Suffolk Contract Bridge Association

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Click on Captain's Log to see analysis by the County Captain, Paul Whetton, of some interesting hands played by Suffolk teams in the National online Teams League.

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Paul Whetton has been appointed Suffolk captain and is using his new role to offer a series of articles aimed at players who represent the county, or aspire to do so - but should help us all improve our game.

Paul's aim is to raise the level of performance by Suffolk players and he explains the thinking behind his approach in his first article. Click on BAR to read it.

All Paul's columns are available by clicking on Raising the Bar in the menu above. The latest one is entitled Cross-ruffing.


In a sequel to Marc Chawner's popular compilation of no-trump hands and how to play them, click on SUIT PLAY BY DECLARER, and  BBO, to see how BBO robots played these hands (clever!) To complete the trilogy, Marc has produced a comprehensive article on defence. Click on DEFENCE to read.

Now, in yet another part, Marc has looked at the maths of bridge in his article Know Your Percentages. Click on PERCENTAGES to read.

There is plenty for players of all abilities in the above. Thanks once again to Marc.


If you have friends who would like to learn bridge but are not sure how to go about it or where to go, ask them to email

To find a teacher in your area click on BRIDGE TEACHERS



It's been long overdue, but Suffolk Bridge now has its own Facebook  page.

The social networking site offers another way to advertise events and, in particullar, to reach non-bridge players who might be interested in learning the game.

To find the page, go to Facebook and search for Suffolk Bridge.


Suffolk Bridge now has a dedicated website for archive material collected over more than 40 years, including winners of the county's main competitions.

Many thanks to Jill Tattersfield for compiling all the material and to Peter Bushby for makiing it publicly available by setting up the website. Click on ARCHIVE to see everything.


Paul Rickard is the webmaster running Suffolk's dedicated bridge website.

If you would like to publicise a forthcoming event or submit a news item for this website click Paul

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Suffolk Bridge in association with Victor Lesk is delighted to announce it will be holding an inaugural Café Bridge event in aid of the ‘St Nicholas Hospice Care’ charity on Thursday 19 th September in Bury St Edmunds town centre.

What is Café Bridge? Click Café Bridge to find out more. Essentially this is an opportunity to play relaxed Bridge in a social setting in Cafés and Restaurants in the town centre, moving between them after each round, with lunch included in the entrance fee.

Eight separate venues in the town centre have signed up to participate in this event and a choice will be offered as to where you would like to have a light lunch, along with a bespoke menu selection.

Registration for the event will open in mid-July, along with further details of the event.


Seventy-two players enjoyed an entertaining day with bridge teacher Zeb Stocken at Hintlesham Hall, including an excellent buffet lunch, with topics including slam bidding and planning your play.



The annual Woodbridge Mid Anglia Pairs will be played on Sunday June 30 at the Community Hall, Station Road, Woodbridge IP12 4AU.

As usual for this event, scoring will be by IMPs.

Starting at 11am, we will play 30+ boards and plan to finish around 4.30pm.

Tea & coffee will be provided but please bring your own lunch.

Entry fee is just £10/head - click ENTER to see the entry form.


Professor Rick Hanley funeral arrangements.

Tuesday 2nd July at 10.45am at Colchester Crematorium with refreshments to follow at Wivenhoe House Hotel (details below). There is plenty of free parking at Wivenhoe House Hotel.

Family flowers only please.  Donations can be made to the Motor Neurone Disease Association or MédecinsSans Frontières:

Colchester Cemetery & Crematorium 
Mersea Road 

Wivenhoe House Hotel

Wivenhoe Park, Park Road 

Colchester CO4 3FA

A live video link will be available for anyone unable to attend.

For the benefit of the caterers, please let us know if you plan to attend Wivenhoe House (CO4 3FA} for refreshments after the funeral. Please click HERE and complete the form you'll see.

RICK HANLEY 1953-2024
RICK HANLEY 1953-2024

Rick Hanley

Rick Hanley, who this week finally lost his battle with motor neurone disease (MND), was a stalwart of Suffolk bridge for many years.  In 2000 Rick was appointed a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex and immediately made his mark as a highly skilled bridge player.  His main club was Colchester but he also played at Ipswich & Kesgrave.  At Colchester he had several regular partners including Graham Beeton, David Willson, and Ray Clarke, and his preferred system was Standard American with Bergen raises and Reverse Drury; in fact Marty Bergen was undoubtedly one of Rick’s bridge heroes and he would be in regular correspondence with Marty, seeking his opinion on a hand he had played recently.  More recently, and especially since he contracted MND and could not leave home, he formed partnerships with Jo Harpur, Jeff Orton and me. 

Rick and I played together in the Suffolk Online Teams League (SOTL), the Suffolk Teams Championship, and the National Teams League (NTL) where we had considerable success.  Rick was an instinctive bidder; he knew when to take risks – like opening on a shapely 10 points – and when to use the green pass card.  He would not be backward in telling you when you had made a mistake in the bidding or the play (or both!) but he was always constructive with his critique.  I remember one hand when he could not understand why I didn’t bid with S106542 H873 D93 C864 after he opened 1S!  But once he made his criticism that would be the end of the matter, he wouldn’t refer to it again.

