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29th Jul 2021 16:30 BST
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29th Jul 2021 16:28 BST
Welcome to the Royal Automobile Club Bridge Circle - Pall Mall
Slam Bidding in the Circle by Tony Scouller

Last week we published “First at the Reform” on HOW, this featured a Grand Slam available in NT, H & D. Marina and I were the only pair to bid 7D, only three others bid the 6H. It lead to an instructive debate between partners not about who was right or wrong but the fundamental approach to the hand. Missing the optimum result neither of us thought much of our auction.

The Circle has a serious weakness in Slam bidding costing us matches regularly. In IMP scoring Slams enjoy greater importance because one board can cost the outcome. Particularly at Swiss Teams. Look for example at 15July on the site. There were three hands where slams were predicted. Collectively just three pairs bid them on the day.

I wrote a series of articles on HOW about the approach to 2C openers. Look, at them, beginning with “The Gods laughed.”* In that hand responder to a 2C opener held two  Kings putting him mentally in the slam zone. He failed to recognise that only one of his Ks was valuable. Which one? He did not get there and missed the slam. The great Blue team geared their system to the big hands, they made responses about “controls” A=2 K=1 they also recognised that once P is known to be big the weak hand assumes great importance. How weak?

I think the weak hand’s attitude of mind should be “what in my hand will opener want to know about?” He will not want to know (initially at least) about bad suits. Controls first. Many pairs use a 2D response as a relay. I think this is wrong – it should deny a positive. Responding with a positive should be in the controls suit. There is no reason why a 2S response must be five**. Try to keep the bidding as low a possible to open space to describe both hands. The big hand will need most space. Avoid jump bids that use space. There must be a good reason. Example 2C - 3S should show a solid suit AKQJ10*** or extended length. Like the man with two Ks do not leap to an early conclusion. If there is a sure six – you must be on the edge of seven. Once one Partner bids Blackwood they are in charge.  Answer truthfully.  

*The Gods Laughed. **Grand First at the Reform. *** The All Purpose 2C.

Last updated : 27th Jul 2021 11:04 BST
Bridge Update July 2021

July has crept up on me and I have just realised I am late doing this months email. It is lovely that Wimbledon tennis is back and the sun has come out today. Obviously football and the Euros are exciting as well.

There is not much to say at the moment and the next email from me probably will not be until mid-August as we work up to going back to playing bridge face-to-face at Pall Mall.

Hence currently the following still applies. 

We continue on BBO. Sessions are unchanged, please remember to pay Nicole £5.00 per session or £35.00 for all sessions in a month. The link to pay is here.  

St James and RAC Sunday 11.00am
Reform Club Monday 1.00pm 
Dutch Club Tuesday 1.00pm
RAC Thursday 1.00pm

Swiss Teams: Wednesday 28 July, 6.45 pm 

Please register as a team from 5.00pm and well before 6.30pm. Then be back online by 6.30pm ready for the start. The joining instructions are the same as last time and are on bridgewebs. Please fill in your team names in advance on the list on bridgewebs .

The new start date for face-to-face Bridge at Pall Mall  is Thursday 2 September, 6.30pm for 7.00pm start.

On that night we will have complimentary wine and canapés available from 6.30pm and then we will start bridge at 7.00pm and go straight through playing 24 boards and finishing around 10.00pm.

There are more details about returning to face-to-face bridge on the home page on bridgewebs

In the meantime keep well and safe and enjoy the summer and look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes

Bridge Activity Committee, Pall Mall

Last updated : 6th Jul 2021 15:21 BST
Bridge plans for returning to Face-to-Face Play from Thursday 2nd September


We will be following National, EBU and Club guidelines hence:

  • We will not be able to have nuts and crisps or sandwiches at Bridge in the future hence so as to let people have time to eat beforehand we will be starting sharp at 7.00pm and going straight through with no break aiming to finish at 10.00pm. Complimentary tea and coffee will be  available at the start. The price /session remains at £5.00 per member and £15.00 for a guest
  • A set priced dinner will be available in the Brooklands Room at 6.00pm and we would hope to have a Club table available. The full details of this are currently being looked into but will be a pleasant start to the evening. The Long Bar also remains an option although currently it is not doing a buffet option but there are plans to return to that once circumstances allow
  • We will be replacing all the playing cards so that they are new
  • Hand sanitiser will be available 
  • We will not be using bridgemates for scoring and will use the BriAn appwhich many of you have already downloaded to your phones and previously used. If you have not please do so but so as to keep things a bit shorter and clearer this month a fuller explanation of how this app works will be available in July 
  • Assuming we are allowed to, we plan to return to face-to-face bridge on Thursdays from 2 September. This first one will have a welcome back event beforehand with a glass of complimentary wine available from 6.30pm. This will be the start date for both main Thursday Bridge and Anne’s Intermediate Bridge and all players are welcome for a chat and drink beforehand in the Mountbatten RoomWe would also like to extend this invitation to join us for Bridge in July and August to other St James's and like club members who have supported us in this last year
  • We plan to currently continue with Sunday Bridge online on BBO at 11.00am. However from Sunday 26 September, instead of BBO we will have a monthly last Sunday face-to-face Bridge at Pall Mall clubhouse at 2.30pm. Sunday lunch is available in the Brooklands Room and again we hope we might get bridge players together beforehand over lunch. Further details will be available nearer the time but please note the date now.

We are so looking forward to seeing everyone back. Obviously if the Government guidelines change we will have to change our dates but everything crossed we will be able to continue with the plan as outlined above. We will have more details as we move forward with plans but wanted to let you all know where we are so far.  


Last updated : 28th Jun 2021 13:32 BST
RAC Swiss Teams 30th June 2021 JOINING INSTRUCTIONS
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 Please register below so we know you are coming. And if any of your players have not played in a STJ game before please email Nicole with the BB ..........

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Last updated : 28th Jun 2021 11:05 BST
St James and RAC Online Duplicate
Online Duplicate
St. James and RAC Dup;icate online
Duplicate Online
Thu 5th Aug 2021
Duplicate Online
Sun 8th Aug 2021
St James and RAC Online Duplicate
Thu 12th Aug 2021
Duplicate Online
Sun 15th Aug 2021
St James and RAC Online Duplicate
Cotton Cup 2021

The Cotton Cup is underway for this year. 

Click Cotton Cup 2021 to view match results & progression.

Upcoming Dates for your diary 

We seem to have spent lots of time cancelling events over the last few months and we are now making a few tentative bookings for face to face events later in the year. 

The following are currently booked and as more become available we will let you know.

Saturday 25 September and Sunday 26 September: Beginners Bridge Course. Booking is now open.

Sunday 31 October: Ros and Bob Bowman Championship Pairs. All day flagship event.

Monday 15 November: Centenary Cup and Dinner. This is an annual invitation event to various clubs.

Thursday 9 December: Christmas Dinner.

January -March 2022: The Devonshire Cup. We have decided to cancel this for 2021 but to run it at its normal time in 2022.

Thursday March 17 2022: The Ross Cope Memorial Swiss Teams.