Bridge Lesson – Hand # 1

(“Jacoby” Transfer Bids and the Use of “Check-Back”)





    Dealer:  N                                     765

     Vulnerable:  E-W                        962

     Lead:  3                                       Q10982

                             WEST                      64                      EAST

                             AQ942                                               KJ10

                             74                                                        KQJ

                            7543                                                  A6

                             K5                    SOUTH                   QJ1097








                           Bidding:           North            East            South            West

                                                       P                 1NT               P               “2   1

                                                       P                  2                 P                2NT   2 

                                                       P                  4   3            P                   P



1           Jacoby Transfer BidShowing at least 5-Spades and asking Opener to bid Spades.


2           Check-Back” – Signifying holding no more than 5-Spades accompanied with 9-10 HCP’s – Asking Opener to chose both the Level (2 or 3) and the Denomination (S, in this case, or NT) for the final Contract.


3           Signifying a holding of only 3 or 4 Spades, and with an Acceptance of Responder’s Game Try as a result

                    of Opener’s holding of the maximum of 16 or 17 HCP’s.





       Bidding Principles:


1.      The use of Jacoby Transfer bids by a Responder to an opening bid of 1NT.  (Responder becomes the

      Captain over any NT opening) Responder desires to have Opener be the Declarer if Spades be the final



2.   The use of “Check-Back”, by Responder, as a means of exploration for a Potential fit when holding only

       5 pieces himself/herself. Responder knows that Opener could have only 2 pieces of Spades and would

       not want to be in a 7-card fit if that, hypothetically were the case.


3.   Opener’s ultimate decision as to the Level and the Denomination (Major suit or NT) of the final 

      contract, driven by Responder’s request for same.


 Playing Principles:


1.   The lead of either a Club, Diamond, or Heart, in this instance, could be harmful.   To lead away from

      either an Ace or a King when Partner has not bid the suit is usually detrimental.    The only safe lead,

      in this instance, therefore, would be a Trump Lead – the 3 of Spades.


2.   After drawing Trumps, Declarer must set up the Club suit first, before the Opponents attack Diamonds.  

      By doing this, 11 tricks can be made by discarding three Diamonds from Dummy, once the Club suit is





Bridge Lesson – Hand # 2

(“Jacoby” Transfer Bids)




    Dealer:  W                                    Q8

     Vulnerable:  Both                       AQJ8

     Lead:  2                                      KQ54


                             WEST                                                EAST

                             105                                                  972

                             K42                                                   975

                             J73                                                    A1082

                            A9754                                               K82









                           Bidding:           North            East            South            West


                                                     1NT               P               “2  1           P

                                                      2   2            P                 4   3                P

                                                       P                  P    




       Bidding Principles:


1.      Jacoby Transfer BidShowing at least 5-Spades and asking Opener to bid 2-Spades.


2.      Opener would have responded 3, a “Super-Acceptance,” if Opener had held the maximum of each; i.e., 4 Pieces of Spades and 17 HCP’s.) Here with Opener having only 2 Spades and 15HCP’s, North responds simply 2.


3.      Responder, South, the Captain, takes the contract to Game in Spades, for South knows that Opener holds no fewer than 15 HCP’s, and no fewer than 2 Spades.  South holds 6 Spades and 12 Points, with distribution, enough to take the team to Game Level in Spades.


     Playing Principles:


1.        Absent any bidding by E-W, and not wanting to lead away from the A or the K, East decides to lead a Trump.


2.        Declarer counts his/her losing tricks (Since the final contract is a suit contract).  North finds one Loser in Diamonds, 2 Losers in Clubs, No Losers in Spades, and possibly one loser in Hearts unless the K is on sides.


3.         When North gets around to playing Hearts, the correct way is to take a “Continuing finesse” by leading out the 10 from the South hand. 




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 3

“Preferred Minor” and “Up-The-Ladder” Principles




    Dealer:  W                                    A1094

     Vulnerable:  None                       K8

     Lead:  6                                     AJ98


                               WEST                                              EAST

                            K8632                                             QJ7

                             J102                                                 Q96

                             106                                                   Q73

                             K102                                                AJ96









                            Bidding:           North            East            South            West


                                                      1   1             P                 1    2             P

                                                      1   3             P                 2   4                 P

                                                        P                  P   



       Bidding Principles:



1.      Preferred Minor” suit Opening – Showing at least 3 Diamonds (Shows 4 or more if Partnership is playing “Short Club”) and The Rule of “20” is satisfied so as to allow an opening bid in 1st or 2nd position.


2.      Shows 6-18 HCP’s and at least 4-Hearts (New suit by Responder cannot be passed. 


3.      Shows 11-18 HCP’s and at least 4 Spades (“Up-The-Ladder” Principle).    


4.      South, deciding that there is no game to be had, takes a preference in the Diamond suit stopping the auction, as opposed to re-bidding the Hearts, accepting the Spades, Bidding No-Trump, or any forcing action which would compel Opener to bid once again.


     Playing Principles:


1.      Declarer, realizing that if he/she were to draw Trumps, it would produce only 6 Tricks (Four in the Diamond suit and the Aces of Hearts and Spades) (5 Tricks if the Queen of Diamonds is not finesse able) and, therefore, chooses to cross-ruff the hand rather than to draw trumps.


2.      When playing in a suit contract, and when few tricks outside the Trump suit are available, it is sometimes prudent NOT to draw trumps and, rather, cross-ruff the hand instead, if that be feasible to do so.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 4

(“Reverse” Bids and The “Suit Quality Test”)




    Dealer:  S                                       10

     Vulnerable:  BOTH                     KQJ9654

     Lead:  J or 10                          K97


                               WEST                                                EAST

                              98752                                               KJ43

                             A10873                                             ------  

                             54                                                     J1062

                             J                                                        Q10963









                          Bidding:            North            East            South            West

                                                                                               1   1              P    

                                                      1  2              P               2   3             P 

                                                      4   4              P                 P                   P



       Bidding Principles:


1.      Opening Bidder must consider his/her 2nd bid before making his/her first opening bid.   To potentially open 1 (the longer suit here) and then to consider bidding 2 as Opener’s second bid is to make a “REVERSE”.   Reverses by Opener evidence 17 or more HCP’s.    Absent 17 HCP’s, one must construct one’s opening bid so as to avoid this pitfall; i.e., one must open 1D, disregarding bidding “length before strength”, prepared to rebid 2 on Opener’s second call.


