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30th August Bridge Picnic and Walk

2nd-5th September EBED Autumn Sim Pairs

27th September Bridge Picnic and Walk

7th-10th October British Autumn Sim Pairs

25th October Blue Pointed Swiss Pairs

1st-3nd November Weekend Bridge Break Lechlade

11th-14th November Children in Need Sim

15th November Task Quiz

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Hand of the day
Thursday 22nd August

This hand clearly shows that transferring to a major is sensible even with very few points. Should North break the transfer? Over 2NT it makes some sense to break the transfer with a good hand and 4 card support. However, even with this hand, you need the Diamond finesse to work and no more than one Heart loser or no Heart loser roughly a 50/50 chance. Over 1NT, breaking the transfer only makes sense if you have five of the trump suit. 

Transfer over a 1NT or 2NT openings or overcall whenever you have five or more of a major

Wednesday 21st August

Clearly, 4 is the best contract and a better scoring contract. At the table, five pairs played in 3NT which will probably fail on a Diamond lead. The key is that West should bid 2♠ over 1NT a responders reverse, East should then bid 3 showing three-card Heart support and West will raise to 4.

It pays to bid out your shape in the majors

Tuesday 20th August

East will open 1, despite the poor quality suit West must respond 1 and East will rebid 1♠. Now what should West do? 

East has shown a minimum hand with the 1♠ rebid also with 15-16 points and a singleton Heart East is likely to have bid 1NT. So game looks unlikely so a conservative 1NT is not unreasonable. If you bid 2NT East will raise to 3NT. 3NT makes as East has 14 points, North has A and the Diamonds are good for five tricks. So the conservative 1NT looks good when dummy goes down but not so good when you make 10 tricks. In the long run, I think the conservative 1NT will be the winning action.

Sometimes boldness is your friend

Monday 19th August

A tricky hand! So what should you do with the North hand given the auction shown? The Double is for takeout but may not be an ideal shape at higher levels.  If East had opened 3 and South had Doubled what should you do? Also if East had opened 2 and South had Doubled what should you do?

At the table, different East's opened 2, 3 and 4.

Firstly should South Double for takeout, points in the short suit are not ideal but you have 14 of them with four Spades and the right shape so you should always Double.

At our table, I looked at the vulnerability and made the pressure bid of 4 South Doubled for takeout (my partner redoubled but this should not alter your action)? So what should North do, clearly 5♣ is unlikely to make values in Spades will be wasted and South will need five winning cards to give you a chance. So it is best to cross your fingers and Pass (easier after the Redouble) hoping for a Spade ruff. As a rule of thumb don't bid five of a minor unless you have a  six-card suit or extra shape or think you will make the contract opposite 13 points. In this case, partner will play ♠A, ♠K, Spade ruff and there are 2 Hearts to come for +300. 5♣ will make only 8 tricks for a very poor score. 

If East opens 2 as happened at two of the tables; one South made a wimpy Pass and conceded -110 the other Doubled and partner correctly called 3♣ conceding only -100 for a better result.

If East opens 3 South will Double, West must Pass (and certainly not bid 3NT even if South passes you have an 8 card Heart fit, to few points and no guarantee of reaching dummy). Now the odds have changed 3 is more likely to make and 4♣ less likely to fail so 4♣ is not an unreasonable bid. That will fail by 2 tricks for -200 for a poor score. 

This hand is like Goldilocks and the three Bears with unsurprisingly 3 being just right!

Pre-emptive bids make you guess

Thursday 15th August

North will open 1♠, with no Spades South should bid 1NT slowing the auction whilst prepared for any response, West at favorable vulnerability might try 2, North might Double for takeout, South might consider passing but the vulnerability is wrong so will invite game with 4 and North with an excellent hand for this sequence (the two aces, singleton Heart, and  QJx look ideal) will raise to game. The hand can be made by ruffing two Hearts in dummy and discarding the losing Club on ♠A. Well done to Paul and Adrian the only pair who bid and made the game.

