Club News Sheet – No. 200        2nd Sept 2006


Mon 28th 1st N-S Henrik & Jan                           60%       2nd    Bill & Mike                        51%

                1st E-W Dave & Per-ake                      64%       2nd    Derek & Gerard                 64%

Wed 30th  1st  Bob Short & Dave                         68%       2nd    Lewis & Terry                    59%

Fri    1st    1st  Lewis & Terry                                71%       2nd    Per-Ake & Jan                   55%






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Bidding Quiz                           Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated.


Hand A           Hand B           With Hand A partner opens 1 and you bid 1. Partner raises to 2, what do you do?

J863             K5

Q10              7432             With Hand B partner opens 1NT, what do you bid?

KQ96           A52

QJ7              J854


Hand C           Hand D           With Hand C you open 1 and partner makes a weak jump shift into 2. What do you bid?

-                   K75

QJ97542      KJ                (a) What do you open with Hand D?

K4                AK1094       (b)  Suppose you choose 1 and partner responds 1. What now?

AK54           942


Hand E            Hand F            With Hand E RHO opens 1, what do you bid?


A                  KQ965        

AK10863     7                   With Hand F partner opens 1NT and RHO overcalls 2 (5 ’s

Q1065          J932              and a minor suit). What do you bid?

Q2               A98


Hand G           Hand H           With Hand G RHO opens 1, what do you bid?


J9                 AKQJ72       (a)  What do you open with Hand H?

KJ109          QJ532          (b)  Suppose you choose 1 and partner responds 2. What now?

K864            A2

Q97             -

With Hand J LHO opens 1NT and RHO bids 2, Stayman. What

Hand J            Hand K           do you do?


K52              542               With Hand K partner opens 1 and RHO doubles.            

1082             AQ84           (a)  What do you do?     

5                   93                 (b)  Suppose you redouble, LHO bids 1and this is passed round

QJ9742        KJ84                  to you. What now?  


Bidding Sequences Quiz


L      1NT   2    dbl                 What is the double – penalties or a transfer to ’s?

M    1     pass  1NT  dbl        What is the double?

N     1     dbl    rdbl  1         

pass   pass dbl                 What is the double?



The book ‘The definitive guide to (Strong) No Trump openings, Stayman and Transfers’ has now been published. This is the most comprehensive book on 1NT openings and continuations ever written (264 A4 size pages) with every conceivable sequence in an uncontested auction categorised, indexed and discussed in detail. Order your copy now, details are on the web-site.



‘Sacrifice’ in NoTrump?                                      Board 19 from Wednesday 30th 


I said just last week not to sacrifice in No Trumps without a good long suit. Here is a very interesting deal: -


Dealer:             J53                                             West          North         East          South

South               K842                                          -                 -                 -               1

E-W vul           10                                               2              2              3            3         

                        QJ1073                                      3    (1)      4              4NT (2)    pass

pass           dbl             all pass

109                    N             A62

Q7                  W    E          1096                    

AKJ9842            S              Q763                   

A2                                      985                     






(1)   Asking for a stop for NoTrump (and obviously by inference a good long suit).

(2)   I have a stop (but it’s a shame that I have to show it at the 4-level). Actually this 4NT was a two-way bid as East did not know if it was making or not but was pretty sure that 4 was making.


And what happened? There are only 9 tricks and so 4NT was one down but it was still a good score as 4 is making. Two pairs sacrificed in 5 but that went two down.

The bottom lines: -

-     With a good long suit and a stop in the opponent’s suit then a No Trump ‘sacrifice’ may occasionally be sound as opposed to sacrificing in the suit one level higher. But this is not common and this is a rare but illustrative example.