2.      Responder bids “Up the Ladder” evidencing 4 or more Hearts, with 6-18 HCP’s.  Opener can never

      “Pass” a new suit bid by Responder.


3.      Showing fewer than 4 Hearts, and a second choice of suits, with at least 9 or more cards in the Minor



4.      North, holding opening count opposite Partner’s opening count knows there is Game.   When considering Game in one’s own suit, absent support by Partner, one can apply the “Suit Quality Test” (The number of cards in one’s own suit, “7” in this instance, added to the number of cards “10” or higher”, “3” in this case).   The summation equals the number of tricks to which can commit absent support by Partner, “10” in this case.  This, then justifies Responders jump to 4.


 Playing Principles:


1.      Declarer, seeing no losers in Spades, Diamonds or Clubs, goes about drawing Trumps.   Finding a 5-0 Trump split, and being unable to do anything about it.   Declarer simply draws Trumps, giving up two Trump tricks, and then claims, 11 tricks; one trick in Spades (the A), three tricks in Diamonds (the A, K, and Q), two tricks in Clubs (the A and K), and five tricks in Hearts.


2.      Notice there is no need to even take the Spade finesse!     




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 5

(Jump to 2NT by the Opener and “Game-Forcing” Scenarios)




    Dealer:  E                                      964

    Vulnerable:  E-W                         1032

     Lead:  6 or 2                           Q93


                               WEST                                                EAST

                             832                                                    AKJ7

                             QJ976                                               A85

                             A106                                                K54

                             J7                                                      A42









                          Bidding:           North            East            South             West

                                                                          1    1          P    2             1

                                                       P                2NT   3          P                  3   4

                                                       P                 4    5           P                   P




       Bidding Principles:


1.      East has an evenly balanced hand, but is too strong for an opening 1NT (would have shown 15-17) and is

      too weak for an opening 2NT (would have shown 20-22).  Absent a 5-card Major suit, and with no

      discernibly longer Minor suit, and with 3-3 in the Minors, the correct opening is 1.


2.      South has enough points to potentially overcall at the 1-Level, but absent a 5-card or longer suit, must “Pass”.


3.      East’s Jump to 2NT shows an evenly balanced hand with 18-19 HCP’s.


4.      West already showed 4 or more Hearts with his/her 1 bid, and since one NEVER says the same thing twice, is now showing 5 or more pieces with his/her re-bid of 3.


5.      With East having 3 pieces of Hearts to match West’s 5 or more, West now bids 4 (West would have bid 3NT if he/she had held only 2 pieces of Hearts).



Playing Principles:


1.      Not wanting to lead away from the Q or the K, North chooses either a Trump lead (2) or through strength (6).


2.       Since West is in a Suit Contract, as opposed to a NT contract, West proceeds to count Losers before beginning his/her Declarer Play.   Potentially, should the Heart and Spade Finesses both fail, West would have 4 Losers, one in each suit.


3.      “If the only way to make a hand is if you need certain cards to be in a certain place, or of a specific distribution, mentally place them where you desire them to be and play as if they were where you desire them.


4.      Once West attempts, and then loses both the Heart and Spade finesses, and seeing there is a certain

      loser in each of the Minor suits, the only possibility of making this hand is for the Spades to split 3-3.   

      If that be the case then, West could throw off either the Club or Diamond loser, making the contract

      of 4.   West draws Trumps and then proceeds to play Spades three times, finding success. 




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 6

(Negative Doubles)




    Dealer:  N                                     83

     Vulnerable:  E-W                      A1073

     Lead:  6, A, or 2                AQ107


                                WEST                                                EAST

                             K95                                                    AJ1074

                             42                                                       K96

                             KJ643                                                98

                             A96                                                   Q72









                           Bidding:            North             East             South            West

                                                       1  1            1   2            Dbl.  3            2

                                                       3   4             P   5              P                    P   6                      




       Bidding Principles:


1.      Absent a 5-Card Major, and with Opening count, North bids his/her longer Minor Suit.


2.      East holds the standard holding required to overcall = (5 or more cards in the suit and 8 or more HCP’s at the 1-Level.


3.      A Negative Double (Any Double by Responder at his/her first opportunity after an opening bid of one of a suit by Partner and an overcall by Responder’s RHO) = “I hold 6 or more HCP’s and at least 4-cards in each of the unbid suits”.


4.      Since North knows that, if possible, never let the Opponents play a hand at the 2-Level when you and Partner hold at least an equal number of HCP’s as the Opponents, and since North knows that South holds at least 4-Hearts, North can compete in Hearts at the cheapest level; “3” in this instance.


5. and 6. 

      Neither East nor West can compete to the 3-Level since neither Partner holds the 9th piece of Spades

      which would have been required to compete to the 3-Level in a Contested  Auction.   When both sides hold

      an approximately equal number of HCP’s, one can, with assuredness that one is not likely to be severely

      punished, compete to a bidding level whose trick commitment is equal to the number of Trumps held by the

      team wishing to compete. 



Playing Principles:


1.      North will lose 2 Spades, 1 Heart, No Diamonds (The K is finessable), and 2 Clubs for a total of 5 Tricks

      for down 1.   But note that EW can make a contract of 2which is a much better score than EW

      makes by setting NS one trick, even if “Doubled”.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 7

(Negative Doubles)



    Dealer:  N                                    J10

    Vulnerable:  None                        Q9763

     Lead:  K                                      5


                                WEST                                                EAST

                              K96                                                   842

                              -------                                               10854

                              KQ98743                                        J6

                             A53                                                   K974










                            Bidding:           North            East             South             West

                                                        P                   P                  1                  2   1

                                                      Dbl.   2            P                  4   3             P

                                                        P                   P                     




       Bidding Principles:


1.      Here, 2 is a standard Overcall at the 2-Level.   It evidences 5 or more Diamonds and at least 10 HCP’s.   Note that even though there is a 7-Card suit here, the hand is too strong for a weak (3) preemptive jump overcall.


2.      Here, North has a standard ideal Negative Double which shows his/her 6 or more HCP’s and the expected 4 or more cards in each of the two as-yet unbid suits (Clubs and Hearts).