A bid at the 2 level shows 10+ points

Wednesday 14th August

Most got into difficulty on this hand. South will open 1and West will overcall 1♠. What should North bid? Without West's intervention, the bidding would proceed 2♣ - 2NT - 3 - 3NT. With 6-8 points and 3 card support, North should raise to 2. In this case, North can't bid 2♣ as this now shows at least five Clubs after the intervention should bid 1NT this now shows 8-11 points and a stop in the opponent's suit (with 6-7 points you can Pass as partner has another chance to bid) now South can raise to 2NT showing 15-16 points, North with 10 points will check for a 5-3 Heart fit with a forcing 3 and South will settle for 3NT.

The bid of 1NT as a response after intervention shows a stronger hand than it would without the intervention

Tuesday 13th August

North may open 1♣ hardly a thing of beauty.  East will overcall 1 showing 8+ points and South will Pass. West has a fit for Hearts and 16 points so could bid 4 immediately and East with no Aces will Pass. Otherwise, West must bid 2♣ showing a fit for hearts and at least invitational values and now East will bid game (now West might bid 4NT Blackwood and when East shows no aces settle for 5 ).

Only one pair reached the good game.

Bid game with game values

Monday 12th August

The bidding on this hand should have been the same at every table but many failed to reach game.

The interesting part is the play in 3NT. West leads 2 now how should South play the Hearts?

If you play Q this will work when West holds K. In isolation, this might be the best thing to do but in this case you can play on Spades for a 10th trick if the defence cannot cash three heart tricks. So play low from dummy gaining when West has led from J10xx or Jxxx and losing if West has led from Kxxx.

Thursday 8th August

North should open 1♠, South with 14 points so not intending to stop below game will respond 2♣, West will bid 2 (3 puts the cat amongst the pigeons North with a minimum will Pass, South should  Double for penalties and +300 will be a good score), North can bid 3♣, South will bid 3 showing at least invitational values game hoping North can bid 3NT, North will deny interest in 3NT and show a minimum hand with 4♣. Now South with game values must bid 5♣. There is no problem with the play. 

Bid game with game values

Wednesday 7th August

If partner has opened 3 a slam seems certain but which one? A leap to 6 is premature. West should bid 4NT Blackwood finding East holds ♣A, Now 5NT asking for kings and on finding one opposite bid 7NT (not 7 as you almost certainly have 13 tricks without the Heart suit). As there is a Heart loser 7NT is the right spot. 

Don't forget to count your tricks

 

Tuesday 6th August

What does South bid? Partner has already passed and you have just 12 points. Bidding could be dangerous. There are three alternatives 3, Pass and Double. In this case, 3 is the winner as partner will raise to 4 which should make 10 tricks but next time who knows.

Pre-emptive bids make you guess

Monday 5th August

South will open a weak 2, a partner will overcall 3♣, now what should East do?

3NT! Two stops in Spades and no raise by North should be enough. In this case, ten tricks are likely. 

Bob Hamman among the greatest players of all time had a maxim for this sort of circumstance:

If you have a choice of reasonable bids and one of them is 3NT, then bid it

 

Thursday 1st August

Despite holding 25 points and a good suit no-one managed to bid the excellent game. North will open 1, East will overcall 1, South has a good fit for Diamonds with at least invitational values so should cue bid 2, as South could still have four Spades so North will continue with 2♠, South will show the Heart stops with 2NT and North with 14 points including a further Heart stop will raise to game. With a Diamond loser 3NT might be beaten on a Spade lead but with three Hearts why would West lead one.

Bid game with game values

Wednesday 31st July

What do you bid now?