Hand Evaluation – part 1


Beware of quacks and a poor trump suit            Board 10 from Monday 28th  


 Five out of seven tables got too high on this deal: -


Dealer:             J863                                           Table A

East                  Q10                                            West          North(A)    East          South

Both vul            KQ96                                         -                 -                 pass         1

                        QJ7                                            pass           1    (1)      pass         2   

pass           3    (2)      pass         4    (3)

AQ10                N             94                         all pass

9864               W    E          KJ52                   

104                     S              AJ87                     Table B

9653                                  1082                    West          North(A)    East          South

                        K752                                          -                 -                 pass         1

A73                                            pass           1    (1)      pass         2   

                        532                                             pass           pass (2)      pass



Table A:     (1)  It’s a matter of style/agreement if you respond 1 or 1 in this sort of situation. My preferred treatment is Walsh whereby you bid the major with a hand worth only one bid and bid the suit if you intend to bid again.

(2)   What did you bid with this North hand A in this week’s quiz? Eleven points so an automatic 3 invitation? I was North at Table B.

(3)   Whether South should accept is close (the 4333 shape is very bad but otherwise it’s a good 14 points), but even 3 is too high anyway!

Table B:     (2)  Eleven ‘points’ it’s true, but what a miserable eleven! The trump suit is very poor and 6 out of the 7 honours are quacks. Did you pass with this North hand A in this week’s quiz? I did.


And what happened? It’s a combined 25 ‘points’ and a 4-4 fit, but 2 is the limit. Two pairs stopped in 2 but one managed to go down (not me!). Everybody else was way too high, usually in game.

The bottom lines: -

-         Do not be a ‘points pundit’ and automatically invite with 11 ‘points’: -

-         Downgrade a hand with Jxxx as the trump suit.

-         Downgrade a hand with five quacks.


Hand Evaluation – part 2


Honours belong in long suits                               Board 9 from Monday 28th 


 Four out of seven tables got uncomfortably high on this deal: -


Dealer:             K5                                              Table A

North               7432                                           West          North(B)    East          South

E-W vul           A52                                            -                 -                 pass         1NT

                        J854                                           pass           2   (1)      pass         2

pass           2NT           all pass

876                    N             10932                  

J5                   W    E          AQ106                 Table B

QJ94                   S              103                       West          North(B)    East          South

K632                                 A97                      -                 -                 pass         1NT

                        AQJ4                                          pass           pass (1)      pass





Table A:     (1)  What did you bid with this North hand B in this week’s quiz? Eight points so an automatic 2NT invitation? I was North at Table B.

Table B:     (1)  Eight ‘points’ it’s true, but what a miserable eight! The two four-card suits are very poor and there are no intermediates. Did you pass with this North hand B in this week’s quiz? I did.


And what happened? As the cards lie 2NT usually made (but it did go down at one table). Swap the E-W hands and even 1NT may be dicey (A with West).

The bottom lines: -

-         Do not be a ‘points pundit’ and automatically invite with 8 ‘points’ opposite 1NT.

-         Downgrade a hand lacking honours in the long suits.

-         Downgrade a hand with no tens or intermediates.

The play’s the thing – part 1. Discard your loser                 Board 23 from Monday 28th 


I’ve covered just about everything on bidding (again and again) in the news-sheets and so I thought I’d put in a few simple play hands where people went wrong.


Dealer:             1054                                          

South               987643                                       West          North         East          South

Both vul            A                                                -                 -                 -               1NT

                        A64                                            pass           2              pass         3    (1)

pass           4              all pass

K83                   N             A96                     

105                 W    E          Q                         

QJ7643               S              10952                  

92                                      QJ875                 






(1)  A super-accept


And what happened? Everybody played in ’s (4, 5 or 6) but I note that only 10 tricks were made at three tables. 11 tricks are cold on any lead; declarer should draw trumps at the first opportunity, cash the A and then throw a losing on the K. Note that it is incorrect to throw a as there are always just two losers in that suit and a discard makes no difference

The bottom lines: -

-         A very basic strategy: draw trumps and then throw a loser on an established high card.


