Senior Moments, Intellectual Interludes or… whatchamacallit!

Call it what we will:
– Sorry, I didn’t sleep well last night partner
–  Opps, my bad, partner – my mind was preoccupied

– Ah, err, yes yes, I knew it was my lead
– it’s just that I was still thinking about the auction
– Wait a minute, aren’t we playing in a Notrump contract
– Oh sorry, I didn’t see your bid, played card…


Well, Bridge players at long last there’s a song that’s dedicated for those whose gray matter takes an occassional “kick start” shall we say.  I should have known there’d be some strings attached when the government starting issuing Social Security checks!

Salute to our Seniors and those of us who enjoy our own senior moments,


Poll #34, Dropped (Exposed) Card – Contract Bridge Law, January 31, 2011

Contract Bridge Rules/Laws – Dropped Card

Oops!  A card just slipped right out of my hand and here it sits face up on the table.  Now how about that?  I didn’t mean to do it so I can pick it right up, okay?   What do you say, my friend? After all, no offense – no foul does seems right, eh?

Recall the saying that goes:

    We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.

And whether or not we are playing a friendly game of social Bridge at the kitchen table or representing our Country in International Bridge competition, it’s wise to know the rules that guide our fair game.    Do you think you already know the answer to this situation?  Or are you sure you don’t know how this Bridge Law works?  Then again, maybe some of you are in yet another camp, needing some extra tidbit of information to make a determination on which Bridge Law comes into play.  Interesting, this “simple” game we call Bridge.

Free, Premium and ULTRA members – please login for our BridgeHands analysis:

If you do not wish to signup for FREE Membership, perhaps you would like to at least brush up on one of our applicable references – Law 24.

[Read more…]

Poll #33, Negative Double Rebids in Contract Bridge – Part 3, January 28, 2011

Negative Double – Rebids in Contract Bridge

Okay, Bridge friends it’s almost time to graduate from Negative Doubles! We will explore “the usual suspects” – opener rebids with various strengths and hand shapes, seeking that elusive game bid.

Click here to view Part 1 of the video commentary

BridgeHands members – after logging in, please scroll down to view text and video…


And the good news is: all the bidding rules are far enough behind us to say goodbye to all those PowerPoint slides! So on today’s commentary and hand animation play, we are busting at the seams with our moniker – lots and lots of Bridge Hands at BridgeHands. In fact, on one hand we will be revisiting bidding and play over and over until the declarer and defenders get it right! Call this a mix of “What’s Wrong With Waldo” and the movie “Groundhog Day!” [Read more…]

Poll #32, Negative Double refinements in Contract Bridge – Part 2, 01/26/2011

Negative Double Refinements – Contract Bridge

Negative Doubles – Refinements video – Polling You #32, Part 1

BridgeHands members – after logging in, please scroll down to view text and video…


Under some circumstances the responder is bound by precise guidelines when making a Negative Double, while in other situations the responder is granted some flexibility in the shape of their side suit assets.  Generally, additional restrictions are put in place to demonstrate to easily show opener the good news before the advancing LHO launches an unexpected preemptive bid.

Then there’s the matter of responder first Doubling and then bidding a new suit.  Is that similar to the “Type 2” Takeout Double or are all bets off considering the responder is making a Negative Double?  Hmm, perhaps there are different strokes for different folks?

Let’s begin by looking at some details on responder’s strength requirements to make a Negative Double.  Recall the basics from our prior session:
1 level = 6+ points
2 level minor = 8+ points
2 level major = 9+ points
3 level = 10+ points [Read more…]

Poll #31, Negative Doubles in Contract Bridge – Part 1, 01/24/2011

Negative Doubles – Part 1, The Basics in Contract Bridge

When we first hear the term, Negative Doubles, we might mistakenly think, “Oh, that must be a variation of the Takeout Double.”  While it’s true that both calls are not penalty oriented and request partner to continue the bidding, that’s where the similarity ends.  The point requirements are dramatically different, the shape requirements only have loose similarities and the meaning of the doubler’s new suit rebid are completely different.  Could that be why the Negative Double was originally known as an “out of this world bid” known as the Sputnik Double?  No, not at all – back in 1957 creators Alvin Roth and Tobias Stone simply liked the drama associating their new conventional call with the shocking Russian satellite.

Click here to view Part 1 of the video commentary 

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Let’s begin by contrasting the Takeout and Negative Double.

Takeout Double

Negative Double

Opponent opened bidding

Partner opened bidding

We double opponents opening bid

We double opponents overcall bid

11+ points (less when short)

6+ points at 1 level

3+ card support in unbid suits

Support focus on unbid 4 card major/s

Short in RHO suit

May not be short in RHO suit

Double and new suit rebid = 17+ points

Double and new suit rebid = “to play”

Instead of double, bid 5 card suit at 2 level

Cannot bid a 5 card suit at 2 level w/o 10+

Cuebid RHO suit shows special shape

Cuebid RHO suit shows partner support

Double of RHO 1NT may be conventional
Since RHO opens, RHO cannot Double

Double of RHO 1NT penalty oriented
When RHO Doubles, agreements change

First off, making a Negative Double implies you do not have a fit in partner’s opening suit.  Second, since two suits have been described, making a Negative Double suggests length in an unbid suit.  We say suggests because of the good-old “Five and Dime” rule – as responder we should have a 5 card suit and 10+ points to respond in a new suit at the 2 level.  So on those occasions where we have 6-9 points and a 5 card suit, we make be able to make a Negative Double to show partner that we have values – at least have the points in the deck including partner’s opening hand.  Without getting into all the fine points of GAABP (Generally Accepted Bridge Practices) for Negative Doubles, let’s look at some basic hands and situations where the focus is to find a major fit.