Tuesday 31st July

An interesting hand South will open 1, West will overcall 1♠, with 9 points (12 with a Heart fit) North is too strong to bid 2 so will Double showing both minors, East can invite game with a cue bid of 2 (the hand is limited by the original Pass), South will show the Diamond fit with 2, West will discourage by bidding 2♠ and North with a Diamond fit as well as expecting South to have no values in Spades might bid 4. If South bids 3 East will bid 3♠ and now North has a further decision so this is another good reason for bidding 4 immediately. There are just three black suit losers making 10 tricks for +620.

Give the opposition the last guess

Monday 30th July

The bidding might proceed as shown. If you are playing splinter bids West should bid 4♣ showing a sungleton or void Club and East with values mostly in Clubs will decline. Now how to play the hand. On a Club lead it is best to discard a Diamond if North wins ♣A you have two Club tricks and should make 11 tricks. (Best for the defence is an unlikely Spade lead.) How would you proceede on the lead of J?

This hand looks great for a cross-ruff which will be sucessful even on the worst distribution. So win A, play A, 5 North will win Q, then play a Spade (or East might make eight Spade Tricks), East can win in the West hand, ruff a Heart, now ♣K discarding a Diamond. Now whatever North does the other losing Diamond can be discarded on ♣Q, trumps drawn and East has 11 tricks for +650. The threat of a crossruff ensures the defence has no winning play.

Ask the question why shouldn't I draw trumps

Friday 26th July

A tricky hand what should you bid when West opens a pre-emptive 3?

(see Hand of the Day Monday 22nd July for a similar problem) All actions have flaws but Bob Hamman among the greatest players of all time had a maxim for this sort of circumstance:

If you have a choice of reasonable bids and one of them is 3NT, then bid it

Thursday 25th July

West will open 1, East will respond 1♠, now West should bid 2 (2 is a bit of a stretch showing usually 17+ points), East should rebid 2♠ showing at least six Spades, now West can add a point for the doubleton Club and the three Aces are also a positive so a jump to 4♠ is not unreasonable. Only two of the six pairs played in Spades; the point is West should not bid No Trumps but support Spades once West has bid the suit twice. 

Wednesday 24th July

John counting 5 points for the void found the 3 bid on this hand which allowed the raise to 4. There were only 11 out of about 244 pairs who managed to bid and make game.

Tuesday 23rd July

Should you bid or Pass?

I think a bid of 1 is the percentage option as I did at the table Alan and Mick did something similar. You do hold 5 points and a few tens. If partner raises or bids another suit or bids No Trumps you can Pass. 1 is unlikely to play well if partner holds four or even 5 Diamonds. If partner rebids 2 at least you know you have a 7 card fit.

In this case partner rebid 1NT which scores better than 1.

Have a look at similar hand board 9 yesterday where the winning action is to bid 1♠. Click here for the hand.

It is worth trying to improve the contract

Monday 22nd July

What do you bid when South opens a pre-emptive 3♣?

3NT not ideal but there is no better option. A major suit bid would show a 5 card suit and could be Passed with up to 10 points. If you Double you could be lucky as in this case when partner shows a major but a jump in Diamonds would be difficult to handle. Bob Hamman among the greatest players of all time had a maxim for this sort of circumstance:

If you have a choice of reasonable bids and one of them is 3NT, then bid it

Thursday 17th July

A tricky hand to bid. I will take you through my thinking. I started with 1and partner responded 1NT. Now you have the values for 2NT but partner cannot hold more than three Spades so this seems dangerous, forcing to game with 3 is overstating your hand so a quiet 2 seems best. Now when North gives preference to Hearts a raise to 3 seems good lacking four Spades and prefering Hearts North is likely to have three Hearts. North with nine points has no problem raising to 4. With Hearts 3-2 there are 10 tricks for +620.

Think about partners hand

Wednesday 18th July

How many tricks can you make in No Trumps. Imagine you are in 6NT played by North on the lead of a low Spade. North wins ♠10 how should you continue? 