Over the years Rick won many Suffolk events including the Pairs Championship, the Teams Championship and the Division 1 League.  And just a few weeks ago Rick fulfilled the “double double” winning the Teams Championship and the SOTL title for the second year in succession.  Rick was very proud of all his achievements at the bridge table but he was especially pleased when he was a member of the Suffolk team that qualified for the Tollemache Final three times and, just last year, when he was a member of the team that came second in the Pachabo Cup, the national competition for winners of their County Team Championship.

As well as being an excellent bridge player, Rick was a superb communicator and administrator.  He was Chairman of the Colchester Bridge Club for 10 years and County Captain for seven years from 2017, only passing on the baton to Paul Whetton a few weeks ago.  Whilst County Captain Rick only ever missed one match – when he had tickets for the Wimbledon Men’s Final!  Rick was very keen to give as many players as possible the opportunity to play for the County and he succeeded in driving up the standard of all three teams, with the result that Suffolk now consistently punches above its weight in national competitions.

Rick will be sorely missed by so many people, for his skill and creativity at the bridge table, for his courteous behaviour to everyone he played with or against, for his strong liberal beliefs, and above all, for his courage and bravery in the face of his crippling illness.  He will be mourned by Maureen his children Simon and Nicola, four grandchildren, and his many friends and colleagues. RIP.

Michael Sherer
24th May 2024


The Suffolk Bridge AGM was held at Elmswell on Sunday May 12.

The new Executive Committee was elected as proposed. Click COMMITTEE to see who now represents you.

The AGM Pairs event was won by Jill & Roger Tattersfield (on left, with the Director, Paul) with the Handicap prize going to Paul & Chris Rickard (on right). Click RESULTS to see all the scores.


Rick Hanley's team (Rick Hanley, Michael Sherer, Chris Chambers, Chris Green, Malcolm Pryor, Peter Sutcliffe) have won the 2024 Suffolk Championship Teams of Four with a 35 IMP victory in the 40 board final over Jenny Price's team (Jenny Price, Norbert Voelker, Tony Philpott, Nigel Bardsley).    Team Hanley got off to a fast start and led by 39 IMPS after 16 boards.  Team Price then made an excellent comeback and led by 2 IMPS with 10 boards remaining.  However, a strong final 10 boards by Team Hanley secured their 2nd successive victory in this event.


The Championship Pairs Final was held at The Blackbourne Centre, Elmswell on Sunday 21st April. 26 pairs took part in a close fought 50 board marathon, eventually won by Bury St Edmunds and Abbeygate Bridge Club members Tim Evans and Chris Park.  

The runners up were Richard Evans and John Bloomfield, Roger and Jill Tattersfield third and Guy Lesser and Mike O'Reilly taking fourth place. Barely 2 percentage points separated the top four pairs.

The full results can be seen by clicking on Championship Pairs Result. Thanks to Rob Richardson for directing and scoring


The SCBA Club Teams of Four event was held at the Blackbourne Community Centre, Elmswell, on Sunday the 24th of March with a record entry of 23 teams. The event was closely contested with only six points between the first three places.

In first position was the Woodbridge team of Dave Walker & John Skinner playing with Humphrey Carey & Clive Rowe with a score of +81 IMPS.

In second place (pictured below) was the Stowmarket team of Brian Pinson & Paul Wilcox playing with Bim & Sam Wilson scoring +76 IMPS and in third place were the Stratford St Mary team of Debbie & Martin Burwood playing with Derek & Rita Brinkley.

Congratulations to them all.

The Director/Scorer was Rob Richardson, boards were provided by Paul Rickard and the Event Manager was Tim Evans.

Click RESULTS to see all the scores.


Captain’s Report by Rick Hanley

Suffolk v Northants 17th March 2024

Overall, the Suffolk team put up a good performance in the final match of the 23/24 ECL season.  Sadly, the A team lost by 14-6.  However, unlike the Welsh rugby team the previous day, they secured enough points to avoid the wooden spoon.  The B team won by 12-8, due in part to a fine card from Caroline and Mark. 

The main focus, however, was on the C team who needed an 18-2 win to finish top of the table. Unfortunately, the Northants C Team won their division last season and went on to win the national C Team championship.  So, the C team did well to achieve a 13-7 victory. Chris and Andy were the best performers with an excellent card.  The C Team should be very proud of a great season winning 5 of their 6 matches and achieving what I believe is the best ever finish by a Suffolk C Team.

I found board 20 to be the most interesting deal in Sunday’s match (see below).

After my right-hand opponent had opened and rebid spades, I found it difficult to communicate the strength of my hand to my partner and played in 3D. I was disappointed when dummy went down and we had a combined 26 count. Others played in 3NT and several made it when unaccountably a spade was not led. Bill and John did lead a spade and John made the excellent play of the queen of spades preserving communication with partner. When Bill won the ace of hearts, he could return a spade to defeat the contract. Shame on you to all those who not lead a spade! I was surprised that RealBridge claimed that 3NT can be made even if a spade is led. I cannot see how this can be done but if anyone has the answer, please let me know.

