Chuck Arthur

My First Bridge Blog Entry

The venue was a recent STaC event, Friday evening at Partners Bridge Club in Toronto. I was playing with one of my favorite partners, Ron Bishop, when this hand (board 12) came up. The compass directions have been rotated for the convenience of presentation.      


North: Ron
South: Chuck



West North East South
pass 4 pass 4
pass pass pass  



First a word or two about the auction, especially my 1 notrump opening. Many will find it offensive, because of the 6 card suit and it only has 14 HCP. It feels to me like it is worth more than that. It is a 5 loser hand; KnR evaluates in at 16.85 points. I of course did not have a KnR calculator with me when the hand came up, but checking after, I was pleased to find it agreed approximately with my gut feel. I do not much fancy opening 1 then rebidding 3 ; the hand is considerably short of the requirements for that action. There are a couple of things wrong with opening 1 notrump on a hand that is 2-2 in the majors. Partner might Junk Stayman the hand expecting me to have at least one three card major. I think that I can handle that one: I’ll simply “correct” 2 to 3 . He’ll shake his head and mutter a bit, but will probably pass. Another thing that might go awry is that partner might Weissberger the hand, again expecting me to have a three card major. I have been playing Weissberger for years, and I do not remember it ever coming up. On balance, I’ll open 1 notrump and let the chips fall where they may. I was not at all disappointed with the developments.

West led the 5, ducked in the dummy, to East’s 7 and I won the ten. You might like to decide on your line of play before proceeding. I gave it some thought, but not enough as will become evident. The game was matchpoints so overtricks were not to be ignored. If the trumps are 3-2 with the Ace onside, I’ll limit my losers in that suit to two by drawing trump. There is still that pesky spade loser that I would like to do something about. Perhaps I can take a ruffing finesse in clubs or ruff out the Ace of clubs later to set up a pitch for that loser. I crossed to the Ace of spades and led a heart to my King; LHO won her ace and continued with the Queen of diamonds. Oh dear! I seems that they forgot to lead a second round of trumps, so it looks as though I’ll have an easy time with my spade loser. I unblocked my King of spades, crossed to the dummy on a club ruff, and ruffed a spade with the 2; LHO overuffed with the 3!! Trumps were foul, so I still had to lose 2 more trump tricks: down 1. Curses! I was beaten by a 6-2 spade split. Here is the whole hand.




West East
106 QJ9752
AQJ3 4
Q5 8742
J10632 A4

Opening lead of 5 from Q5 doubleton! I’ll have to remember that one… not! The line of play that works is the easy one: win the diamond cheaply and immediately play King, Ace, and ruff a spade with the King! I needed to forget about matchpoints and pretend that I was playing rubber bridge. In retrospect, the key to the correct line was to evaluate the contract. Not every pair will find their way to 4 . It seems to me difficult to get there if my hand does not open the South hand 1 notrump. My opponents took care of my diamond problem at trick 1. The contract is excellent. I needed to find the safest route to 10 tricks.


LuiseFebruary 24th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Hi Chuck !!! Welcome to the wide world of Bridge Blogging!

I was excited to read your email this morning — I’m happy that you sucessfully navigated wordpress and posted your first blog. Well done! And the presentation is beautiful, if I may say so myself (she says with atypical vanity)

Cam FrenchFebruary 24th, 2010 at 4:39 pm


Welcome. Interesting lead. In the book Bols Bridge Tips someone (maybe Gabriel Chagas) advocated leading low from honour doubleton. Looks like your opponent was a reader.

For what it is worth, I think most of us would have suffered your fate. Maybe ditch Ron for her next time…..



Dave Memphis MOJOFebruary 24th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Welcome to the blogosphere! Nice hand technically and an attractive presentation. Thanks for sharing.