You now have three Spades, three Diamonds one Heart and two Clubs for a total of 9 tricks. You should look at each suit in order; Spades there is little chance of extra tricks West apears to have at least ♠ Qxxx; Hearts finessing K will add one trick if West holds Kx there are two extra tricks; Diamonds playing 9 finessing  J will add one trick however the Diamonds split (playing the top three Diamonds will make five Diamond tricks over half the time but you will make only three Diamonds 13% of the time); Clubs playing ♣K then finessing ♣Q will add three tricks if the Clubs are 3-3. This is a hand where you have to take your chances in order so play 9 finessing J, 43% of the time when the J is this will give you 12 tricks by then giving up a Heart so when 9 wins cross to ♠K play, A, K finding the bad news, now play 3 towards Q this will generate the two extra tricks required when Hearts break 3-3 or East has Kx or singleton K (you cannot afford to play A first) in this case Q will lose to K and now you can test the Hearts which break 3-3 making 12 tricks for +990. Note you still have the Club finesse in reserve if the other chances don't materialise. (If the Diamond finesse loses you can cash ♠K, play ♣K, finesse ♣Q if this suceeds and the suit breaks you have 12 tricks if the Club suit does not break you have to take the Heart finesse.) You can make 13 tricks but this puts the contract at risk.

Take your chances in order

Tuesday 16th July

West leads ♣3 to your ♣10 East wins ♣Q, plays Q low from dummy. How do you defend?

You should play low (smoothly) East is sure to follow with 5 to J you can win K and now East has no way back to the Diamond suit and will fail by several tricks.

Defenders can hold up too

Monday 15th July

An interesting problem. South with a balanced 11 should Pass, West should open 2, North does not have a bid so should Pass but South having Passed initially can Double for takeout. Now North has two choices bid 3NT or Pass hoping for +500 or +200 and game is not making. I would favour Pass at this vunerability. The analysis says the contract should fail by two tricks but practically the defence will make 6 tricks for +200 and in this case 75% of the matchponts.

It often pays to take the penalty

Thursday 12th July

This hand was interesting no one reached the 25 point game. North should open 1, South should respond 1♠, North will rebid 1NT showing a balanced 15-16 points South with 9 points should invite game with 2NT, North will accept showing exactly 3 Spades (in case South has five Spades) with a bid of 3♠ and with only four Spades North will bid 3NT. 

East should lead ♣10 as this is probably from ♣(K)109(xx) North should play low winning ♣Q. Now a low Club intending to play ♣8 East might win ♣K now even if East switches to a Diamond North will come to at least 9 tricks for +600.

Bid game with game values

Wednesday 10th July

An interesting hand from Wednesday mornings gentle play session. I was playing with Christine in her first duplicate session and we managed to bid as above. East will open 1 South might overcall 2♣ now West can bid a forcing 2 showing a five card suit I continued with 2♠ which does not show extra values Christine continued with 3 showing a six card suit which I was happy to raise to 4.  

After a Club lead West should win ♣A now a cross ruff seems a good idea so ♣K ruff a Club ♠ A, ♠ K ruff a Spade ruff a Club and now the defence can only take two Aces.

Think about the bidding

 

Tuesday 9th July

The bidding should be straightforward. When West opens 2NT East with 35-37 points in the two hands must bid slam. East could try Stayman but when West bids 3 must bid 6NT. Note 4NT is not Blackwood but quantitative as no suit has been agreed. 

Now how to play the hand. Most will lead a Club say ♣4 West will win ♣K. What next?

The key is how to play the Diamond suit, crossing to A then following with 5 will succeed over 85% of the time failing only when South has Kxxx.

Slightly better is to cross to ♠A, then lead 5 to Q if South wins K then returns a Club West can win ♣A, play A finding out the bad news, follow with three more rounds of Spades, then three rounds of Hearts ending in the West hand. West holds ♣J 8 East has  J6 and South who has still to play to the 11th trick holds 109 ♣Q and has no good discard.

