opponents

This is hand 11from this week's Summer Play and makes its of good points.

First of all just what should South open

Opening 1  is fine but if partner holds the  Q & ♣ Q  then 5  is making and partner will pass a 1 opening. However, given your holding in the majors it is unlikely that 1opening will be passed out.

Also affecting your decision is your system. Do you play inverted minor raises? If so, does 3  show a very weak hand? It would with us.

As one player had to leave early I held this hand and opened 1 but we were not playing inverted minors and with partner silent the opponents got to 4♥. 

5 looked cheap whatever partner held and that is what I bid. East had not heard of "the 5 level belongs to the opponents" and not only was my contract failing they bid on the 5 which failed. Thus a plus score for our opponents became a plus score for us!

Set up your side suits

We were quite surprised with this hand. While most of the teachers would open this hand we did not think that our players would open the West hand a weak two. In fact most of them did this which led to the bidding shown. 
Now all that you have to do is make it.

Make your plan on the lead of the ♣ K BEFORE looking at the answer.






It is a trump contract, so keep C. A. L. M.

C - Count you top tricks by power.  4 spades and 1 club. Total 5

A - Slow tricks by power = 1 heart. Tricks by length you have 10 spades including the top 4 So 3 tricks by length. looks like 10 in total

L - Loser check before we touch a card. We have 1 diamond and 3 hearts. One too many.

M - Manage the hand. The  A is almost certainly on my left but there are also probably 6 there. Which means that if I keep the diamond and play to set up the King a diamond will come back and the diamond King will be ruffed. So that is not good.

So let us win the club, throwing my diamond and set up my side suit - hearts.

So win the ♣ A throwing my diamond  and play the heart King. we now have 3 small hearts and we can ruff some.

So win the return and play one round of trumps and get the bad news that they are 3-0. Cross to hand and ruff a heart. We now have 2 losing hearts plus the heart Ace that we have lost already. That is okay. play a trump, ruff something back to hand and draw the last trump. 10 tricks


Tight is right

Just what do you open as the dealer (West) on this hand?

Simple, if you are playing weak twos (and all Brunton teachers teach that) you open 2♠.

Just say, "Is it 5-9 and does it have a 6-card suit?" Yes, it does, and put that 2♠ card on the table.

We Doubled them!

Just what do you need to double their 1NT opening? Simple 16+ points and a good lead or a hand that can defeat the contract.

Try to answer all questions BEFORE looking at the answers.

In reality, the East hand today does not have a good lead, but we have 18 points and we can't wait forever. so double and we have to find the lead. Just how do we do that?

On the lead of the ♠ A, what should West play? How will this lead help?

What should East's first two discards be?

By how many should the contract fail?

So, this shows just how difficult it is to defend properly. Everyone doubled 1NT and the best pair beat the contract by 2 at least 1 trick short! 

All we can say is brush up your defense and keep working.


Choosing the lead.

I often choose the lead by elimination and that is what we should do here. (Remember that we sometimes get the suit wrong on the opening lead but we should NEVER get the card wrong) Okay, starting at the bottom -

  • Clubs - Leading this suit would be silly. You could easily be setting up the declarer's long suit and your partner will misread it.
  • Diamonds - Again you could easily be setting up the declarer's suit and giving your partner poor information.
  • Hearts - You could easily be giving a trick and the lead of the fourth highest would mean that partner must hold the Ace or the Queen for the lead to be safe (my second choice though)
  • Spades - The spade Ace might be helping the declarer but at least you can look at the dummy which might help. On the lead of the Ace you will see dummy, you have 18 points, declarer has 12-14, dummy has 1 point. So you know that your partner has 7- 9 points, that should help you.

What West plays on the lead of the ♠ A

When your partner leads the Ace it promises the King and you should encourage holding the Queen. How you do that depends on your methods. If you play "low likes (this is becoming more and more popular)  play the 4 but if you play "high for Aye" play the 8,

What are East's first and second discards?

Before we answer the question we should be looking and remembering the 3 discards that the declarer has had to make on the spades as it might help us with what to discard. So the lead has worked well and your partner is cashing his 5-card suit. It looks like you want a heart from your partner and your first discard should ask for a heart. Playing low - likes you should throw the 3. Playing high encourages it is more difficult to read as all you can afford is the 6.

