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Charity Bridge at WBC
Charity Bridge at WBC

Two Wallingford BC members are organising a Swiss Pairs event at WBC on 27th October to raise money for a charity that is planting trees to help preserve the environment. Please click here to view the flyer. You can enter on the WBC website by clicking here.

Oxford Junior Bridge Club

The Oxford Junior Bridge Club welcomes participants to its summer term sessions on Sundays at Summertown Church Hall. Click here to download details.  You may also want to read the report on activities during the spring term by clicking here.

Bridge Education in Oxford

Oxford Bridge Club runs a comprehensive bridge education programme under the banner of Oxford Bridge School. Courses are available at all levels, from beginners to more experienced players. Further details are on their website.  

Wessex League 2019-20

This is a teams-of-eight competition for Oxfordshire clubs. We have two teams: our "A" team is in Division 2 and our "B" team in Division 4.  Speak to Howard Arnes (A-Team) or Roger Heath-Brown (B-team) if you would like to play for Summertown.  In due course fixtures and results, as well as match reports will appear on the link on the lefthand side of this page.

Wessex League
In the 2018-19 season we have two teams in the Wessex League, a teams-of-eight competition for Oxfordshire clubs. Our "A" team is playing in Division 2 and  our "B" Team in Division 3.
Fixtures and results for 2018/19 season are from the links below.
For match reports, please scroll further down.
Match Reports

A team

The A team played its first match of the season on 14th November, against Blewbury – quite a long journey to a village hall near Didcot. There were some interesting and eventful hands, with three possible slams and another 12 possible games, so unsurprisingly it wasn’t a close match. East-West had most of the hands, with North-South defending for long stretches. Summertown had much the best of it in the first half, and were leading by 50 IMPs at the interval, mostly won on the first three boards. On board 1 Steph got to a thin 3NT game after opponents opened 1 heart (it could go off against better defence but made for an 11 IMP swing). On board 2 one Blewbury pair overbid to an impossible slam – another 11 IMPs.  But the biggest swing (17 IMPs) was on board 3 below:

3. EW vulnerable, dealer South

















South generally took advantage of favourable vulnerability and opened 3 clubs. West bid 3 spades, and East then had some thinking to do. Both the Summertown pairs explored slam and got to 6 spades, which made comfortably. Both the Blewbury pairs simply raised to 4 spades. It’s true that the East hand is very balanced, and that the king of clubs might not be much use, but I think it’s worth a try for slam, especially if you’re playing Roman Key Card Blackwood – when West shows two aces plus the queen of spades the slam is looking good.

Blewbury pulled back 15 IMPs in the second half. On board 16 some aggressive bidding at my table unfortunately pushed our opponents into a 6 diamond slam which no one else bid (it depended on a finesse, but it worked).  Board 17 was interesting:

17. None vulnerable, dealer North





















Both our EW pairs made 3NT (quite a tricky contract to play and to defend). One Blewbury pair went off in 3NT, and the other went off in 3 diamonds, so that pulled some IMPs back. In the end we won the match by 111 IMPs to 76, which was 15-5 on victory points.

Our EW pairs bidding and making all the games and slams were Alison & Robert and Lorraine & Peter. Our NS pairs defending valiantly most of the night were Ruth & Howard and Steph & Steven. Erica & Christopher and Trevor were our reserves. Thanks to all of them.


