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          It isn’t wise to Ace-ask or Keycard with a void or worthless doubleton in your hand. But if your partner asks for Aces or Keycards and you hold a void, respond as follows:


1.  Do NOT count the void as an Ace!

2.  With an ODD number of Aces (1 or 3), jump to the six

     level of your void suit. If the void suit is higher ranking

     than the trump suit, jump to the six level of the trump


3.  With an EVEN number of Aces, (2 aces and a void),

     respond 5NT.

4.  Disregard the void if you do not have an ace,

     responding your bid (agreement) for zero aces.




    When responding to Keycard with a void, do not count the void as an ace.  With 1 or 3 aces, jump to the six level of the void suit. If the void suit is higher ranking than the trump suit, jump to the six level of the trump suit. With 2 aces and a void, respond 5NT. Disregard the void if you do not have an ace. 


   It is important to count declarer's tricks as the play progresses.  If you can see that declarer has enough tricks in three suits to make the contract, shift to the 4th suit. Some chance is better than no chance. 

Don’t forget when dummy tables, add declarer's likely point count to dummy's known count. Now add that total to your point count and subtract from 40 to determine how many points partner has.  It helps!


When dummy has shown a long side suit plus trump support, lead a trump. If you have the side suit well bottled up – even if partner has bid.


Slow Losers vs Fast Losers

 By Joyce Penn

   How many tricks do you expect to win if one suit that you hold is AKx, opposite three small cards in the dummy?  How many tricks to you expect to win if a suit that you hold is KQJ, opposite three small cards in the dummy (xxx)?

   In both cases, declarer can expect to win two tricks and lose one. This is where the similarity ends. In the first holding, declarer has a third round loser (slow) which gives declarer time to use another suit to discard that one loser.

   In the second holding, declarer has a first round (fast) loser. Declarer would need three discards from another suit to avoid that loser. Declarer cannot afford to lose any tricks in the process, since the loser in the second holding can immediately be grabbed by the defense. It is useful, when declaring, to notice if your losers are fast or slow. When planning the play of a hand, slow losers can be used to your advantage: search other side suits for ways to discard those losers.

   A “mirror” distribution refers to the holding where both declarer and dummy have the same length in all four suits. No matter how many high card points are held, declarer may have limited trick taking ability since no suit can provide discards for slow losers.


A Guide to The Limited Games at the Bridge Center


   Each Monday and Friday morning, we hold a limited pairs section beside our Open Pairs section, at 11:30 am. Masterpoints awarded are 80% of those in the open game and allow you to compete against other limited pairs. The maximum award is 1.20 masterpoints for a limited game. On Monday, you, or your partner, may not have more than 750 MPs and on Friday, players with up to 1,000 MPs may play in this section.

   Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, we hold a handicap open pairs game, in which players with limited masterpoints are given a board handicap, based on their existing masterpoints. Handicap categories begin with the 0-5 masterpoint players, progressing through 5-20 MPs, 20-50 MPs and all the way to 2,000 MPs, at which point, no handicap is given. Masterpoint awards are “split” for these games. There are two categories of winners, raw and handicap. First place in the handicap field is 50 percent of what it would normally be, but players who place in both fields, receive a combination of scores. No negative handicaps are permitted.

    Circle your difficult hands each Tuesday and join Joyce, at 3:15 pm, for a discussion of the bidding, play and/or defense, of those tough boards. If a convention is involved, in the bidding, Joyce will review it and consider alternative treatments. She discusses leads and declarer play, to help you improve, from week to week. Each Thursday morning, at 10:15, join Cheryl for regular instruction and hand analysis. Bring your problem hands to discuss and learn Cheryl’s solutions as she discusses each hand, and topic. There is no charge for these sessions.



Passive Defense = “safe.” Leading from three low cards or the top of a sequence. This type of defense is usually indicated unless you see a runnable side-suit in dummy and suspect declarer can throw his losers away.

