Online bridge update no 6

Week 6 of lockdown already and most of you seem to be settling well into a routine in which online bridge features on a regular basis. The number of groups having regular coaching sessions with me on BBO and Zoom now stands at 11 and I am seeing some dramatic improvements in performance. Thank you all for your support and for having so much energy and enthusiasm. In order to accommodate everyone I shall be contacting one or two groups to suggest bringing forward the starting times by 15 minutes or so. Do contact me if you want to set up a regular session.

It might be worth clarifying that the Monday morning seminars are now definitely starting at 9.30. Tomorrow’s topic is on the subject of managing the trump suit, an important complement to last week’s seminar on establishing suits (which many of you seem to have found very helpful). It addresses the fundamental question declarers need to answer when planning the play: should I be drawing the trumps or delaying doing so?

As before, if you are having trouble signing up on Eventbrite, feel free to email me to say you want to participate and make a bank transfer – however only those who have paid in advance will be allowed to join. The same goes for the Tuesday morning group sessions, which are now running smoothly with each table having its own Zoom breakout room. With 12 regular participants, I am looking for another couple of participants to justify a fourth table, the maximum we can manage for the moment. The idea of this session is to keep switching the tables around so that, for variety, you are not always playing the same people each week. For the time being it is the closest we are going to get to our pre-pandemic Wytham sessions.

This weekend I am – virtually speaking – on the northern Norfolk coast, taking part in an annual three-team event that has been running for several years and is known, for some reason that has never been clear to me, the Bittern Bucket. It is normally accompanied by much wining and dining around a large (and noisy) table in our host’s kitchen. It is very much a social occasion and the standard of bridge is variable, but a perfect example of what a great game this is. Bridge can be enjoyed at so many levels, whatever the standard.

Here are a couple of the challenging decisions that came up yesterday. This is your hand

S 2

H 109762

D AK975

C 87

The bidding goes 3S from your partner, (as dealer) Pass, Pass, Double, Pass, 4H.

Your bid? Rightly or wrongly I doubled (discuss), having what I hoped was a nasty shock in store for declarer with my five hearts. I led the AD and this disappointingly suitable dummy appears:

S A107


D 43

C A10953

On the first diamond your partner plays the 6 and declarer the 2. You play a second diamond and partner plays the 8 and declarer the 10. Are you going to defeat the contract now and if so how?

This is the second


H –

D 97

C AKQ1062

This time your right hand opponent opens with a weak pre-emptive bid of 3 Hearts. Your bid?

Answers in due course.












2 thoughts on “Online bridge update no 6

  1. Further chewing over the first q….maybe partners second card is a suit preference i.e. wanting a club lead, in which case he must have the king ? But he will make that in any event, so either ignore (if better lead can be found) or conclude his second card isn’t a pref signal. Declarer would have played 10 on first round if he had a doubleton to confuse and possibly put off the second D lead, so does he have Q or J or both ? Probably not just J as would have played it on 2nd if not first round, so likely he has Q and is encouraging second round of D, which takes us back to partner playing low on 2nd round. If he then had J8 might he have played J first to show count ? in which case might he have just the 8 and it is declarer who has QJ10 ? This seems most likely to me on 3rd chew in which case declarers hand is 5H 4D 2S and 2C and the key is the play of trumps. If S led on 3rd round and declarer forced to play A then play of 4th trick from table ensures you will win one of your trumps and contract down one ? ?? >

    1. The answer is that if partner has seven spades declarer has this shape 2-4-3-4 and the contract should go one down by virtue of one spade, one heart and two diamonds. From the play to the first two tricks partner has Jxx in diamonds and declarer Qxx. So declarer’s hand is xx, QJxx, Qxx, Kxxx (a bonus for us if partner has the King of Clubs). If you switch to a spade, he can draw all the trumps bar your winning trump and play clubs but I will be counting and make sure I trump the fourth club (not the third one) so dummy is now cut off. Declarer makes one spade, four hearts, one diamond and three clubs, but has to lose four tricks overall.

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