3.      South, knowing that North now holds, minimally, at least 4 Hearts and 6 or more HCP’s, can jump directly to game (4).   North has 18 HCP’s along with 3 additional Distributional Points for North’s singleton Club (21 Combined total points), which when coupled with North’s minimum of 6, totals at least the 27, enough so as to presume that a Game Contract can be bid and made.   



Playing Principles:


1.      The best lead from West would be the Diamond K (Top of a sequence).


2.      South, as Declarer, would attempt, as much as possible, not to draw Trumps, but rather to cross-ruff the hand, since N/S holds few tricks outside the Trump suit itself.   Absent a number of tricks outside the Trump suit itself, and with shortness in both hands, Declarer, in a suit contract, often finds his/her best source of tricks is to cross-ruff the hand as the best course of action so as to make the most tricks.




Selection of Most Commonly-Accepted Best Leads



Remember, these are not necessarily in any preferential order, and on any one hand, the reality is often that one of these below-listed options could be better than any other, based upon the bidding, the lay of the cards, the level of the final contract, any number of other variables.


Against No Trump Contracts


1.     Fourth Best from Your Longest and Strongest Suit (Only if you have at least one (1) Outside Entry to regain the Lead Later on.

2.     Partner’s Bid Suit – Low from three or more to an honor, else Top of a sequence or of a Doubleton, else, Second Highest from three or more to nothing.

3.     Top of any Sequence of three or more to the Sequence.

4.     The Second Suit Bid by Dummy.

5.     Any Unbid suit.

6.     Remember, in general, usually lead passively, not aggressively, against a strong opening “2C” or 2NT on your right.



Against Suit Contracts


1.     Partner’s Bid Suit – again low from three or more to an honor, top of a sequence or of a Doubleton, else second Highest from three or more to nothing.

2.     Top of a sequence of two or more cards in sequence.

3.     Low from three or more to a Jack or a Queen.

4.     A Trump – To lessen the number of Trumps in the Dummy hand.

5.     An Ace or King from any Ace-King combination (Dependent on partnership pre-arrangement as to which, the Ace or the King, is led.

6.     Remember, in general, the lead of an Ace (without the King) is a poor lead (Except often against a Slam contract), as is the lead away from either an Ace or a King, if partner has NOT bid that suit.

7.     Remember, also, that, absent a suit having been bid by Partner, a lead of a Singleton or a Doubleton is oft times fruitless as it gives Declarer a free finesse, and will not succeed in allowing you to Trump on a later trick, as Declarer will often proceed to immediately draw your trumps.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 8

(Competitive Bidding)



    Dealer:  E                                    AJ643

    Vulnerable:  N-S                         K7

     Lead:  4                                     105


                              WEST                                                EAST

                              K109                                                7

                             85                                                      J643

                             AQJ632                                            K874

                             Q9                                                     KJ107









                           Bidding:           North            East             South              West

                                                                             P                   P                   1  1

                                                       1   2            2   3           3    4               P

                                                        P                   P                     



       Bidding Principles:


1.   West opens 1 prepared to possibly re-bid 2at his/her next opportunity to bid, which would evidence 6

       or more pieces.   When an opening Bidder rebids his/her unsupported suit, it generally shows 6-pieces,

       irrespective whether it be a Major or a Minor suit.


2.      Here, 1, bid by North, is a standard simple Overcall at the 1-Level.   It evidences five or more Spades

      and 8-15 HCP’s.   Had North held 16 or more HCP’s, he/she would have first made a Take-out double,

      and then bid Spades at his/her next turn to bid.


3.      Here, 2 is a standard supportive response opposite an opening bid.  When a Responder supports

      Opener’s suit at the cheapest bidding level, it shows trump support and 6-10 HCP’s. 

      Note: East could have also used the negative double to show his/her four Hearts, with a Fall-Back bid of

      support for the Diamond suit at a later time.


4.      Here, South, realizing that North can have, at most 15 HCP’s, and realizing that there is no possibility for

      game (especially sine E-W have already shown 20 HCP’s, and with nine (9) known pieces of Trump,

      competes immediately to the 3-Level (committing to 9 tricks with 9 Trumps).  In a competitive auction,

      with both sides having approximately an even number of HCP’s, one can compete to the level of the number

      of trumps held by the partnership representing an equivalence to the number of tricks to which their bid



Playing Principles:


1.      The lead by West is Partner’s suit, and in this instance one lead low from three or more pieces headed by

       an honor. Note: West would have led the Ace of Diamonds if that were the honor card.


2.      In this hand, Declarer makes exactly 3, losing one Spade (a Trump trick), No Hearts, one Diamond,

      and two Clubs.




 Bridge Lesson – Hand # 9

(“Jacoby” Transfer Bids and “Check-Back”)




    Dealer:  E                                        A8642

    Vulnerable:  Both                          1043

     Lead:  10                                     K5


                               WEST                                                EAST

                           KQ1093                                           J7

                             A92                                                  K865

                             Q3                                                     AJ74

                             Q63                                                  AK8









                             Bidding:           North            East            South              West

                                                                            1NT                P                 “2   1

                                                        P                  2   2             P                  3NT    3

                                                        P                   P     4             P                   



       Bidding Principles:


1.   West immediately accepts the bidding Captaincy, and decides to invoke the Jacoby Transfer System to

      show his/her five-Spades.   West knows that there are two feasible game contracts here, either 4 Spades,

      or 3 No Trump, but wishes East to be the Declarer should  the final contract be in Spades.


2.   Here, East dutifully bids 2.   Note with the absence of a “Super-Acceptance” (what would have been a

      “3” bid by East), East denies a holding of either four Spades pieces, or 17 HCP’s, or both.


3.   Here, West, knowing that East could have only two Spades, uses the “Check-Back” bid of 3NT.   This

      requests that East either “Pass” with a holding of two Spades, else correct to “4” if he/she holds either

      three or four Spade pieces.


4.      Here, East correctly passes to reflect his/her acceptance of the 3NT contract and a rejection of the

potential 4 contract, since he/she holds only two Spades.


