Club News Sheet – No. 175   11th  March 2006


                                    Winner                                             Runner-up


Mon   6th    N-S   1st    Bjarni/Oli                          68%       2nd  Phil/Tomas                           56%

                  E-W   1st    Xenport&Gun Karlsson    66%       2nd  Chuck/Ursula                       63%

Wed   8th              1st    Barbara&Ben Estes          68%       2nd  Claudia&Tony Chauveau      53%

Fri    10th              1st    Barbara&Ben Estes          58%       2nd  Alan/Clive                            55%


Bidding Quiz                           Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated


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


AJ4               AJ108           With Hand B partner opens 1NT. (a) what do you bid?

543               Q964            (b) Suppose you bid 2 and get a 2 reply, what now?      

6                   3                   (c) Suppose you bid 2 and get a 2♥/♠ reply, what now?

KJ10872      10986


Hand C           Hand D           With Hand C RHO passes. It’s both vul, do you open?


QJ9865        KQ82           With Hand D partner opens 1NT. What do you bid, and how

62                 754               do you plan to continue?

6                   KJ8632                                      

Q943           -                  


Hand E            Hand F            What do you open with Hand E?


K64              A72

K8                94                 With Hand F you open 1 and partner bids 2. But RHO then

AK102         AQ964         bids 2, what do you bid?

AJ42            AKQ


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


QJ7              J

KQ6             AQ42           Finally, an Acol question. What do you open with this Hand H

KQ2             AJ1042         playing Acol (4 card majors and a weak NT)?

AKJ8           Q64


Bidding Sequences Quiz


J    1    p  1  1                          What does the double mean?


K   1   p  1  2                         What does the double mean?


L    1    p  1  2                         What does the double mean?


There is no intervention in the following sequence: -

M  1 - 4NT                                 What does 4NT mean?


N   1♦ - 3♦ - 4NT - 5 - 5          What does the 5 mean?

The Blackwood bidder is in charge                     Board 18 from Monday 6th


Here’s the story behind that 7NT with two aces missing on Monday: -


Dealer:             A2                                              Table A

East                  97532                                         West(G)       North       East          South

N-S vul            J543                                            -                   -               1            pass

                        107                                            2   (1)        pass         3           pass

                                                                              4NT (2)        pass         5   (3)    pass

QJ7                   N             K10943                5    (4)        pass         6    (5)    pass

KQ6               W    E          8                           7NT (6)        dbl           all pass

KQ2                   S              AQ7                    

AKJ8                                 Q954                   ‘Expert Table’

                        865                                             West(G)       North       East          South

AJ104                                        -                   -               1            pass

                        1096                                           2   (1)        pass         3           pass

                        632                                            3    (2)        pass         4    (7)    pass

4NT (8)        pass         5   (9)    pass

5    (10)      pass         5NT         all pass


Table A:   (1)  What did you bid with this West hand G in this week’s quiz? 2 is forcing and there’s no need to leap about. This pair play 2/1 and so 2 was actually game forcing here, but 2 is best whatever system you play.

(2)   And this pair also play RKCB(1430) so 4NT here is RKCB with ’s as trumps. This really is a rather poor bid as West really needs to know about the K and our ‘experts’ show how that is done later.

(3)   1 or 4 key cards.

(4)   East knows that it’s not 4 key cards and so he signed off in 5. 5NT would be asking for kings and West did not know how to sign off in 5NT.

(5)   But East was a little confused here; if ’s are trumps then he has an extra key-card, so he bid 6.

(6)   And West also got a trifle confused, thinking that East must 4 key cards and so he bid the grand.

‘Expert     (1)  This 2 response looks fine.

 Table       (2)  But our expert correctly sets ’s as trumps here. Playing 2/1 it’s game forcing.

(7) With a minimal opener it’s a matter of partnership understanding whether East should simply bid 4 or cue bid his A.

(8)  Either way, 4NT is now RKCB for ’s.

(9)  1 or 4 key cards playing 1430

(10)  Now West can happily sign off in 5 if he wishes and there will be no confusion. But there is a mechanism to settle in 5NT if you wish. After you have bid Blackwood and found that there are two aces/key cards missing you cannot bid 5NT as that’s asking for kings, so a bid of the highest unbid suit (provided that it does not mean anything else) asks partner to bid 5NT. In this actual sequence 5 would be the trump queen ask and so 5 is spare for this use. Had the response been 5 then 5 would be the trump queen ask and there’s no way to stop in 5NT.


