I wonder how the bidding went?

I wasn’t able to make it to Bridge last night but, as always, was keen to peruse the results this morning. It is great to see some of our “beginners/improvers” in the top half of the table – well done Margaret and Susanne and also Julia and Helen (again!).
Board 17 caught my eye. It’s a great example of a “distributional” hand where suit shortages make up for fewer points.

Would you pass with that North hand? After all, it only has 10 points in it. No, you would upgrade its’ strength (to maybe 15 or 16 points) because it contains two singletons. An opening bid of 1 Diamond would come as a bit of a surprise to South who should immediately be thinking “Game or Slam”?

For those of you interested in losing trick count (and you should be!) North, as opener, will have a maximum of 7 losers. Once a fit is found (and that’s important!), South has only 6 losers, in fact, you could argue that South has only 5 losers because, given the bidding, the QDs is most unlikely to be a loser. Add the combined number of losers (13 or 12) and deduct from 18 (= 5 or 6). That gives you the level you should bid to. Which takes us back to where we started from – “Game or Slam? “i.e. 5 or 6 Diamonds? In fact the North hand is better than 7 losers – it only has 6 losers once Diamonds are agreed.

Most N/S pairs were in 5 Diamonds, always making 12 tricks. However, one ambitious pair did manage to find the (unbeatable) small slam in Diamonds. I wonder how the bidding went? The crucial issue is to ensure that the partnership isn’t missing two aces (a distinct possibility when your opponents have 14 points between them). So some form of ace-asking convention would be essential. If want to know how to arrive in 6 Diamonds you’ll have to ask the successful pair. Drum roll for …………………. Barry and Lesley Leverett.

The Vanity Case

For those of you involved in our Teams of Four League or knock-out, I thought I would mention the Vanity Case. It once belonged to Jo Hughes, Roy’s late wife, but has been used for Teams of Four events for as long as I can remember!
It is stored in the cupboard at the Hammond Hall but it is what it contains that might interest team captains. Inside you will find 20 Boards with brand new cards, 8 compact bidding boxes and a wodge of scoring cards. It is available to be borrowed anytime – just ask a committee member to open the cupboard for you.
As an added bonus and a bit of an experiment – I have put the 20 sets of cards through the dealing machine so they are all set to go on a first come, first served basis. I have also printed off (and placed in separate sealed envelopes!) 8 copies of hands 1 – 10 and 8 copies of hands 11 – 20. So you can all beat yourselves up at half-time and at the end!

Request for help and a lovely slam.

Will you be busy two weeks today? Bassingham (and Heighington) Bridge Clubs will be running a stand at Bassingham Show in the afternoon of Saturday 5th August to promote and publicise Bridge at the Hammond Hall and our Beginner/Improver sessions starting in September. We are looking for members (of any standard and experience) willing to give up an hour or so to play a few hands of Bridge in our Event Shelter on the field. If you are able to help, please let Andy Milner know.

Board 20 on Thursday evening caught my eye.

Congratulations to recent new members, Richard and Mary Buller, for bidding and making six diamonds sitting East/West. They were the only pair to do so. How would you and your partner bid the East/West cards?

Maybe 1H – 1S – stop 3D (the west hand is surely too good for a tame 2 diamond re-bid) – 4NT (asking for aces) – 5H (2 aces) – 6 D. The play is relatively straight-forward.

This coming Thursday is the fourth Thursday of the month – Individual night. I’ve noticed that our numbers have dipped slightly for these events recently. I would like to encourage all members to embrace our Individual nights – they epitomise the “fun and friendly” ethos of Bassingham Bridge Club. Please don’t worry about “letting an unfamiliar partner down”, there are bound to be mix-ups but it’s a lovely way to get to know other members and maybe even pick up a few tips.

I hope to see you on Thursday evening. Andy.

Developing Duplicate Bridge – Wednesday Evenings

Just a little reminder that our Wednesday evening (7.00 – 9.00 pm in the Tower Room) improver sessions recommence on Wednesday 3 May. Our intention this term is to run gentle, assisted, duplicate bridge sessions of 12 boards. Advice about bidding, playing and defending will still be freely available from the tutors.
These sessions will be scored and the results and hand analysis will be available on the club website after each session. A hand commentary will also be available.
We would like to invite ANY interested members to come along to these sessions, whether it is to pick up a few tips yourselves or to partner and encourage our class members in the ways of duplicate bridge.


Curry Bridge Evening Wednesday 8th March

Fred is “still looking for punters” for the Curry Bridge Evening at Newark Golf Club 6.00 – 10.00 pm. It promises to be a fun night out. The cost is £10 per head and single players can be accommodated. Please contact Fred Myers at F.Myers@levertonfarms.co.uk or speak to him on Thursday evening.

WARNING! These Improver Sessions could seriously improve your Bridge!

As you probably know, a small team of tutors have been delivering teaching sessions for Beginners throughout 2022. Our Beginners have done very well and are ready to move on.
We are now progressing to Improver sessions and widening our potential audience. So, if you are keen to improve your Bridge skills and scores and to improve your partnership understanding, these sessions could be for you. Similarly, if you think your Bridge expertise has plateaued and needs a boost, come along to any session that you like the look of.