Playing Principles:


1.      The safest lead here is the 10, top of a sequence.


2.      In this hand, Declarer elects to attack the Spade suit early, and develops four eventual Spade tricks by

forfeiting one Spade trick, the Spade Ace as soon as North is willing to do so, thereby promoting four tricks

                in that suit.   Note, in playing the Spade suit, Declarer plays the Spades from the East hand first

                (The short side).


3.      In this hand, Declarer makes 5NT, four Spade tricks, two Heart tricks, two Diamond tricks, and three

Club tricks.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 10

(Opening Length Before Strength)




    Dealer:  E                                      K6

    Vulnerable:  E-W                          8752

     Lead:  A or K                          Q76543


                               WEST                                                EAST

                             10952                                               AJ874

                           AJ1043                                            -------

                            K9                                                     8

                             76                                                     AQ108542









                           Bidding:           North             East             South            West

                                                                            1   1            P    2             1

                                                        P                  1               P                   2  3

                                                        P                  4 4            P                     P




       Bidding Principles:


1.   East. Satisfying the Rule of “20” decides to open the bidding.   Note, however, that East opens with 1

      rather than with his/her 5-card Spade suit.  Open Length BEFORE Strength”.


2.   Here, South passes even though he/she has opening count.   South does not hold the necessary

      requirements in the direct (2nd seat) position relative to an opening call from one’s RHO.   The shape of

      the hand, here, is inadequate for a direct seat overcall.


3.   Here, West, knowing that East could hold as many as 18 HCP’s takes a second call with his/her Spade

      support and 10 support points (8 HCP’s plus one for each of West’s doubletons).


4.   Here, East correctly proceeds to game with his/her 19 support points (11 HCP’s,   3 distributional points

      for the Diamond singleton, and 5 distributional points for the void in Hearts).     When a “Golden Fit” is

      uncovered, wildly distributionally-distorted hands are worth much more than the initial high card point count

      would, at first consideration, be considered.


Playing Principles:


1.   The safest lead here is either the K of Hearts (Top of a sequence), else the A of Diamonds (the unbid suit).


2.    With the Ace of Diamond Lead, Declarer makes five, but records six with the K lead with the

       8 being discarded on the A at trick one.   A Spade trick loss cannot be avoided.   Note: The

       hand makes either 5 or 6 with only a combined 19 HCP’s.               Points Schmoints




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 11

(Opening Length Before Strength)




    Dealer:  S                                     A7652

    Vulnerable:  None                       AQJ5

     Lead:  3 or J                          82


                              WEST                                                EAST

                             Q98                                                  103

                             K10764                                             83

                             107                                                    Q9643

                            KQ7                                                 J1086









                           Bidding:           North             East            South            West

                                                                                               1NT                P

                                                       2   1             P              “2   2             P

                                                       3   3             P                4    4            P

                                                        P                   P



       Bidding Principles:


1.   North, the appointed “Captain”, realizing there is Game in the hand, invokes the Stayman Convention. 

      Note:  Opposite a NT opening, Responder, holding both a 5-card AND  a 4-card Major suit, uses the Stayman     

      Convention, NEVER a Jacoby Transfer bid.   The reason is that a 4-4 Major suit fit, if present, usually

      plays better than a 5-3 Major suit fit, and is, therefore, preferable.


2.   South denies any 4–card Major suit holding.


3.   North now shows his/her 5-card Spade suit holding, forcing South to Game in two alternative possible

      Game-Level contracts – 4-Spades, else 3NT.  Any NEW suit 3-Level bid by Responder to a 1NT opening bid,     

      following the use of the Stayman Convention, is Game-Forcing.


4.   South accepts the 4 option, holding 3 pieces of Spades to match the 5 Spades shown by North’s

      3 bid.   Had South held only 2-Spades, he/she would have selected the alternate option of 3NT as

      the final contract.


Playing Principles:


1.   The alternate choices for a lead here are either the 3 or the J.


    2.    By chance, a Club lead holds Declarer to making 5-Spades, but without a Club lead, North can make 6 by

           finessing the J, then discarding an otherwise Club losing trick on the A and the K.

           Note:   This is a so-called “magic hand” in that it 6 can be made but not necessarily bid.   North, absent a

           Club lead, lost nothing to attempt the Diamond finesse, for if it had lost, North would lose a Spade and a

           Diamond instead of a Spade and a Club.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 12

(“Klinger Ogust” – Bidding Over Partner’s Weak 2-Bid)




    Dealer:  E                                       984

    Vulnerable:  None                        107

     Lead:  A or A                            987542


                               WEST                                                EAST

                             AJ53                                                K6

                             K4                                                    AQ8532

                             KQ                                                   106

                            KQ1043                                          J72










                           Bidding:           North            East            South               West

                                                                            2  1             P                “2NT”  2

                                                        P                “3  3            P                   4     4

                                                        P                   P                 P




     Bidding Principles:


1.   A weak 2-Bid showing 5-11 HCP’s with a 6-Card Heart suit.


2.   A forcing bid, Invoking the Klinger “Ogust” System, asking Opener to describe his/her hand as to both

      Point Count and Numbers of Honors in Opener’s Suit.   Note: Responder, the “Captain” has to have 15+

      HCP’s or more to even begin to perceive that a Game contract might be feasible.  To inquire regarding

      this possibility, however, Responder must seek further information as to the quality and strength of

      Opener’s hand.    “Klinger Ogust” affords this tool. 


3.   An artificial response, showing nothing about the Spade suit, but rather, 8-11 HCP’s and two (2) of the

      top 3 honors in the Heart suit.


4.   Armed with this information, Responder, the “Captain” bids Game in Hearts.


     Playing Principles:


           1.   In this hand, eleven (11) tricks are available by Declarer, and no lead allows more or less to be made

                 by either side assuming the defense does not wait while Declarer establishes his/her Club suit.  

