Bridge movement gaining momentum in schools

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  • All hands on deck: bridge is spreading in the schools (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    All hands on deck: bridge is spreading in the schools (Photograph by Akil Simmons)


The “schools bridge movement” is gathering steam at a great pace and bridge is now official at Saltus, BHS and Berkeley, with more than 50 students enrolled. The Royal Gazette carried a full page spread on this in Thursday’s edition starting with the front page, so the game is certainly on the map.

As well documented here the initiative started at Saltus and was championed and led there by Mike Viotti who himself learnt the game in order to enthuse the students.

At Berkeley that role is being played by Meredith Callaghan who has enrolled the students, encouraged them and is teaching them the foundations of card play.

These initiatives require enthusiastic leaders and with Mike and Meredith at the schools and all the volunteers from the Bridge Club led by John Burville, Charles Hall, Alan Douglas and Marilyn Simmons (both Berkeley alumni), and Elizabeth McKee and Linda Pollett who run the BHS section, the programme is destined to succeed.

A real carrot on offer is that all students who reach a basic ability level at the game will have the opportunity to go to the ACBL Youth Nationals in Toronto on a sponsored basis — it doesn’t get much better than that! Before I get onto the hand, a plug for the One Session Novice Championship on November 15 which is open to all players with less than 20 Masterpoints at that date — so sign up! Today’s hand is an instructional declarer play hand but also has an interesting nuance in the bidding.

South opened a 15-17 NT and North made the practical raise to 3NT — he did not look for a 4-4 Spade fit as his doubleton contained the Queen which makes some sense though doesn’t always work out.

With a small doubleton it would ways be right to look for the major fit

West led the eight of Diamonds. After winning this with the Jack of Diamonds, declarer took stock and saw that if Spades were 3-2, he would make 12 tricks by conceding a Heart to the Queen: he would make four Spades, three Hearts, four Diamonds and one Club.

If Spades were 4-1 though, he would need to make four Heart tricks.

Good declarers have a simple rule for playing suit combinations when there are no pointers from the bidding or play: tackle the suit in a way that doesn’t waste pips.

In this case, cashing the Ace of Hearts would waste the ten.

So, declarer played a low Heart to the ten at trick two.

When that held, he cashed the Ace and King of Spades, getting the bad news that the suit was 4-1.

So, he crossed back to hand with a Diamond to the Queen and led a second low heart to dummy’s Jack.

When that also held, he cashed the King of Hearts and returned to hand by playing the nine of Diamonds to the Ace, cashed the Ace of Hearts, crossed to the table with a Spade to the Queen and cashed the King of Diamonds.

Declarer took three Spades, four Hearts, four Diamonds and one Club.

Quite simple, but very well played!

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Published Nov 5, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 5, 2016 at 8:40 am)

Bridge movement gaining momentum in schools

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