It is better if South does not win the first Diamond trick but West should still prevail West will cross back to A finding the bad news. Again West should play three more rounds of Spades, then three rounds of Hearts ending in the West hand. This time West holds ♣AJ 8 East has  J63 and South who has still to play to the 10th trick holds K10 ♣Q8 and has no good discard. If South discards a Diamond West can play a Diamond and finesse the ♣Q on the Club return or if South hangs on to both Diamonds ♣A will drop ♣Q establishing the ♣J. 

Leading towards Q without playing A succeeds over 89% of the time so one in 25 times you will make the extra trick and today is the day.

Look for extra chances

Monday 8th July

No-one managed to bid this hand correctly at the table. North should open 1NT South should transfer to Spades and then force to game with 3, North should bid 4♠ showing a minimum with 3 Spades and South with no slam interest will Pass. At the table players seem to have transferred to Spades the bid 2NT (when North with should bid 3♠ and South with 15 points will raise to 4♠) or used Stayman then bid 2NT. The only time you would want to play in 2NT is if North has 2 Spades, 3 Hearts and only 12 points so you must play with the odds and bid 3.

Now the play is also interesting assume East leads 5 (second highest from a bad suit) West will win K, then switch to  ♣3 (lead towards weakness in dummy) how should North play? 

Play with the odds

There appears to be a loser in Clubs, a Spade suit to negotiate and a fourth heart to deal with. Best is to win ♣A, finesse ♠K, cash a top Spade, cross to K, back to A, Q discarding ♣2, then when J falls play 10 discarding a second Club, cross to ♣K and cross ruff, East has a trump trick so North will make 11 tricks for +650.

Thursday 4th July

North will open 1NT and South should bid 2 a transfer to Hearts. (Otherwise West should Double to show 15 or more points when reaching game is then certain.) West should Double to show Diamonds and North will complete the transfer. East cannot bid not knowing the strength of Wests hand. When South passes West must bid having shown Diamonds 3♣ seems the best bid and East with 10 points will bid 3NT. As North is known to have nearly all of the outstanding points the play is not too difficult.

Bid game with game values

Wednesday 3rd July

What a strange hand! Not so much what you hold as the bidding. Partner has a balanced hand you have this strange distribution and neither opponent has a bid. So what is your plan?

You could bid 3NT or 5 directly. Better could be a 3 a slam try in Diamonds.

However the best option seems to be 2♣ Stayman. This gives some chance of slam. If partner bids: 

  • 2 You can bid 5 
  • 2 you could try 3NT hoping partner can stop the Clubs (if partner bids 4♠ you can bid 5♣ showing first round control in Clubs)
  • 2♠ you can bid 4♣ a Splinter bid showing a singleton or void Diamond

So in this case you will end up in 5 by East for +400 as South is sure to lead  K.

Don't worry about this hand too much nothing similar likely to happen to you again!

Think about using Stayman

 

Tuesday 2nd July

No North/South succeeded with this hand today. What should you do with this hand after South opens 1 and West overcalls 1♠?

After the 1♠ overcall North must bid 1NT showing 8-11HCP with a Spade stop (1NT is stronger over the intervention). Now South with 19 points will bid 3♣ forcing to game and the part score will be avoided. At the table all four pairs failed to reach game probably because North passed rather than bidding over 1♠.

Bid game with game values

Monday July 1st

I think North has too many HCP in the black suits and might settle for 3NT hoping to make the same number of tricks as those in Hearts. However two intrepid pairs reached the reasonable slam this is certainly better than 50%. West makes the helpful lead of ♣A and plays a second Club South will win ♣Q. South has nine tricks on top. How should you play the hand?