The A team’s second match was on 19 December, against Banbury. It is usually a close match when we play Banbury, but not this time – we were trailing by 16 IMPs at the interval, and the second half was worse, so we lost the match 31-81 (about 3-17 on victory points). Half the hands were almost flat, but where there were swings we were usually on the wrong side of them, and the luck certainly wasn’t with us. Board 2 was a normal 3NT contract that goes one off against the right defence – only one Banbury pair found this defence. Board 10 was a very tricky 3NT – only one pair, from Summertown, bid it, but they went off. The most expensive board was number 15 (NS vulnerable). Steph and I open quite light pre-empts at favourable vulnerability, so West opened 3 diamonds on a 6-card suit, North doubled (with 18 points and a double stop in diamonds – 3NT might be more normal), and South with a balanced 7 points decided to pass. The contract went three off, for –500. This would have been a good score if NS, who have 25 points between them, can make 3NT, for 600, but unfortunately everyone else bid 3NT and no one could make it, so we lost 13 IMPs on this hand. We had a few good boards, notably where Trevor made a difficult 4 spade contract on board 18 (everyone else went off), but not enough of them.  
Board 22, where we lost 9 IMPs, was an interesting bidding challenge (dealer East, EW vulnerable):
West                                                        East
QJ                                                            A73
AQ32                                                       JT965
Q876                                                       A
AT2                                                          J983
East-West have an easy game in hearts, and can actually make 12 tricks, but can they find it after South opens 1NT? Both our EW pairs played in a heart part-score. One Banbury pair did bid to 4 hearts. At my table West thought for a very long time over 1NT and then passed (presumably thinking his spades might not be worth much, making a double a bit risky). Although I thought 2 spades might be a better contract than 1NT, I passed quickly so that EW  would have no chance to bid again. You might like to think how you would bid it as EW.
Apart from the result, and the chilly church hall, it was a pleasant enough evening, and the fruit cake was excellent. The A team has two matches in January, where we’ll hope to do a bit better. Many thanks to all the team – Sandra & Krys, Ruth & Howard, Trevor & Robert and Steph & me – and to Erica & Christopher who were reserves.
The A team’s third match was on Wednesday 9th January, away to Abingdon B. It was a cold night, but the venue was warm and the people were friendly. It was a game of two halves unfortunately. We were ahead by 21 IMPs at the interval, largely because of a rather tricky slam that only Ruth & Howard bid. Unfortunately the second half was almost all the other way, and we lost the match 62-94 which is roughly 6-14 on victory points.
There were three possible slams and 14 possible games (nearly all for NS), so bidding and making these was crucial, and we didn’t have much luck! Board 12 was really tricky to bid, as NS have the values for game but it’s either 3NT with only one heart stopper (and opponents have bid hearts) or 4 spades on a 4-3 trump fit (but the spades break kindly as it happens). Both our pairs went off in 3NT and both Abingdon’s made 4 spades. However the really unlucky board was number 22:
NS have a combined 32 points and they know they don’t have a heart fit. Should you bid 6NT or not? One pair from each team did, and made it with an overtrick. Sandra & Krys decided to stop in 5NT. At my table the Abingdon South opened 1NT (announced as 11-14) and North checked on aces and bid 7NT! This is a dreadful grand slam – it needs hearts to break kindly AND both minor suit finesses or a very lucky club break. As you can see, everything is right and 7NT duly made. We lost 14 IMPs on the board, when if 7NT had gone off (as it nearly always would) we would have gained 11. It was not our lucky night.
Thanks to all the team – Sandra & Krys, Ruth & Howard, Alison & Robert and Steph & me – and to Erica & Christopher who were our reserves. We have another match next week and will hope to do a bit better!
The A team’s fourth match of the season was at Frilford on 16 January. They are a friendly team, with one member who’s well-known to Summertown members, and it was a warm room on a cold night, so it was an enjoyable evening. Also, after our bad luck last week, we won! The hands in the first half didn’t seem terribly exciting, so I was very surprised to find that we were leading 54-2 at the interval. There were four virtually flat boards, and the other eight all went our way. On board 1 both our EW pairs bid and made 5 clubs, and both Frilford pairs stopped in a part score. On board 10 both our NS pairs kept quiet and defended part score contracts, and both Frilford pairs got busy and went for large penalties.
The second half was much more eventful, with big swings both ways, and overall we lost a few IMPs. We finally won the batch 93-49, which is 16-4 on victory points.  We picked up 15 IMPs on board 19. Normally South opened a weak two in spades and EW bid to 4 hearts making 11 or 12 tricks.  Alison & Robert had a rapid and bold auction (2S-4H-pass-6H) and made the slam. Krys opened a multi 2 diamonds rather than 2 spades, and the Frilford opponents had a mix-up which led to them playing in 3 clubs. However, after this triumph we had a disaster on the next board, the most interesting hand of the evening. 
20. All vulnerable, dealer West
763 KQJT2
Q753 9
T94 Void
QT4 AK87532
As you can see, NS have got a fit in both red suits and EW have got the black suits. One of our NS pairs defended 4 spades, made for –650. The other NS pair doubled 5 clubs, made for –750. One of our EW pairs made 5 spades doubled for +850. The other EW pair doubled 5 diamonds by South, which made with an overtrick for –950. Overall we lost 17 IMPs on the board. It is always hard to judge what to do when one player, East here, has a really freakish hand. I suppose it just shows that when you have a good fit with your partner it’s right to bid aggressively and a bit risky to double without clear defensive tricks. 
Thanks to all the team – Sandra & Krys, Alison & Robert, Ruth & Howard and Steph & Steven – and to Erica & Christopher and Trevor who were reserves. Having played four of our seven matches we are in the middle of the division. We now have a long break before our next match in mid-March.
The A team’s fifth match was on 14th March, against Abingdon A, who are normally the strongest team in the division. We were fielding one pair who don’t play together very often and another who had never played together before. So we didn’t start as favourites! However, we won the match by quite a large margin.
At the interval we were winning 60-33. On board 3 one of Abingdon’s EW pairs didn’t bid a making game while one of their NS pairs made an expensive sacrifice against our game, so that was 12 IMPs to us.  On board 6 Krys & Sandra made 3NT and Steven was allowed to make a 4 spade contract that should really go off, while Robert & Alison defeated 2 spades (!), so that was another 13 IMPs. But the most interesting board was this one:


