Confey Castle Bridge Club
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Past Presidents

2019-2021 Margaret Kavanagh

2018-19 Frances Mullooly

2017-18 Tony Gillick

2016-17 Clare Etherson

2015-16 Celaine Rath

2014-15 Veronica Manley

2012-14 Kevin Dunne





Mid Leinster Region




Opening Bids


♠  Q J 4

  6 5

  K 9 8

♣  A K 7 3 2


It might be tempting to open this hand with 1♣  but it is far better to open 1NT.

The advantage of opening 1NT is that the opponents will have to overcall at the 2 level!  If you open 1♣  it will be easy for them to get into the auction with an overcall of 1 , 1  or 1♠ .

A 1NT opening does not promise a stopper in every suit.  Open 1NT with ALL balanced hands of 12-14 points, except when you have a 5 card major.




♠  J 9 6 4 2

  K Q J 6 5


♣  A J


With equal length suits of 5 cards or 6 cards open the higher ranking suit first.  It is the rank of the suit that is important not the quality. On this hand it might be tempting to open 1  because the hearts are better but it is correct to open 1♠ .

If we opened 1  and partner replied with 1NT, 2♣  or 2 would not be able to show the spades because 2♠ be a 'New Suit Above the Barrier' (a 'reverse') promising 16+ points. If we open 1♠  there is no problem as a 2 rebid is below the barrier.



The Rule of 20 is used only when opening the bidding. Is used to test whether hands with less than 12 points are suitable for opening.

Add up your High Card Points (HCP) and add the length of your two longest suits. If the total is 20 or more then you can open the bidding.


♠ A K 7 6 4

 6 5 2

 A 9 8 3

♣ 7


The above hand has 11 HCPs. The lengths of the two longest suits are five and four. This makes a total of 20, so the hand is suitable for opening.


♠ K J 8

 A 5

 9 7 2

♣ Q J 8 3 2


The above hand also has 11 HCP but does not pass the Rule of 20


Responding to Opening Bids


What does this mean?

Firstly, it primarily applies to the responder after partner opened one of a suit (not 1NT). It does not apply when opening the bidding. Always open with longest suit even if it is a minor.

When responding to an opening bid of 1 1, 1 or 1 with less than 12 points bid a four card major at the one level if you can rather than bidding 1NT or a longer minor at the two level. It doesn't matter how poor the suit is! e.g.


♠  5 4 3 2


  A 8 5

♣  K Q J 7 2

            North      East      South      West

1          Pass        1♠ 

On this hand it is correct to bid 1 rather than 2.

With less than 12 points you will normally only be able to bid one of your suits so more important to show the major.

With 12+ points bid the longest suit first as you have enough strength to bid both your suits.





When responding to a 1NT opening with a flat hand of any 4333 shape that contains a four card major, it's often best to make a No Trump response rather than using Stayman.



♠ Q 8 7 3

 K J 10

 Q 9 8

♣ A J 4



            North      East      South      West

1NT         Pass        ? 


With the 4333 shape we have no ruffing values so better to play for 9 tricks in No Trumps rather than 10 tricks in spades, even if partner has spade support.




Use Stayman after a 2NT opening (with 4+ points) and a 1NT overcall (with 7+ points). Don't forget to check for a major suit fit with a hand like South's rather than going straight to 3NT.


♠ J 10 4

  A K 4 3

  A K

♣  A Q 8 2


♠  7 2

  Q 8 7 2

  6 5 3

♣  K 6 4 3


 North      East      South      West

2NT         Pass        3♣       Pass

   3        Pass          4       Pass 

If South bids 3NT without checking for a heart fit first, the defence may take the 5 or 6 tricks with the inevitable lead of a spade and a bad break.



When responding to one of a suit, only jump in a new suit when you have 16+ points and a suit of 5+ cards and good suit quality.



♠ A K J 7 6 3

 K 8 2

 Q 7 6 2



            North      East      South      West

1          Pass        1♠ 

It may be tempting to jump to 2 on this hand but you are misleading partner about your strength.

There is no need to jump as a) the 1 response is forcing - partner will bid again b) responding 1 does not deny a strong hand. A one level change of suit response shows from 6 up to 15 or more points (not 6-9!).

Opener's Rebids



When you open 1 of a suit with 15/16 points and a balanced hand planning to rebid 1NT,

PASS if your partner responds 1NT eg:-


♠  A K 8

  K 8 2

  A 8 4 2

♣  Q 6 4


 West      North      East      South

1          Pass        1NT       Pass


A 2NT rebid in this sequence shows 17-18 points




♠  9 8

  A Q J 8 6 5 3


♣  5 4 2


South  West  North  East

    3        3♠     Pass  Pass


We open with a good 3pre-empt and West overcalls 3. Should we bid 4?

No. Most certainly not!

When we open with a pre-empt we 'overbid' our hand (because of the 7 card suit) with the aim of disrupting the opposition as much as possible. We are not generally expecting to make 9 tricks (unless partner comes up with something useful).

West is in the uncomfortable position of having to overcall at the three level. Maybe West can't make 3, which will give us a plus score. Maybe the opponents have missed 4, in which case we don't want to give them a second chance to bid it.

Even if West is making 3(-140 to us), going down 2 tricks doubled in hearts not vulnerable (-300) or even 1 trick doubled vulnerable (-200) will be worse.

