NEWSLETTER

CLICK HERE TO READ MY LATEST NEWSLETTER

 

 ACBL’s “Deal Me In"

Click Here to read this month's edition of ACBL’s “Deal Me In," a guide designed to help novice bridge players navigate the intricacies of the game.

In this article, we will explore essential bidding strategies for balanced hands, bridge terminologies, and provide quick tips for declarer play.

 

- ANNOUNCEMENT -

Josée Hammill wins 2020/21 Teacher of the Year Award

 

The American Bridge Teachers’ Association (ABTA) announced on August 17 that the winner of the 2020/21 Teacher of the Year award is Josée Hammill of Toronto, Canada.

Josée has devoted herself to the craft of instructing new and intermediate players in the joy and mysteries of the fabulous game of bridge.

Those of us who have been her students thank Josée for her dedication to the role of teacher and mentor. We congratulate her on this acknowledgement of her teaching excellence.

Well done, Josée!

Update: Josée has been featured on the ABTA magazine! Click on the image above or here to download the PDF.

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Welcome to Josee's Bridge
Welcome to my website!
Welcome to my website!

♠  Welcome to my website!  ♣ 

 

Here you can find my class schedule, helpful links to improve your bridge, past recordings and many other useful tips.

 

Please write me if you have any question at the email

mjhammill@rogers.com

 

Looking forward to hearing from you !

 

LEARN TO FILL OUT YOUR CONVENTION CARD!

Learn To Fill Out Your Convention Card!

Location: Armour Heights Presbyterian Church
 105 Wilson Ave, Toronto

Hot off the press! This week, after finishing my intermediate courses, I received numerous inquiries for some help on how to fill out a convention card.  

With more and more of you playing in duplicate bridge clubs, and planning to attend the Toronto NABC in July, knowing the purpose and how to fill out a convention card are essential aspects of being a bridge player.

To this end, I am excited to offer a 2-hour course where I will guide you step by step on how to fill out your Convention Card.

Below are two valid reasons why you and your partner should carry your Convention card when attending a duplicate bridge game.

Being on the same page as your partner: Think of your convention card with partner as your bridge dictionary. This lays out the definition of bids you and partner make. Without having discussed and filled out a convention card, partners may have different interpretations of bids and plays, leading to confusion and misunderstandings at the table. A properly filled-out convention card helps minimize these misunderstandings by providing clear agreements on what you and partner have chosen to play.

Understanding the opponents’ agreements: By the same token, the opponents’ Convention Card is their dictionary which you have full access to. Bridge is a game of full disclosure. Everyone at the table is entitled to understand what is happening. The Convention card allows you to know what your opponents are playing.

DATE: Wednesday, May 15th – from 10 am to 12 pm

PRICEONLY $25. Includes PDF of PowerPoint presentation.

Space is very limited – reserve quickly for this amazing opportunity.

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

To register, please contact Josée at mjhammill@rogers.com.
For any questions, feel free to reach out via email or call 416-300-9140.

Payment: Once registration confirmed, please send payment by etransfer to mjhammill@rogers.com or by cheque mailed to 1717 Avenue Road, Suite 418, Toronto, Ontario, M5M 0A2.

 

Join us for the Bridge Event of the Summer: Toronto NABC Summer 2024!

Are you looking for an exciting event to attend in the summer of 2024? Look no further than the Toronto NABC Summer 2024!

This event, organized by the American Contract Bridge League, will take place from July 18-28, 2024 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) in Toronto, Canada.

I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be chairing one of the committees for this event (the Intermediate/Newcomer Program Chair) and we are in need of volunteers.

If you're interested in volunteering, please contact Glenna Richardson at glennarichardson@bell.net and if you would like your volunteer efforts to be within the Intermediate/Novice tournament, just let Glenna know.

You can also visit our website at torontonabc.org for more details.

This is an incredible opportunity to be a part of a world-renowned bridge event and to work alongside passionate individuals in the bridge community. I hope to see you there! It will be a great event and super fun!

PS: Take the time to click on this link and read what I have prepared for you. More questions? Can't find the answer? Just email me!

Click here to download the FAQ and schedule in PDF

SPLINTER BIDS ✨ MY BRAND NEW RECORDED LESSON ✨
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My brand new recorded lesson on Splinter Bids is finally ready! Splinters are very descriptive bids that promise excellent trump support, shortness and a game going hand - all in one bid!

 

What to Expect:

  • A very detailed PowerPoint presentation on the mechanics of this bid and the follow ups.
  • How to revalue your hand after a splinter bid.
  • When slam should be a good proposition and when a game is the maximum you can hope for.
  • Then we move to BBO to bid and play 12 hands.