                 Once Declarer attempts to set up the Club suit, and seeing the long Club suit in Dummy, South must run

                 to take his/her A before Declarer can pitch his/her losing two Diamonds on the established

                 long Club suit in the Dummy.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 13

(“Michaels Cue-Bid”)




    Dealer:  E                                       Q10975

     Vulnerable:  None                        KJ965

     Lead:  4                                       10

                             WEST                   A7                   EAST

                             J432                                                 AK

                             104                                                   Q8

                             Q98765                                           A42

                           4                         SOUTH                J108632









                           Bidding:           North            East            South            West

                                                                           1                 P                   P

                                                   “21             P                 2   2              P

                                                       P   3              3   4            P                 3   5

                                                       P                   P                 3   6              P

                                                       P                   P




       Bidding Principles:


 1.   A “Michaels Cue-Bid” showing a distribution of 5-5 or longer in both of the Major suits with either a very      

       weak (6-10 HCP’s), or a very strong (16+ HCP’s).    Note: If North had held 11-15 HCP’s, a count in the

       middle of these two HCP ranges, a Michaels Cue-Bid would not have been used.   Alternatively, North

       would have bid both suits himself/herself, i.e., made a simple overcall of 1 Spade intending to re-bid

       2 at his/her next turn to bid.


2.   A simple preference for the Heart suit.   Note: South takes the preference at the cheapest bidding level 

      for South must account for the fact that North could have a very weak 6 HCP hand.


 3.   The original Michael’s Cue-Bidder only ever bids again if he/she has the higher 16+ HCP count.   In this

          instance, since only the lower range of 6-10 is present, the cue-bidder passes.   Had there been 16 or

       more HCP’s in North’s hand, North would have made a second cue-bid, “3” in that instance.


 4.   North-South appear happy, so East pushes to the 3-Level in Clubs with his/her 6-card suit, not allowing the

         bidding to die at the 2-Level.


 5.   West, holding only 1 Club corrects to 3.   It is better for West to use East’s HCP’s with Diamonds as

        Trump, as opposed to East using West’s non-existent points with East’s Club as Trump.


6.    South knows that North holds 5 pieces of Hearts and since South has a good hand and holds the ninth

     piece of Trumps, he/she competes to the 3-Level.


      Playing Principles:


1.      West leads Partner’s bid Club suit hoping to get a ruff, but to no avail.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 14

(Overcalling Over the Opposition’s Weak 2-Bids)





    Dealer:  S                                      6

    Vulnerable:  N-S                          102

     Lead:  10                                   A107432


                             WEST                                                EAST

                             753                                                   AKJ

                             KJ96                                                 AQ8754

                             KQ9                                                  J8

                             K42                                                   85








                          Bidding:             North            East           South           West

                                                                                                2               P    1

                                                       P   2              3   3            P               4  4

                                                       P                   P                   P


Bidding Principles:



1.   If South had not opened a pre-emptive 2 bid, West could not have opened since the “Rule of 20” would not

      have been satisfied with this 12 HCP count hand.   With a 2 bid by South, West does not hold the shape,

      nor the HCP count to overcall in the direct (2nd) seat.   To overcall at the 2-Level after a pre-empt by one’s

     RHO, one requires at least opening count; to overcall at the 3-Level in the direct seat, one requires about

     15+ HCP’s.


2.   If both South and West had passed, North could have opened a pre-emptive 2.    With a 2 call from South,

     North must pass.   One NEVER pre-empts over a pre-empt bid.


3.   Anytime the opponents pre-empt the bidding, the opposition is left with no choice but to bid aggressively so

      as to attempt to counteract the fact that one, two, or three levels of bidding have been stolen.   Here, East

      overcalls 3.


4.   West, likewise, must bid aggressively, and since no bidding room is available to explore for a game-level

     contract, West bids 4.



Playing Principles:


      1. East-West should score 11 tricks, losing just one Club trick and one Diamond trick.    Note: the Spade finesse,

           if taken, loses, but need NOT be attempted if one sets up the Diamond suit for a sluff of the J,

           which would, otherwise, be a losing trick.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 15

(Responding with Support for Partner’s Suit)




    Dealer:  E                                       94

    Vulnerable:  E-W                          K87

     Lead:  8                                       Q2


                             WEST                                                EAST

                             A10                                                    KQJ5

                             J63                                                     A10542

                             10974                                                A85

                           KQ64                                                A









                          Bidding:           North            East            South            West

                                                                           1                 P                 3   1

                                                       P                  4   2            P                  P





Bidding Principles:



1.  An argument can be made for either a 2 response by West (showing 6-10 HCP’s), else a 3 bid (showing

      11-12 “Support” Points: 10 HCP’s + 1 Point for the Doubleton Spade).


2.   If West had elected to bid 2, then East would have invited to Game by bidding 3 and West would have

     then accepted by then bidding 4.   If West had, alternatively bid 3, showing invitational strength (11-12),

     West would have gone to 4 without hesitation.   Either way, a 4 final contract would have been reached.



Playing Principles:


      1. Declarer, East, has, at first glance, No losers in Spades, 1 or 2 losers in Hearts, 2 losers in Diamonds, and No

          losers in Clubs.  Assuming, worst case scenario, two losers in the Trump suit, East must avoid losing at least

          one of the Diamond losers by attempting to throw them off on the K and the Q.   To accomplish this,

          however, East must first play the A from his/her hand, unblocking the suit.   Thus, trick #1 must be

          won in Declarer’s hand, not in Dummy’s.    Declarer can then enter Dummy with the A, Dummy’s

          only entry, so as to discard the two losing Diamond tricks (the 8 and 5) on Dummy’s K and the Q.    

          Note:   Had Declarer mistakenly taken trick #1 in the Dummy with the Ace, he/she could have unblocked the

          suit by dumping the K on Dummy’s Ace, then using the 10 as an entry to Dummy’s hand

          after playing the A, as stated before.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 16

(“Up-The-Ladder” and “Jump Shift” Principles





    Dealer:  N                                   J763

     Vulnerable:  N-S                         8643

     Lead:  3                                      Q6

                             WEST                    Q109                EAST

                             Q4                                                    AK52

                             K102                                                AQ9

                             K9742                                              8

                             J82                   SOUTH                 AK643









                           Bidding:           North            East            South            West

                                                       P                 1♣                 P                  1   1

                                                       P                 2   2            P                 3NT  3 

                                                       P                  P                  P





1.      An “Up The Ladder” bid showing 6-18 HCP’s (Cannot be passed due to it being a New Suit bid by a

       Responder).  This bid does not yet deny the presence, or absence, of either 4 Hearts or 4 Spades.


2.      A Jump-Shift by Opener showing 4 or more Spades, 19 or more HCP’s, and fewer than 4 Hearts.   This

        bid  is “Game-Forcing” since Responder has shown 6 or more HCP’s and Opener holds 20 HCP’s.