The play’s the thing – part 2. Unblocking           Board 21 from Monday 28th 


4 out of seven tables landed in an inferior 3NT on this deal (6 makes and 3NT should go one down): -


Dealer:             K75                                            Table A

North               KJ                                              West          North(D)    East          South

N-S vul            AK1094                                     -                 1NT (1)      pass         2   (2)

                        942                                            pass           2              pass         3NT (3)

all pass

1062                  N             J83                      

965                 W    E          10742                   Expert Table

75                       S              Q6                        West          North(D)    East          South

AJ853                                KQ76                  -                 1NT (1)      pass         3   (2)

                        AQ94                                         pass           3    (4)      pass         3    (5)

AQ83                                         pass           4    (6)      pass         4    (7)

                        J832                                            pass           5    (8)      pass         6

                        10                                              all pass


Table A:     (1)  What did you open with this North hand D(a) in this week’s quiz? With this great suit I think that an upgrade to a strong 1NT is best.

(2)   Without the mechanism to splinter over 1NT (see expert table) South reasonably tried Stayman

(3)   And with no major suit fit he really has no choice but to punt 3NT.

Table B:     (3)  Our experts have read ‘The definitive guide to Strong No Trump openings, Stayman and Transfers – referred to as ‘the NoTrump bidding book’ on the web site, and know all about ambiguous splinters over 1NT. 3 here is an ambiguous splinter (either , , or shortage).

(4)   Which shortage?

(5)   shortage.

(6)   ’s are trumps, slam interest. Although just 14 ‘points’ this hand has become enormous opposite support and shortage.

(7)   Roman Key card Blackwood for ’s. Our experts play Kickback.

(8)   2 keycards plus the Q. With extra length North says that he has the Q. This is the magic of playing Kickback – even the highest response (2 keycards + key queen) does not go above 5 of the agreed suit.


And what happened? One pair did reach 6 making but 4 pairs found themselves in 3NT. At two tables the 6 was led and West won with the A. He then returned the 5 (correct) and North played the 4. At my table (I was North at table A) East exclaimed ‘what a nice cheap trick’ as he won with the 7 and thus blocked the suit! The bottom lines: -

-     Check out ambiguous splinters over partner’s 1NT opening.

-     When you win partner 4th best lead against NoTrump then return your original 4th best.

-     Beware of Greek gifts. East should win the 2nd with the Q, cash the K and lead his last small . Note that this only fails if declarer started with J9xx(x) but with that holding he would have inserted the 9 or J at trick two.

-     Play something other than 4NT as (RKC)Blackwood when a minor suit is agreed. My personal preference is Kickback (the suit above trumps); it is described on the web site and in the No Trump bidding book. Another option is to play 4-of-the-minor as Blackwood but obviously that would not work here as North does not know if South has slam interest or not.

The play’s the thing – part 3. Play to make        Board 22 from Monday 28th 


Sometimes you need to make a risky play in order to make the contract: -


Dealer:             9                                                

East                  AQJ1063                                   West          North         East          South

E-W vul           5                                                 -                 -                 1    (1)    pass

                        AKQ84                                      1NT (2)      4    (3)      4    (4)    pass (5) 

pass           5    (6)      dbl           all pass

42                      N             AQ863                

K82                W    E          5                          

K873                  S              AQJ42                 

J1052                                 93                       






(1)   I would open 1♠.

(2)   Clearly the best response.

(3)   Bidding what he thought he could make.

(4)   Having not opened 1 East now has to come in rather high (vul) to mention them.

(5)   I would double, surely there is 800 here and that’s what Deep Finesse says.

(6)   With no defence (no values in the opponent’s suits) North really has to bid. 5 may be a better bid but it was an unfamiliar partnership


And what happened? Everybody played in ’s. Two pairs ended in 4 doubled and made exactly. In 5♥ declarer has to take a risk and play 3 rounds of ♣’s in order to be able to lead the 9 from table and finesse the ♥K. Luckily East had two ♣’s and so this line worked and thus scored more than the two players making 4♥ doubled exactly.

Note that in 4you should not take the risk of East ruffing the 2nd . You need to draw exactly two rounds of trumps before playing AK and ruffing a . If you play a A and another then if West has Kxx then he will lead a 3rd round and you then have a loser. The safety play is to lead the Q first – giving up a trick even in the (unlikely) event that West has the singleton K but ensuring the contract when ’s break 4-2.

The bottom lines: -

-         When you know that a player is short in a suit (East and ’s) then it’s usually best to pull a round or two of trumps; but you may have to take a gamble if it’s the only way to make the contract.