 

Let’s Recap EVERYTHING You’ll Get!

 

  1. You will receive a handout of all 12 hands with commentary on bidding and playing.
  2. Plus, my 2-hour video, that you can watch on your own time, and follow every deal along with the handouts.
  3. A copy of all slides used during the presentation in PDF
  4. Finally, I'll be available by email to answer anything that may come up during the lesson. Reach out to me with all your questions - even the wildest ones!

 

And the best part is: you’ll be able to apply everything you learn right away.

 

For just $30, you can purchase this powerful course. In addition, you will be helping North Toronto Cat rescue as I will donate $5 of each lesson sold to support their efforts. So not only are you investing in your own growth and bridge development, but you're also making a meaningful contribution to the welfare of those adorable felines in need. Sign up today to make a difference and gain fabulous insights simultaneously!

 

To recap: the cost is $30, payable by etransfer to my email address, or a cheque mailed to 1717 Avenue Road, Suite 418, Toronto, ON, M5M0A2.

 

Or, by PayPal here: https://bit.ly/JoseePaypal. If paying using PayPal, please include your email address in the notes.

 

Purchase by emailing me at mjhammill@rogers.com or by replying to this email and I will immediately send you the link.

 

Josée

 

PS: In case you missed it, here's the last mini-video about splinters. Just click here  https://youtu.be/cQwaeh5zV9Y

- BRAND NEW LESSON - BIDDING AND PLAYING SHAPELY HANDS

My brand new recorded lesson on Bidding and Playing Shapely Hands is finally ready! Its often tricky to describe a hand with a 6-5, 5-5 6-4 distribution. Then there are also those famous reverses. Bidding them is one thing but then managing to make your contract when having to deal with such distribution is something else.

What to Expect:

  • Let's bid and play 12 hands borrowed from Ron Klinger that deal with unique shapes and distribution. These will challenge and elevate your bridge skills. Think 6-5 hands, 6-4 hands and such!
  • Uncover strategic insights on bidding and playing these shapely hands to enhance your overall game.
  • Discover why the lead of dummy’s first bid suit can be a huge red signal.
  • See how to use the convention Fourth Suit Forcing before committing to a game contract.
  • And if you are the opponent, learn to listen to the auction and picture the hand, giving you an advantage on how to choose the lead and how to defend.

Let’s Recap EVERYTHING You’ll Get!

  1. You will receive a handout of all 12 hands with extensive commentary on bidding and playing. Also the choice of opening lead.
  2. Plus, my 2-hour video, that you can watch on your own time, and follow every deal along with the handouts.
  3. Finally, I'll be available by email to answer anything that may come up during the lesson. Reach out to me with all your questions- even the wildest ones!

And the best part is: you’ll be able to apply everything you learn right away.

So, let’s not wait another minute to get started. How can you get this lesson?

First you MUST email me. Then you can think about paying. :)

The cost is only $20, payable by etransfer to my email address, or a cheque mailed to 1717 Avenue Road, Suite 418, Toronto, ON, M5M0A2. Or, by PayPal here: https://bit.ly/JoseePaypal. If paying using PayPal, please include your email address in the notes .

But first you MUST email me that you want the lesson. Ask first , pay next :) Oh I said that already :)

Purchase by emailing me now at mjhammill@rogers.com.

 
Double Dummy - a 15 minute promotional video

I want to share with you this exciting information I just received from Jon McAllister, the Producer of the film Double Dummy.  Please take advantage of it and show it to your students.

"We want to empower you. Our film, Double Dummy, is freely streamable here (or below) and on the PBS App. The cast includes 2022 ACBL Player of the Year Zach Grossack and past Kings of Bridge Adam Grossack, Adam Kaplan and Richard Jeng.

People watch the film and they want to play!

We also have a 15 minute version and links to deals featured in the film at doubledummymovie.com/teaching-resources/. Let your students play the same deals we share in the film's climax. It's all free.

 

BRIDGE QUESTIONS? - ASK JOSÉE!
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In this section I'll be featuring your most commonly asked bridge questions.

 

You can ask anything bridge related! Just email me @ mjhammill@rogers.com.

 

Put in the subject line Ask Josée. I look forward to hearing from you!

Question: At my local club the other day, my partner and I played against another pair where the auction by the opponents went like this: 1 by my RHO, pass, 1, pass, 2 where I asked my LHO what this showed? The answer was: we don’t play reverses so she has hearts too. I asked if it showed a certain point count and she said no it didn’t. That “obviously” partner has opened so she had to have 13 points. Responder then passed. They made 2.