3.      A Sign-off showing a guaranteed Heart Stopper (the only as-yet-unaccounted-for suit) and no interest in

        Slam.  (In a Game-Forcing scenario, a quick arrival is weaker than a slow arrival.)


       Bidding Principles:


1. Once a team has opened the bidding with one-of-a-suit, the “Up the Ladder” Principal; i.e., never

     bypassing any 4-card suit at the 1-Level, applies to both Opener and Responder, as they course through

     the first level of bidding.


2. Once a team is committed to game by virtue of Opener’s jump-shift opposite Responder having shown a

    minimum of 6 HCP’s, the quicker the team reaches game the less interest they exhibit for bidding beyond

    the game-level; i.e. for any attempt to reach Slam.  A quick arrival to game is weaker than a slow arrival”.


 Playing Principles:


1. Declarer must be aware that in many hands, one of the two opponents be, necessarily, regarded as the

    “Danger” Opponent; i.e., that Opponent whom one would try to keep out of the lead, if it be feasible to do

    so.   In this instance, because of the sparse Diamond holding, West, the Declarer, would like to keep

    South from leading Diamonds through him/her.


2. In any NT contract, Declarer should count his/her clear winners, and attempt to augment his/her winners

    by establishing his/her longest suit early, Clubs in this instance, establishing 10 tricks - 3 Spades,

    3 Hearts, and 4 Club tricks.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 17

(Bidding 3NT rather than 5 of Either Minor Suit)





    Dealer:  W                                      Q86

     Vulnerable:  N-S                           10842

     Lead:  4                                        10872

                             WEST                      103                    EAST

                             AJ3                                                    K5

                             KQ73                                                 A5

                             J95                                                     Q64

                             QJ7                    SOUTH                 A98654











                         Bidding:             North            East            South            West

                                                                                                                    1   1

                                                       P                3NT   2             P                 P 






1.       Playing the 5-Card Major Standard American System, holding opening count, and using the preferred

        Minor opening, absent any 5-card Major suit holding, one opens either discernibly longer Minor suit. 

        If the Minor suits are of equal length, one opens a Diamond from 5-5 or 4-4 in the Minors, else a Club

        if they be 3-3.   In this instance; West opens 1, holding three cards in each Minor suit.


2.       Most hands with Game values that would otherwise make 5 or 5 almost always make 4NT.   Thus, in

        this instance, even though East holds Club support, and even though East’s hand in unbalanced. East

        bids a preferred 3NT rather than to pursue the guaranteed Club Golden fit.





       Bidding Principles:


1. When holding either Minor suit Golden fit, with game values, a 3NT contract is usually preferable to a 5

    or 5 contract.   A 1NT response to Partner’s opening bid of 1 or 1shows 6-10 HCP’s.   A 2NT

    response would evidence 11-12 HCP’s, and a 3NT response shows 13-15 HCP’s.


 Playing Principles:


1. When playing a NT contract, Declarer usually attacks his/her longest suit first, Clubs in this instance,  

    Using the K as an entry to Dummy, East finesses the Q which loses to the King in South’s hand.  

    Declarer will then make, 4NT:  5 Club tricks, 3 Hearts, and 2 Spade tricks, for a total of

    10 tricks (making the contract with one overtrick).




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 18

(“Up-The-Ladder” and “Support Point” Principles)





    Dealer:  S                                      J6

    Vulnerable:  None                        KQ432

     Lead:  K                                      1043

                             WEST                     642                   EAST

                             K1083                                              A974

                             10                                                      A876

                             QJ                                                     K987

                        AJ10953                                         Q










                         Bidding:             North            East            South            West

                                                                                                P                   1   1

                                                       P                 1   2            P                   1    3 

                                                       P                 4    4





1.   Although West’s hand contains only 11 HCP’s, he/she satisfies the “Rule of 20” and has the right to



2.   It is the responsibility of both Opening bidder and Responder to bid “Up the Ladder” hardly ever,

       bypassing any 4-card suit.


3.    Here again, this first rebid by Opener evidences at least 4 Spades; fewer than 4 Hearts; and 13-18 HCP’s.


4.    Since East holds a 4-card Spade support for West, along with enough support points for West, East goes

       right to a Game-Level (4) contract.





       Bidding Principles:


1.   In the 5-card Major Standard American System of bidding, both Opener and Responder need adhere to 

      the “Up the Ladder” Principal; i.e., rarely bypassing any 4-card suit, particularly the Major suits.


2.   East, being the first of the Partners to see an 8-card (Spade) Golden Fit, and knowing the Partnership

      holds enough points to go to Game (4), becomes the “Captain” and bids Game.   By arriving at

      Game-Level quickly, East shows no extra values.   A quick arrival to game is weaker than a slow arrival!


Playing Principles:


1.   Like most hands, the timing by the Declarer (West) as to which suit to play first  is central to making the

      contact.    Here it is important, so as to establish a cross-ruffing scenario, to set up the Diamonds first.


2.   Since there are 5 Spades outstanding, West only draws 2 Rounds of Trump leaving the Queen in the

      hands of the Defense to take it whenever they wish as opposed to intentionally forcing it out by wrongly

      playing a 3rd round of  Trumps.


3.  After taking two rounds of Diamonds, West then cross-ruffs the hand making 4 – Two Diamond tricks,

     1 Heart, 1 Club. 2 Natural Trump tricks, and 4 Cross-ruffs of both Clubs and Hearts.   




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 19

(Supporting Partner’s Pre-empt and Bidding Over Pre-Empt Bids





    Dealer:  E                                        Q864

    Vulnerable:  None                           KQJ9

     Lead:  6                                         Q73

                             WEST                       AK                    EAST

                              K3                                                      1097

                             10865                                                 32

                             964                                                     AKJ1052

                            J265                    SOUTH                97









                         Bidding:           North            East            South            West

                                                                         2   1             P                  3   2

                                                   Dbl.   3             P                4  4                   P     

                                                      P                  P





1.         A pre-emptive weak 2-Bid evidencing 6 Diamonds and 5-11 HCP’s


2.         A furtherance of Opener’s pre-emptive bid justified by holding few points and the 7th, 8th, and 9th

                    pieces of the Diamond suit


3.         A Takeout Double


4.         A jump to a Game-Level contract





       Bidding Principles:


1.      When furthering Partner’s pre-emptive call, one may bid to the level such that the trick guarantee of which, is equivalent to the number of combined pieces of the Trump suit held by the Partnership

      (Nine – In this instance).


