Release 2.19o

This year’s AGM of the Suffolk Contract Bridge Association - and the AGM Pairs that follow- on Sunday 21 June will be like no other.

The AGM, starting at 2pm, will be conducted by video conferencing on Zoom. The AGM Pairs (3.30pm) will be played on BridgeBaseOnline and replace the usual Sunday evening virtual game. The usual BB$3 entry fee will be refunded by Suffolk Bridge, making it a free event.

Some important decisions will be taken at the AGM, including voting on a revised constitution. Rather than just rocking up to a village hall, members need to register in advance their intention to attend the AGM - and say whether they wish to play in the AGM Pairs afterwards (we do hope so!) Please click on REGISTER and complete the online form.

To assist those who have not used Zoom before, and to help members negotiate how the online AGM will work, Jacks Morcombe has produced a step by step guide. Click on A-B-C to read.


Suffolk shared the secrets of its online bridge success with 100 representatives from other English counties on Saturday.

During a 90 minute WEBINAR organised by the English Bridge Union, Jacks Morcombe, Peter Bushby, Malcolm Pryor and Richard Evans explained how Suffolk has managed to offer a range of different playing opportunities for its members during the current crisis.

The presentations highlighted the central message deployed by Suffolk - online bridge is the only game in town - setting up online events on BBO including a teams league, and training people to run 'virtual' clubs.

The webinar, hosted by Jacks, drew appreciative comments from the audience and confirmed  some counties currently have no online bridge available.

Click on BBC RADIO SUFFOLK to hear Lesley Dolphin's interview with Richard Evans about virtual bridge clubs.


A 28-board Suffolk FunBridge Pairs Challenge is taking place every week.

The competition will be open from 10am to 10pm every Wednesday to any FunBridge player in Suffolk. As usual on FunBridge a (very good!) robot will be your partner.

The event will be password protected. Click on PAIRS and a password will be sent to you.

To find the challenge, click on the Get Started/Practise tab, then click Exclusive Tournaments. Type Suffolk FunBridge Pairs into the View all Tournaments space.

Daily five board competiton for FunBridge players in Suffolk

The event is aimed at the growing FunBridge community in the county - and those who would like to give it a try.

Amanda Roberts who plays at Stansfield, Abbeygate, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds, came up with the idea.

The name of the competition is Suffolk Bridge Clubs, which can be found in Exclusive Tournaments via the orange Get started/Practise tab.

If you are interested but have not played on the site before go to


Rick Hanley reviews Marty Bergen’s new online audio-visual lesson.

Click on REVIEW to read more


In addition to BBO and FunBridge, Bridge Club Live is an online favourite with many players. To find out more click on


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!