A full description and timetable for each lesson can be found on the club website. Click on “Learning Bridge” in the left hand column to access the details. Topics for this coming term include Responding to 1 No Trump, Overcalls and Doubling. Each stand-alone session consists of a presentation followed by supervised play of prepared hands to illustrate the points covered.

The sessions will run on each Wednesday evening, 7.00 – 9.00 pm, starting on Wednesday 11th January. We will use the Tower Room at the Hammond Hall and there will be a charge of £2 to cover the cost of the room.

Pop the dates in your Diary. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday evenings.

Learning from mistakes.

This post is a bit of an experiment, on a rainy day, to see if I can publish and use hands from recent club nights as a teaching/learning exercise. Fingers crossed! If there is no image of the hand with this text, then it won’t make much sense and I apologise. All the hands from Thursday evening are published with the results.

Board one was the first board we played on Thursday evening. It gave me an early opportunity to make my first mistake of the evening! Terry Atkinson, sitting East, correctly judged that his hand was a fraction too weak to open one heart and so he chose to open two hearts (six hearts and 6 – 10 points).

I was sitting South and chose to bid 2 Spades rather than double as I didn’t think my minor suit Kings had much of a chance. My partner, Bill sitting North, not knowing much about my strength, bid an invitational 3 Spades which was passed round. Without a Heart bid from East, West is unlikely to lead a heart, but John Luckraft was happy to lead his King of Hearts from Kx, knowing his partner had heart strength.

So, how did the play go? Can you see how to make 9 tricks in Spades? If you are a beginner/improver, stop and think about it for a minute or two.

East quite cleverly overtook the King of hearts with his ace just in case the King was a singleton, continued with the Queen and then led the Ten. What do I do? I know that West can over-ruff if I ruff small and, as the cards lie, I have two diamond losers which will leave me one off. This is where I went astray – I chose to ruff high in hand with the ace of Spades. I then drew two rounds of trumps with the King and Queen of Spades. That meant that West was left with a boss trump (the Jack) and I still had two diamond tricks to lose.

Can you see what I should have done? On the third round of hearts I must resist the temptation to ruff and simply ditch a diamond loser instead. What can East do? Nothing. If he continues Hearts then Dummy can over-ruff anything that West plays. Any other suit, I get in and draw trumps in three rounds, leading a Diamond from Dummy to hand thus ensuring that the only other trick I lose is the ace of Diamonds.

All the best! Andy


I was browsing through the Bridge Club Live website yesterday evening and, in the Results section, came across a couple of “Aliases” that I recognised!
Huge Congratulations to Pat Lucas and Derek Crumpton who are absolute top of the Monthly Improvers Tourney Ladder for December. They have had 6 wins and earned 130 on-line master points. This is a major achievement as there are hundreds of pairs who compete in this Tourney. Well Done both! Andy

Bridge for Beginners

After a decade of offering Bridge for Beginners tuition at Bassingham Bridge Club, Barry and Lesley Leverett have decided to take a well-earned “retirement”. We offer a massive THANKYOU to Barry and Lesley for all their hard work and for introducing our wonderful game to so many new players and members.
Covid restrictions permitting, for 2022 a small but enthusiastic team will be taking over, using the teaching materials that Barry and Lesley have passed on and adding some of our own.

These sessions will run in the Hammond Hall Tower room, from 7.00 – 9.00 pm each Wednesday evening starting on Wednesday 5th January 2022. There will be a small charge to cover the room hire but the first session is free. Adverts have been placed in local Parish magazines and on village notice boards. However, we would be grateful if members could publicise and promote our “Bridge for Beginners” course. If you can think of anyone who might be interested please ask them to get in touch with either Andy Milner or Pat Lucas.

For those of you who like a bit of mental stimulation … Can you figure out how North/South can make a Grand Slam in clubs, with just 21 points and five obvious winners, on Board 7 from Thursday evening? Click on results for Thursday 9th December and you will soon find the hand. If you do NOT want a clue, stop reading now. If you DO want a clue, here it is. In a suit contract, it is (usually) a good strategy to draw trumps early.

A couple of reminders. Sadly, our Christmas Bridge, scheduled for Thursday 23rd, has had to be cancelled, so this coming Thursday, 16th, will be our last for 2021 – we hope to provide Mulled Wine. Please wear a face covering unless exempt. We aim to re-start on Tuesday 4th for the afternoon social Bridge. Thursday duplicates re-start on Thursday 6th January.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers! Andy.

Covid Up-date

Following a committee meeting yesterday evening, we thought it might be pertinent to remind members of our Covid precautions.

As you know, we are fortunate to have a large well-ventilated room but do please remember to bring several “layers” of clothing, particularly on these cold winter nights. That said, this evening we will be in the tower room because of the W I Christmas Party. You may want to come a few minutes early as parking will be at a premium.

Please do not attend if you have any Covid symptoms e.g. cough, temperature, loss of sense of taste or smell.

Following government guidelines, Mask-wearing remains optional.

Please use the hand sanitiser provided.