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Great News

The charity night raised €835.00

Many thanks to all who attended

Well done to both Christine Mahoney and Kathie McGrath and Michael Faherty and Liz Dowling who did so well in the recent IBU Simultaneous Pairs

It's great to see the club featuring so prominently on a national level

McGaley Prize Night
McGaley Prize Night

We are delighted to say that we raised €715 for St Vincent de Paul and €300 for Motor Neuron Disease from our raffle

Thanks to all who contributed

  Jump Change of Suit Response
Jump Change of Suit Response

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.

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!).

Last updated : 15th Jan 2020 12:33 GMT
  Bidding ABOVE and BELOW the Barrier
Bidding ABOVE and BELOW the Barrier

Where is the Barrier?  When you open a suit the "Barrier" is one level up in that suit - so if you open 1  the barrier is 2 .

When you open a suit and then rebid a different suit, you are showing 5+ cards in the first suit and 4+ cards in the second suit.  For example if you open 1  and your partner responds 1♠  and you then bid 2  you are telling your partner you have 5+ hearts and 4+ diamonds.  The thing that some people forget is that you are also telling your partner your point count.  If your second suit is lower than the first (as in the above bidding where diamonds are lower than hearts) then you are bidding BELOW the Barrier (the barrier being 2  in this case) and are promising a hand in the 12-15 points range. Change the bidding around for a moment and lets say you open 1  and your partner says 1♠  and your second bid is 2 .  These might seem like very similar auctions except that you are now promising 5+ diamonds and 4+ hearts BUT they promise a very different strengths.  When you open 1 , the barrier is at 2  so when your second bid is 2  you are bidding ABOVE the Barrier.  This tells your partner that your point range is 16+.

DON'T bid above the barrier unless you have the points.  You may have 5 diamonds and 4 hearts but if you don't have 16+ points your second bid may just have to be 2 .  The reason for this is simple.  Let's say you have only 6 points and 4 spades in your hand and your partner opens 1 , you show your spades by bidding 1♠  and their second bid is 2 .  Now you count up the number of hearts and diamonds between you and if you have more diamonds between you, you just pass.  If you have more hearts between you then you can bid 2 which the opener will know is a preference bid showing a weak hand and a preference for hearts.  Either way you are still at the 2 level.  Take the same hand but this time your partner opens 1 , you say 1♠  and they rebid 2 .  If you count up and have more hearts between you, that's fine, you can just pass and leave it in 2 .  But, what if you have more diamonds between you?  Now, to give preference to diamonds you have to bid 3  and you are probably a level too high.

Equally DON'T bid below the barrier when you have a strong hand - you are only misleading your partner.  Let's say you have 5 hearts and 4 diamonds and 18 points.  You open your longest suit by bidding 1  and your partner responds 1♠ .  If you now rebid 2  you are showing the correct shape of your hand but are misleading your partner about the strength, showing only 12-15 points.  In this situation you should JUMP rebid 3 showing a 5/4 shape AND a strong opening hand.  Remember this JUMP SHIFT is game forcing (and don't forget to use your STOP card)

One last thing - supporting your partner's suit is NOT considered bidding ABOVE the Barrier.  So if you have 5 hearts and 4 spades in your hand and 12-15 points you open 1  but are not planning to rebid 2♠  as this would be above the barrier and you don't have the points.  But then your partner responds 1♠ .  Now you can bid 2♠ showing 4 card support for your partner's suit and 12-15 points.  The barrier only applies to bidding a second NEW suit.


Last updated : 18th Dec 2019 11:17 GMT
  Don't use Stayman with 4/3/3/3 shaped hands
Don't use Stayman with 4/3/3/3 shaped hands

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.

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.

Last updated : 4th Dec 2019 12:38 GMT
  Opening with hands less than 12 points
Opening with hands less than 12 points

The RULE OF 20 is used only when opening the bidding.  It is used to assess whether hands with less than 12 points are worth opening.  Add up your points and then add the total of your 2 longest suits.  If you get to 20 or more then you can open the bidding.  With the hand pictured you have 10 points and 5 hearts and 5 diamonds giving you a total of 20 so you can open the higher of the two five card suits - 1 .

A note of caution.  If you are in the fourth seat - in other words the bidding has gone PASS, PASS, PASS and you are the only one left to bid - before you open using the Rule of 20 - you should check your spade holding.  Add your points to the no. of spades you hold and if you do not get at least 15 you should let the board be passed out.  With this hand you have only 2 spades giving a total of 12 so you should NOT open - let the board be passed out.  This is called the RULE OF 15.  The reasoning behind this is that the opponents obviously do not have hands that are suitable for opening BUT they may well have hands suitable for overcalling and you are giving them a cheap opportunity to get into the bidding.  

