Release 2.19n

Malcolm Pryor is currently representing England's senior team in the 44th World Team Championships in China. Click on d'Orsi Trophy for up to date results.

Some of the Suffolk player's matches are likely to be on line via Bridge Base Online, which you can watch for free, although the time difference is not the kindest. The daily schedule (British time) is

  • Session 1 03.00-05.20
  • Session 2 06.30-08.50
  • Session 3 09.30-11.50)

England is fielding four teams in the championships - Open, Ladies, Seniors and Mixed - and all have made a good start.

Chris Chambers was a member of a team which did particularly well at the EBU Summer Meeting in Eastbourne.

Malcolm reports on a slam hand in the final match which helped to determine the finishing positions. To read more, click on Suffolk@TheNationals


Suffolk travelled to Barleylands to take on Essex at the weekend and, unusually, two of the three matches ended in 10-10 draws.

The A team held a solid lead with the final eight board session to go but the hosts staged a comeback to prevail 12-8. Both the B and C teams tied their games.

To see all the results, click on Suffolk v Essex


Minutes of the Club Representatives meeting which took place in July are now available. Click on CLUB REPS to read


Rick Hanley explains why we should all switch from 0314 to 1430 when using Roman Key Card Blackwood. Click on RKCB to read more.


Card players and the Nature v Nurture debate: Glyn Button harks back to his experience in the 1950s.  Click on 2½NoTrumps, the antidote to traditional bridge chronicles, to read more. 


Suffolk’s three teams were involved in close finishes in their matches against Northants on Sunday.

The A team lost narrowly 9-11; likewise the B team 7-13, while the C team (pictured below) had something to smile about by winning 12-8.


Don't you just wish sometimes that you could play a hand again?

Well, you can...thanks to the wonders of Bridgewebs.

The 'Play It Again' feature is not that well known, but easy to use.

On your club website (or this one) just go to Results, click on any pairing and you will see below the hand 'Play It Again' (arrowed)

(if any club webmaster would like the graphics for this article to upload on to their website just e


Norman delves into a devious play during a hand at Stowmarket bridge club. Click on MoreOrLess to find out more.

If you play an unusual or interesting hand at your club, Norman would love to hear about it. Just email him at Hand of the Week

The EBU has offered some guidance on ensuring the 'security' of duplimated boards at clubs, which has been endorsed by the SCBA. To read more please click on SECURITY

Richard Evans & Paul Rickard are the webmasters running Suffolk's dedicated bridge website.

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

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In all the boards below, N and S Pass, unless stated otherwise. If necessary, click on 'Show Detail' to see hands.

After you have worked out how you would bid the board, click on ‘Show Answer’ and compare your bidding with that of the experts!

Click on CONVENTION CARD to see bidding system

Good luck!

1♠  2 
3  3 
4♣  4 
4♠  6 

In the June set we had a slam hand which involved some cue-bidding and the number of different auctions from the panel equalled the number of suggested auctions I got. This hand is the same. 

All but one of the panel bid the slam. Everyone realised after 1♠– 2 that the West hand has become huge and started pushing towards a slam. As last time the key for any regular partnership is to be on solid ground as to what various auctions mean. So in the auction I have given is 4♣ a Cue Bid or a Splinter or either? Can you cue bid suits with a second round control (as I have done)? Does 4 show “extras”, i.e. slam interest or am I obliged to cue bid if I can? Nobody bid a grand slam which clearly as the cards “only” requires declarer to find Q. I think a good rule of thumb about bidding grand slams is that you should only bid them when you can count thirteen tricks and I don’t think there is really a way of being certain as either East or West that you have thirteen tricks.



North opens 3♠ 

  (3♠) 4 
4  Pass

This hand is a lot easier if you have a particular piece of system in your armoury. Over major suit pre-empts – bids of four of a minor show the minor and the other major – on the basis who wants to play in four of a minor – so in the example East can bid 4♦ knowing that it is effectively giving partner a choice between Diamonds and Hearts. I like this piece of system which is why I have chosen this auction as a way of encouraging more to use it.

