Log In

Reset Password

Bridge Club mourns passing of longtime member Joe Wakefield

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
Joe Wakefield

It is with huge sadness that we heard on Thursday of the passing of Joe Wakefield, who has been a member of the club for nigh on 50 years.

His partnership with Colin Millington was dominant in the 1970s and it continued for many years at the very top of the game.

Joe’s successes at the club, regional and international levels are too numerous to mention. He was truly a top-class player – he never played a card until he had thought things through, and that at times drove the opponents a bit potty, but he usually came up with the right answer. His declarer play was at the highest level, as was his defence.

Aside from the actual play of the game, Joe played a big part in making the Bridge Club what it is today. He was a warm, emotional character with a good sense of humour, and showed his desire and drive when he left the teaching profession and put in the hard years to qualify as a lawyer.

He eventually ended up as a leader of the firm that still bears his name, Wakefield Quin, which is now among the leading law firms on the island.

He will be hugely missed, and all our thoughts are with his wife Jean and the rest of the family. They should know that he leaves an indelible mark at all levels of the Bridge Club, and on those who knew him.


Bridge players love conventions! They start with the essential ones – Stayman, Blackwood, Forcing No Trump, Splinters, new minor forcing – and then move on to Jacoby 2NT, responsive doubles, unusual NT, Michaels, Cappelletti — and then, not satisfied with an already clogged mind, start looking at mini-splinters, support doubles and even “exclusion Blackwood“ which comes up once in the proverbial blue moon!

Don’t get me wrong – I really like conventions that add value to a bidding sequence, but each convention brings with it some dangers – misunderstandings, misuse, confusion and, often, giving away too much information. and the more you have to remember, the more there is to forget!

The convention I see most misused is the “Unusual No Trump”, where a jump to 2NT directly over an opening bid by opponents shows a non-opening hand that is at least 5-5 in the two lower unbid suits.

So over one heart or one spade, a jump to 2NT would show the minors, over one club it would show the red suits and over one diamond it would show clubs and hearts.

The reason this is most misused is because players don’t take vulnerability into account.

Let me give you an example – you are vulnerable against non-vulnerable opponents, Partner passes, right hand opponent opens one spade and you hold:

X, xx, KJ10xx, KQ10xx — your bid.

Not a bad hand, and chances are partner may have support for one of your suits to keep you out of trouble – but what do you achieve by bidding 2NT?

It’s rare opposite a passed partner that you can make game and the chances are the opponents will win the contract, and if they bid game a profitable sacrifice at the five level is highly unlikely at the vulnerability. Also, once in a while LHO also has your suits and that can be carnage.

Most importantly, however, when the opponents do buy the contract you have given them a huge amount of information to help them play the hand – if there is an honour to be found in the majors declarer knows it is probably with your partner.

So I would pass.

Now reverse the vulnerability, making the opponents vulnerable and your side non-vulnerable, and the 2NT makes sense as you can afford to go three down doubled against a game contract and partner can judge when to sacrifice.

Which leads me to today’s hand (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

East had a good hand which was certainly suitable for a vulnerable Unusual Notrump at adverse vulnerability, showing a red two-suiter. South was happy to show his spades, as he had a club fit as a fallback. West made an adventurous four-heart bid based on his red queens, which would be down only one if doubled. North continued to four spades, which ended the auction. West led the two of diamonds.

After winning the first two tricks with the Ace and King of diamonds, East switched to the King of hearts. Declarer took this with his bare Ace and then drew trumps in two rounds, ending in dummy.

Declarer saw that making his contract depended on managing the club suit for three tricks. East was now known to have 5-5 or better in the red suits as well as two spades. This left him with at most one club.

So, declarer ruffed a heart back to hand to lead the ten of clubs, planning to run it if it was not covered. However, West played the Jack of clubs and declarer won the trick with the king to leave this position (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Declarer now knew where every club card was, and continued with a low club to his eight and West’s nine. After regaining the lead, declarer led a low club and covered West’s four with dummy’s seven. A diamond ruff and the King of clubs ensured that declarer made ten tricks.

Notice that there would be no problem if East took the ten of clubs with a singleton Queen or Jack, because declarer still has the entries to take a deep-finesse against West’s remaining holding in clubs.

The advantage of leading the ten of clubs comes when East has the singleton nine of clubs: you will make an overtrick because you can then play the club suit for four tricks.

So, the takeaway from this is to choose carefully when you use this convention and don’t just use it because it is on your system card.

What you might also want to consider is using the jump to 2NT at adverse vulnerability as showing a strong, better than opening hand with the two lower unbid suits, that is use it as a constructive bidding tool at adverse vulnerability and as a destructive bidding tool at favourable vulnerability.

David Ezekiel can be reached at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, November 24

1. Tony Saunders-Margaret Way

2. Elysa Burland-Greta Marshall

3. Diana Diel-Stephanie Kyme

Monday, November 27


1. Charles Roraback-Molly Roraback

2. Rachael Gosling-Margaret Way

3. Gertrude Barker-jane Smith


1. Charles Hall-Martha Ferguson

2. Louise Rodger-Molly Taussig

3. Patricia Siddle-Diana Diel

Wednesday, November 29


1. Jack Rhind-Lisa Rhind

2. Charles Hall-Tony Saunders

3. Richard Gray-Wendy Gray


1. Greta Marshall-Lynanne Bolton

2. Gertrude Barker-Jane Smith

3. Stephan Cosham-Margaret Way

Thursday, November 30

1. Claude Guay-Sharon Shanahan

2. John Glynn-Lisa Ferrari

3. William Pollett-Miodrag Novakovic

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published December 02, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated December 02, 2023 at 7:25 am)

Bridge Club mourns passing of longtime member Joe Wakefield

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon