A Simple Time-Saver

 

Applebasket Entry, 2011

Submitted by:  Wendy Dewell

Now that we have access to dealing machines, you can set up and store the hands that you use in classes that you repeat!  Once entered, it really saves time—the time to repeat deal, and the time of the students.  I can have 6 example hands in a 2 hour class (I used to be able to only do 4).

Mona Lisa & 1NT

 

Applebasket Entry, 2011

Submitted by:  Linda Tuff

Years ago a student of mine commented that she liked my style of teaching.  She said I taught “in pictures”.  That night I reflected on some of my classes and could only laugh – she was quite right.

 

When teaching the students about opening the bidding 1NT, I always ask who can picture the Mona Lisa.  I go on to say that it is not that large, holding up my hands to demonstrate her size.  I also comment that there is not too much going on in the painting, just a lady’s head and a sweet little smile.  Pretty simple when you think about it, a painting that is easy to describe!

 

Just like the language of bridge.  If you had one bid that would perfectly describe your hand, everyone would be able to picture it.  That bid is our Mona Lisa bid.  It shows a balanced hand and exactly 15-16-17 points.  I emphasize that holding 15-16-17 points is always something to smile about.   Everyone is definitely in agreement that holding points is a good thing and the smiles are all around the room.

 

At this time, I will start to hum Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa, and it never fails, there is someone in the class that can really sing and helps me out.  The entire time, I am holding my arms out to the side like `Lady Justice“ trying to reinforce the concept of a balanced hand!

 

When it comes time to play our practice hands, the entire room is relaxed.  At each table you can hear the students humming and laughing as they start to describe their hands with a Mona Lisa Bid.

 

I have been teaching for over 15 years and can honestly say I don’t remember how this idea became part of my lesson plan.  If it is someone else’s creation, I say thank you.  I do know that I have had great fun in using this concept and it has been tremendously effective in helping my beginner students start on the road to describing their hands with just one number and one word.

Encouraging Questions

Applebasket Entry, 2011

Submitted by: Barbara Rees

While teaching or supervising play, a player/student will ask a question…it is a good question…I will get everyone’s attention by saying, “Folks…a question has been asked, perhaps others could benefit from the answer.”  While all is quiet, I will repeat the question and give a plausible answer. I find that it encourages others to ask questions without feeling ‘dumb’.

August 2011

TEST YOUR DEFENCE with Julian Pottage

This column has been printed here with permission from Bridge Magazine

TEST YOUR DEFENCE with Julian Pottage

1

North
?Q 9 5
?Q J 9
?A K 8 2
?8 6 4
East
?K 10 2
?A 4 2
?Q 9 4
?Q J 7 2

WEST   NORTH   EAST   SOUTH

1?

Pass     2?     Pass     2?

Pass     4?     All Pass

Partner leads the nine of clubs (second and fourth if from length) and dummy plays low. What card do you play at trick one? What is your plan for later?

2

North
?K
?J 8 5 2
?K Q J 10 2
?K 6 4
East
?A 10 8 6 2
?A 10
?9 8 6 3
?J 10

WEST   NORTH   EAST   SOUTH

1?

Pass     2?     Pass     2?

Pass     4?     All Pass

West leads the five of spades to your ace. What card do you return?

SOLUTIONS TO TEST YOUR DEFENCE with Julian Pottage

1

North
?Q 9 5
?Q J 9
?A K 8 2
?8 6 4
West                                                                East
?A 8 6 4 3                                                       ?K 10 2
?7 3                                                                ?A 4 2
?10 7 5 3                                                         ?Q 9 4
?9 5                                                                ?Q J 7 2
South
?J 7
?K 10 8 6 5
?J 6
?A K 10 3

North has not underbid and the opponents may be a thin game. Unfortunately, the omens do not look terribly good as your flat shape suggests the suits are breaking well. One bright note is the lack of a spade lead. This suggests West has the ace, in which case the queen could be waste paper.

Whether the club lead is from 10-9-x or from 9-x, it cannot help to play the jack on the first trick. In the first case, the nine and jack are equals. In the latter, declarer may have a slow club loser and you would not want to crash your side’s high cards. Play the two.

The next hurdle is in the trump suit. If you take your ace on the first round, declarer can draw a second round and later ruff the fourth club in dummy. You need to hold up so that you are in a position to play a third round, thereby preventing dummy’s ruff.