 

You have drilled into us that reverses are not optional, and that they are part of standard American bridge. Was I supposed to call the director?  


Thank you for this great question as whether to play reverses or not is a big bee in my bonnet.

 

To answer your last question, no you weren't supposed to call the director on this as your LHO was as much in the dark as you were. There was no colluding going on between them against you and partner. If they only made 2 then you were competing against a minimum opening bid and a minimum responder hand. You and partner likely held the other half of the points. In this case it seems it worked out for the opponents but imagine if opener had had a real reverse hand, enough to get the partnership to game after a sign of life from responder. A game would have been missed due to misunderstanding of what a reverse promises.

 

Let’s discuss reverses

 

Reverses can be made by both opener and responder, but the ones players seemed to be most often confused about are reverses made by opener. A reverse by opener is when opener’s second bid suit is higher ranking than the first bid suit where it will force responder to take preference for one of opener's two suits at the 3 level.

 

See the 4 examples below.

 

1 – 1 – 2 – if responder prefers clubs, responder now bids 3

1 – 1 – 2 – Same as above

1 – 1 - 2 - if responder prefers diamonds then needs to bid 3

1 – 2 or 2 – 2 – If responder prefers hearts, will bid 3.

 

In ALL INSTANCES – opener promises longer first bid suit than the second bid suit and 17 or more total points. This is forcing for one round. Responder CANNOT PASS! Look at all the examples above where responder needs to bid again and picture responder with 6-9 points, can you see how now being at the 3 level is much too high if opener doesnt have the values to reverse?

 

Reverses are taught as part of the basic beginners’ lessons. They are part of standard American bridge and therefore not optional. It is not like a convention you and partner choose to play or to ignore. You need to make life easier for your partner and therefore should only reverse when you have the right hand; 17+ points, first bid suit longer than second bid suit. In case you find yourself at the 3 level you are safe as there are enough points between your two hands. 

 

So you make me very happy when you say I have drilled this into you and that is how you play. Very happy! 

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Here’s one of my favourite reverse hand and how the bidding would go.

You hold : hand at right

 

You have 16 HCP plus 3 for distribution so open 1. Partner bids 1, and you rebid 2 – a reverse.

 

What does partner “hear”? You have reversed, your clubs are longer than your diamonds, and you have 17 or more points. Partner knows better than to pass, and let’s say partner bids 2.

 

What is your next bid? Any thoughts? Yes 3. Are you wondering why 3 and not 3 since your clubs are better and longer? 

 

Go back to what a reverse shows – first bid suit longer than second bid suit and 17+ points.

 

When you first reversed (1 1 2) partner "visualized" 5 clubs and 4 diamonds since a biddable suit needs to be at least 4 cards and since your clubs must be longer.

 

When you rebid 3, you are saying to partner I have new news about my diamonds. They are longer than what I first showed you, hence 5 diamonds.

 

Since clubs MUST be longer than diamonds, then your partner who is very smart can now “see” six clubs and 5 diamonds in your hands .

 

On the other hand, if you rebid clubs, then partner sees 6 clubs and only 4 diamonds in your hand.

 

Pretty nifty, isn’t it?

 

Hope this helps! Keep the questions coming!

 

Josée

INTRODUCING MY OWN ONLINE STORE!

JOSÉE’S PRE-RECORDED LESSONS

Available for Purchase - Learn on your own time!

All courses are complete, with all recordings, slides, and handouts, so you can watch them in your free time, at your convenience.

Contact me at mjhammill@rogers.com for pricing and additional details. 


NEW LESSON - COMPETITIVE BIDDING (2023)

My brand-new recorded lesson on Competitive Bidding is ready! You'll learn how to use takeout doubles, overcalls, jump overcalls, and improve your competitive bidding arsenal.

Now let's see what's inside: In this new recorded lesson, we will play together 12 specially selected hands, some from prolific writer and accomplished bridge player Eddie Kantar and others I have dug out from my bottomless pit of practice hands.

 

Here's just a small sample of the 12 deals that we'll cover:

 

  • Why you should avoid takeout doubles when holding a six card major. 
  • What's the best strategy to play when looking around for a missing queen.
  • When giving partner a ruff, which card you should return?
  • When doing a jump overcall, what's the key factor you need to consider?
  • If you pass a one level takeout double, what are you telling partner about the opponent's trump suit?
  • Lots of Bidding, Play and Defensive commentaries, so you can study the hands from every angle!

 

NEW LESSON - AVOIDANCE PLAYS (Dec 2022)

Avoidance means just preventing (or avoiding) a particular defender from gaining the lead. And identifying who is the danger and safe opponent.

