Spade Heart Newcastle-under-Lyme & District B.C. Diamond Club
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Keith Healey is now running Friday afternoons as a handicapped duplicate. We are encouraging beginners and improvers to join in. We would also like more experienced players to volunteer their services and, if possible, pair up with an improver - perhaps once or twice a month. 1.30pm START.  Please contact Keith on 01782 460639

Data Protection

A folder outlining club members' privacy rights under the Data Protection Act has been placed alongside the photocopier in the bar.

Roy's Ravings

You Do the Maths

Vulnerability From Board Number

1. Subtract 1 from the board number
2. Divide the resulting number by 4 and ignore the remainder
3. Add the last two values together
4. Divide by 4 and take the remainder.

If value is        then vulnerability is
     0                            None
     1                            N/S vul
     2                            E/W vul
     3                            Both

e.g. Board number                13            18
       subtract 1                         12            17
       Divide by 4                      3              4
       Add last two                   15            21
       Divide by 4                      3              5           
       Remainder is                   3              1
                                             Both         N/S

The vulnerability can also be obtained from:

ONEB        1       2      3      4    or     O         1   8   11   14
NEBO        5       6      7      8             N         2   5   12   15
EBON        9      10    11    12            E          3   6    9    16
BONE        13    14    15    16            B          4   7   10   13

For higher numbered boards; subtract 16 or multiples of 16 to give the lower numbered board with the same vulnerability.

e.g. 35:            35 – 32 = 3, so vul is E/W Vul.

How many aces and kings?

Think of how many aces and kings you would wish
to hold in a bridge hand. Double that number.
Add 5.
Multiply by 50.
Had your birthday this year?
If no add 1749, if yes add 1750.
Add the last two digits of this year (present year -2012, so add 12)
Subtract the four digit year that you were born.
You now have a three digit number.
The first digit is the number of aces and kings you wished for.
The second two are your age.

Worst Bridge Hand

Q: What is the worst possible bridge hand you can have?

A: 4 aces, 4 kings, 4 queens, and 2 jacks.

Cross Your Heart

There are many ‘never die’ jokes out there.

Here are a few involving ‘players’

Old chessplayers never die, they simply become resigned.

Old basketball players never die, they just go on dribbling.
Old skateboarders never die, they just lose their bearings.
Old cricketers never die, they just get bowled over.
Old swimmers never die, they just have a stroke.

Old tennis players never die, they just get defaulted.

Old footballers never die, they just achieve their final goal.

So how about some for bridge players?

Old bridge players never die, they just Shuffle of this mortal coil
Old bridge players never die, they just lose their Finesse.
Old bridge players never die, they just
make their last Grand Slam
Old bridge players never die, they just play their Final Heart

Old bridge players never die, they just fall Prey to an Elimination
Old bridge players never die, they just get Ruffed Away

Old bridge players never die, they just Jack it all in 

Old bridge players never die, they just Pass away.

Old bridge players never die, they just get End Played

Old bridge players never die, they just make the final Call

Old bridge players never die, they just run out of Hearts

Old bridge players never die, they just leave – in Spades

Old bridge players never die, they just join the Hellfire Club


News, Good and Bad

The bad news was that everybody was playing in hearts making 13 tricks and we were playing in clubs.

The good news was that everyone else was in game and we were in slam, 6C + 1.


J                                             A                            

AKQ                                       9xxxx

AKQxx                                    xx

AKxx                                      Jxxxx


A weak 2S is opened by South and I doubled. Next hand bid 3S and partner doubled.

At first I thought this was for penalties, but another look at my hand made this hypothesis unlikely.

So I bid 4S, partner 5C and I raised to 6C. (The double showed two places to play apparently).

The pessimist in me ‘knew’ that the spade ace would be cashed and the club queen would be guarded offside.

Fortunately I was wrong on both counts.


 KJ8x  AQ10x   These are the opponents’ cards and North
 Kx   xxx  (partner) is opener.
 J10xxx   void  
 xx  AKJxxx  


Partner opened 1D and opponent overcalled 2C, passed back to partner. Passing now would give us 2 out of 10 so he rightly rebid 2D. 2S came next and the 3S invite was accepted with a ‘might as well’ mutter.