The best chance of extra tricks is in the Heart suit so K then Q (honors from the short hand first) and when West discards there are five Heart tricks by taking the marked Heart finesse (11 in total). Now as East has four Hearts the missing queens are more likely to be with West. So before cashing the Hearts it is best to play ♠A in case East has a singleton ♠Q, ♣Q, finesse J, cash two more Hearts, play A then K hoping Q drops (better to try for doubleton Q than doubleton ♠Q 4-2 is more likely than 5-2). Then if nothing good has happened take the Spade finesse for 12 tricks scoring +980. As it happens everything works.

As declarer make a plan

Thursday 27th June

Only two pairs out of six bid to slam on this hand. The sequence above shows how the hand might be bid. West will open 1♠, East already thinking about slam should try to find out as much asc possible about West's hand by bidding 2, West will rebid 2NT showing 15-16 points, a greedy East might bid 3♠ (intending to explore the possibility of 7♠ should West show five Spades by raising to 4♠) and in any event East with 35 or 36 points must bid 6NT over the 3NT response (or over 2NT). There are eleven top tricks and you can take the Diamond finesse in either direction making 12 or 13 tricks. 

Bid slam with slam values

Wednesday 26th June

This hand is interesting because of the results achieved at the table. Three pairs played in 3NT, one in 2♠ and only one in the correct contract of 4♠. Everyone should lead Q two players found another lead at the table. Declarer will play ♠A then finesse ♠Q losing to West making 10 tricks in a Spade contract. Now the problem with 3NT is that if you lose a Spade the defence should cash three Heart winners (lucky it could be more) holding you to nine tricks in this case as the Hearts are 4-4.

So back to the bidding how do we reach 4♠ . With a good 11 points South should invite game by transfering to Spades then bidding 2NT most of the time North will have three or more Spades and will end up in 4♠  (if North with 12 points bids 3♠ South should raise counting extra points for the singleton). In this case North has a maximum with 3♠ and should bid 4♠. I guess the shape pursuaded some Norths to bid 3NT this is a mistake on two counts South has not shown a balanced hand and the high cards held suggest suit play rather than No Trumps. If South had enough points for game (add ♠Q) and the same shape over 2♠ the correct bid would have been 3♣ showing either a very strong hand or some concern about 3NT as the final contract. So a bid of 3NT would show a balanced or semi-balanced hand. 

A transfer followed by a bid of 2NT does not necessarily show a balanced hand

Monday 24th June

There were three good slams today Several pairs bid 6♠  on board 3. Nicky and Ian did well to bid and make 6 on board 22. The hand above is board 2 the key is to realise how strong the West hand is. West will open 1 , East should respond 2♣ showing 10 or 11 points, West will force to game with 3, South will bid 4 showing at least two card support. Now the moment of truth East has 10 or 11 high card points and you have 21 points if East holds A you should be able to discard a Spade (or Club loser from hand) if not where are his points (Club values could be good too). Perhaps best is 5 asking East to bid 6  with a good Heart holding and East with good Hearts and two more kings should have no trouble in bidding 6

Sometimes you have to take a chance with a good hand

Thursday 20th June

North will open a Weak 2♠, West will overcall 2NT 16-18 with 2 Spade stops and East should transfer to Hearts. Most West's will make 3 as North cannot get a Heart ruff without help and a trump promotion in the Spade suit is difficult for the defence to see and organise. In any event it is better than 2NT which will probably make only 5 tricks. Notice if you do not play transfers in this position you cannot bid 3 as this would be a game force. 

Stayman and Transfers apply when the first natural bid by your partnership is 1NT or 2NT

Wednesday 19th June

There are probably many bidding sequences on this hand. The Double of 1 in the sequence above is not ideal but it is one way to make sure a Spade fit is not missed. Also if West bids 3♣ instead of Double North may be disuaded from bidding 3. Certainly if West is allowed to show some values East at the vulnerability should Double 4. Bidding 3 may result in missing a game. The other thought is if South bids 4 immediately will this avoid the contract being Doubled. I think its a tough call but I think an immediate 4 will pay off in the long run.

