Poll #7, Opening Lead against 3 Notrump: November 29, 2010

The opponents bid 1 Notrump, 2 Notrump, 3 Notrump and you are on lead. Do you fire straight away using tried and true leads of rote?

Then again, maybe you like to throw a curve call.  Or are you one of those systematic types that goes through a rigorous pre-race checklist? Whatever your style, sooner or later it will be time to give it your best shot.  And as so often happens in Bridge, you only get one shot so use it wisely!   Remember, like in a vigorous trial proceeding, a good defense never rests!   Yes, we here at BridgeHands have our checklists and it goes well beyond those 13 cards we are holding…

To view our commentary and download an illustrative hand example (Zip contains PBN, LIN, HTM, DUP, BRI formats), please login to your FREE Membership Subscription – see you over at our “Scotland Yard,” Sherlock!

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2010 ACBL NABC Orlando: Senior Knockout, R16, 4 of 4, Board 55 Hamman and Zia

2010 Senior KO R16 Segment 4 of 4

Board 55 in the final session was a big swing board for Bob Hamman and Zia, playing on the Meltzer Senior Knockout Team.  First, here’s the hands, bidding, later a review of the disasterous play.  Please click on the topic title “2010 ACBL…” to view our comments.

Board 55
South Deals
Both Vul

♠ 3
K Q 9 5 4
6 5 2
♣ K Q 9 2

♠ 2
J 6 3 2
K J 10 7 3
♣ A 8 5





♠ A Q 10 9 8 7 6 5
10 8
9 4
♣ 6

♠ K J 4
A 7
A Q 8
♣ J 10 7 4 3









1 ♣



4 ♠





4 ♠ x by East






1. S





2. S





3. S





4. W



♠ 10


5. E

♠ 5




6. E

♠ A



♣ 2

7. E

♣ 6




8. W




♠ K

Made 4 — +790

Poll #6, November 24, 2010

Note: Due to the two day Thanksgiving Holiday in the U.S., we will not have a “Polling You” contest on 11/26/10.  We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.

Self-Sustaining Suits are not only great when we are bidding on our own.  Self-sustaining suits, those long suits guaranteed not to lose more than 1 trick (even when partner holds a singleton) get even more exciting when our partner opened the bidding!  Of course its not uncommon to have a misfit with partner, making the bidding look like the proverbial married couple that can’t agree on anything (1S – 2H. 2S – 3H, 3N – 4H…)

But when our partner opens 1 Notrump and we have a long running major suit, we know the contract belongs in the major suit (always play in your long 8+ card major suit).  And since partner’s opening 1 Notrump bid promises at least a doubleton, with a 6+ card major suit makes it clear to play in that suit – i.e., “the golden fit.”  Okay, with that in mind let’s get ready to “bid ’em up” with that same lovely 7-3-2-1 shaped 17 HCP hand we held on Poll #5 back on Monday – but this time partner opened 1 Notrump!

So how high do we go? Yes, we know partner holds around 16 points, but how does that equate to tricks and what’s the best method to explore slam?  For more commentary, please login to your FREE Membership Subscription – see you there…

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Poll #5, November 22, 2010

Self-Sustaining Suits, whether or not you lust for fine clothes, all Bridge players seem to have a loving relationship with a long, strong suit. Okay, here’s your chance to not only try on a lovely suit but see how it wears when bidding the same hands in third seat. And what about when you’re bidding the same hands in third seat – should that matter? Probing deeper, does it matter if you are short in the Spade suit in the third seat? So many questions, so little time at the table. But here, take your time and consider the alternatives – we will be waiting…

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5th World University Bridge Championship – Part 4

In round four of the 5th World University Bridge Championship, the
opposing teams were:

Taipei A
United Kingdom
China A
Germany B

Germany A
China B
Taipei B

If you would like to get caught up, here is our commentary from the first three rounds of play:
 Round 1        Round 2         Round 3

This time board 1 left all but two teams going down in part score, with one big swing in Germany’s favor. Risking a non-vulnerable penalty double at the 2 level is questionable at best, with way too many IMPs to the declarer when doubled into game. But this is college Bridge with competitive juices flowing at their peak. See hand records here.

What do you think of these hands and opponents doubling West’s 2 Hearts in a competitive auction?