That means, after you learn this simple technique, you can open the door to think like an expert, in just mere hours! It’s an incredible valuable skill that anyone can learn and use during all future games.

So let's see what's inside: In this new recorded lesson, we will play together 12 specially selected hands from prolific writer and accomplished bridge player Eddie Kantar.

Here's just a small sample of the 12 deals that we'll cover:

  • When your contract depends on one of two finesses, how you can decide which one you should take?
  • How to identify the danger and non-danger hand (and why you should do it right before playing to the first trick!)
  • When planning the play, see the reason for looking at the whole hand as a unit, rather than concentrating on only one suit. 
  • Why it's sometimes a bad idea to play bridge by nursery rhymes (“Eight ever, nine never”, etc.).
  • When dummy holds a king vulnerable to attack, how to identify who you should keep off lead as long as you can?

As an extra bonus, you'll also receive a PDF file with eleven additional hands commented by Easley Blackwood, featuring:

  • How you could manipulate things so that the safe hand gets the lead while you're still establishing your long suit.
  • Why avoidance will sometimes be the very good reason you finesse for a queen when you are missing only four cards in the suit. 
  • When you have to take two finesses, it might make a big difference which one you take first. See one example where, even if both finesses fail, the contract still succeeds.
  • Another hand showing that if you can't keep a dangerous opponent off lead forever, you’ll see how to keep him out of the lead until he can’t do you any damage. 

And sooooo MUCH more... This is the mini-video that was in my last newsletter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brubNfb0RB4 . Watch it to give you a bit of a sense of what the lesson will look like, and always let me know if you have any questions.

NEW! No Trump Defence (Sep 2022)

During this lesson, we will play together 12 specially selected hands from prolific writer and accomplished bridge player Eddie Kantar.

Here's just a small sample of the 12 deals that we'll cover in this live lesson:

  • Which thinking habits you, as third hand, must have after the opening lead is made?
  • What is a negative discard, and why they are so important at No Trump?
  • Before returning partner’s suit, why and how to count declarer’s tricks?
  • Holding 4 small cards, when you should lead the top one, and when lead the second highest?
  • When declarer leads a suit, why we give count to partner.

The 90-minute lesson includes a handout of all the hands (with commentary from Eddie Kantar). This is an awesome opportunity to get moving towards better defence!

This is the mini-video that was on my last newsletter, https://youtu.be/zejs-4gtW_c.  Watch it to give you a bit of a sense of what that lesson will look like, and always let me know if you have any questions.

NEW! Ducking by Declarer in Suit Contracts (Jun 2022)

You know that, most of the time, the fate of the hand is determined by how you play to the first trick. That's why many contracts can be won or lost because of that first trick.

Some of the things that you will learn in this lesson:

  • There's one outstanding difference with ducking plays in suit contracts, you need to know exactly when trumps must be drawn (and what happens if you don't do it!).
  • What are the 3 main reasons for making a ducking play in a suit contract.
  • Why some hands can be made if you duck the first trick and win the second, while strangely enough the contract cannot be made if you win the first trick.

And much, much more! We'll play each hand twice. One without ducking, and again, the same hand ducking. Then you can easily see what happens in each case.

The 90-minute lesson includes a handout of all the hands (with commentary from Eddie Kantar).

This is an awesome opportunity to get moving towards better declarer play!

NEW! Introduction To Defence

Have you noticed that you are defending at bridge 50% of the time? That is right! Did you know that being on Defence is the most fun you can ever have at the bridge table even when you do not have any points in your hand? Let me teach you how to have more fun and to gain respect from all players when you show them you know how to defend! 

  • Opening Leads against No Trump and Suit contracts
  • 2nd hand play
  • 3rd hand play
  • Signaling against No Trump and Suit contracts
  • And much, much more!!

Includes Eddie Kantar’s book - 2nd edition, revised and updated by Barbara Seagram.

NEW! Introduction To Declarer Play

Bidding is great and winning the contract even better. But if you do not know how to make a plan to make your contract then what good is that! In this 4 week course you will learn :

  • Counting Losers
  • Counting Winners
  • Ruffing losers in the Dummy
  • Extra Winners in the Dummy or in Declarer’s Hand
  • Long Suit Establishment (aka Taking Tricks with Tiny Cards)
  • When and How to take a Finesse and much more! 

Includes Eddie Kantar’s book - 2nd edition, revised and updated by Barbara Seagram.

NEW! Thinking Bridge – Plan Your Moves!