Aggressive Defense = “attacking.” It is designed to capture tricks quickly, such as leading away from a king or laying down an unsupported ace. Suppose you decide to attack a suit holding K J 2. Which card should you lead? Lead the 2, hoping your partner has the Ace and can come back through declarer, trapping his Q with your K and J. Try to be passive, unless the evidence indicates that declarer can dispose of losers, unless you do become active.


1. The common phrase, “Eight Ever-Nine Never,” refers only to the missing Queen of trump. Therefore, if you are declaring a hand with 8 trumps between you and the dummy, it is probably correct to finesse for the Queen (“ever”). If you are declaring a hand with 9 trumps between you and the dummy, it is probably correct to NOT finesse for the Queen (“never”). That is, with no extraneous information from the bidding, play the Ace of trump, followed by the King of trump, hoping that the Queen falls. 2. An opening lead of a singleton is seldom correct – especially if your partner has never bid. Why? He’s not getting in to give you the ruff you want so badly!     


Colchamiro’s Rule of Eight

Try to interfere with your opponents’strong notrump opening bids, with conventions which show one or two long suits.Long suits in our hand negate the strongopener’s aces and kings.The KEY is distribution, not points. Players around the country use an easy rule that guides you whether or not to enter the auction.Originated by Mel Colchamiro, it is as follows:

“If the total number of cards in your two longest suits minus the total number of losers in your hand (using losing trick count) is TWO OR GREATER, you should bid.”If it’s fewer than that, you should pass.”

It doesn’t matter which convention you prefer, but be sensible:have at least six high-card-points before entering the auction and beware ofvulnerability.Discuss with your partner what types of hands are appropriate to compete with and have fun!

The Ubiquitous Double


Joyce Penn


All of us are familiar with takeout doubles in bridge. Your opponent opens the bidding, you are “short” in his suit, and you have at least three cards in the other suits.This double asks your partner to bid one of the remaining suits, preferably a major, in which he holds length.


With negative doubles, your partner opens the bidding, your right-hand opponent interferes and you double to show either both majors or both minors, depending on which suit your partner opened, or merely 4 cards in the unbid major, if he overcalled one of the major suits.

Similar, yet different, is the responsive double, an “extension” of the takeout double, which occurs when your LHO opens the bidding. Partner makes a takeout double and your right-hand opponent raises his partner’s suit.Double by you is a special type of double showing two of the unbid suits, with aminimum of 4/4 distribution in them, the desire to compete, and enough high cardstrength to ask your partner to bid one of them, at the level to which you are forcing her.


LHO  Partner  Responder  You

1§Double2§Double = “responsive” for the

the major suits


Your hand:ªQJ108©KJ86¨J4§876


When a minor suit is bidand raised, the responsive double generally shows equal length in both majors and enough values to compete. With 4/3 or 5/3 in the majors, you would instead, bid your longest major.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __


By Joyce Penn

This is adouble of an overcall to show four cards in the unbid majorsuit (s). (By agreement, it can show both of the unbid suits).


·Only a responder can make a negative double;

·It is a double at responder’s first opportunity to call;

·Your partner MUST have opened the bidding and your right hand opponent (RHO) must have overcalled;

·There is no upper limit for point count and practically no lower limit (five orsix high card points are sufficient for a low-level negative double, with the correctdistribution);

·The opening bidder, making a rebid, will show the limit of the combined hands; and

·The responder (negative doubler) will bid the limit of his hand at his opportunityto rebid, or pass with a minimum.

News Flash

Due to the many requests we have had to increase the MPlimits for our Monday And Friday limited games we are going to make a change. Effective immediately we will raise the limit to 750 MP’s. We will however, reserve the right to ask pairs that seem to be playing below their level to please play in the open game. It is importantas a club to have a game where new players can become active in the bridge world without being overwhelmed by the number of conventions being used. Our goal is to offer games that are competitive as well as social and still provide a game for everyone. We alllove this game and we should want newer players to love it as much as we do.