Board 1 – see details here

Dealer: N Vul: None

J 9 4

A J 7 6

A 9 8 7

Q 5



Q 10 9 5 3

6 4

K 10 9 7 6

A 8 7 5 2

8 2

Q J 3

A 8 4


Q 10 6 3

K 4

K 10 5 2

J 3 2


North should not be proud with black suit J 9 4 and Q 5 – suspect values, but Bridge is a competitive game and typically opens most 12 HCP hand regardless of the vulnerability. Actually, East’s 11 HCP hand rates to produce at least as many tricks, bidding 1 Spade. Next South balances 1 Notrump with 8-10 HCP and a nice Spade Q 10 x x. Not want to miss out on the fun, the German West player called 2 Hearts figuring the Spade King was worth something in partner’s suit. After two passes to South reopening double, it’s back to North in the moment of truth. Fearing no evil holding the Heart A J x x over West, Indonesia converted the double to penalty. Unfortunately North/South couldn’t find the setting double-dummy trick, gifting 470 points and 10 quick IMPs to Germany.
While it was still waters for most teams on board 1, right away our youth were entitled to lots of thrills and spills on board 2. With North-South vulnerable, all the Aces, half the Kings/Queens and a double suit fit, good things can happen. But wait, looking at the North/South hands do you agree there’s more than meets the eye?

Board 2 – see details here

Dealer: S Vul: E/W

Q 7

A J 10 7 3

10 6

J 5 4 2


K J 8

9 4

Q J 9 5 4 3 2


10 9 6 4 2

8 6 5

K 7

10 7 6


A 5 3

K Q 2

A 8

A K 9 8 3

Ah, South’s dream came true and it’s time to wake up with this beauty. With 20 HCP, all values working and a nice Club suit most will probably open 2 Notrump and the optimists shooting a strong 2 Club opener with a handful of quick tricks. Either way, many West players will capitalize on the favorable vulnerability bidding 2 or 3 Diamonds. Next North makes a positive response in Hearts with 4 teams bidding 6 Hearts and one unfortunate pair bidding a fateful 7 Heart grandslam. Either the Diamond King or Queen was led, revealing whether the North/South pair play “systems on” over interference, i.e. transfers. Those venturing into a somewhat wobbly 6 Heart slam were gifted 12 IMPs by the fortunate lie of West’s Spade King and stiff Club Queen. Apparently the one pair missing slam mis-guessed the Clubs – with this holding after drawing trump declarer should win the Club Ace, then play low from North to see if East produces the Club Queen. On another note, North/South should be wary of their doubleton Diamond suit after West’s preempt. Yet good fortune came to the eager North bidders with declarer pitching the second Diamond on South’s fifth Club.
Board 3 was flat enough but on board 4 it was deja vu memories of board 1 from one pair. Despite all vulnerable most pairs allowed the annoying North/South overcallers to tout their Spade suit over East/West’s Heart suit.  First let’s look at the hand, then comes “truth or consequence!”

Board 4 – see details here

Dealer: W Vul: All

A J 8 4 3

10 5 4 3


A 9 2


10 7

A K Q 9 6

K 5 2

10 4 3

K Q 5

J 7 2

J 9 8 7

Q J 7


9 6 2


A 10 6 4 3

K 8 6 5

One East player (USA B) was apparently annoyed enough to risk doubling France’s 3 Spade overcall with a trump King-Queen third and secondary honors in the minors. True, when partner has a sound opener and you hold 10 scattered points its worth considering a vulnerable penalty double. Here East has big trump Spade honors behind declarer and perhaps East was taught the “Rule of 23” figuring pard’s 13 + 10 = DOUBLE!
After the Heart lead to West’s Queen, with a quick “eyes right” looking at the dummy its clear to play trump (which would set the set the contract). Looking at the North/South hand with only 4 quick tricks, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to start cross-rufing red suits. So if West doesn’t go for the
trump switch on trick 2, declarer could ruff 3 Heart tricks in dummy and a few Diamonds in North’s hand to bring home the doubled contract. Indeed, that was USA’s fate, with 730 points and 12 IMPs to France. So again, the part score penalty doublers left the board with their heads reeling.
Okay, we will finish or overview of this round with an exciting distributional hand.

