5th World University Bridge Championship – Part 2

Continuing on our review of the exciting 5th World University Bridge Championship, round two offered opportunities for the college teams to leverage their Bridge acumen. See here for round 1 play. Right away on the first board, the bidding tested the mettle of our youth.

Board 1 – see details here

Dealer: N
Vul: None

A K 8 5


K 8 5 2

K 9 7 3


A 9 6

Q 10 9 7

A J 6 5 4


K Q 8 7 3

A J 6 4

Q 8 2

Q J 10 9 6 3 2

J 10 5 4



After North opens in a minor and East overcalls 1 Heart, some South players will bid 1 Spade (counting master Spade suit distribution points) while others may preempt up to 3 Spades.  Preempting when holding a 4 card side suit major with honors is usually a no-no when partner is not a passed hand.  But after RHO overalls 1 Heart, a Spade preempt will tempt some younger players exuding their fair share of flair.  Incidentally, when preempting with length in opponents suit you’re almost guaranteed partner will be short in opponents suit so expect a bump from pard.   With ideal cards (two Aces and stiff Spade), West will upgrade the hand and bid 4 Hearts.  And indeed, with 13 HCP and a Heart singleton North will easily bid 4 Spades with no wasted values (all primary honors).    Some East/West players  figured it was double time while others rightly pushed to 5 Hearts, enticing a phantom 5 Spade sacrifice, down 1 (always doubled).   And so when the dust cleared, those in 4 Spades made game with a few earning an overtrick with North’s Kings behind West’s Aces and South’s minor suit singleton cards in the closed declarer hand.  Interestingly, playing double dummy N/S can make 10 tricks in Spades with E/W able to make 10 tricks in the three remaining suits.

On board 2, it turns out the “minors” (school youth) should avoid playing in the MINORS.

Board 2  – see details here

Dealer: E
Vul: N/S

K 10 9 6 3 2

Q 10 4 3

K 5


J 8 7

A K 9 8 5 2

10 9 6


A Q 5 4


8 3

J 9 8 6 5 3

J 6

A Q J 7 4 2

A Q 10 4 2

South probably admires this shapely holding before opening 1 Diamond (regardless of 6-5-2-0 shape, no strong 2C openers here please).  Now its West’s turn to preempt, either 2 Hearts with a six bagger or maybe 3 Hearts with favorable vulnerability and pard’s passed hand.  Regardless, North will overcall in Spades.  But for those frisky West’s who shoot in a 3 Heart call to North’s 3 Spades, South has an real problem with no Spades and no Heart stopper.  Those in 3 Notrump made an easy game, some with overtricks while those in 5 or 6 Diamonds suffered their plight.  Mom said life wasn’t always fair.

Okay, one more hand. This time its dealer North to shoot high in first seat, but how high is right?

Board 5 – see details here

Dealer: N
Vul: N/S

6 4

A K Q 10 9 7 5 4 3



Q 9 8 5


Q 9 8 3 2

6 4 3


8 6

K J 10 7 6 5

A K Q 9

K J 10 7 3 2



J 10 8 7 5

Well, if we preempt 2 Hearts with six, 3 Hearts with seven, and 4 Hearts with an eight bagger, do we risk 5 Hearts with nine?  And if so, do the college youth have a conventional agreement asking partner to respond at 6 with wither the trump Ace or King, and 7 with both?  Probably not likely.  For those who sanely start with 1 Heart (adverse vulnerability) will find opponents quickly bidding a Diamond game that easily makes book.  If so, North will persist to 5 Hearts, not quite “walking the dog” (rebidding slowly) as expected.  Either side can make 11 tricks in their red suit, so with Heart being boss the 5 Heart contract gets top points for those North’s who pushed onward.  Yet the college teammates didn’t travel that far just to toss cards without putting some skin in the game.  And so some E/W erroneously doubled 5 Hearts while others pressed on to 6 Diamonds, also doubled but it turned out to be a great sacrifice saving 10 IMPs or more.  And so it goes, playing computer dealt random hands with seemingly wild distributions – probably shuffled far more often and thus more random than most of us humans could/would/should do.