It’s penalties unless you agree otherwise          Board 24 from Wednesday 30th 


What was your answer to bidding sequence L? Penalties is the ‘standard’ answer and is most certainly what I play.


Dealer:             A72                                            West          North         East          South(F)

West                KQ83                                         pass           1NT           2    (1)    dbl (2)

Love all            Q6                                              pass           pass (3)      pass        



J1084                N             3

A92                W    E          J10654                

1084                   S              AK75                  

1062                                  Q74                    






(1)   ’s and a minor.

(2)   What did you bid with this South hand F in this week’s quiz? Now you can agree (I suppose) that double is ‘stolen bid’ but that really is not a very good treatment as you lose the penalty double which you most certainly need if the overcall is just a 5 card suit. The ‘correct’ bid here is 3, natural and forcing. 2 would be weakish (to play) and if you play Lebensohl then you invite game with 2NT - 3 - 3.

(3)   I believe that North assumed that it was a transfer (because he held such good ’s?) but elected to pass.


And what happened? 2 doubled went just one down for a complete top to E-W. 3NT (making or +1) was the popular N-S spot.

The bottom lines: -

-         I have written about it a few times, but in my opinion it’s best to play ‘stolen bid’ only over a 2 overcall so that double of 2 is Stayman and systems (transfers) are on.

-         Over any higher bid it’s best to play double as penalties and all bids natural. More experienced players should play Lebensohl.


Summary after partner’s 1NT bid is overcalled











2 and higher





to play





2NT - 3 - 3?

to play unless ? could have been bid at the two level, in which case the sequence is invitational



A new suit at the 3-level is forcing


3(their suit)

(game forcing) Stayman


There is a lot more to Lebensohl. I have a leaflet on it and it’s described on the web.

Pass partner’s weak jump shift                           Board 6 from Wednesday 30th 


If you play weak jump shifts then opener should normally pass.


Dealer:             K109854                                    West          North         East(C)    South(E)

East                  -                                                 -                 -                 1            pass (1)

E-W vul           AJ973                                         2    (2)      pass (3)      3    (4)    dbl   (5) 

                        J8                                               all pass


QJ7632             N             -

-                     W    E          QJ97542             

82                       S              K4                       

109763                              AK54                  






(1)   What did you bid with this South hand E in this week’s quiz? With length and strength in the suit opened it’s best to pass – nice things may happen. And if your partner understands balancing it will not be passed out, especially with you holding a singleton.

(2)   A weak jump shift. Promising 2-5 points 6 ’s and a mis-fit for partner.

(3)   Double would be take-out for the minors and so North passes – nice things may happen.

(4)   What did you bid with this East hand C in this week’s quiz? You should pass and hope not to get doubled. Partner has made a pre-emptive bid showing a distinct dislike of ’s and you should pass and hope not to be doubled. If 2 does gets doubled then you could try 3 if you really want to (it would have worked here).

(5)   Nice things come to those who patiently wait.


And what happened? Everybody got in a mess with this board and 3 doubled went for 500/800 the two times it was bid.

The bottom lines: -

-         When partner has pre-empted with a weak jump shift (showing a dislike for your suit) do not rebid your suit at the three level!

-         Opposite a weak jump shift you should only bid if you have support for partner’s suit.

-         With a very good hand opposite a weak jump shift you can bid Ogust to find out exactly how weak/strong he is – it’s described on the web.

-         When RHO bids your suit (as happened twice in this deal) then pass - sit back and wait for the nice things to come.


After a redouble, doubles are penalties              Board 17 from Wednesday 1st  



Dealer:             AQ86                                         West          North         East(G)    South(K)

North               65                                               -                 1             dbl   (1)    redbl  (2)

Love all            J8                                                1              pass (3)      pass         dbl     (4)

                        A10632                                      1    (5)      dbl   (6)      2            pass   (7)

pass           dbl   (8)      all pass

K1073               N             J9

732                 W    E          KJ109                 

A10752              S              K864                   

5                                        Q97                    






(1)   What did you bid with this East hand G in this week’s quiz? Apart from it being a bit light, I would never dream of doubling with this flat hand with 3 ’s and just 2 ’s.