Thursday Morning

Beginning in February we will begin offering a secondgame in the 11:30 time slot. It will have a 300 MP limit and will be another gamefor our newer players.Because therewill now be two games the open game will no longer be handicapped.However, while we are building this game if there is a day when the two gamesneed to be combined, the open game will be handicapped for that day.


Wednesday Evening

In an attempt to build an evening game that might actuallybecome a MITCHELL movement we are offering as many special games as we are allowedat no expense to you. Beginning in February this game will no longer be considereda mentor game but it WILL still be handicapped.I think there are many players that would like to play in at least one eveninggame if they had a partner.Pleasecall me or catch me at the club if this is of interest to you.Building a game takes time so I would love to have some people commit toplaying most of the time while we make an effort to create a great game.

Game Stratas:


Sunday afternoon0-1500

Sunday evening0-199

Monday morningOpen and 0-750

Monday evening0-1500

Tuesday morningOpen and 0-1000

Wednesday morningOpen

Thursday morningOpen and 0-300

Friday morningOpen and 0-750





Although they have many different meanings, the cuebid is never natural (unless alerted, as natural). It frequently gives evidence of support in partner’s suit (9+ pts). Sometimes your partner knows exactly where to place the contract, once he/she understands the nature of your hand. But other times, your partner will not know how high to bid. Partner has several choices, one of which is to return to your agreed suit at the lowest level. This asks you to pass at your next turn, unless you have more than the expected-9+ to 12 points. Another time your partner may think there could be game IF you hold the right hand. In this case, she will bid another suit that she holds.    Don’t panic and pass!   If partner’s 2nd bid improves the quality of your hand, jump to game. If you do not know what to do, bid another suit where you have strength. Now partner may easily know where to place the contract. What a wonderful vehicle to arrive at the perfect contract!

CUEBIDS [Part I] by Jim Bachelder :
continue below for parts II and III  
Many new players will benefit from understanding basic cuebidding. The first thing to learn is the first round, control-type cuebid. For example, in the following auction, with the opponents passing throughout:


          1 S    2NT

          3 C    3 D


Partner has shown a game forcing spade raise by invoking the Jacoby 2NT Convention. Your response of 3 C shows shortness. Partners 3 D bid is a cue bid showing, probably, first round control of diamonds (Ace ?). Holding the following hand, you should cooperate with partner’s slam aspirations by cue bidding 3 H.


 Responder:                SAQ875

                             H A92

                             D KJ63

                             C 4


 But, do you know that you can cue bid a suit that looks like this:   432?


Absolutely!  Let’s say that you hold  S KJ73       H K9     D K1054         C432


And the auction begins with partner opening 1 Spade and RHO (Right Hand Opponent) overcalls 2 Clubs. What do you bid? Two spades is a gross underbid, four spades is an overbid (not as gross) when partner’s hand is:


                         S AQ862       H A8      D Q92     C J65


three spades should be reserved for preemptive hands like:

S J10943       H K4      D107653   C 8


The correct bid is 3 Clubs, a limit raise (or better if you are an unpassed hand). This “cuebid” has nothing to do with clubs and nothing to do with controls.


Bridge is a partnership game. Describe your hand as accurately as you can and let partner share in the decision. Don’t bid your partner’s cards. In the above example, partner, looking at three fast club losers will sign off in three Spades.


CUEBIDS (Part 2)                                                                                              by Jim Bachelder

Last month, I discussed cue bids, but only in a rudimentary way. I promised “invisible cue bids” this month, so here goes. Both of the conventions, “Unusual over Unusual,” and “Unusual over Michael’s,” employ invisible cue bids. Let’s see how they work against the Unusual over Unusual Convention and due to the lengthiness of this discussion, I’ll examine “Unusual Over Michaels,” in October.

Let’s say that your partner opens one spade and your RHO (Right Hand Opponent) bids 2 NT, which shows the minors (5 or more diamonds and 5 or more clubs). As partner of the opening bidder, you hold the following hand. What would you bid?