The good news is that almost everybody is in 4S. The bad news being they are going off because there is a 4-1 trump break. Most ruffed the opening diamond lead and cashed A and K off clubs and ruffed a club. Now a cross ruff will succeed as the cards lie, but  trying to draw trumps to cash the set up clubs left declarer short of tricks.

Our declarer cashed one club and then played AS and QS overtaking with the K. So the bad break is revealed and ruffing a club is no longer a viable option. So declarer shut her eyes and played a club to the J. On opening them she saw that it had held and this is the position:


J8       10  East plays clubs, if South ruffs
Kx      xxx  then over ruff with the J and
Jxxx    -  play the 8 to10 drawing the  last
 -      Kxxx  trump and allowing the remaining
 97       clubs to be cashed.
   xxxxx      Concede the last three tricks.


 So the bad news is we now score 0 out of 10 on the last board of the evening.

The good news is we hung on to win.

Bridge Titles

Howard Bigot-Johnson on his website. Well worth a visit.

Don't Expect This Lady To Bid Timidly

Sheila Tack

Over Christmas I Quit Bridge For The Church Choir

Carol Singer

Losing At Bridge Makes Me Want To Cry

Kat A. Wall

Don't Blame Me, I Didn't Foul Up

Ima Goody

We Can Still Win If We Finish With 12 Outright Tops

Hope E. Turnell

This Bridge Club Is Full Of Cheats

Den O' Theaves

Even In Victory, She Puts A Dampener On Things

Joy Rekker

Bridge Novices Win The National Pairs

Omar Gaud

I'm Always Rushing Into Hopeless Contracts

Ed Long

It's Time For A Team Change

Ivor Ringer

I Know Your Wife Wont Let You Play Tonight

Sherlock U. Inman

Was Leading Out That Ace A Wise decision?

May B. Knott

With A Hand Like That " Open Says Me "

Al Laden

Speak Quietly Partner, They're In The Next Room

Dora Jarr

Can't Play Tonight, My Wife's Put Her Foot Down

Erin Dawes

This Game Is Going To Be The Death Of Me

Sue E. Cydell

After A Disastrous Start, I Just Lost Interest

Gavin Tousoon

You Asking Me... To Take Over The Captaincy!

Ira Fuse

A Revised Dress Code For All Bridge Players

Kim Ono

As A Top Player, I Like To Look The Part

Natalie Drest


Match Point Scoring! Whatever next?

They are so complicated and hard to understand, why can’t we stick with aggregate scoring?

Silent Bidders! Whatever next?

They are so complicated and hard to use, why can’t we say our bids aloud as normal?

Bidding Boxes! Whatever next?

They are so complicated and hard to use, why can’t we use silent bidders as normal?

Computer Scoring Programs! Whatever next!

They are so complicated & hard to use, what's wrong with manual scoring?

Table Scorers! Whatever next?

They are so complicated and hard to use, why can’t we use travelling scoreslips as normal?

Dealing Machines! Whatever next?

They are so complicated, why can't we deal by hand as normal?

Bidding Input Boxes! Whatever next?

They are so complicated and hard to use, why can’t we use bidding boxes as normal?

Virtual Reality Clubs! Whatever next?

They are so realistic! But I miss going to a bricks & mortar bridge club.

Whatever next? Indeed, the mind boggles.

I Tried

I tried to be a shoe salesman, till they gave me the boot.
I tried to be a taxi driver, but found I couldn't hack it.
I tried to be a teacher, but found I didn't have enough class.

I tried to be a tennis instructor, but it just wasn't my racket.
I tried to be a train driver but I got side-tracked.
I tried to be a Velcro salesman, but couldn't stick with it.
I tried going into the ministry but I didn't have an altar ego.
I tried working in a bakery, but was told I wasn't "bread" for it.
I tried becoming a candle maker, but I wasn't sure wick end was up.
I tried to be a stenographer, but they told me they are not short-handed at the moment.
I tried to be a mime, but I talked myself out of it.
I tried to be a historian, until I realized there was no future in it.

I tried to be a seamstress but I felt hemmed in.