After the second round, the field results of 14 teams began to spread out with the top 4 teams contesting the lead:

China B = 41 VP,  Israel = 40 VP,  Polan = 38 VP,  Chinese Taipei B = 37 VP

We welcome you to check out more results from the remaining boards on the second round.  Stay tuned for more…

5th World University Bridge Championship – Part 1

In this series, we will take a look at some of the exciting hands from the 5th World University Bridge Championship during August, 2010, held in Chinese Taipei.  Watching this video is a great start, illustrating the energy, compassion and competitive flair for International University Bridge:


Or click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWB7Hw5JhiM

The competition is part of the International University Sports Federation. What’s that you say – Bridge is not a sport? Not true for the IUSF, whose motto is “Excellence in Mind and Body.” It’s terrific to see that on the international front to see our exciting game of Bridge highlighted as a premiere sporting event, acknowledging our game’s contribution to excellence of the mind. Here’s a listing of their 29 competitive categories.

Okay, let’s head for the tournament results here. When it’s all said and done, we see the winners were: Poland, France, and Israel edging out the “A Teams” of USA, Germany and China (who entered two teams).

Looking at Round 1, Board 13 provided revealed the defender’s ability to find the correct lead.





Most teams played 3 Notrump in the East, down 1.  Those doing their homework knew to lead the Diamond King, the top of a broken sequence.  However, several leaders went wayward with a Spade lead that allowed West to go up with the Jack in dummy for a quick 9 tricks.  That lead costs their team a painful 12 IMP swing.  Yet its lessons like these that reinforce Bridge axioms like leading from the top of a sequence suit.  Promoting a student to a graduate is great – ditto on a well-deserved suit promotion.

Arguably one of the most exciting hands on the first round was Board 12, a competitive slugfest for our youth not concerned with trivial matters like unfavorable vulnerability.


Both sides may have 20 High Card Points, yet in a trump suit it’s all about length.  And when both sides have a double fit, the sky can be the limit in bidding and tricks made.  At the University level, only a few  North-South partnerships might have a special bid (like opening an artificial 2 Notrump) to show 5-5 in the minor suits.  With unfavorable vulnerability, most mortal youth will be contented to open 1 Diamond anticipating a Club rebid should opponents find a Spade fit.  And Spade fit they do find – a whopping 6-5 fit that quickly propels East in a 4 Spade contract after West’s 4 Spade shutout bid.  At this point, most North-South pairs were shutout yet the fearless USA Team A, Taipei Team B and Poland rolled the dice bidding 5 Clubs.  Twice 5 Clubs was doubled, making 6 for 950 points; Israel sensed the big fit persisting upward to 5 Spades, down one doubled for 200 to Poland, far better than the sting of losing 950 points.

Look for more rounds of analysis here at our BridgeBlog.   See Part 2 here.

Newcomer & Novice Newsletter #16: Transportation, Unblocking, Hold-ups

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On our upcoming series of Newcomer-Novice newsletter articles, we will explore the exciting world of transportation – at least at the Bridge table.  Being blocked, stranded, stymied, stuck, snookered, obstructed or whatever you choose to call it, the result can be a bewildering moment.

The same can be true for our poor declarer, wanting to play a card from the other hand, typically the dummy yet lacking an entry card to long lonely suit.

Come to think about it, leading from the top of a sequence serves the same purpose, promoting a long suit. Enter the world of Bridge transportation – having the ability to play up to a winner in your partner’s hand.  Of course, there’s always more to an iceberg than meets the eye so expect some twists and turns for the defenders, too.

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We hope you are enjoying the BridgeHands website and eMag Newsletters. As always, we look forward to hearing from you with your comments and suggestions.

Happy Trails,

Bridge Online University Team Championship

If you can’t beat them, join em!  Back in the 1930s (or so I am told) during the great depression, our Bridge game was king.  With few distractions from radio and no television or internet, Bridge was the most fun you could have this side of  the price for a few decks of cards.  Fast forward 80 years and the internet is “where it’s at” for youth and young adults.  Internet games are a hip as ever, but these days the latest buzz is “First Person Shooters” and “Massive Multi-user Online Games.”   So is there a place left for our old fashion Bridge card game?

