SpadeHeart  DiamondClub
Improve your bridge

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, most of us would like to improve our bridge. There are many ways to do so, but the one I want to highlight today is an excellent free online resource for players of any standard.

Bridge Master is actually based on Windows software that came out some 20 years ago, but has now been adapted for the web and will work on any computer, phone or tablet. It consists of 600 tutorial hands (a lot!) graded from Beginner to World Class. Each hand shows the bidding and then lets you try and make your contract. The hands in levels 1 and 2 show some basic bridge points, like keeping communication open between dummy and declarer, when to take a finesse and when to go for the drop, leading up to honours and so on. The hands in level 3 onwards are more challenging and personally I find it takes me two or more tries before I get it right - but hopefully learning something along the way.

A few points to note. These hands are designed on the basis that making your contract is more important than getting overtricks - so not intended for Pairs scoring where overtricks can make a big difference. Go for the safety play if there is one; it will probably be needed.

Second, the hands are not actually fixed. This takes a bit of adjustment. You play a hand and fail to make because E has all the trumps. So you try again, and now W has all the trumps. What's going on?

The answer is that you are being taught to play to a high standard. Your job is to find the best line of play. If you find an inferior line, the cards will turn out to be wrong and you will not make the contract.

All the contracts can be made, though there isn't always a play that will make in all circumstances. For example, if your slam depends on a finesse, you must take the finesse and it will be right. On the other hand, if there is a better play that avoids the finesse, you should do that instead because the finesse will be wrong!

Each hand has a solution which shows exactly what you need to do and why.

It is a lot of fun and quite distracting. For beginners, there are lots of great example hands. For experts, it is a chance to try things like squeezes and elimination plays, in the hope that you might sometimes recognize them when they come up at the table.

Thought for the Month

At the last Committee meeting it was agreed to publish a "Thought for the Month" each month on our website. Here is the first:

Don’t be a time thief! Description: C:\Users\Jenny\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\ZN80VTB5\burglar[1].png

As declarer, we all want the same thing...

not to have to rush the hand. 

If you are on lead, please give declarer that courtesy by making your lead as quickly as possible, before entering the contract in the Bridgemate, writing on your scorecard, etc.

Dummy should go down as soon as the lead is faced.

Be courteous, don’t be a time thief.

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Winchester Bridge Club
Winchester Bridge Club

Winchester Bridge Club welcomes all bridge players, from complete beginner to expert to play duplicate bridge in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We are part of the Winchester Racquets & Fitness Club, Bereweeke Road, Winchester. Membership of the bridge section of the club (currently £137.00 per annum) includes full use of the club facilities, including the bar and cafe, serving drinks, meals and snacks, tea and coffee. No table money is payable. Members interested in a sports or fitness membership package may join and also add bridge membership for just £15 extra. 

We play duplicate pairs on Tuesday and most Thursday evenings starting at 7.00pm. Please arrive by 6.45 pm to ensure a prompt start. One Thursday each month is set aside for a teams of four evening. Scoring is electronic, using Bridgemates.

Visitors and prospective new members are always welcome. There is a guest fee of £3.50 for the evening. We normally have a host available on duplicate evenings so visitors do not need a partner, but you are asked to arrive early and introduce yourself to the Director, so that any formalities can be dealt with before start of play.

All sessions are scored electronically by Bridgemate and printed hand records are available.

Beginners and Improvers courses are offered by one of our members, Margaret Blewett (please contact Margaret directly for more information). We also  offer Supervised Play sessions on Monday evenings, with occasional Gentle Duplicate sessions as part of the programme, to introduce players with less club experience to duplicate play, before taking out full membership, at a special introductory rate. We also run occasional seminars on Wednesday evenings.

 For more details please click here.

First Winchester bridge club Funbridge tournament is live

Our first Funbridge tournament completed successfully. There were 11 participants and the winner with a fine 64.79% was Graham Withecombe. Second was Susan Wilson with 56.45%. Well done both.

This is set up as a weekly event, which starts on Monday morning and finishes at midnight on Tuesday. So please do join in the next one.

If you want to participate, first you have to sign up for Funbridge. Download the app (Windows, iOS or Android) and log in. Click the button that says Get Started/Practice. Then, on the screen that appears, click Exclusive tournament. You might need to scroll down to see it.

On the Exclusive Tournaments page, click View all tournaments.

In the search box for creator name, type timanderson 

Actually you only need to tima then the Winchester Bridge Club events will appear in the list.

You can hit the Favourites (star) button to make it easier to find next time.

Finally, to join the tournament you need the password, which is tennis

The screenshot below shows all the steps.

There's a comment facility for each board so we can discuss the hands - you can't see the comments until you play the boards.

If you have any problem getting going, free free to email or call me. 

First Winchester bridge club Funbridge tournament is live
Playing bridge online

Bridge is most fun at the table, but what can we do when unable to meet? One possibility is to play online, and the committee is investigating how we can best do this as a club. The three most popular options for online bridge are as follows:

Bridge Club Live is UK-based and EBU affliated. We are arranging for our club to be registered on Bridge Club Live so we can keep in touch on there. If you join Bridge Club Live (£1.00 for 30 day trial) please add add yourself to our club here.

Funbridge is where you play against the online computer (it's pretty good!) but compare your results with other people who have played the same boards. We are considering running a Funbridge tournament for the club.

Bridge Base Online is the world's biggest online bridge site for real-time bridge; you can also play with the computer to practice. It is US Based so mainly 5-card major systems but there are EBU sessions and quite a few ACOL players.

If you would like to play online bridge but do not know how to get started please contact Tim Anderson for some assistance.

Tim would also welcome comments about how we should go about this so please get in touch.

Check back here for updates.

No bridge during COVID19 outbreak

Over recent days, the Bridge committee has been considering how our club should respond to the Coronovirus pandemic.  We have been keeping a close eye on the situation as things have been moving rapidly.

Today, the EBU has announced the cancellation of all National and county Bridge events and some clubs in Hampshire have already decided to suspend Bridge activities.

This afternoon, the Prime Minister gave a press conference, strongly advising people not to attend theatres, clubs and pubs in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.  This especially applies to people in the over seventy age group.

Reluctantly, your committee have taken the decision to suspend all Bridge activities with immediate effect for an indefinite period.  This will include main club nights, classes and Supervised Play.  If captains of club teams want to play league or knockout matches at the club, it is up to them to arrange through the main club.  

We shall continue to closely follow developments and will review the situation over the coming weeks.

Bridge Links

English Bridge Union -
County Bridge -
County Education Opportunities -
Ecats (for Simultaneous Pairs events) -

2nd April 2020
7th April 2020
9th April 2020
14th April 2020
Tuesday Pairs
16th April 2020
Thursday Pairs
Thursday Pairs
Director: Richard
Scorer: Ray
Tuesday Pairs
Director: Heather
Scorer: Ticker
Thursday Pairs
Director: Richard
Scorer: Guy

If you have any items of interest for inclusion on our website, or any suggestions for improvement, questions, or problems, please contact the club secretary