Now for your second discard. This depends on how many clubs and diamonds have been thrown but East probably cannot afford a club and so, playing high odd should throw the  10 or with the other method (high even) should throw the  3.

By how many tricks should 1NTx fail?

So long as East, when getting ion with a heart switches to a club (king) the declarer will finish with 3 tricks.


This hand highlights lot of problems.

The first problem occurs straight away when South opens 2♣ , because 2♣  comes up so rarely we often forget the responses.

The standard responses are -

  1. 2  is a negative and shows 0-7 points
  2. 2NT shows a balanced 8-10
  3. To bid a suit would show 8+ points and 5+ cards in the suit

So here the bid should be 2NT.

Now we get to the next problem. If you look at the results it looks as you should be in 6NT. However, the is the double dummy  analysis ( D. D. A.). That is the number of tricks that you should make if you could see all 4 hands and here you probably should be in 3NT and making overtricks.

Now for the quiz. you play the hand?


We are in a notrump contract and so make C. A. M. P.

C - Count your top tricks by power. You have 3 spades, 2 hearts 1 diamond and 4 clubs, Total - 10

A - Add tricks from other sources, There are no possible extra tricks in the black suits. There is a possible extra trick in hearts if both opponents have 3 cards but this is not very likely (36%) but there is a better chance and will make 2 tricks in diamonds by taking the finesse twice (75%)

M - Manage the hand assuming a spade lead. On the spade lead we have to be careful in spades that we do not tangle the suit and remember "Honours from the short hand first". WE also need to get to the dummy twice to lead diamonds and to "Guard our gates" So we aim to win the ♠ Q and cross to North hand with the ♠ K/ We now lead the  10 and if East plays low we run it. This loses but we win the return and lead the  9. aiming to finesse again. Finally, we must  remember "honours from the short hand first" in clubs by playing the Jack first.

P = Play. Only now do we play a card and, as the cards lie we make 3 spades, 2 hearts. 3 diamonds and 4 clubs = 12 tricks

A complex hand that really needs careful planning.



Bid as many as you dare and then stop

We have given the auction that occurred at one table and we should look at it in detail

First, just what should South open? 1 , 2  or 4 are all possible  and each were opened. let us consider each in turn as they are all flawed.

  1. 1 - the hand is only 10 points which makes it marginal but acceptable to open at the one level but the low level opening the opponents in at low level.
  2. 2  - the hand is both 1 point heavy and has a seventh heart. the one point heavy can be ignored because what is the ♠J  really worth?
  3. 3 - this is both too strong and should not contain tricks outside the trump suit. (Read about O.D.R.elsewhere)

We think that 2 shows the least lie.

The auction given shows the disadvantage of opening 1 in that the opponents can enter the auction easily. We then see a serious mistake

The opponents had outbid to 5  and South bid 5 . East then bid 6 "because I  cannot beat 5 !"

Moral - the 5 level belongs to the opponents.

What partner does next?

Oh what a mess!

Let us look at what happened at all 4 tables.

At one table South's 2♠  rebid was passed. Oh dear! South holds a distributional 10 count up to 15 or so. With 14 or 15 we want to be in game and so North must rebid 2NT showing a relatively balanced 10-11 points Note that Dave's and Marion's pupils are taught that 2♠ cannot be passed because if North responds at the 2 level they promise to bid again. on the day this cost 4 IMPS

At one other table South played in 3NT. we can only assume that they opened 1NT and accepted the 2NT invitation. With no information  West lead a club, however, it should not be the ♣ 6. From suits not headed with an honour the lead is second highest - that is 8. On this hand it does not matter which club is led but on other hands it might. (Dave & Jill are running a full day workshop on defence on the 13th May, there are  a few places left). 

The 2 other tables had North playing in 3NT and a heart was led. At one table the King was correctly led (King shows 3 honours), However West fell from grace by not playing the Ace and returning the suit. It is not a waste.

At the final table the 8 was incorrectly led. However now partner cannot go wrong and played the Ace and returned the suit.. If West looked at the lead more carefully they would work out that the 8 could not be 4th highest because 

They must hold the sequence or broken sequence. Therefore it must be 2nd highest and seeing dummy we would switch to a diamond. 

NOTE: We sometimes lead the wrong suit but we should never lead the wrong card from that suit