And what happened? One pair managed to stop nicely in 5NT (our Swedish visitors playing an advanced variation of Precision ). 4 and 5 were other popular resting places.

Blackwood (or RKCB) when a minor suit is trumps.


Now using 4NT as Blackwood when a minor suit is trumps can be very dodgy as you may well be committed to slam with two aces/key cards missing if partner does not have the required stuff. There are various ways round the problem and you can take your pick: -


a)      4 of the (agreed) minor is Blackwood

b)      4 of the other minor is Blackwood.

c)      4 of the suit above trumps is Blackwood.


You then use your usual step responses, normal or RKCB or 1430 or whatever. I personally prefer (c) and it can also be applied when ’s are trumps (so 4 is Blackwood). This variation is called Kickback and was invented, I believe, by Marty Bergen.




John Gavens has finally gone, and this time he is thrown out of the club for good and he will most certainly not ever be returning. He can join Henrik, Jan, Alex and the others who are not welcome at this club. Now Dave, John Bourne, Sid and Bob Short are 4 of the few players who can play ancient Acol in the club, but John has been rude to all of them and all have refused to play with him again. As I now add myself to that list it obviously would be very difficult to find a partner for him anyway. John has clearly been following, and greatly surpassing, Alfred Sheinwold’s quote for many years: -

  • Since the average person's small supply of politeness must last him all his life, he can't afford to waste it on bridge partners.

4 card majors?                                                      Board 15 from Friday 3rd  March


What did you open playing Acol with this West hand H in this week’s quiz? Remember these E-W hands form last week’s news-sheet? (the ‘Like a bull in a china shop’ article). I said that one pair landed in a ‘lucky’ 6. Apparently the bidding started 1 - 2 - 2 and off they went to 6. Now you can open 1 with a 4 card major playing Acol and the reason that East bid 6 was that he thought that West was promising 5 ’s. Was he?


J                        N             A98                     

AQ42             W    E          KJ6                     

AJ1042               S              65                        

Q64                                   AKJ75


Yes! I mentioned this in a different article last week. You can open a 4 card major playing Acol, but only if your rebid in NT (or supporting partner). The correct opening with this West hand playing Acol is 1♦.

3NT missed                                                          Board 27 from Friday 10th


A comfortable 3NT was missed here, and a very silly 2 reached, who’s to blame? : -


Dealer:             9532                                          

South               A105                                          West(E)     North         East(B)     South

Love all            Q954                                          -                 -                 -               pass

                        K3                                             1NT (1)      pass           2   (2)    pass

                                                                              2              pass           2    (3)    pass

K64                   N             AJ108                   pass (4)      pass          

K8                  W    E          Q964                   

AK102               S              3                          

AJ42                                  10986                 






(1)   What did you open with this West hand E in this week’s quiz? This West opened 1NT because he wanted to protect his two kings, but it’s one point over the top and with reasonable shape a 1 opening (followed by a jump in NT) is clearly called for.

(2)   What did you bid with this East hand B(a) in this weeks quiz? 2 is absolutely correct.

(3)   What did you bid with this East hand B(b) in this weeks quiz? This 2 bid is ridiculous. First of all, how many points is this East hand B worth? If you answer is 7, then what would your answer be to a hand like AJ54 Q642 3 6543? If you think that they are both the same, then read up on hand evaluation (there’s a section on our web site). AJ108 is not just five points; 10986 is not zero points. 4441 type shape is good – there are three possibilities to develop tricks. Having bid 2 and got the negative 2 response, I would bid 3NT but would not argue too much with the rather pessimistic 2NT. To bid 2/ here promises a weak hand and shows 5 cards in the suit bid, apart from lying about the length it is a gross underbid.

(4)   West has no option but to pass, 5-2 is usually better than 4-3.


And what happened? The ridiculous contract got it’s deserved bottom. And who’s to blame? Both bid badly, but in my opinion East’s bidding and hand evaluation were extremely poor.

J762             Now, of course, our (nameless) East blamed West. West admitted that he had

KJ42            underbid and should have opened 1, but he then asked East why he had bid

3                   Garbage Stayman. East said that he was ‘just going with the field’. Now as it

10652          happens, I recall a similar hand (Hand E from news-sheet 158 on the left here) where this West had used Garbage Stayman and received about 5 minutes worth of flack from his partner (this East) because he did not have 9 cards in the majors.

The bottom lines: -

-     Do not open 1NT with a decent 18 count.

-     1NT - 2 - 2 - 2/ is weak and promises 5 cards in the major bid (and 4 in the other).

