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