2

  North
?K
?J 8 5 2
?K Q J 10 2
?K 6 4
  West                                                                East
?Q 9 7 5 4                                                       ?A 10 8 6 2
?6 4                                                                ?A 10
?7 4                                                                 ?9 8 6 3
?A 9 53                                                          ?J 10
  South
?J 3
?K Q 9 7 3
?A 5
?Q 8 7 2

At the table, West switched to the jack of clubs, which ran to the king as West played a mildly encouraging five. Declarer then tried a low heart off dummy. East went in smartly with the ace and continued with the ten of clubs, which won. West is still waiting for East to play a third round of clubs.

‘Can’t you overtake the second club?’ East asked. ‘You can give me a ruff.’

‘How was I supposed to know that you didn’t have J-10-x? Overtaking would look silly if you did.’

‘I would have continued with the low one if I had J-10-x.’

West remained unconvinced. ‘I think I have a better idea. Rather than the jack of clubs, why don’t you lead the ten? When I see the jack next time, I know something is up.’

East reluctantly nodded.

July 2011

 

1

 

  North
?Q 4
?J 8
?A K Q J 9 4
?10 3 2
  West
?K 7
?A Q 9
?8 5 2
?J 9 6 5 4

WEST   NORTH   EAST   SOUTH

1?     Pass     1?

Pass     2?     Pass     2NT

Pass     3NT     All Pass

You lead the four of clubs – low, queen and ace. After crossing to the ace of diamonds (six from East), declarer runs the jack of hearts, on which partner plays the seven. What card you lead to the third trick?

2

North
?A K Q 10 8
?A K 8 4
?5
?Q 10 6
West
?J 7 3
?J 9 6
?A 6 3
?A K 5 4

WEST   NORTH   EAST   SOUTH

1?     Pass 1NT

Pass     3?     Pass     3NT

All Pass

You lead the ace of clubs – queen, seven and two. How do you continue?

SOLUTIONS TO TEST YOUR DEFENCE with Julian Pottage

1

  North
?Q 4
?J 8
?A K Q J 9 4
?10 3 2
  West                                                                East
?K 7                                                                 ?A 10 6 5 3
?A Q 9                                                            ?7 6 5 4 2
?8 5 2                                                              ?6
?J 9 6 5 4                                                        ?Q 7
  South
?J 9 8 2
?K 10 3
?10 7 3
?A K 8

Your first thought might be, ‘if partner has the king of clubs, the suit is running and we can beat the contract by a couple of tricks.’ Has anything happened to tell you that this is not the case?

There are a couple of clues from declarer’s play. One is that most people would find it hard to resist holding up the ace of clubs. A better one is the heart play. Why play on hearts without a club stopper? If playing on hearts, why not put up the king, when there is a chance of not losing the lead?

 

An even stronger clue is East’s seven of hearts on the first round, a very high card in context. This could well be a suit-preference signal for spades.

You should switch to a spade. Moreover, as what you want is a club back rather to set up South’s spades, you switch to the seven. East can win and revert to clubs.

2

  North
?A K Q 10 8
?A K 8 4
?5
?Q 10 6
 West                                                                East
?J 7 3                                                               ?9 6 2
?J 9 6                                                              ?Q 10 5 2
?A 6 3                                                              ?10 9 8 4
?A K 5 4                                                          ?7 3
  South
?5 4
?7 3
?K Q J 7 2
?J 9 8 2

Dummy’s unblock of the queen of clubs is rather revealing. For one thing, it seems that South has the suit well held.

You might think of switching to a heart, a suit in which South is likely to be weak. With two entries, the ace of diamonds and the king of clubs, you should have time both to knock out the ace-king of hearts and to regain the lead.

Can you see a problem with a heart switch? Since you have only three hearts, if declarer takes the first heart and holds up next time, you will get to make only one heart trick.

While placing East with the queen of hearts is a sensible move, you need to focus on disrupting communications. You could play king and another club, though that would risk giving declarer the rest of the club suit. Can you see how to shut out the diamonds and restrict declarer to a solitary club trick? You continue with a low club. Later you can take the ?K and ?A before locking the lead in dummy.

This column has been printed here with permission from Bridge Magazine