Absolutely yes, if the good folks at Online University Championship have to say anything about it!  Using Bridge Base Online, each country has representative teams to play against one another in the virtual world of the Internet.  Playing on BBO, 16 teams teams from 4 continents duke it out for fame, their college, and country.

The first online University Teams Championships were held in 2008 / 2009, attended by 16 teams from 4 continents. Italy won the final against Norway.

In October 2010,the 2nd World Teams University Bridge Championships continues on internet BBO playing 32 boards (hands) using duplicate knockout Bridge scoring.   http://www.unibridge.org/   But for now, let’s take a look at some of the exciting hands from the 5th World University Bridge Championship during August, 2010:


In coming days we will take a look at results and bidding on some of the more exciting hands.  Here is a list of the teams:

  • Chinese Taipei B
  • China B
  • Germany A
  • USA A
  • Indonesia
  • United Kingdom
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • France
  • USA B
  • Germany B
  • China A
  • Chinese Taipei A
  • Stay tuned…

    2010 World Bridge Series Championship Finals – Open Pairs

    Here’s another interesting hand, fresh from the pros at the World Bridge Series open pairs event.  Our defending champions, Fu Zhong and Jack Jie Zhao, demonstrated that China has skills far beyond their manufacturing skills.  In pairs games, every extra trick can make a huge difference in the scoring.  So when partnership’s do not have an 8 card major fit, pairs regularly stretch to enjoy the trick score benefits of playing in a notrump contract.   Accordingly, on this hand Jack, playing North’s hand, thoughtfully rebid 1 Notrump rather than 2 Hearts with his 5=4=2=2 shape.  Do you see why he chose this approach?

    Dealer : South
    1D – 1S;
    1N – All pass

    _A 9 6 3 2
    _10 7 5 3
    _Q 2
    _K 2

    _Q 5 4
    _Q J 8
    _A 9
    _Q 10 8 7 3

    _Lead: C7

    _K 10 7
    _K 9 6 2
    _8 6 4 3
    _6 4

    _J 8
    _A 4
    _K J 10 7 5
    _A J 9 5

    Take a second look at North’s honors – with non-working honors that are spread in every suit, rebidding 1 Notrump seems reasonable (although on the downside the partnership might miss a 5-3 Spade fit).  At this point it’s easy sailing for Fu, ultimately winning 3 Clubs, 4 Diamonds 1 Spade and 1 Heart for 150 points.  So while many other players holding the pair’s 5=4=2=2 and 2=2=5=4 shape tended to rebid their shape, Fu and Jack scored high marks for analyzing their spread honors.

    You can see this and another of their interesting hands here as well as a link to the bulletins of the entire 16 day session here.

    Intermediate & Advanced #12: Cover Cards, Losing Trick Count – Part II

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    In issue #12 of our Intermediate-Advanced newsletter, we continue our exploration of advanced hand evaluation using Losing Trick Count (LTC).  Having looked at opener’s LTC methods, we will turn our attention to responder’s hand evaluation methodology and opener’s follow-up bidding.  Recall that making suit contracts is all about suit length and quick tricks with primary controls (Aces and Kings).  While LTC calculations still works for responder, we will learn using “Cover Cards” is a far quicker method to effectively evaluate bids. And Cover Card hand evaluation is particularly effective when considering game and slam bids.

    Quiz yourself here on Cover Cards. (a 4MB music audio is attached – please allow time to load)

    Also in this newsletter, we will check out an Appeal at the Washington DC NABC.  And like our last newsletter, again we will focus on what can go wrong when declarer makes a generalized claim without stating a specific line of play.

    Note: Viewing the hands below requires your EMAIL reader to use “fixed fonts” (not proportional). If you have problems reading this document, please view our online web-based copy or Adobe Acrobat PDF file suitable for printing.

