Your bridge game: time to put the effort in

  • Table 1: Dealer South N/S Vulnerable

    Table 1: Dealer South N/S Vulnerable

Happy New Year! Sorry about the missing column last week but kids and non-alcoholic egg nog will do that to you over the holidays.

The start of the year always signals the excitement building for the Bermuda Regional which starts with the Charity Game on Saturday, January 25 and ends with the Swiss Teams and Banquet and prize-giving on Friday, February 1.

More on this later as partnerships start to prepare for the big event.

So what does the new year hold for you? I always ask, do you think you played better bridge in 2019 than you did the year before, and if not, why not?

The usual reason is that most bridge players simply do not work enough to get better — they turn up to play one, two, three or four times a week but then do no work after or in between games and then wonder why the results aren’t coming.

It’s simple — you cannot improve at the table, and if you want to make progress the single best thing you can do is to go through each hand in detail after the game and see what you, your partner, or the partnership could have done better and then discuss how you can make that happen.

The post-mortem should not be a “blame game” but a constructive analysis of what went on with a view to improve. Try it!

Before I get to the hand, I’d like to congratulate one of my long-time partners, Jean Johnson, on achieving 3500 Master Points and Sapphire Life Master status.

Jean returned to the UK about two years ago about 70 points short and recently decided to enlist my help by playing in the ACBL World online tournaments on Bridge Base Online.

It is a long slog but she finally got there last month. Jean was a member here for some four decades and quickly grew into a leading player at the club and represented Bermuda on many occasions, and it is good to see her achieve that goal — many congratulations!

In the past there has been very little Teams Bridge played at the Bermuda Bridge Club and as a result most pairs simply kept playing Pairs bridge in Teams events, and that just doesn’t work.

Teams needs a completely different mindset — much more discipline in the bidding, avoid a big number at all costs, think twice before backing into an auction unless you think there is a lot to gain, take risks in defence if it appears that there is a chance to defeat a contract if partner has the right cards and, above all, never ever put a contract in danger in a search for overtricks.

With that in mind take a look at today’s hand which came up in a Teams game.

Figure 1: Dealer South N/S Vulnerable

South opened a strong two Clubs, North bid two Hearts which said nothing about Hearts but showed a horrible hand, and when South bid two Spades North jumped to four Spades to tell partner again that he had no interest in going any higher — fast arrival bad hand, slow arrival good hand.

West led a Club and Declarer went into remote thinking — he won the Club and led a Spade to dummy’s Queen in order to lead a Heart towards his King — when this lost to the Ace and a trump was returned declarer suddenly felt uncomfortable.

He won and played another Heart, but another trump return sunk the contract as he now had to lose three Hearts and a Club — one down!

Of course you see where declarer went wrong ... at trick two he should simply lead a Heart from his hand and he is now one step ahead of the defence as they cannot stop him achieving the Heart ruff — overtricks are relatively meaningless at Teams and certainly not worth jeopardising the contract.

It is ironic that if declarer held three small Hearts instead of K43 the play would be a no-brainer

And how would you play this hand at Pairs where overtricks do matter?

That is a really tough one! It is 50-50 as to where the heart Ace resides (perhaps 55 per cent that LHO has it as he did not lead a Heart) so if it is early in the game or it is later and all I need to do is avoid a bad score in order to win,

I would go with the same play as in Teams.

If, however, it is late in the game and I think I need some really great scores to pull myself into contention I might cross to the Spade Queen at trick two — the Heart Ace could be with East or even if West wins he may mis-defend by not returning a trump.

Divine guidance may be what you are looking for!

Bridge results for December 16, 2019

Monday afternoon


1. William Pollett/Molly Taussig

2. Elysa Burland/Greta Marshall

3. Richard Gray/Wendy Gray


1. Elizabeth McKee/Stephanie Kyme

2. Joseph Wakefield/Diana Diel

3. Gertrude Barker/Julia Beach

Tuesday evening junior game


1. Katyna Rabain/Louise Payne

2. Catherine Kennedy/Alison Everard

3. Wenda Krupp/Barbara Elkin


1. Mike Dawson/Jo-Ann Dawson

2. Dorothy Pollett/Mike Pollett

3. Duncan Silver/Marion Silver

Wednesday morning


1. Charles Hall/Judith Bussell

2. Gertrude Barker/Jane Smith

3. Geoff Bell/Kathleen Bell


1. Colin Moran/Sancia Garrison

2. Tony Saunders/Molly Taussig

3. Wendy Gray/Richard Gray

Thursday evening

1. John Glynn/Rachael Gosling

2. Fabian Hupe/Miodrag Novakovic

3. C Moran/J King, J Clipper/M Tait

Friday afternoon

1. Peter Donnellan/William Pollett

2. Colin Moran/Molly Taussig

3. Patricia Siddle/Julia Beach

Bridge Results for December 23, 2019

Monday afternoon


1. Alan Douglas/Ruby Douglas

2. Charles Hall/Judith Bussell

3. William Pollett/Molly Taussig


1. Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton

2. Linda Pollett/Diana Diel

3. Elizabeth McKee/Stephanie Kyme

Friday afternoon


1. Joseph Wakefield/Colin Moran

2. William Pollett/Molly Taussig

3. Alan Douglas/Ruby Douglas


1. Elizabeth McKee/Stephanie Kyme

2. Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton

3. Lorna Anderson/George Correia

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Published Jan 4, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 3, 2020 at 11:15 pm)

Your bridge game: time to put the effort in

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