Whatever seat you are in, you have to be planning your moves. Let’s spend these sessions where we explore what it feels like to sit in any and all 4 seats, and think like an expert. Only time you will be allowed to relax will be when in the dummy’s seat. Complete set of different hands for each of the dates. You will love them!

Basics Beginners Bridge Series

Learn the basic elements of the game of bridge: how to take tricks, how to work with a partner, how to open the bidding in a suit and in No Trump, how to respond, how to compete and more.

An 8 week course includes all recordings, PDF of presentations and practice hands for each week.

Intermediate I Bridge Series

For those who feel rusty and need a refresher and for those moving up from Basic lessons. Opportunities to play and practice online will be provided. Lessons are recorded and can be watched on your own time.

A 7 week course includes all recordings, PDF of presentations and practice hands for each week.

Includes Barbara Seagram Intermediate I book.

Intermediate 2

Weak Two Bids, Strong 2 Club Bids, Slam Bidding, Cue-Bidding First Round Controls, Preempts, Unusual NT, Michaels Cuebids, Opening Light in 3rd seat, Balancing, End Plays, Cross-Ruff, Loser-on-loser play, Introduction to defence, ...and MUCH more!!

An 8 week course includes all recordings, PDF of presentations and practice hands for each week.

Includes Barbara Seagram Intermediate 2 book.

Intermediate 3

Intermediate III is a full course on Defence and Conventions!

  • DEFENCE: Third Hand Play, Second Hand Play, Suit Preference Signalling, Strategy on Defence, Lead Directing Doubles, Discarding. 
  • CONVENTIONS: Negative Doubles, Jacoby 2 NT as a forcing raise, Jacoby Transfers, Texas Transfers, Splinters, Roman Key Card Blackwood, Cue Bids, Slam Bidding and lots more! 

Includes Barbara Seagram Intermediate 3 book.

Learn To Play Two Over One

Learn the system that most of North America now plays. It makes it much easier to get to a better contract, easier to find slams on fewer values and easier to know when to stop in a part score.   Learn the forcing No Trump bid.  

A two day course + one additional hour of practice hands.

Includes Barbara Seagram 2/1 Game Force book.

Bid And Play – The Convention Series

  • Lesson 1 - DONT over 1NT Opening Bid
  • Lesson 2 - Reverse Drury
  • Lesson 3 - Jacoby 2NT and Splinters
  • Lesson 4 - Reverse Bergen/Bergen Raises
  • Lesson 5 - New Minor Forcing/Checkback Stayman
  • Lesson 6 - Fourth Suit Forcing
  • Lesson 7 - Four Way Transfers

All lessons come with recordings and PDF of practice hands. Purchase each lesson individually or all 7 for  the price of 6.

Email me at mjhammill@rogers.com for additional details and pricing.

 

ACBL Guest Membership

If you enjoy a game of bridge, then the American Contract Bridge League is the place to be! Being an ACBL member gives you exclusive access to one-of-a-kind benefits that all bridge fans – from newcomers to advanced players – will love.

When you join this bridge-loving community, you’ll be able to experience all that membership offers, like playing with fellow devotees in clubs and tournaments across North America, winning masterpoints® to show off your success and reading a world-class monthly magazine.

You will start collecting masterpoints, that’s ACBL’s exclusive measurement of success. Call them Bragging rights! 

  • You get to climb the achievement ladder, from Rookie to Life Master and much higher!
  • You will receive in your mailbox the excellent monthly Bridge Bulletin, full of news, tips and games.
  • Game results are sent directly to your inbox and cell phone with ACBL Live and Live for Clubs.

And so much more!!! 

The ACBL makes it easy for you as a new player to explore all the benefits of being an ACBL member. You can join for free for 120 days as a guest, at www.acbl.org/guest-join

Guest Member Benefits

  • You will receive a weekly email with bridge tips from Patty
  • You can earn up to 20 masterpoints – we give our Masterpoints at our Gentle Bridge game but they are only good when you are a member.
  • You will have digital access to the Bridge Bulletin
  • If after 120 days you are convinced this is a good deal, you can join as a full member with the special pricing of $29 US for the first year of regular membership if you are a guest member first.   Receiving a hard copy of the glossy monthly magazine at your home is worth the price of admission!  It is easy to join as a guest, try it now!
Game Results


Results
Wednesday Afternoon Pairs
Director: Josee Hammill
Wednesday Afternoon Pairs
Director: Josee Hammill
Wednesday Afternoon Pairs
Director: Josee Hammill
Wednesday Afternoon Pairs
Director: Josee Hammill
Wednesday Afternoon Pairs
Director: Josee Hammill