2.      A Take-out Double, at the 3-Level, should guarantee at least one King better than a minimum opening count (at least 16 HCP’s)



 Playing Principles:


1.      When leading Partner’s suit, without an honor or a top sequence, and when holding 3-pieces, one should lead the second highest, planning to play “middle-up-down”.


2.      When in a suit contract, Declarer should count his/her potential losing tricks and attempt to construct a manner in which said losing tricks can be eliminated.   In this instance, by trumping Diamonds in the South Hand, Declarer can make 5, losing only one Diamond trick and the K.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 20

(Bidding Over Partner’s Weak 2-Bid = “Klinger Ogust”)





    Dealer:  S                                     Q87

    Vulnerable:  E-W                        K542

     Lead:  Q                                     AK5

                             WEST                    KJ4                    EAST

                             A9652                                               J1043

                             6                                                         A3

                             QJ97                                                 632

                             865                     SOUTH                Q932








                         Bidding:             North           East            South             West

                                                                                              2    1              P                  

                                                   “2NT”   2         P              “3    3                 P     

                                                      4        4         P                   P                    P





1.        A pre-emptive weak 2-Bid evidencing 6 Hearts and 5-11 HCP’s


2.        A Artificial and Forcing Bid, showing Responder’s 15 or more HCP’s,  and asking Opener for a further description of his/her opening count and quality of his/her opening suit (as listed below in Bidding Principles)


3.        An artificial bid evidencing 8-11 HCP’s and none or one of the top three (A, K, or Q) honors in the

      Heart suit.


4.        Responder proceeds to Game, armed with the added information provided in #3.   Had Opener responded “3” or “3” showing 5-7 HCP’s, Responder would have bid 3 (Opener would then “Pass”), stopping short of Game.




       Bidding Principles:


1.        When Responder to a weak 2-Bid holds support for Partner’s suit and holds 15 or more HCP’s, Responder invokes “Klinger Ogust” by bidding an artificial “2NT”.  This bid asks Opener to describe both his/her total point count and  the number of Top Three Honors in the suit first bid (As enumerated herein).

a.       “3” = 5-7 HCP’s and 0 or 1 of the Top Three Honors

b.      “3” = 5-7 HCP’s and 2 of the Top Three Honors

c.       “3” = 8-11 HCP’s and 0 or 1 of the Top Three Honors

d.      “3” = 8-11 HCP’s and 2 of the Top Three Honors

e.      “3NT” =  8-11 HCP’s and 3 of the Top Three Honors


 Playing Principles:


1.        Declarer, South, will make 4 - losing one trick, each, in Diamonds, Hearts, and  Spades, and no tricks in Clubs, if he/she thinks to throw off the 7 on the Q.  Declarer can make 5 if he/she first correctly guesses the Club finesses and then throws away the Diamond loser on the Q. 




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 21

(Competitive Bidding)





    Dealer:  W                                      QJ103

     Vulnerable:  Both                         AQ106

     Lead:  A                                       J102

                             WEST                      Q7                    EAST

                             AK92                                                  76

                             43                                                         875

                             94                                                       Q753

                            K10932              SOUTH                   J864







                           Bidding:           North            East            South            West


                                                    1   1               P               1   2             Dbl.   3

                                                    2   4               P               4   5                  P

                                                      P                    P




             1.      Having satisfied the “Rule of 20”, North, absent a 5-card Major suit, opens with a 1, Preferred Minor,

                    evidencing three or more Diamonds and opening count.


2.        An “Up-The-Ladder Response showing 6-18 HCP’s and at least four Hearts.


3.        West could Pass, bid 2, or “Double” – Each optional, all possible.


4.        North supports South’s Heart suit at the cheapest level, evidencing at least four Hearts with a minimum opening count.


5.        With North having opened and then having limited his/her HCP count, South, who then becomes the Captain, who also holds opening count, takes the contract to the Game level of 4.



       Bidding Principles:


1.    West could have passed South’s bid of 1, but with 10 HCP’s, all within the 2 as-yet-unbid suits, he/she

       decides to enter the auction.  He/she could have bid 2, but “Doubled” instead so as to also show the

       Spade suit, as well as the Clubs.


2.    Once one of the two bidding Partners has limited his/her hand, North in this instance, his/her Partner

       automatically must take charge and Captain the hand to its ultimate end contract, either by going there

       directly, as in this case (Bidding 4 Hearts), else passing, or inviting to game in other circumstances.



 Playing Principles:


1.    West leads the A, top of a sequence.   Receiving the perceived high-card signal of the “7” from East,

       West continues with the King of Spades.  East throws the “6” completing the high-low” signal to

       continue the suit.


2.   Perceiving that East will trump the 3rd round of Spades, West plays the 2 for East to trump.  

      This “2” being a low card, asks East to return the lower of the other two suits (Clubs, in this instance).  

      If West were to have played the “9”, a high card for East to ruff, that would have signaled for a

      Diamond return, the higher or the two remaining suits. (A “Suit Preference” Signal)




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 22

(Utilizing the “Suit Quality” Test)





    Dealer:  N                                      --------

     Vulnerable:  None                      AQJ76

     Lead:  2                                      A865

                             WEST                    QJ54                EAST

                              A32                                                   976

                              K8                                                     105432

                              Q1074                                              K93

                             A982                    SOUTH               63








                            Bidding:           North              East            South             West


                                                      1   1               P                 1   2               P

                                                 2 or 2    3        P                 4   4                 P

                                                       P                     P





2.        Having satisfied the “Rule of 20”, North, with a 5-card Major suit, opens 1.


3.        An “Up-The-Ladder Response showing 6-18 HCP’s and at least four Spades, and, probably, fewer than 3 Hearts.


4.        North, having to bid again owing to a new suit having been mentioned by Responder, bids either 2or

      2, showing a second suit, no more than 5 Hearts, and, absent a jump-shift, 11-18 HCP’s.