As you will know, this was my final match as captain. I have enjoyed every minute. The only match I missed during my tenure was the very first one in July 2017 when I had tickets for the Wimbledon final and witnessed Roger Federer’s last victory in the championship.  I would like to pay tribute to Richard Evans who I believe has played in all the matches when I was captain.  I wish my successor (Paul Whetton) all the best for the future of the Suffolk Team.  Finally, I will offer some advice for the future.  Paul has written some articles on the SCBA website advocating a 5 card major system in preference to a 4 card major system.  As someone who has played 5 card majors for the last 25 years I would not disagree.  However, it seems to me that some of the Suffolk team play a sub-optimal version.  In particular I recommend the 2 over 1 system in preference to standard American.  2 over 1 has really taken over amongst the top players in the UK and the USA.  If you want to learn more about 2 over 1 then I suggest you purchase a copy of Andrew Robson’s excellent new book ‘Strong and Fives’. In it he outlines a very logical rationale for the 2 over 1 system and suggests some other conventions that it is best to incorporate within a 5 card major system.


To see older items please click on



Suffolk Bridge is hosting a new Blue Pointed Swiss Pairs event of 36 boards at the Blackbourne Centre, Elmswell (IP30 9UH) on Sunday July 28, 2024.

Play will start at 11am and is expected to finish by 4pm

Not familiar with Swiss Pairs events? You will play six 6-board rounds – the first against a random pair but subsequent rounds against a pair close to you in the event rankings (#1 vs #2, #3 vs #4 etc, but never playing the same opponents twice)

Entry fee is just £12/head.

Refreshments are included but please bring your own lunch.

Prizes for the winning pair and highest ranked NGS 9-High pair.

Click HERE for the entry form


Do you want to find where to play Bridge in Suffolk or North Essex?

Click on SUFFOLK CLUBS (above) to open the INTERACTIVE MAP which shows details of Bridge Clubs in this area and links to their websites.

EBU-affiliated clubs in red and un-affiliated clubs in blue.

Each month we will put the spotlight on a couple of clubs. Click SPOTLIGHT to see details of this month's selection - Abbeygate and Cavendish.


The latest Suffolk On Line Teams League, Season 17, is underway, with 27 teams playing in 5 divisions. Results will be available by clicking on SPRING. Final results from Season 16 can be viewed by clicking on PREVIOUS RESULTS.


Each year the Malcolm Pryor Trophy is awarded in May for performance in the Suffolk On Line Teams League over the previous year. The 2024 winners are Malcolm Pryor, Chris Chambers, Chris Green, Rick Hanley, Michael Sherer, Peter Sutcliffe, with 33 Placing Points. They finished just one Placing Point ahead of Mark Honess, Caroline Gemmell, Andre Gray, John Pearson and David Willson. In joint third place with 28 Placing Points were Team Harpur and Team Orton. In total 18 teams received Placing Points during the year, more details on this and on previous years results can be found by clicking on Trophy

AGM Pairs
Championship Pairs Final
Club Teams of Four
ECL v Northants away
ECL v Norfolk home
Bah Humbug
Club Teams of 8
Bridge with Lunch
Suffolk golf bridge
Suffolk Congress Pairs Qualifier
Suffolk Congress Pairs Final
Suffolk Congress Consolation Open Pairs
Suffolk Congress Pairs Qualifier - with handicaps (click tab within results to see handicaps)
ECL v Beds home
Autumn Festival
ECL v Essex home
Woodbridge MAP session 1
Woodbridge MAP session 2
Woodbridge MAP Overall
ECL v Cambs & Hunts away
Sun 30th Jun 2024
Woodbridge Mid Anglia Pairs
Woodbridge 11.00 am
Sun 7th Jul 2024
ECL v Beds away
Online RealBridge 1.00 pm
Sun 28th Jul 2024
Summer Swiss Pairs
Elmswell 11.00 am
Sun 8th Sep 2024
Autumn Festival
Elmswell 11.00 am
Sun 22nd Sep 2024
ECL v Herts home
Online RealBridge 2.00 pm
Sat 5th Oct 2024
Suffolk Congress Pairs
12.00 noon
Sun 6th Oct 2024
Suffolk Congress Swiss Teams
Elmswell 11.00 am
Sun 13th Oct 2024
ECL v Cambs & Hunts home
Online RealBridge 2.00 pm
Mon 21st Oct 2024
Suffolk golf-bridge day
8.30 for 9.00 am
Wed 23rd Oct 2024
Bridge with Lunch
Elmswell 12.30 pm
Sun 27th Oct 2024
ECL v Norfolk away
Online RealBridge 1.00 pm
Sat 16th Nov 2024
Club Teams of Eight
Colchester 2.00 pm
Sun 1st Dec 2024
NGS 9-High Pairs
Nayland 11.00 am
Sun 29th Dec 2024
Elmswell 11.00 am
Sun 12th Jan 2025
ECL v Northants home
Online RealBridge 2.00 pm
Sun 2nd Mar 2025
ECL v Essex away
Online RealBridge 1.00 pm