                                ªA862       ©K7643              ¨92     §65

Three spades?

and if your hand is?      ªKQ62       ©AJ862         ¨92     §65

Should you respond the same three spades, since this may not be quite enough points for game? Certainly, the first hand is only strong enough for a competitive raise to three. The second hand (which has limit raise values-10-12 HCP), is much stronger than the first, but may not be “game-going.”  Bidding the higher of the opponent’s suits (three diamonds), is an invisible cue bid and shows limit raise or better values, in support of partner’s spade suit. Bidding the lower of opponent’s suit (three clubs) is an invisible cue bid and shows five or more hearts.  An example of this hand is:

                                        ªK2       ©AQJ62           ¨K9     §6543

It is a forcing bid, which partner may not pass. The higher cue bid shows the higher major suit and the lower cue bid shows the lower major suit!

A fourth example hand shows a non-forcing major-suit holding, in the unbid major suit. After your partner opens one spade and your RHO bids 2 NT, the following hand should bid three hearts, a non-forcing bid denying spade support and showing a 6-card (or longer) heart suit.

                                       ªJ6       ©AQ10862            ¨962     §65

or, after partner opens one heart and your RHO bids 2 NT, the following hand should bid three spades:

                                       ªAQ10862      ©J6             ¨962     §65

Both of these are non-forcing bids, demonstrating length in the opposite major and non-support for partner’s major suit. They are competitive bids only and partner may pass or make an appropriate bid, if his hand warrants further bidding.

If you double opponent’s 2 NT bid, you are announcing a hand that has defense against either or both of opponent’s implied suits. The following example demonstrates this, when partner’s suit is spades:

                                       ª7       ©A73               ¨KJ873    §K1093

or, when partner’s suit is hearts:

                                       ªA73       ©7               ¨KJ873    §K1093

Double shows ten or more HCP (high card points), no fit with partner’s major and says: “Partner, the opponents are in deep doodoo (trouble instead?), give me a chance to double their final contract and do not bid anymore of your major suit!”

What about when partner opens a minor suit? One diamond, followed by opponent’s 2 NT bid (showing clubs and hearts)? Here, the invisible cue bid of three clubs shows a limit raise, or better, in diamonds, three diamonds is a competitive raise of partner’s diamonds, and three hearts (cue bid of opponent’s higher suit) shows a hand with five or more spades and limit or better values. Three spades is a competitive, non-forcing bid, with six or more spades.

Remember! When you open the bidding and responder trots out an elegant, sophisticated invisible cue bid….DON’T PASS!


CUEBIDS – Part 3        by  Jim Bachelder


  “Unusual” vs. Michaels bids, is a tool employing Invisible Cue Bids. Below, is my third and final treatise dealing with cuebids. Unlike Unusual vs. Unusual, where both of the opponent’s suits are known, many times only one suit is known with Unusual vs. Michaels. For instance, when partner opens one heart and RHO overcalls two hearts, he is showing spades and a minor. Therefore, your only cue bid is two spades.  Holding this hand:

ª75   ©Q984   ¨AJ52   §K102, bid two spades which promises a limit raise in hearts. With a lesser hand: ª75   ©Q984   ¨KJ52   §Q102, a gentle raise to three hearts is sufficient.


   Similarly, after the auction, one spade by partner, two spades by RHO, bid three hearts with:  ªQ984   ©75   ¨AJ52    §K102, etc. Any bid of three of a minor is natural and forcing, since we don’t know what RHO’s minor is. However, after one spade, two spades, bid three clubs (forcing) with:  ª75   ©Q6   ¨A98,   §AQJ753 with confidence that RHO’s other suit is diamonds.