West opened 1 heart and East bid 1 spade (the diamond suit is longer but not very strong). When West raised to 3 spades East investigated slam. Both our EW pairs and one Abingdon pair bid 6 spades. Everything now depended on the lead, and it’s a tricky decision – do you cash the diamond ace or not? Everyone did, and it was the only lead to allow the slam to make! Unlucky really for South, but that’s how matches are won or lost.

Our good fortune continued in the second half. On board 13 Steph & Ruth made an ‘impossible’ 3NT contract (opponents didn’t cash their five top club tricks). On board 18 EW have a combined 31 points with a 6-2 club fit and a 5-4 diamond fit. EW can make 6 clubs or 6NT but not 6 diamonds  (because a defender is sitting over the ace with KQx in diamonds). Both Abingdon pairs bid 6 diamonds  and went off, and both Summertown pairs stopped in game contracts, so that was 14 IMPs. On board 19 Krys & Sandra made a very tricky 4 spade contract which no one else bid, and on board 20 one Abingdon pair made an expensive sacrifice against Trevor’s 4 heart contract which was likely to go one off anyway. At the end of the evening we won the match 113-57, which is about 17-3 on victory points.

Thanks to all the team – Sandra & Krys, Alison & Robert, Ruth & Steph and Trevor & Steven – and to Erica & Christopher who were reserves. This result moves us up to third in division 2, with two matches still to play.


The A team’s sixth match was played on March 28 against Oxford C. We all know each other and it was an enjoyable evening’s bridge with some entertaining hands. It was a night when almost every doubled contract made! The first half mainly went our way, despite Oxford making a spade slam with 26 points but good shape on board 5. Our two best boards were  board 7, where Alison & Robert were the only pair to bid and make 4 spades, and  board 11 where they made 2 spades doubled. At the interval we were leading 51-18.
Unfortunately the second half mainly went to Oxford. Board 13 was unlucky:


South opened 1 spade, and West, who was too strong to overcall in hearts, generally doubled. North made some sort of spade raise, and at every table NS bid on to 4 spades. Not surprisingly both our EW pairs and one Oxford pair doubled this, but unfortunately there’s no defence and it made 790. The other Oxford EW pair bid on to 5 hearts, which went off but was cheap. The curse of the double struck again on board 14, where Sandra & Krys doubled a thin but making diamond contract. On board 23 Steven then chose the wrong hand to pass with 12 points (fourth in hand and vulnerable), and we missed a good spade contract. At the end of the evening we had narrowly won 68-65, which is about 11-9 on victory points.