[Read more…]

Poll #30, Takout Double Bid Continuations in Contract Bridge – Part 3, 01/21/2011

Contract Bridge Bidding Continuations after Double


Regarding Doubles, first an opponent makes a bid.  Next your partner doubles and you respond.  And so the bidding saga continues – imagine the possible bidding continuations! (or not…)  Certainly it would stagger the mind to memorize all the permutations.  So will focus on some of the basics and resort to our deductive abilities to explore the almighty game contract. This completes our third installment of Takeout Doubles.  For those who are looking for immediate gratification, okay here are the links to view our associated videos with commentary and animated card bidding:

Click here to view Part 1 

BridgeHands members – after logging in, please scroll down to view text and video…


[Read more…]

Poll #29, Takout Double Responses in Contract Bridge – Part 2, 01/19/2011

Responses to Takeout Double in Contract and Duplicate Bridge


Click here to view Part 1

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Competition – an essential ingredient to make us better than the status quo.  And at the Bridge table, with adequate values everyone loves to win the auction.  So when it’s our partner that makes a Takeout Double, we certainly want to both cooperate and compete for the best contract.  Sometimes playing a part score contract with a good 8 card suit fit is sufficient.  Other times after partner doubles with opening values and we hold like values in our hand, we immediately know a game contract is in the proverbial cards. 

Ah, it would be nice if competitive bidding was always that simple, right?  But for better or worse, we need to carefully consider seemingly innumerable options.  So together we will walk through some of the more common scenarios following common sense bidding tactics, tracking closely with your existing bidding methods. 

In part 2 of our series on Takeout Doubles, we will continue to use Barbara Seagram’s “Bridge – 25 Ways to Compete in the Bidding.”   In our concluding episode we will explore opener’s rebids – coming soon the BridgeHands video screen near you!  (and we mean REALLY near you)  [Read more…]

Poll #28, Takout Doubles in Contract Bridge – Part 1, 01/17/2011

Takeout Double: The perfect Bridge bid with an opening hand and shortness in opponents suit

Sometimes one must use force to go against force, sometimes not.  When you stop to think about it, a more elegant way to compete is to turn the opponents’ weakness in your strength.  And that’s what the Takeout Double is all about – instructing partner to “take out” opponents’ auction in another suit.

If you’d like to see the associated videos with commentary and animate card bidding:
Click here to view Part 1

Click here to view Part 2

Barbara Seagram materials Copyrighted by MasterPoint Press
[Read more…]

Poll #27, Jerry Helms – Special Guest: Bidding Slam/Grandslam and Promotion Play, 01/14/2011

Jerry Helms – Worldclass Bridge Teacher: Bidding Slam/Grandslam, Promotion Play

We are delighted to offer you a special treat for today’s lesson.  Jerry Helms, World-class Bridge Teacher and playing professional with 18,000+ Masterpoints, teaches students a lesson on slam/grandslam bidding and play!   If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend one of Jerry’s class, right away we offer you this warning:

See our online video commentary of bidding with card animation.

Premium/ULTRA Members – please login and scroll down for more video

 After watching one of Jerry’s awesome lessons with rapid-paced and insightful out-of-the-box commentary, you will soon be scanning his website for a Bridge seminar or festival near you!   See for more information – and don’t miss reading 100 of his monthly “Ask Jerry” ACBL Bridge Bulletin columns.

In today’s poll, we echo a few of the many key points from Jerry’s lesson.  When you hold a 16 HCP monster hand with a great 7 card Heart suit and partner opens 1 Notrump, now what?  This isn’t your everyday situation, right?   Are you a traditionalist, stick to tried and true methods or does your creative side give rise to consider alternative bidding methods with such an unusual holding? [Read more…]

Poll #26, Cuebidding slam Bridge contracts, lead directing doubles, 01/12/2011

Learn cuebids in slam Bridge contracts, make lead directing doubles

On today our poll, we offer everyone a diversion from our usual quantitative question to seek a more qualitative philosophical perspective.  And we all know Bridge players each have a perspective, right?

See our online video commentary of bidding with card animation.

Premium/ULTRA Members – please login and scroll down for more video

Most opening lead situations are difficult; at least the professionals seem to think so.  So when the opponents have bid up, up and away to a 6 level slam contract, most likely your lead is “all or none.”  So carefully review the bidding, weigh all the inferences, evaluate the opponents bidding tempo.  Mix this all together with your knowledge and it’s time to face your opening lead. You are sitting West and it’s your lead with the following auction: 





2 ♣




2 ♠


3 ♠


4 ♣






4 ♠




Without looking at your hand, do you have a lead in mind?  Well, since:

1. We aren’t letting you go wayward by looking at your hand

2. Bridge is a partnership game

So leading a Diamond should keep you in good graces with your partner.  But we are jumping ahead of ourselves – let’s go back and kibitz the bidding by North/South.  Here are their hands.  [Read more…]