(2)   What did you bid with this South hand K(a) in this week’s quiz? Redouble is 9+ points and usually a mis-fit looking for a penalty. With great support for partner’s ’s I would not redouble (you cannot subsequently double either pointed suit for penalties) and I would just bid a (forcing) 1and support ’s later if there is no fit.

(3)   This is forcing, double would be penalties.

(4)   What did you bid with this South hand K(b) in this week’s quiz? South meant this double as take-out. It is not, it is penalties. If you had elected to redouble at (2) then the best bid now is 1; showing 9+ points, a 4 card suit and an inability to double 1for penalties.

(5)   Luckily West decided to bid (North would have passed 1 doubled).

(6)   Penalties. All doubles after a redouble are for penalties.

(7)   As I indicated, I would not have bid like this but 3 must surely be best now.

(8)   North did not really understand what was going on and so doubled.


And what happened? 2 doubled went one down for an exact average. At every other table E-W bid to 3 or even 4going down but they were not doubled.


The bottom lines: -

-         When the bidding starts with an opening, double and redouble then any subsequent double by opener or responder is for penalties.

-         When partner opens and RHO doubles then it is usually best to redouble only if you can penalise at least two suits of the three other suits.

-         When partner opens and RHO doubles then a new suit at the one level is natural and forcing but a new suit at the two level is non-forcing.

-         It is usually best not to redouble when you have length in partner’s opening suit.

Do not bid Blackwood with a void                       Board 23 from Friday 1st  


 I was asked how to bid this one. A cold grand slam, but nobody even found a small slam with these E-W cards and three out of 4 pairs even played in the wrong suit: -


Dealer:             10                                               Table A

East                  87                                               West          North         East(H)    South

Both vul            9765                                           -                 -                 1    (1)    pass

                        KQ9875                                    2    (2)      pass           4NT (3)    pass

5              pass           5    (4)    all pass

854                    N             AKQJ72              

AK64             W    E          QJ532                  ‘Expert Table’

J103                    S              A2                        West          North         East(H)    South

J104                                   -                           -                 -                 1    (1)    pass

                        963                                             2    (2)      pass           3    (3)    pass

109                                              4    (5)      pass           5NT (6)    pass

                        KQ84                                         7    (7)      all pass



Table A:     (1)  What did you open with this East hand H(a) in this week’s quiz? The hand has the values for a 2 opening and I guess I cannot argue with that. But I prefer to bid two-suiters naturally as you sometimes do not get the chance to bid them both naturally after a 2 opening. So I would open 1 with a view to jumping in ’s next go.

(2)  West is max but this is clearly the only sensible bid.

(3)  What did you bid with this East hand H(b) in this week’s quiz? Actually there are a few reasonable options (4 splinter, 5 Exclusion Roman Keycard Blackwood) but unfortunately 4NT is not one of them (a reasonable option). The best bid is that of our experts.

(4)  East knows that there is an ace missing but he does not know which one.

‘Expert’      (3)  This 3 bid is the answer to H(b). It is a game try that happens to also be

 Table               natural and actually a slam try (if partner ‘signs off’ in 3 then a subsequent 4 by East would be a cue bid and slam try).

(5)  West accepts the ‘game try’ and shows 4 ’s just in case there is a 4-4 fit there.

(6)  Life is easy for East now. He can settle for the small slam or try for the grand which is secure if partner has the two top ’s and no more than 7 cards in the pointed suits (so that the losers go on the long ’s). 5NT is the Josaphine Grand Slam Force (GSF) and asks West to bid the grand slam with two out of the top three honours.

(7) There are various sophisticated variations on the GSF but 7 is reached whatever.


And what happened? 5, 4(twice) and 4 were the final contracts and all made 12 tricks (looks like an easy 13 in ’s to me).


The bottom lines: -

-         Do not bid Blackwood with a void.

-         You can use a help-suit-game try as a slam try.

-         Use the Josaphine GSF if you only need to know about top trumps.

