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Novice Pairs provides another championship cliffhanger

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Thrilling contest: another epic championship battle at the Bridge Club

I’m not sure what the Bridge Club is serving for drinks, but Tuesday’s Novice Pairs Club Championship ended in yet another cliffhanger with two pairs tied for the win — congratulations to the two pairs of Erika Jones / Caitlan Conyers and Louise and Matthew Charleson.

These two pairs carried the battle right to the end and finished with strong scores of 63.89 per cent. This comes straight after the Junior Pairs which also ended in a tie, and before that the Open pairs where the top three pairs were separated by a matchpoint!

Finishing in third place were Benjamin Stone and John Thorne and also finishing above average were Julia Cook and Vivian Pereira.

Well done to the winners – always exciting to win a Championship and even more exciting when it is your first.

I scrolled through the hands played by the seven pairs, who are all in the earliest stages of their bridge development, to see if I could spot any hands of interest and this one stood out.

This was the full hand, Board 17 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Both winning pairs scored maximum points on this hand, but in very different ways!

Erika and Caitlan were sitting North-South and at their table. North, East and West passed and West opened two spades, which was clearly meant as a strong hand and forcing for at least one round. Partner, however, passed with what was a good hand opposite that opening, and two spades became the final contract – declarer made ten tricks and -170 gave Erika and Caitlan a top.

Louise and Matthew were sitting East-West on this hand and after three passes Matthew took the direct route and opened the hand four Spades. This became the final contract and it was played well, declarer ruffing one club and throwing another on the diamond Ace to lose only a club and a heart for +450 and a top. The third pair who played this hand were in three spades making five.

The ideal bidding on the hand?

For me, after three passes, which suggests partner has a few points, I would treat this as a strong hand and open two clubs. Partner bids a waiting two diamonds and West now bids two spades, which is forcing for one round.

Having made a weak bid earlier, East’s hand now looks very good – four-card trump support, an Ace and some distribution. I would therefore now bid three spades which good pairs play as encouraging to slam – with a weaker hand East would simply jump to four spades – the principle here is bad hand/fast arrival, good hand/slow arrival. West would bid four spades and that is the ideal final contract.

Notice that if East did not have spade support West, by taking it slow, still has time to show his shape and possibly find a fit in hearts or diamonds.

Even this sequence has a lot to take in for a beginning player, and it takes time, learning and experience to get to a stage where the bidding would flow easily and probably be replicated at most tables. With some work, it will come!


Friday, December 9

1. Marge Way – Joe Wakefield

2. Jane Smith – Sancia Garrison

3. Judy Bussell – Magda Farag

Monday, December 12


1. Kath Bell – Geoff Bell

2. Martha Ferguson – Charles Hall

3. Joe Wakefield – Harry Kast


1. Louise Rodger – Dorry Lusher

2. Rachael Gosling – Marge Way

3. Lorna Anderson – Heather Woolf

Tuesday, December 13

1/2.Louise Charleson – Matthew Charleson

1/2.Erika Jones – Caitlan Conyers

3. Ben Stone – John Thorne

Wednesday, December 14

1. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

2. Marge Way – Charles Hall

3. Lynanne Bolton – Greta Marshall


Wednesday, December 14


1. Tracy Nash – Des Nash

2. Charles Hall – Delton Outerbridge

3. Sheena Rayner – Magda Farag


1. Jane Smith – Stephanie Kyme

2. Lisa Ferri – John Glynn

3. Molly Taussig – Lynanne Bolton

Non-Bridge Club Online Results for Bridge Club Members

December 15 – Elizabeth McKee and Stephanie Kyme – 3rd out of 244 Pairs

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Published December 17, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated December 17, 2022 at 7:48 am)

Novice Pairs provides another championship cliffhanger

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