I tried to be a nun but I didn’t like their habits.

I tried to be a sausage maker but I hadn’t the guts.

I tried to be a printer but I wasn’t the type.

I tried to be a crossword compiler but I hadn’t a clue.

I tried to be a deep sea diver but I just couldn’t fathom it.

I tried to be a neurologist but I didn’t have the nerve.

You get the idea?

I tried to be a bridge player but I kept getting slammed.

I tried to be a bridge player but I had no finesse.
I tried to be a bridge player but I was played in the end.
I tried to be a bridge player but I kept cashing out.
I tried to be a bridge player for a short time but they doubled my contract.

You can do better, let me have your efforts.

Why Not?

Nothing Higher Than A...

5    Peterborough
6    Loughborough
7    Scarborough
8    Farnborough
9    Yarborough
10  Marlborough
J    Attenborough
Q    Thirdborough
K    Gainsborough
A    Headborough

So I held a 4 point Attenborough and LHO opened......

Admit it, it has a ring to it.


21 Reasons why...
Bridge is better than Sex!

  1. You don't have to hide your bridge magazines
  2. It is perfectly acceptable to hire a pro to play bridge with you once in a while
  3. The Ten Commandments don't say anything about bridge
  4. If your partner takes pictures of you at the table, you don't have to worry about them showing up in the tabloids when you become famous
  5. Your partner doesn't become upset about people you played bridge with long ago
  6. It is perfectly acceptable to play bridge with a total stranger
  7. When you see a really good bridge player, you don't have to feel guilty about imagining the two of you at the table together
  8. When your regular partner is not available, he/she will not mind if you play bridge with someone else
  9. No one will ever tell you that you will go blind if you play bridge by yourself

10.        When dealing with a bridge pro, you never have to worry that they are an undercover cop

11.        You can have a bridge calendar on your wall at the office, tell bridge jokes and invite co-workers to play bridge without being sued for harassment

12.        There are no bridge-transmitted diseases (except the compulsion to play more bridge)

13.        You don't have to lock the door when you play bridge on the Internet, and when you visit a bridge website you won't get emails from for the rest of your life

14.        Nobody expects you to play bridge with the same partner for the rest of your life

15.        Nobody expects you to give up bridge if your partner loses interest in it

16.        You can still do it in your 80`s, and people won't gasp in horror if they  find out

17.        Your bridge partner will never say, " Not again, we just played bridge last week! Is Bridge all you ever think about?" Oops! - maybe they will

18.        A man doesn't need lots of finesse(s) to be successful at bridge, but then he needs some squeezes

19.        The phrase "could be short" carries no negative connotation....

20.        The principle of "Fast Arrival" would not be regarded negatively

21.        If the partnership agrees on two over one, it wouldn't be considered an orgy

Bridge Probabilities

I decided to look for probabilities of holding a specific number of points.

Having found them I put together the table to show the probabilities for well known ranges.

I don't know why, as I don’t get that many opening bids!

And why, when I do, they are often of the 1NT variety (see the Hand Types table)

I wanted to see if there was any merit in trying for game with an 11 (10) count when facing a 12-14 (12-15) 1NT opening.

The % P for 12, 13, 14 and 15 points are 8.03, 6.91, 5.70 and 4.42.

So it is about 2½  times more likely to get 12 or 13 points in a 12-14 NT than 14 points.

About1½  times more likely to get 12 or 13 points in a 12-15 NT than 14 or 15 points.

There is about an 85% probability that my conclusions are totally wrong…..

Probability of Holding a Specific Point Count



0 to 11


12 to 14


15 to 16


17 to 18




20 to 22


23 to 24




Probability of Holding Various Hand Types

Hand type


 % P


4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2, 5-3-3-2



At least 5-4



6 cards +



4-4-4-1, 5-4-4-0


Probability of Long Suits

Longest suit

% P

4 card


5 card


6 card


7 card


8 card


9 card


10 card


11+ card


Probability of Short Suits

Shortest suit

% P

Three card








Manners Maketh the Bridge Player

How To Drive Your Director Crazy

(1) If it says on your club's website something like "7:15 prompt start, please arrive no later than 7:05 so that the director can count the tables to determine the movement", then make sure you arrive at something like 7:14.  The director will be sure to have put out the boards by then and, if you're lucky, they'll give you a table all to yourself to sit at where you can talk with partner quite loudly about the system you're going to be playing and time to do it in before starting 20 minutes later.  Directors always love to show how proficient they are at dreaming up different movements on the spur of the moment.  If you get a smart comment from an official, just smile and say, "well, you didn't really need us until 7:40 anyway".