Thanks to all the team – Sandra & Krys, Ruth & Howard, Alison & Robert and Steph & Steven – and to Erica & Christopher, our usual reserves. The A team is currently lying third in division 2. Our last match (against Witney, who are currently just above us) is on 11 April.


The A team’s final match this season was on 11 April against Witney. Before the match Witney were lying second in division 2 and Summertown third, and in the end that’s how it stayed – we won the match, but not by enough to overtake Witney.
The first half mainly went our way – Witney missed a game on board 6, and Howard & Trevor bid two rather optimistic games on boards 9 and 10 and managed to make both of them. However the most interesting board was a bad one for us:
Most pairs were in 4 spades by West – not that many high card points but the game is makeable. Both our declarers got the lead of the 3 of clubs and let it run round to the jack. Although this seems the natural thing to do, as you can see it was fatal – they lost the king of clubs, a club ruff and two aces. I suppose that, if opponents lead an un-bid suit rather than a ‘safe’ trump, one should be a bit suspicious. The second half was very up and down, with some large penalties incurred and some odd contracts making, but in the end it was pretty flat. We won the match by 70 IMPs to 59, roughly 12-8 on victory points.
There were two interesting slam hands, both of them flat boards in the end. On board 22 NS have 35 points between them, with a 5-3 diamond fit. Oddly no one played in diamonds. One Witney pair played in 6NT, with 12 top tricks and fair chances of a 13th, and the other in 6 spades (with a 5-1 trump fit, but trumps behaved kindly). The Summertown pairs both made 13 tricks in no trumps but valued their hands rather differently – one pair was in 7NT and the other in 3NT+4! Board 2 was interesting in another way:
East opened 1NT, and at some tables South intervened (by bidding 2 hearts, or 2 diamonds to show an unspecified major suit). As you can see, East has all the cards that West needs in a spade contract, and 7 spades is lay-down, but no one bid any slam – the contract was 4S+3 at all tables. You might like to try bidding it with your regular partner to see if you can get to 6 spades.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable evening against a pleasant team, and we’re quite happy with the result which gives us another season in division 2. We had two regular players missing through work commitments and illness, so were fielding a new combination of Krys & Sandra, Steph & Steven, Howard & Trevor and James & Valerie, with Robert as our reserve – many thanks to all of them. Thanks also to everyone else who played this season – Alison and Ruth played in nearly all the matches, as did Robert, Peter & Lorraine played in one, and Erica & Christopher were our usual reserves but didn’t actually play. After several years as the A team captain I’m now stepping down (I’ll still play whenever needed) and Howard will take over next season – I wish him and the team all the best.  Steven

B team

Summertown B had its first match of the season on Tuesday 30th October, at home against the University. We played at the Wolvercote village hall, which was distinctly chilly, as we remembered from last year, despite Paul providing an extra electric heater!

The first half of the match went very badly, and we were 3-32 down by the break. The second half also went somewhat badly, and we lost a further 8 IMPS, but provided several interesting and exciting boards. Slams were made on three hands - one of which was only found by Rod & Jeremy. Overall though the end result was 30-67, or 4.74 to 15.26 in VP's. Let's hope we do better next time!

Here was the biggest hand of the night:-



North deals, both sides vulnerable. Three pairs played in small slams, but one University pairing made 7NT. Could you bid to the grand slam? and should you? There are 12 top tricks, and 13 unless the clubs split 5-1 or worse. How should you plan the play in 7NT on a club lead? It turns out that East does have 5 clubs - can you do better than taking the heart finesse?