  When Michaels is employed over partner’s minor suit opening, both enemy suits are known (as in Unusual 2NT) and once again, there are two invisible cue bids available. Therefore, if you hear the auction go, 1C by partner, 2C by RHO, showing both majors, a bid of 2H is a limit raise in partner’s suit, showing a hand like: ªQ87   ©32   ¨A105    §KJ964. Try to have five card support (remember, a one of a minor opening bid frequently is made on a three card suit) and 2S is forcing with five or more diamonds, e.g. ªJ4   ©62   ¨AKJ976  §KQ6. Similarly, after the auction, 1D (pard), 2D (RHO), cuebid two spades with: ªQ87   ©32   ¨KJ964   §A105 and cue bid 2H(forcing with clubs) with: ªJ4   ©62   ¨KQ6   §AKJ896. A simple raise to three diamonds shows something like:

ªJ4   ©652   ¨KJ 543   §K72.


  In all cases, double shows defense against at least one of the implied suits. So, holding: ªAQ95   ©KJ52   ¨98   §J43, double in either 1C – 2C or 1D – 2D auctions. These auctions are complex, yet logical; difficult at first, but rewarding when used effectively. C U at the table and feel free to ask about anything that needs further clarification. Jim B.

Opening Leader’s Tip:

Do NOT lead the same against 3NT as against 6NT. Against 6NT, avoid leading away from an honor unless you have a sequence

        Words of Wisdom……

 Treating your partner like royalty increases confidence.  A happy, confident partner always plays better.  Be understanding; we all make mistakes.  When you make yours, you will appreciate reassurance, not criticism.

Leads Out of Turn and the Choices You Make….Part 1+2


By Joyce Penn


Probably the most frequent director’s call on any given day at the Bridge Center, is for an opening lead out of turn.  Bridge etiquette requires that the opening leader select a card, place it face down on the table, and ask his or her partner: “Any questions?”  Not only does this give your partner an opportunity to warn you that it’s not your lead, if it isn’t, but it allows your partner the time to ask opponents for an explanation of a bid, or to review the entire auction. Thus, no harm takes place if the wrong person leads. The card is returned to the leader’s hand, and partner proceeds to select his opening lead. Leading face down is simply a common, yet often overlooked, courtesy.


When good card etiquette is not observed and the opening lead appears face-up on the table, by the wrong leader, the director should be called immediately. Another part of bridge etiquette includes calling the director in a firm, but polite tone of voice: “Director, please.”…..with a smile! Raise your hand and leave it up until you are sure the director has seen that you are making the request. Otherwise, time is lost, while the director searches the room for the person who made the request.


Let’s examine the choices that the declarer has, when an opening lead out of turn takes place.


First: Declarer accepts the lead. Declarer now has some choices. He may choose to become dummy and allow his partner to play the hand (Law 54A) or he may accept the lead, remain declarer (Law 54B),  and view the dummy before he plays to the trick.


Reasons for allowing partner to play the hand include:


a. partner is an excellent declarer in whom you have confidence;


b. you know from the auction that partner has an abundance of points and you have very few. It may be desirable for leads to come into partner’s tenaced hand, through your weak hand. Thus, the lead out of turn may be positionally beneficial for your side;


c. additionally, you may feel, from the auction, that it’s better to have partner’s cards concealed.

Therefore, accept the lead out of turn and allow partner the fun of declaring the hand.


What reasons make it optimal to accept the lead and declare the hand yourself?


a. The leader out of turn isn’t paying attention and often leads a favorable card for your side;


b. you may hold the King in a suit in which leader has led the Ace.  Leading an unsupported Ace? This opponent probably isn’t thinking about the bridge hand at all;


c. opening leader made an honor lead. You don’t hold any higher cards, but there’s a chance your partner has them.


Second. You Refuse to Accept the Lead Out of Turn and you do not wish to require or forbid this suit from being led. When you make this decision, your opponent’s lead is retracted as an opening lead but remains face-up on the table as a major penalty card, to be played at the first opportunity.


                  a. You have the advantage of legally knowing from which hand this card originated. If it is an honor card and you hold a higher card(s), then you can lead this suit from the dummy to trap it, whenever you wish;

                  b. you may have an additional inference of shortness or length in opponent’s hand, once you consider the auction; and

                  c. finally, you have the assurance that this card must be led by the offender at his first opportunity. All things considered, make this alternative a viable option for declarer.