(2) When you get to the club, socialize with all your friends right up to game time. Only when the game commences is it time to go for that restroom break you’ve needed since you arrived.


(3) Be sure to re-hash each deal at great length prior to playing the next. While you are at it, speak loudly and clearly, ensuring that as many players as possible will be impressed with your analysis.

(4) Round timers are for decorative purposes only. Never pay any attention to them or any random noises they may make. It took you only twenty minutes to play the first two boards. Surely you can bid and play the third board after the “two-minute-warning” has sounded.

(5) When it’s your lead, make sure to write down the contract in your convention card.  If you’re dummy, do the same before facing your hand on the table.


(6) If you have accidentally passed out a deal and are actually ready to move when the round is called, don't. Discuss the weather or your grandchildren until you are sure you are several minutes behind.

(7) When moving for the next round, do so slowly. Stop for water, coffee, snacks, etc. Say hello to other players on the move and engage them in a lengthy chat about the Stock Market, World Peace or Religion.

(8) If you are sitting N-S and are waiting for your next opponents, do not use the time to go to the restroom or get water, coffee, snacks, etc. You should do these things only after your new opponents have finally arrived at the table. After all, they made you wait.

(8) When you are the dummy be sure to get up for a break. The other players love to play your cards for you.

(9) If you are sitting E-W and find yourselves behind a slow pair, you must slow down as well. Feign an excuse to go to the restroom and spend five or ten minutes washing your hands. Two benefits accrue. First, you will now be "in synch" with the pair in front of you, relieving you of the need to stand around waiting for them to finish. Second, you will have very clean hands.

(10) If the director is hovering around your table and requesting that you speed up play, be certain to inform him that it isn't your fault that you are behind and then ignore him. Directors love to hover and will be disappointed if you move too quickly. (If you have all the rest of the tricks – do not make a claim to speed up play; play out each card in a deliberate manner and pause occasionally, as though in thought).


(11) Once you have managed to get suitably behind, make absolutely no effort to catch up. Doing this would only serve to spoil the symmetry of the movement.

(12) If you are in danger of finishing a round on time, wait until all cards have been returned to a board before contesting the result. You will be amazed how effective this can be in slowing things down. The ensuing minutes are usually quite entertaining as well. Also, keep in mind that the Director has nothing to do most of the time and will appreciate the diversion.

(13) At the end of the session, leave as big a mess behind as possible. What ever you do, do not take the boards and scoresheets to the area where the Directors can easily find them. They love to go searching for boards and scoresheets and to pick up trash, etc. Since they have no life outside the bridge club, you are actually doing them a special favour by extending their day in the only place where they are truly comfortable.


How to drive your scorer crazy.

1) Drive home with the travellers in your back pocket, handbag or better yet, helpfully put them in with the club's stationery and don't draw attention to where you've put them.  When you get a phone call at 11:30 or so enquiring if you have them, deny it.

2) Make sure you cultivate a method of writing "W" so it looks like "N".

3) If you went down and were the only pair to do so, put your score in the same column as everyone else.

4) When scoring on the travellers, use the wrong lines. On the first round, put your score on the line number of the board you played. If you find another pair has beaten you to it and taken "your" line, simply put your score on any open line.

5) Get the E/W pair number wrong (getting your own pair number wrong is fun too).

6) Don't arrow switch when you were told to and then write the score as if you had.

7) Get a pen that writes horizontal strokes clearly enough, but doesn't write the vertical ones very well.  Old biros are good for this.  That way when you write "S" it will look like three horizontal lines and appear to probably be "E".