-         This East hand B is easily worth an invitation (maybe more) opposite a 1NT opener.

-         10’s are worth something, a 1098x sequence is worth a lot (especially in NT).

-         Don’t blame partner for your bad boards. John Gavens is gone now but there’s still one or two out there.

-         You reap what you sow.

Mention the minor opposite 1NT? – part 1        Board 7 from Friday 10th


Dealer:             10962                                        

South               62                                               West          North         East(A)    South

Both vul            QJ108                                         -                 -                 -               pass

                        A43                                            1NT (1)      pass           2    (2)    pass

                                                                              3    (3)      pass           4   (4)    pass

KQ                    N             AJ4                       4NT (5)      all pass              

A1087            W    E          543                      

AK952               S              6                          

65                                      KJ10872             






(1)   This one is close. I won’t argue with 1NT but the West hand is good enough to reverse and with no points in ’s a 1 opening followed by a reverse into 2 is a very reasonable alternative to the 1NT opening. Note that, despite what Mr. John Gavens says, a reverse would promise 5 cards in the suit opened, whatever system you play. Take the 2 away and put it with the ’s then a 1NT opening is clear (or 1 followed by NT playing Acol).

(2)   What did you bid with this East hand A in this week’s quiz? I don’t think it’s worth mentioning the suit and I would simply bid 3NT. This 2 bid was a transfer showing an unspecified minor.

(3)   West should obediently bid 3 here, but he wanted to show his ’s (perhaps he should have opened 1 in that case?).

(4)   East should simply bid 3NT here, but he still wanted to show his suit for some reason.

(5)   Finally they arrive in NT, but one level too high.


And what happened? Unfortunately 4NT went one down!

The bottom lines: -

-         Many players play that 2 is a transfer to either minor (partner should bid 3 which is passed or corrected) but this treatment only really works with weak hands because if responder bids on above 3then his minor suit is not known.

-         I recommend 4-way transfers (where the transfer to a minor is specified) to more experienced pairs.

-         Don’t bother to mention a minor if you are angling for 3NT anyway.

-         9 tricks (in 3NT) is usually easier than 11 tricks (in 5/).

-         Some experts can be quoted as saying that there are only 3 game contracts (worth bidding) 3NT, 4 and 4. I agree that that is virtually always the case.

-         But that does not mean that you should never mention a minor suit when looking for game opposite 1NT, the hand on the next page is an interesting example.                  

Mention the minor opposite 1NT? – part 2        Board 8 from Friday 10th


Dealer:             A543                                         

West                982                                             West          North         East          South(D)

Love all            AQ7                                           pass           1NT pass   (1)    2NT (2)   

                        AQ3                                           pass           3   (3)      pass         3    (4) 

                                                                              pass           3NT(5)      all pass

J976                  N             10                                

KJ                  W    E          AQ1063              

1094                   S              5                          

J754                                   K109862            






(1)   I would make a loud noise here. At this vulnerability you can bid twice and I would bid 2 playing Multi Landy or Cappelletti (’s and a minor) and then bid ’s. This shows the shape but does not promise HCPs as you did not double.

(2)   What did you bid with this South hand D in this week’s quiz? Traditionally one bids Stayman and then if no fit is uncovered you bid 3, natural and forcing. This N-S pair play 4-way transfers and 2NT was a transfer specifically to ’s.

(3)   A super-accept. Promising Hxx or xxxx or better in ’s (where H is A,K or Q).

(4)   A second suit.

(5)   North knows that South has 4 ’s and 5-6 ’s and game forcing values. With a totally flat hand, good top cards in ’s and the knowledge that the suit will provide tricks North quite reasonably rejected the known 4-4 fit and went for the NT game. A rare exception to the general rule of playing in the 4-4 fit.


And what happened? Now as it happens neither 3NT nor 4 make on a lead. But East quite reasonably led a and North’s decision to play in NT paid off.

The bottom lines: -

-         Normally one should play in a 4-4 major suit fit, but if the major is weak and you know there is a long running minor 3NT may be better.

-         I recommend 4-way transfers to experienced partnerships – that’s the way to describe your hand!



A weak two?                                                         North hand 4 from Friday 10th


Hand C            What did you open, both vul, in 2nd seat with this North Hand C in this week’s

quiz? Now I think that 2 is very sensible, but I seem to remember somebody

QJ9865        writing just last week that Ogust is a silly convention as disciplined players

62                 have 5 points in their suit (most especially vul in 2nd seat?). I wonder what

6                   Chuck would say about this opening? Actually Chuck was at the table and

Q943           said nothing. I was South.