Thanks to the team:
Bridget & Holly
Betty & John
Rod & Jeremy
Paul & Roger

and to Tunde who stood by as reserve.


The B team played its second match on Tuesday, 11th December, a spectacularly cold night, and Wolvercote Village Hall was built before double glazing and insulation were invented.  However, duly warned and armed with a fan heater, I (Holly) stood in as captain for the B team's match versus Aylesbury Aces.
Our first drama of the evening was getting into the hall; the code we'd been given was for a key safe not a KEY PAD.  Anyway, having solved that one, play commenced on time and Summertown found themselves 10 imps behind at coffee time.  However, this disappointment was assuaged by our discovery of another set of light switches, hiding behind the stage, so when play restarted we could, at least, see the cards.
Two Summertown players managed to slip a couple of unmakeable games past their opponents and the same opponents failed to bid a vulnerable game bid by all the other pairs.  In teams, that's all it takes to catch up and overtake so we ended up winning 11.54 - 8.46.
Many thanks to all the team, who braved the elements and turned out :
Moira and Kati
Sean and Jeremy
James and Valerie
Bridget and Holly
Thanks to Roger and Paul, our reserves and special thanks to Moira, who took responsibility for transporting the tables and all the equipment.
On Tuesday 12th February, The Summertown Bridge Club B team set out  to the elegant, Oxford Bridge Club to play their 4th match of the season against Oxford E.  We found ourselves faced with friends and fellow SBC members, as our opponents, which made it difficult to remember that we were playing a Wessex League match.
The final result of 16 - 4 to Summertown (in old language)seemed to hinge on 3 boards when one of the Summertown pairs bid and made  vulnerable games with all the other pairs resting in part score.  Board 13 also turned out to be lucky for Summertown: North is the dealer and both sides are vulnerable:
10 7 6 4
10 9 2
Q 4 2
A 5 3
8 5
K 7 6 5 3
9 5
10 9 7 4
K Q J 3 2
10 8 7 3
J 6
A 9
Q 8 4
A K J 6
K Q 8 2
Finding the thin slam seems to hinge on whether or not East makes a strong opening bid, difficult if you play three weak two's as there is no real substance to the hand.  However, playing Benji, Moira did open a strong 2 Club  bid. John Cecil sitting West, transferred to spades and they ended up in 6S with a diamond lead.  That takes care of one finesse and the second finesse in hearts also works, although giving up the Club Ace early on saves any worry about the hearts.  A big swing to Summertown on this board as the other pairs rested in 4 Spades or 3 NT.
Roger Heath Brown is captain of the B team but I (Holly) stood in for him on this match.  The rest of the team were Sean, Rod & Jeremy, Tunde & Kati, Moira & John.
Summertown B had its sixth match of the season on Thursday 14th March, away to Wallingford C. Everyone turned up in good time, and we were able to start early!

The first half of the match went somewhat badly, and we were 42-56 down by the break. Our worst hand saw a negative swing of 1650 (=17IMPs) when our opponents sacrificed over a making vulnerable game, were doubled, and made their contract - ouch!

Fortunately we did better in the second half, where there were smaller swings, going mainly our way for a total of 41-25. This put us 83-81 ahead overall.  A win, but only just! We are currently 5th out of 8 in Division 3 with one match to play.  We are not yet safe from relegation, needing a further 3.3 VPs from our match against Oxford D next week. And we still have a chance of promotion if we win well.

Our best board, from the second half, was the following (from memory - I may not have it quite right):-

West                East
Qxx                  -
Jx                     KTxxxxx
Qxx                  AJTx
AKxxx              Tx

South deals, both sides vulnerable. Three pairs reached 4S by South (2 off, but might one get out for one off?), while James & Valerie played 4H+1 by East, resulting in +13 IMPs.

Thanks to the team:
James & Valerie
Tunde & Kati
Rod & Jeremy
Paul (& me)
Thanks also to Sean & Holly, who stood by as reserves.