Board 10 – see details here

Dealer: E Vul: All


 A Q

 K 6 4 3

 K J 9 7 5 4


 8 7 5

 8 7 5 4

 Q 10 7

 Q 8 6

 A K J 9 6 4 3 

 K 10 9 3 2

 – –



 10 2

 J 6

 A J 9 8 5 2 

 A 3 2

 Vulnerable or not, with a 7=5=0=1 shape and reasonable values East has big plans on this hand.  After all, with a mere 10 HCP shouldn’t East be able to count on partner West to come up with two tricks?  As it turns out, despite holding a lackluster flat hand West does have a nice complement of major suit placeholders which limits the opponents trick taking ability.   Not surprisingly, the bidding ranged from 6 Spades in the East (doubled both times) to 6 Diamonds in the South (also going down),  5 and 6 Clubs in the North (6 making slam but not deserved), 5 Hearts bid twice and doubled once (making but not deserved), 5 Spades doubled and making (earning well deserved bonus point for making 11 tricks), a few 4 Heart games making, and one lonely 3 Heart contract making 5!  Wow!
Some East’s will be tempted to open 4 Spades, quite an understatement for a hand with perhaps 5 losers.  With East’s excellent Spade honors and suit length, Heart’s are hardly worth mentioning for several bids.  As it turned out, most of our field went with the reasonable 9 card Heart fit and contract.  The typical bidding will begin 1 Spade by East around to 2 Clubs by North, although some busy-bidder South’s just can’t help but overcall in Diamonds (not wise when vulnerable).  When West passes East loses a few heartbeats until North bids 2 Clubs.  From here, it’s doubtful many East players could avoid the urge to make a bid jump in a major and by looking at the final contract, it’s probably a jump in Hearts. 
And so at the end of this explosive board, the scores ranged from 16 IMPs for 6 Clubs making slam in the North to 5 Spades doubled and making in the East for 13 IMPs in the other direction.  No wonder Bridge can get in the veins of our bright collegiate Bridge players.
And so at the end of Round 4, China Taipei B team slipped down a few notches to third place. Here’s how the top
teams stacked up:
Poland 87
USA A 81
France 77
China Taipei B 69
China A 69
Germany A 68

Until next time, enjoy the good life at the Bridge table!

Poll #4, November 19, 2010

And so we end this series with RHO opening 1 Notrump. Do you feel you have the “right stuff” to make a call? Does the fact that righty as two-fifths of the total points and you’re vulnerable concern you? Lots of luck bidding these hands!

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Bridge Players – let’s sing Boom De Ah Dah!

Television Discovery Channel shares a fun video “The World Is Just Awesome” with a cute jingle “Boom De Ah Dah.”


Like the astronauts say to one another, “It never gets old, huh?” To which the colleague responds, “Nope.”

How about it Bridge players who love our game – are you ready to sing “Boom De Ah Dah” between Bridge hands or rounds in duplicate Bridge play?

Poll #3, November 17, 2010

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Poll #2: November 15, 2010

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Polling You

Bridge Bidding and Bridge Play Polling Survey

Welcome to our Bridge polling survey. Here’s your chance to answer a polling question on Bridge bidding and play, immediately comparing your answers against other contestants here at BridgeHands. And while the most popular polling response vote may not be the best Bridge bid or play, we hope you will enjoy comparing your response to other Bridge players.

Once you have selected your response and press the “Vote” button, immediately you will be able to compare your result with others. After completing your response, you are not permitted to register additional votes for the current poll using your same web browser. At some point, the BridgeHands webmaster will close out each poll, allowing late arrivals to see the final voting tally. But don’t worry – we promise to regularly have fresh new polls available for you to register your vote to new questions. So vote early and often! Well, not quite – sorry, each contestant may only register one vote per polling item. Incidentally, our BridgeHands home page as well as the top of our “Polling You” BrigeBlog will always display the most recent polling question. To see our entire listing of current and prior polling questions, you’ve come to the right place – scroll down to view recent polls and responses by others.

It’s gratifying to know how other Bridge players think about bidding and play, particularly when our views and decisions are in concert with the mainstream.
However, occasionally we are surprised that our viewpoints are contrary to the majority of the pack.
Bidding and play survey polls offer us an excellent way to measure our responses against our colleagues.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy our Bridge “Polling You” questions!