Is 26 points enough for game?...                         Board 6 from Friday 10th


… of course it usually is, that is if you heed what I said two pages earlier about there only being 3 games (3NT, 4, 4). 26 points is usually enough for these game, but you usually need more (say about 29-30) to make 11 tricks: -


Dealer:             Q86                                           

East                  AKJ87                                       West          North         East(F)     South

E-W vul           873                                             -                 -                 1            pass

                        108                                            2              1              5    (1)    all pass


K95                   N             A72                (1)  What did you bid with this East hand F in this

52                   W    E          94                         week’s quiz? I would bid 2 to find out if

KJ52                   S              AQ964                 partner had a stop. But when you find out

9643                                  AKQ                    that she does not then I guess it’s difficult to

                        J1043                                         stop short of 5. Mind you, 5 is not that bad

Q1063                                        – it makes if the ’s split or if South mis-

                        10                                               defends (difficult when you can see 4 ’s on

                        J752                                           table), but I’ve seen worse at the club.


And what happened? Two pairs went down in 5, 3 pairs managed to stop in 3/4.


Bidding Sequence Answers


J    1    p  1  1        What does the double mean? Penalties


K   1   p  1  2       What does the double mean? Penalties. Now you could agree (and some

dbl                         players do) to play this as similar to a negative double (so showing 4 ’s) but I don’t see the point as partner has ‘denied’ ’s and if he has them then he will presumably bid them or make an ‘Action’ double.

L    1    p  1  2       What does the double mean? Now this is different. The overcall is

dbl                         at the two level (and so presumably a good hand/suit, ho-ho) and partner has not denied ’s. You would have to agree it, but there is certainly a case for this double to show 4 ’s as partner may also have them and not be strong enough to come back with a ‘reverse’ into 2or to make an ‘Action’ double.


There is no intervention in the following sequences: -

M  1 - 4NT         What does 4NT mean? It’s Blackwood, but usually a very poor bid as it’s usually best to take it slowly and find out more about partner’s hand. But the reason that this has come up is that I was asked about it by a pair who play RKCB. Assuming that you play Jacoby 2NT (or some other type of forcing raise of a major) then it’s best to play that this 4NT is not RKCB, but normal Blackwood. Responder presumably has a big hand with no support and simply wants to know about aces and is not interested in the K.

N   1 - 3 - 4NT - 5 - 5    What does the 5 mean? This is the way to sign off in 5NT (bid the highest unbid suit – as long as it does not mean anything else). 5NT here would be the king ask playing RKCB.

Bidding Quiz Answers



Hand A:     3NT. With an excellent 9++ points you have values for 3NT. But unless you play some sort of reasonably sophisticated form of transfers (like 4-way transfers) then there is no way to show specifically a suit and then bid 3NT. But even if playing 4-way transfers there probably is not much point and a simple 3NT is fine.

Hand B:     (a)  2, Stayman. This hand is easily worth an invitation, perhaps game.

(b)   2NT, or even 3NT.

(c)    4/, with a fit it is surely worth game, but 3/ is reasonable. Pass would be very pessimistic.

Hand C:     I would open 2. There’s no problem if you play Ogust. I believe that 2 is fine with this hand because of the ‘body’ in the suit and possession of the outside 4-carder. Good for offence, bad for defence.

Hand D:    Using traditional methods you bid 2. If partner bids 2 then you bid 3, showing 5+ ’s and a major and forcing; if partner bids 2then you bid 3, showing 5+ ’s and 4 ’s; if partner bids 2 then you bid 4 as you cannot bid 3 as that would show ’s and ’s.

Obviously this is not that satisfactory and it’s best for experienced partnerships to play 4-way transfers. Playing 4-way transfers I prefer to transfer into the minor and then bid the major (thus showing 5+ cards in the specific minor and 4 cards in the major bid) – game forcing and showing your shape exactly.

Hand E:     1 (followed by 2NT over a 1//NT response from partner). The hand has 18 points, average shape and a ten. 1NT is an underbid.

Hand F:     3. Ask partner if he has a stop. And if he has something like Kx then it needs to be played from his hand.

Hand G:    2. There is no need to go leaping about. Take it slowly with a forcing bid and find out more about partner’s hand.

Hand H:    1. Playing Acol you should only open a 2 card major if your rebid is NT. If you open this hand 1and subsequently bid ’s then that promises 5 ’s.



Bidding Sequence Answers are on the previous page