    2010 World Bridge Series Championship Finals – Rosenblum Cup

    So after two weeks of grueling Bridge play, the 2010 World Bridge Series Championship Finals are in with Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein taking home the gold.  And while Zia Mahmoon and Eric Rodwell didn’t fare quite so well, leave it to Zia keep Bridge as exciting as ever.

     Board 8
    Dealer: West
    VUL:  None

     J 8 2
    Q 10 8 4 3 2
    Q 7 6

    A K Q J 8 4 3 2
    A K J 5

     10 9 7 6 5 3
    9 5
    10 7 5
    10 4

     A K Q 4
    A K J 7
    9 8 3 2

    At first it looked like Zia would bid like a mortal, opening 1 Diamond and actually passing South’s double in passout seat.  But after North responded 1 Heart and partner Eric bid 1 Spade with East’s cards, things started getting interesting.  South responded 3 Hearts and in Zia’s true form he actually bid 4 Spades!  No, that’s not a misprint. Yes, we know, we know, Zia has a Spade void – but you forget, this *IS* Zia after all.  Next went 5 Hearts by North so what do you think Zia bid next?  Would you believe 5 Spades?  Well, we didn’t think so either but that’s what the recorder shows.  So now we’re in utter disbelief, too!  Of course, South just couldn’t resist the urge to double 5 Spades – could you?   Well after South’s (Louk Verhees) double, Zia was able to complete his “rapier psyche” (thrust and retreat), rebidding 6 Diamonds – promptly doubled by South.   And the lead was… drum roll please… the lead is the… low Club 6.  Zia inserted the winning 10 from the dummy, pulled trump, playing three more rounds of Clubs and pitching Hearts in dummy to make 13 tricks for 1190 points (69 of 70 matchpoints).  Who said Bridge is a boring game.  And our sympathies to Ricco van Prooijen sitting North.  Leading a Heart will keep the declarer from making an undeserved overtrick, ensuring a much sounder sleep.  Just ask us – been there, own that tee shirt.

    In addition to the prestigious Rosenblum Cup Knockouts, competion included: World Mixed Pairs, World Women Knockout Teams (for the McConnell Cup), World Senior Knockout Teams (for the Rand Cup), GENERALI World Open Pairs, GENERALI World Women Pairs, World Senior Pairs (for the Hiron Trophy), World Mixed Swiss Teams, and World Junior Championship.  To see the daily bulletins, see:


    Saturday, October  2, 2010       Sunday, October 3, 2010          Monday, October 4, 2010
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010         Wednesday, October 6, 2010   Thursday, October 7, 2010
    Friday, October 8, 2010             Saturday, October 9, 2010       Sunday, October 10, 2010
    Monday, October 11, 2010     Tuesday, October 12, 2010      Wednesday, October 13, 2010
    Thursday, October 14, 2010     Friday, October 15, 2010        Saturday, October 16, 2010
    Saturday Evening, October 17, 2010

    Many thanks to the WBF for running a great tournament and sharing their exciting bulletins.   For more details, please see the WorldBridge website

     Board 8
    Dealer: West
    VUL:  None

     J 8 2
    Q 10 8 4 3 2
    Q 7 6

    A K Q J 8 4 3 2
    A K J 5

     10 9 7 6 5 3
    9 5
    10 7 5
    10 4

     A K Q 4
    A K J 7
    9 8 3 2

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    Old Spice video ad has nothing on Sesame Street

    In the beginning it was the Old Spice guy – look at your old man, now back to ME…

    Not to be outdone, the good folks at Sesame Street had Grover take on the challenge with their own meme parody:

    So how about it Bridge players? Look at your partner, now look at ME… (Wink)

    Playing Bridge at 100+

    Our special October happy birthday congratulations goes out to Lucille “Bucky” Buckner from Lake Havasu City AZ. At 102, in the last two years Bucky picked up over 40 masterpoints! And while reaching Grand Life Master (10,000 MP) may still take her some time, who could think of a better way to enjoy the good life?


    Go get ’em Bucky!