5.        North, having a “Suit Quality” of 11 in Spades (7 pieces + 4 cards, 10 or above) and opening support points, goes to game in his/her own suit without regard as to whether Opener holds any of his/her

      desired Trump suit (See #1 Bidding Principle, below).




        Bidding Principles:


1.        When the combined Partnership holds Game-Level Points (with Distribution), and Responder or Opener realizes that he or she has a long suit whose suit quality (Number of pieces + Number of Cards 10 and above) is equal or greater than the number of tricks necessary for game, that Partner may bid game in his/her own suit without regard as to whether Partner has any of that suit at all.   The suit will carry itself as a Trump suit if the Suit Quality is sufficient.



 Playing Principles:


1.        West leads the 2, not wanting to give up anything by leading away from his/her honors in Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs, and intending to play the A next time, and then the third Spade when he/she is next on lead.


2.        Declarer, South, can make 11 tricks, losing only the A and the A.   South’s Diamond loser can be sluffed on a Heart if the Heart finesse for the King is conducted before Diamonds are played.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 23

(Responding to Partner’s Opening Bid with as Little as any Ace)




    Dealer:  S                                                  10753

     Vulnerable:  Both                                   54

     Lead: 10/Q (by W)                            AJ64

         or  A (by E)                                        953

                                         WEST                                                      EAST

                                          QJ9                                                   AK864

                                           9                                                        QJ6

                                          109873                                              K52

                                          10872               SOUTH                  64








                           Bidding:           South             West          North             East           


                                                      1   1              P               1   2               P

                                                      3   3             P                3                      P

                                                      4   5             P                  P                    P





             1.   This holding could justify either a 1 or a “2” initial opening bid.


2.   Assuming South were to have opened 1, normally, Responder is required to  have 6 or more HCP’s to

     respond over Partner’s opening bid of 1 of a suit; but with North holding an Ace, “Go For It!”


3.   A jump shift evidencing 19 or more HCP’s.   Opposite North’s evidencing at least 6 HCP’s, the N/S

      Partnership is now in a Game-Forcing sequence.


4.   With South holding a Heart suit with a suit quality of “10”, South may proceed to 4 without any

     knowledge as to whether North holds any Heart support, at all.




        Bidding Principles:


1.   It would have been permissible for South to have opened “2” with this 3-Loser Hand.    Had South

      done so, the bidding would have proceeded differently:


      South                       North

      “2                        “2” (Jacoby Steps = 4-6 HCP’s)               

       4(Having employed

           the “Suit Quality” Test)



 Playing Principles:


1.      N/S will score 11 tricks in a 4 contract, losing only the A and the Q, no Clubs and no Diamonds.




Bridge Lesson – Hand # 24

(In the Play of any Hand, when missing a Card)

(Play the Hand as if the missing Card were where You desire It to be)





    Dealer: W                                       AKQ753

     Vulnerable:  N-S                            8

     Lead: A                                         Q102


                             WEST                                                     EAST

                             92                                                       6

                             J753                                                  AK10964

                             K753                                                 J9

                             J72                                                    Q654









                           Bidding:           North            East            South            West



                                                       1   1            2   2            2   3           P

                                                       3   4             P                  4   5           P

                                                         P                  P




              1.     A standard opening with probable intent to re-bid 2.


 2.     A standard Overcall at the 2-Level evidencing 10-15 HCP’s and at least a 5-card



3.      Support of Opener’s suit (at least 3 pieces) with 6-10 HCP’s (See Bidding Principle 2, below)


4.      Invitational to Game if South holds the top of his/her Support Points.


5.      Acceptance of game-level contract.




        Bidding Principles:


1.       Opening bidder should attempt to consider his/her second bid before making his/her Opening bid.


2.       Alternatively, South could have responded “3”, which would have evidenced 10-12 support points, in support of Opener’s Spades.   Under these circumstances, North would have proceeded directly to Game (4), and would not have needed to invite, as above.



 Playing Principles:


1.      North, the Declarer, counts his/her potential losing tricks.   This comes to an unacceptable four tricks; none in Spades, one in Hearts, two in Diamonds, and one in Clubs.   The correct way to play this hand is to draw Trumps (2-Rounds), strip the hand by playing both the A and K, then throwing the

      opponents in with the third round of  Clubs.  Then Play the remainder of the hand as if the K were where

      you want it to be – in West’s hand.   “IF, WHEN PLAYING ANY HAND, ONE MUST HAVE A








Bridge Lesson – Hand # 25

(The Bid of a Take-out Double followed by Presentation of a New Suit) (Showing extra Values)





    Dealer: W                                       AKJ

     Vulnerable:  Both                         AK743

     Lead: J                                         Q5


                             WEST                                                 EAST

                            73                                                      10864

                             109                                                    862

                             AK10642                                          J8

                             J97                                                    A642









                           Bidding:           North            East            South             West


                                                                                                                      2   1

                                                      Dbl.   2         Pass   3         2    4               P

                                                       3    5           P                 4    6               P

                                                         P                 P



             1.       A standard Weak-2 opening Bid with 6 Pieces and 5-11 HCP’s.


2.       A Take-out Double with intent to bid Hearts later showing extra values.


3.      Note that East cannot further the pre-empt holding only two Diamonds.      


4.      A bid at the cheapest level showing a Spade preference and fewer than 9 HCP’s.


5.      Shows 5 or more Hearts and greater than a minimum opening count.


6.        Acceptance of Game with Heart support and the top of his/her point count previously shown.




        Bidding Principles:


1.      When one makes a Take-out Double and then bids his/her own suit in lieu of acceptance of Partner’s bid suit, the Take-out Doubler shows extra values.


2.      One can only further Partner’s Pre-emptive bid to the bidding level such that the tricks to which the bid commits equals the number of pieces of the trump suit held by the pre-empting partnership.


3.      South bids 4 since North showed extra values and South has both Heart support and is at the top of his/her 0-8 HCP’s shown by South’s previous 2 bid in response to North’s Take-out Double.



 Playing Principles:


1.      North, the Declarer, can make the contract if on trick three, he/she trumps the third round of Diamonds with the A which cannot be over-ruffed, and then proceeds to draw trumps, followed by play of the Spade suit, throwing off a potential Club loser on the fourth round of Spades after entering the South hand with the K.