Without that bit of system East is very close to bidding 4 anyway and if she doesn’t (and passes) then I think West needs to get involved and this hand illustrates why. North / South may well make 3♠ and you want to be in 4 . So if it is passed to West I think the choices are 4 or DBLE and neither is ideal – you’d like more Hearts to bid 4 and you don’t really want a singleton Diamond when Doubling. If the partnership has spent some discussing these sorts of auctions and this is an acceptable hand for a Take Out Double then that wins. If not I think she has to close her eyes and bid 4 as a Double may get a 5 response from partner.

So the other question regardless of whether East or West is the first to climb in the auction as how to make sure partner doesn’t get over-excited. The answer is that the partner should realise that partner has strained to get into the auction and not to punish her for doing so. There is clearly a very limited amount of space to find out much more about partner’s hand. This is hand which illustrates this point rather well as you don’t want to be any higher than 4.


1NT 2 
2  2NT
4  Pass

A hand where I thought you might do different things dependent on whether its pairs or teams. However, with one exception where one of the panel rested in 2 (at pairs) – everybody else finished in 4 – most via an invitational 2NT rebid by East. 

I have a lot of sympathy with the idea of resting at 2♥ at pairs (it's not a great 11 count and it’s a poor Heart suit) as by bidding again you are going to be one level higher than may be comfortable  a lot of the time when partner has 12 or 13 points. In the example, 4♥ is a good contract but certainly not guaranteed – a play problem I might save for the time when I need to set a hand for the experts to play.


2NT 3 
3NT Pass

So what is West worth after East opens a weak 2? We do have 2NT asking in our system. 3♦ says weak points (2♦ shows 7 to 10 points at this vulnerability) , good suit and then its decision time for West. I’m bidding 3NT – I come from a teams background which encourages bidding marginal game contracts. If you are saying that “it's off on a Heart lead” – well that’s true but they haven’t led one yet. Most of the panel are with me in bidding 3NT. 

The more I have looked at this hand and read the comments from the panel the less convinced I am that driving to 3NT is the right answer at pairs.

I’m sure you will discover, if you become a regular reader of this feature, that I use “teams” as the main excuse when I get too high 


1NT 2 
2  Pass

I think the panel wondered why I included this one. All but one of the panel transferred to 2. The reason for its inclusion was to confirm that you need to be consistent in these sorts of auctions and not to be affected by the results on individual hands – this was the main message from the panel (even from the person who passed 1NT). 

With the benefit of seeing both hands you’d probably rather be in 1NT although that’s not certain. Far too many conversations at the table are driven by what works on a given hand rather than what works best over the long term. Therefore, if you have agreed you will always transfer when holding a five card major (even when the shape is 5332) you should always do exactly that accepting that sometimes it will lead to a bad result.


1NT 2♣ 
2  Pass

This is the one hand of the set where the panel was unanimous. Another opportunity to use Stayman with a weak hand. As I mentioned last month - and am ramming home the point this month – Stayman is not only to be used for hands which are game invitational or better. It can and should be used on weak hands such as this one. On this hand the 2♣ bidder will pass 2or 2♠ but convert to 2 over 2



South opens 1♠ 

1♠ (X) 3 
4  Pass

Everybody started 1♠ – DBLE. The majority then bid 3. I’m with the majority. Although in principle you should have eight plus points for 3 – I do have a chunky five card suit and a singleton.


1  3 
4  Pass

You may not need any persuading that bridge is a tough game. On board 5 of the June set – holding 

♠ Q82  5432  AQ10 ♣ Q103

the majority of the panel chose to bid 2 in response to 1♥. On this hand the vast majority bid 3 in response to 1. Both are 9 loser hands with 10 points. So what’s the difference? This month’s hand is slightly better because the shape is better – we prefer 4432 to 4333, we have better trump support and having an Ace and King is better than Ace and three queens. Is that enough of a difference to bid 3 rather than 2? The answer for the majority of the panel is yes (there was one vote for 2). Tough game!