Remember, when you pre-empt it is hardly ever right to bid again.

The only time you MUST bid again is when partner responds to the pre-empt with a change of suit, which is forcing. This happens very rarely in practice.



Aim to arrive by 7.15 to be seated for 7.25 for a 7.30 start.  Remember if you arrive late, the whole movement will probably have to be adjusted to accommodate you.

Please fill the sign-in sheet clearly putting down SURNAMES in every case.

Aim to bid and play in a timely manner.  It should take approximately 7/8 minutes to bid and play each board.  Please keep conversation to a minimum until you have finished playing all boards.  Don’t analyse each hand as it finishes.  If there is still time at the end of the round, when all the scoring has been done, then by all means have a post-mortem.  If the Tournament Director calls the move, please move promptly, even if you haven’t had time for discussion.  If a table is particularly slow, due to whatever reason, the Tournament Director may choose to hurry them along or even average a board if necessary.  Please do not take this personally.  Bear in mind that the TD has a difficult job and is trying to make the evening as enjoyable as possible for everyone.

Maintain a courteous attitude at all times

Greet your opponents as they/you arrive at the table

Compliment your opponents on good bidding or play

Do NOT argue or be disrespectful to your partner

And NEVER criticize your opponent’s bidding or play

Be careful not to gloat.  Saying “Well done Partner” is one thing – high fiving is another thing altogether…!


When playing a Howell movement BOTH pairs should make sure that they are at the right table playing the right boards before starting.

Always count your cards before looking at them to make sure that you have 13

Always leave the boards open on the table during bidding in order that players can see at glance their vulnerability.

During the auction, use the bidding boxes.  No comments about the bids are necessary except for requests for clarification from the opponents.  If you have a question about a bid made eg. “is that weak or strong NT?”, the question must be directed to the PARTNER of the person bidding – NOT the bidder.

Try not to take too long over bids.  Sometimes hesitations can give undue information to your partner. NEVER make a comment which clearly conveys information about your hand to your partner. 

The use of bridge notes is not allowed.

The STOP card should be placed on the table by the bidder for about 10 seconds before any jump bid, including an opening bid (a bid where at least one level is being skipped – eg. 1 ♣  / STOP 2  or an opening bid of 2 ♠  or 3  .  It is to alert your partner to the fact that you are jump bidding or jump shifting.

The ALERT card is used to indicate certain bids which are not natural.  It should be taken from the box by the PARTNER of the person bidding, NOT the bidder and shown to both opponents.  It is not strictly necessary to give an explanation unless asked but many people will volunteer one eg. “might be short” (for a phoney 1 ♣  opening) or “transfers” (when 2   over 1NT indicates a transfer to 2  and 2   over 1NT indicates a transfer to 2 ♠ )

Do not put the bidding cards back in the box until after the lead card has been played.  This is so the person on lead can remind themselves of the bidding.


It can be very distracting for the Declarer if there is conversation at the table while they are playing the hand. Therefore, with the exception of “in your hand”“on the table” or “having none?” there should be no talk during play.

When you are on lead, make your lead face down BEFORE the dummy has placed down their cards. This is in case there is confusion over which player is the declarer.

If dummy is playing the cards for the declarer, they must only do so on the instructions of the declarer.  It is unacceptable for dummy to reach out and play a card of their own accord.

Cards played should always be placed face up on the table in front of the player.  It is NOT acceptable to simply twist the card in your hand and then place it in the won/lost position.

It is good practice when your partner does not follow suit (for the first time in a suit) to ask “Having none Partner?”.  This SHOULD eliminate all instances of reneges (not following suit even though you have the suit in your hand) being established. It then means that the player simply corrects his mistake, playing the correct suit and leaving the mistakenly played card face up on the table to be played at the next legal opportunity.  If a renege/revoke is established (ie. play has moved on to subsequent tricks) you should call the Tournament Director.  If the offender does NOT win the revoke trick, the penalty is 1 trick, if they DO win the revoke trick, the penalty is 2 tricks.

At the end of a board, make sure that all players are in agreement on the result before lifting the cards from the table.

If you discuss a board after the play, make sure that you do so very quietly as people near you who haven’t yet played that board may overhear.

Shuffle and recount your cards before placing them back in the boards and double check that North’s cards go back in North etc.



It is NORTH who is responsible for scoring

Make sure that you have the correct pairs detailed

Make sure that you clearly write if the contract is + or – tricks eg. 3NT + 2

Make sure that you CLEARLY mark who has played the contract.  Ns and Ws often look similar…!

Check that you have taken the vulnerability into account.  Vulnerability is only a factor when declarer has made his contract in the event that game has been bid eg. 3NT made is 400 points non vulnerable and 600 points if vulnerable whereas 2NT is 120 points regardless of vulnerability. In the event of the contract not being made, vulnerability is always a factor.  It is 50 points for each undertrick if not vulnerable and 100 points if vulnerable.

Make sure that the score is allocated to the correct column – either N/S or E/W

If the contract has been doubled or redoubled, make sure that this is noted eg. 4   *     / 3NT * RD. 

North should always show the sheet to East for them to confirm that the score is correctly entered.

If you are unsure about a score or notice a previous score that you think is entered incorrectly, call the Tournament Director or one of the Club Scorers.  Do NOT make changes to the score yourself – at most, place  ? beside the score in question.