8) Make sure you write things like "3NT+1" and then write 9 tricks.  This is especially useful if you write a score that couldn't have been either contract - something like 420 will do. If you notice that someone has done the above, then write a large question mark by the entry. Do not inform the Director; it is much better that he finds your useful question mark when he is at home and can no longer check with the culprits while it is fresh in their minds.

 The basis of this 'article' was found on the Bridgewebs forum.

An Ode to our Game


I found this among some old papers and felt it deserved a place in the world.




It is a game of infinite proportion,

Wide in parts with square distortion,

Simple in scope with mass contortion,

Basic in style,

Needing lots of guile.


The battle is oft serene,

But cannot be played as a dream,

If you wish to finish supreme,

Outwardly calm,

Swallowing alarm.


It takes an infinite degree of finesse,

And lots of experience leads to success,

But how often do we eliminate the guess?

And the skill required,

Is still desired.


To temper the needed aggression,

Is in itself a character lesson,

Concerning personality suppression,

But who of us would care,

To spurn a fine dare?


It is a game of infinite savagery,

Often requiring a timely cavalry,

Plunging at times to below lavatory,

Deceptively cryptic,

Always analytic.


The cards believe in a finite caress,

To be guided to the correct address,

Experts are those who receive fates largess?

Thanks very much,

For the grandmaster touch.



You think its place in the world aught to be the bin?

O.K.! O.K.! The next one I find I will chuck. Sheesh, give a guy a break.

Recifying: A Small Error

So you arive in a slam and have 12 top tricks once the trumps behave. So now you are wondering about the overtrick (having had a club lead). As you can see the heart finesse is right, but if that is a bit mundane for you then the red suit squeeze works a treat. So did I make an overtrick? Nearly....I decided to play for the squeeze; now everyone knows that in these situations you have to rectify the count...oops!

The Only Chance

You are in 4H by S and the opening lead is the A of spades followed by a spade to the K.
They switch to a club which you take in hand. They are entitled to two diamond tricks.......unless one opponent has the singleton A or K of diamonds. So draw trumps in two rounds and eliminate the spades and clubs; discarding a diamond on the K of clubs. Now a diamond and they take the ace and.....lead a club. Discard the remaining diamond and ruff in dummy.
Only a small chance but it does happen. it won my team 10 imps.

Grand Slam

After an auction that is not for delicate ears PC finds himself in 7NT.
The good news is he has 12 tricks.
The spades might break (and pigs might fly) or a squeeze must be found.
If one opponent guards the spades then the other must hold the heart, so neither of them can hold more than two diamonds (double squeeze). If one opponent guards the diamonds alone (having four) and has to guard the spade as well he will be subjected to an automatic simple squeeze.

5 rounds of clubs throwing a diamond from dummy, 3 rounds of spades (at this point PC slipped up by discarding the two of diamonds - he should, of course, have dropped the 3 - it is aesthetically pleasing to take the last trick with a two!), heart to the king and back to the ace.
If the heart or spade has not become a winner then cash ace and king of diamonds - if it is your day then the two of diamonds takes the thirteenth trick (or the mundane three in this case if, like PC, you are a philistine).


Notice that the double fit in hearts and clubs is missing only the Jack. The opponent’s suits are missing nothing. This lack of wasted values in the opponent’s suits makes the hands ‘pure’.

Six clubs, as the cards lie, is unbeatable just losing the spade ace. Six hearts, which was bid and made at the table (the opponent’s hearts breaking 2 – 2), can be beaten by two tricks played double dummy. The clubs are 2 – 0 so a club lead, ruffed and a spade back for a second ruff. A diamond contract just loses the two heart tricks but spades could suffer three ruffs and two hearts or two ruffs and two hearts depending who is on lead. At the table 5S doubled made.

Notable feature

I include this hand because of a notable feature.

1C is Precision and bids thereafter are natural. After 3S I had some thought and finally decided that 4H was still going to be a better contract than 4S. Partner raises to 5H (somewhat optimistically - I could have a void spade and three clubs, etc; he needs the ♣A or A as well).

The A is led and a suit preference signal for a club is made - much to my relief. Unsurprisingly no one else has bid this!

The notable feature?

Note that hearts are bid at every level up to six......