Third. You may require the lead of this suit by the correct opening leader. The card led in error is returned to offender’s hand and does not need to be played first, when the player follows suit.


Fourth. You may bar the lead of the suit led in error, for as long as the correct leader is on lead. The card led in error is also returned to offender’s hand and does not need to be played first, when the player follows first.


Depending on suit holdings, these two options are very helpful in hands where declarer knows he can discard the led suit in his or dummy’s side suits. He may require the lead of the suit knowing he is void in it and can trump the suit led, later throwing his remaining pips on dummy’s other long suit. He may also require the lead of this suit by the correct leader when he holds A Q 10 in the suit or A Q J, knowing that the lead plays into his tenaced holding. He will wish to forbid the lead of the suit when he believes that RHO may gain the lead and give the opening leader a ruff or in situations where defenders can cash quick tricks in the suit led.


When declarer reviews the auction with consideration of suit distribution at the table he will more often than not, make the correct choice when a lead out of turn is made. Defenders who carefully review auctions before making an opening lead most often recognize whose turn it is to lead, making better choices and avoiding leads out of turn.




   Each year, you have the unique opportunity to compete against other bridge pairs from all over the world.  It is scored using a special London ECatsBridge system. Not only do you receive a thick commentary booklet, but the ECats website gives volumes of result information for clubs as they load their results from around the world.  The scores change hour to hour, the participants discuss the hands and the competition is genuinely enjoyable.  


   The game will be stratified, that is, you’ll play against everyone, but are ranked in your own strata.  Each player is assessed a $4.00 sanction fee by the ACBL and sponsoring organizations, thus necessitating a “bargain” $10.00 entry fee.  The awards are at sectional rating with ½ red and ½ black points.


  You may play in both Friday and Saturday sessions, OR just one of the games.  The scores are not cumulative; each stands alone.  Top scorers are recognized on the in the ACBL Bulletin.  Be sure to come and enjoy at least one of these exciting games!                 






Try not to place cumbersome restrictions on yourself or your partner, especially with weak two bids. Passing a 6-card major suit because you hold a side void, or 3-4 cards in the other major, or this, or that, means you are losing out on getting in the first blow…..AND you may never get the chance to show your lead-directing suit again in the auction.




Make as many overcalls as possible, with a good suit. Respond to partner’s 1 club or 1 diamond opening bid with any hand with QJ10x in a major and an outside jack. Open light in third seat with a good suit. When you do, partner won’t lead your singleton against 3NT as often as he does now.




When partner responds with a new suit, below game level, you cannot pass! Don’t get cold feet – a new suit is forcing! If partner responds 3NT, that ends the auction. It is not your place to take it out. You cannot see partner’s hand and you do not “know better than he does” where the contract should be played.


Joyce’s Defensive Tips:


1. Avoid leading doubletons on the opening lead, unless your partner has bid the suit or it is the only unbid suit. Leading from Qx, Jx or 10x will almost never help the defense.

2.  Always keep equal length in a suit, with the dummy, which declarer may use as a trick source. For example: dummy has  AK108 and you have Q954. Better not discard any of this suit.

3.  Do not signal your partner, as a routine thing. Your information may be very useful to a good declarer. Save the signaling for when your partner needs to know it, is going to get on lead and won’t know which suit to lead when he/she does obtain the lead.

4.  Checkout declarer’s line of play on each and every hand that you defend. Observe which suit he/she attacks, what cards he discards, and whether or not he draws trumps. Try to infer what declarer needs to do and then do the opposite, to thwart his/her success.

5. On defense, try to figure out your partner’s point count so you know whether or not to lead “aggressively,” or “passively.”

6. Try very hard to count declarer’s distribution, as well as, high card points.