-         If you open 1 with 5+ ’s and 4+ ’s look for the fit if you have game +values.

-         A good 4-4 fit plays better than 5-3 and a 5-4 fit plays better than 6-3.

A double of Stayman means ’s                         Board 21 from Friday 1st 



Dealer:             K52                                           

North               1082                                           West          North(J)     East          South

N-S vul            5                                                 -                 pass           1NT (1)    pass

                        QJ9742                                      2             dbl   (2)      2    (3)    pass

3NT           pass           pass         dbl   (4)

Q986                 N             A104                    4              all pass

AQ96             W    E          KJ7                     

Q642                  S              AJ87                    

10                                      K86                    






(1)   It’s totally flat (so knock off a point) but it’s still (just about) worth a 1NT opener.

(2)   What did you bid with this North hand J in this week’s quiz? Of course you can pass but if the opponents end up in 3NT you want a lead. I chose to double.

(3)   East could pass but it makes no difference.

(4)   South thought (quite correctly) that holding Axx opposite partner’s double that 3NT would not make.


And what happened? 4 went three down for a top to N-S. 3NT would have gone one down doubled on a lead, also for a top.


The bottom lines: -

-     A double of Stayman means ’s and asks for a lead.



Bidding Quiz Answers


Hand A:     Pass. This is a very miserable 11 ‘points’ with poor trumps and loads of quacks. If you do not agree and think that any 11 points should invite then 2NT is better than 3♠.

Hand B:      Pass. 8 points is normally enough for an invite (so 2 Stayman and then an invitation). But this is a very miserable 8 ‘points’ with no top honours in the long suits. Make a try and you will go down more often that you will make a dodgy game.

Hand C:     Pass. Bidding 3 opposite partner’s very weak pre-empt is suicidal.

Hand D:     (a)  1NT. This is the complete opposite of Hands A and B with good top cards, an excellent suit and just one quack. It’s worth an upgrade to a strong 1NT.

(b)   I don’t know. As I said above it’s worth more than 14 points which is what a 1NT rebid (12-14) means but it’s not quite good enough for a jump to 3.

Hand E:      Pass. With length and strength in RHO’s suit it is usually best to pass and wait for nice things to happen. On good days you will be able to double them later at a high level.

Hand F:      3, natural and forcing. It is best not to play ‘stolen bid’ (i.e. double for transfer) this high and to have the penalty double in you armory (especially if the overcall may be a 5 card suit). Note that if you play Lebensohl then you can show everything: a weak(2), strong(3) or invitational(2NT-3-3) hand.

Hand G:     Pass. You will be fixed if you double “to show an opening hand” and partner bids the inevitable 1. Also of course you may well run into a redouble from the next hand and be in a load of trouble. Why do people at this club continue to ignore the experts’ (I do not mean me) advise and keep on doubling with flat hands? Since people clearly believe that I do not know what I am talking about I have purchased a couple of copies of “The take-out double” by Tony Sowter for the club. Read it!

Hand H:     (a)  1 or 2? I guess that it’s a matter of style. The hand easily has the strength/values for a 2 opening but I personally prefer a 1 opening with the intention of jumping in ’s next go to show the strong two-suiter.

(b)  3. There is now no need to jump as this is forcing. It actually is a help-suit game try but if partner attempts to sign off in 3 you simply bid 4 which is then a cue bid and slam try.

Hand J:       Dbl. Of course you can pass if you prefer, but I want to get partner off to the right lead.

Hand K:     (a)  1, forcing. Redouble (9+ points) is a sound alternative but I prefer to usually only redouble when I know exactly where we are going or if I have a mis-fit for partner and can double (for penalties) at least two of the unbid suits.

(b)  1. Double would be for penalties.



Bidding Sequences Quiz Answers


L      1NT   2    dbl                 Double is best played as penalties, especially if the overcall may be just a 5 card suit. With ’s you can bid 2 to play or 3 forcing.

M    1     pass  1NT  dbl        This double is a take-out double of the opening bid.

N     1     dbl    rdbl  1         

pass   pass dbl                 This final double is penalties.