Vunerability should influence your bidding

Tuesday 19th June

This is a difficult hand to bid. West will open 1, East must bid 1♠, West has a tough desision but bidding 2 seems best (the other option is 1NT), now East has the tough desision but should either raise to 3 inviting game when West with 18 points will jump to 5 or bid 2NT when West will raise to 3NT. In either case game will make (3NT needs the Heart finesse to work or no Club lead but scores better).  The point is with 26 points game should be reached. 

Bid game with 25 or more points

Monday 17th June

Three pairs did well bid a small slam. South will open 1♠, North should respond 2♣ (responder should bid four card suits in ascending order), South will jump to 3♠ a game force with 15+ high card points and 6+ Spades. Now North knows the partnership has at least 33 points enough for slam. North should check for Aces and Kings with Blackwood then bid a slam. In this case 6NT scooped all the matchpoints.

Is it possible to bid seven? The sequence above is Roman key card Blackwood 5♠ shows 2 key cards and ♠Q, 5NT asks for Kings and 6 shows K and denies ♣K as well as K. Now South must have at least one queen for the 3♠ bid so North could bid 7♠ (slightly better than 7NT) hoping South holds Q or ♣Q or if not you will need at least one finesse to work. (South has shown 12 points from the Blackwood responses so should have at least 3 points in Queens and Jacks. North is missing Q,  QJ and ♣Q. If South has 4+ points the grand slam is always making. So the only problem is when Souths 3 points are specificaly QJ and even with this holding there are still chances.)

Discover partners hand from the bidding.

 

Thursday 13th May

The bidding should start as shown. What should West do after the 1NT bid?

Paul was the only one to find the correct answer which is is to Pass. The only other choice is to bid 2♥ it is possible that partner has three Hearts but it is against the odds. East will have at least seven cards in the minors so 1NT should play well. East has denied four Spades by bidding 1NT so you should not bid 2♠ which should show at least 17 points and is forcing (bidding over the barrier or a reverse). The defence is difficult but you will make at least as many tricks in No Trumps as in Hearts for a better score.

Wednesday 12th June

What do you when South opens 1NT?

Andrew found the best solution by passing, making seven Diamonds and A for +200  and a top score.  Unless you can make an unlikely 5  or 3NT with the opponents vunerable this is certain to be the best result.

Tuesday 11th June

When you are holding 14 points and partner opens the bidding the one thing you must not do is make a bid partner can Pass. This was obviously a problem with this hand. For most the bidding will start as shown above. Three West's made a non forcing Heart bid either 2  showing 6-9 points and a 6 card suit or 3  showing 10-12 points and a 6+ Heart suit. One West bid 2NT showing 11-12  inviting game and one West allowed East to play in 4♣. So what is the best bid? Have a think then press the show answer button to see my thoughts.

Clearly any bid of game is better so 3NT or 4 or even 5♣ would have given all the matchpoints. The best bid is 2♠ East has already denied four or more Spades so cannot raise to game, it is a responder reverse so it is forcing to game, in this case East will bid 2NT (stronger than 3NT) or 3NT with Diamond stops and you will reach 3NT for a top board. However the point is that whatever East responds West has an answer if East bids 2NT or 3♣ or 3  West can bid 3 showing a 6 card suit, if East bids 3  showing three Hearts West can raise, if East bids 3♠  showing no Diamond stop less than 3 Hearts as well as 3 good Spades East can continue with 4♣ and East can bid 4  with 2 Hearts or continue on to 5♣ with a 6 card Club suit.

Do not give partner the option to Pass below the level of game when you have game values

Monday 10th June

This hand was played in 1NT at all tables. At three tables South was declarer presumably on the auction above. What should you lead? 