Last updated : 20th Nov 2019 10:13 GMT
  Tips for playing more successful Bridge
How to play for the most points (Duplicate Pairs)

These may seem obvious but just in case!!

1.          Bid for a contract if it seems achievable

If there is a contract available and you don’t go for it other pair(s) may get the contract and will score more points. If you get an extra trick, that is even better.

2.         If a contract is not available don’t stretch yourself

If your partner has bid two spades, for example, and you believe four spades is not achievable then do not bid three spades.  You get the same score for two spades plus one as for three spades. If you bid three and go down by one you give the score to your opponents.

3.         Improve your defence.

If you are defending against oppositions 3 NT contract they require nine tricks. Your target should be to get five tricks. If no other pair succeeds in defeating the contract, you may even get maximum points. If you are defending against a suit contract, your target is four tricks (or more).

Making the correct lead can be the difference between defeating a contract and allowing the opponents to win it.

A good example of the value of defeating opponents is Board 1 on 3rd Feb. Only one E/W pair managed to defeat N/S. This gave them maximum points of 14.


Last updated : 30th Nov 2015 15:11 GMT
  When to open I NT

When you have a balanced hand and between 12 and 14 high card points (inclusive).

For the purpose of this tip I am assuming that we are playing weak no trumps.

The first question is what is a balanced hand?

Answer:            A hand containing no singleton or void and at most one doubleton. Only three patterns are defined as balanced, 4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2 and 5-3-3-2.


The second question is what should I do if I have 5-3-3-2 and the 5 is in a major suit (Hearts/Spades)?

Answer             It depends. Most advice is not to treat it as balanced for the purpose of bidding. My favourite Bridge author (Paul Mendelson) suggests that if the quality of the major is really poor then you should open 1 NT (HCP = 12-14).

Below are two examples

a)         Spades            98432              b)         Spades             AKJ74

            Hearts              KQ3                             Hearts              52

            Clubs                QJ3                             Clubs                843

            Diamonds          AJ                               Diamonds          AJ6

The option for a) is to open 1 spade and rebid 2 spades but given the poor quality an opening of 1 NT would be justified.

In the case of b) an opening of 1 spade is preferable to 1 NT

Based on a suggestion in ‘The right way to play Bridge’ by Paul Mendelson


Last updated : 12th Nov 2014 10:38 GMT
  Does repeating a suit imply 5 or 6 cards in the suit?

The short answer is that it should imply 6 in 90% of cases.


 1S – 2H – 2S implies 6 spades. Similarly 1H – 1S – 2H should imply 6 hearts. I struggled with different opinions until I read Tip 35 in an excellent book Improve your Bridge Game by Andrew Robson.

He lists the shapes where the longest suit has five cards. They are 5330, 5521, 5440, 5431 and 5332. If it is one of the first four you should rebid the suit that has four cards (showing 5 in the first suit bid). If you have 5332, this is balanced and should be bid as NT or if more than 14 HCP then 1 of a suit followed by a rebid of NT.

What about the other 10%? 

Suppose you have 5 spades and 4 diamonds. If the bidding goes 1S – 2C you may happily respond 2D but if partner comes back 2D then 2S may be better than 3D.

Last updated : 27th Oct 2014 16:18 GMT
  Staymen not just for majors

Staymen is not just to find majors

1NT – 2C normally means 11+ points and seeking a fit in a major suit. However Stayman can be used when you are weak and have a six card suit in Clubs. The bidding below is assuming the opposition do not bid or overcall

1NT – 2C    Opener, expecting a normal Staymen will respond 2D, 2H, or 2S. You simply reply 3C

If you are using Transfers then 2D is asking partner to respond 2H. What if you have 6 diamonds and think the game should be played in diamonds? You can use Staymen again as follows.

1NT – 2C. Partner will respond either 2D, 2H or 2S.  If she bids 2D, then you just Pass. If she bids 2H or 2S then you simply bid 3D.

 It would be important to have discussed this with partner before you use it!

Last updated : 17th Oct 2014 00:59 BST
  What is your target bid?

2.         What is your target bid?

For every hand you play here is what your target should be:-

a)         An eight card or better fit in hearts or spades

b)         A No Trump contract

c)         A minor suit contract

Remember the value of Game in each of the above and the number of tricks required.

a)         Major suit contract (H/S)      10 tricks     420 points

b)         No Trump contract                 9 tricks    400 points

c)         Minor suit contract (C/D)      11 tricks    400 points

Although you need to get one more trick for a major suit contract than you do for a no trump contract it is a better option if you have a 4-4 fit.

If you have a fit in a minor suit you should still consider whether a no trump contract is achievable and aim for that instead.


Last updated : 10th Sep 2014 00:14 BST