1NT is always an interesting contract. The best lead is a Spade we have learnt to lead ♠10 from this holding and is the most sucessful on this occaision (♠6 is also good but if declarer plays ♠7 from dummy he there are 7 tricks available). Two pairs found a low Spade and beat the contract by one. The other lead was 10 when declarer should play low from dummy ending up with 7 tricks for +90 (1♠ 2 1 3♣). Two North pairs played 1NT having either opened 1NT or after 1♣ P 1 P 1NT. Now this contract can always make as East is almost endplayed at trick 1 the best lead is 6 which will probably hold North to 7 tricks. At one table somehow West managed to play in 1NT and made 6 tricks. Leads have a major influence on results.

It's usually best to lead your longest suit against No Trumps prefering a major suit to a minor suit

Thursday 6th June

West will Pass, North will Pass, East will start with 1, South wanting to ensure a Club lead will bid 2♣, West should compete with 2, North should continue with 2♠ this should be a 5 Card suit with a tolerence for Clubs also as North has already Passed it is no longer forcing (with 6 or more Spades North would have opened with a pre-empt) and South happy to play in Spades will Pass. If West gets into the action with 2 over the 2♣ bid (showing either 3 Hearts and 6-9 points or 4 Hearts and 2-5 Points), when North bids 2♠ East knowing there is at least an 8 card fit will bid 3  for a good score.

Support partner with 3 cards and 6-8 points after intervention.

 

Wednesday 5th May

There were unusual results on this hand. The auction should proceed as shown once South has shown 19 points 6NT seems the only bid to make. (5NT is not Blackwood but invitational to 6NT). You can lead  9 towards dummies  K for the 12th trick (13 if West ducks). In fact only one pair bid the slam but then slipped in the play. 

 

Tuesday June 4th

With a balanced 15 points South will open 1  (the hand lacks intemediates and has three suits with a single honour so 1NT is not an unreasonable alternative), West has no option but to Pass, North will respond 1♠ , South will rebid 1NT showing 15-16 points, North will force to game with 3  and South should bid 4♠  showing a minimum hand with three Spades. 6♠  is a good contract requiring Spades 2-2 or the  J to fall in three rounds or the Club finesse however two of the four pairs yesterday failed to bid game.

Bid game with game values 

Monday 3rd June

This was the bidding at our table. The first decision is whether to open 1♠  or 4♠ . Opening 4♠  means you might miss slam if partner has a good hand but as in this case you may stop the opposition reaching their contract. There is nothing wrong with West's Double but East unluckily picked the wrong suit. Many players play 4NT in this position to show two places to play (with Spades you can Pass 4♠).  5 will make but 6  is the contract. With an extra Spade and a good hand I felt justified in bidding 5♠  espechally at this vulnerability.  If East had bid 5  West would have passed 5♠  to show slam interest and with so much more than he might have East could bid 6 . A tough hand for East/West.

Pre-emptive bids make you guess

Thursday 30th May

North will open 1NT, East will overcall 2♣, South has no convenient bid as well as knowing the partnership has at most 24 points so will Pass (this must be done in tempo or North will have difficulty bidding) , West will Pass, North should make a takeout Double and now whether South decides to Pass for +300 or bid the result will be improved.

You can Double for takeout after opening 1NT with a doubleton in the suit bid and a 4432 shape .

Wednesday 29th May

South will open 1NT, North will bid 2© a transfer to Spades, East should Double to show Hearts, South will complete the transfer and West with 13 points not including the ♠ K should jump to 4©. North will lead ª6 to ªA, switch to ¨3 West will win ¨A, draw trumps ending in dummy, play §3 South will win §A, play ¨8 to ¨J and West will claim the rest making 10 tricks for +420. 

Remember a Double of an artificial bid shows the suit bid

Tuesday 28th May

This should be a fairly simple game to bid but three of the four pairs ended up in a Heart part score. Once East opens 1NT West should commit to game by using Stayman and on finding a Heart fit bid game. The three pairs in Hearts all made 10 tricks. Only one pair reached game on this hand a poor 3NT which slipped though on a misdefence but at least West recognised the need to bid game with game values.

Bid game with game values