Steven LariviereFebruary 24th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Hey Chuck,

Great job on the blog, looks wonderful. As to the hand, looking at dummy, the tap is in effect and the tapper with AQJx is one step ahead on setting up his forth trump via club forces through. Hand can’t be made in my opinion. If everytime I win I high heart, I lead a club as defense, you will expend 3 trumps getting my high ones and 3 trump on my club forces leaving me with my little baby heart and a big baby smile. As to the opening bid, with all the gaps and lack of high cards, I would probably sway from opening 1NT on this hand and be content to open 1 club and rebid 2 clubs. Change partners diamonds to clubs and we look to be on for 6 clubs if the heart ace is onside and 5 if it is not…. whereas 4 hearts could easily go down with the heart ace offside, having to find the diamond queen or as in my answer, a bad trump break and the tap in effect. I wouldn’t say we wouldn’t get to 4 hearts anyhow on the 8 card fit via the auction 1c-1h-2c-2d-2h-4h. Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents worth. Keep up the great work with the blog, I’m looking forward to visiting back here often. 😉

Carl HudecekFebruary 24th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Because the CA is doubleton, the forcing game does not work, and 4H succeeds.

The third round of clubs runs to CQ as a D is pitched from dummy.

Debbie BennettFebruary 24th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Hi Chuck. Nice format.

You made the same mistake many of us would. You forgot to judge how many players would get to this contract and decide if it is in fact a ‘good’ contract. The answer of course is yes, it is a good contract. Thinking of matchpoints and overtricks was the undoing. Too bad! I was hoping you would pull it off. Next time.


Harold BabaFebruary 24th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Looking at dummy and considering how other tables may have bid this hand, just making this game contract should score well in MPs. Therefore, I would not consider overtricks as important.

The masterhand is the long heart hand so we need to count the losers there. The opening lead solved the diamond problem so the only losers to worry about are the 3rd little spade in dummy which as you mentioned can be ruffed with the HK. Ruffing with the H2 even if it does not get overruffed gains nothing since you will still lose the same 3 heart tricks AQJ.So why not ruff the spade early with the HK.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFFebruary 25th, 2010 at 1:07 am

Welcome aboard, Chuck:

Looks like you have your own following and rooting section. That’s a pretty terrific start. By the way, I know a guy named Bobby something-or-other who frequently opens a NT with a six-bagger himself if it figures to be the best alternative. Judging from his record, you are in pretty good company.



Chuck ArthurFebruary 25th, 2010 at 1:38 am

Carl is right, Steve: the doubleton Ace of clubs protects us from the tap. I gave the hand to Deep Finesse just to be sure. Perhaps I should have done so prior to posting this as a blog entry. Anyway, I did not get a club lead

Tom KinnearFebruary 25th, 2010 at 4:50 am

Great job on the blog Chuck……

Sadly I took your line of play as well…….but…..I should have given it more thought.

If I had stopped to think that the opponents were virtually shut out from the auction…..*there could in fact be a longish spade suit out there. RHO is highly unlikely to venture in over 4 D missing the AK…..

Not withstanding… is great hindsight to say ruff with the heart K…..but finding that at thetable may be a different thing.*

Heat hand……glad to see Ron could still find his call with a bad ankle!! LOL

Keep up the good work!


Tom Kinnear

Steven LariviereFebruary 25th, 2010 at 5:00 am

Ah yes, the doubleton club…. still shaking rust off…lol…

Carl HudecekFebruary 25th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

The HK is an illusion. If declarer’s H were J2 rather than K2, even my

Aunt Tillie would make the hand.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFFebruary 25th, 2010 at 4:57 pm


If we ever need a fifth, could you give us your Aunt Tillie’s telephone number.

ross taylorFebruary 25th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Well Chuck, this maybe some kind of record for most comments to a first time blogger – quite the splash you’ve made with a cool hand spawning lots of post mortem discussion.

I also like that you put up a hand that you got wrong as your first entry – that says a lot about your character – and it’s all good!

Will look forward to reading more of your adventures at the table.

Chuck ArthurFebruary 26th, 2010 at 4:38 am

Roger Allen replied to me privately as follows


You should not be too critical of yourself for your line of play in four hearts. I regard it as probably the best line even if it did not work on this layout. Perhaps of more significance is the fact that the suggested line does not work with best defence. If east discards Q of diamonds when declarer ruffs the third round of spades then the contract cannot be made. East leads clubs at every opportunity when in with his trumps and he must make four trump tricks. The hand is very interesting. Declarer can make the hand if he cashes a diamond before ruffing the spade in hand. This however I regard as a far-fetched line of play.

With all best wishes


Chuck ArthurFebruary 26th, 2010 at 4:56 am

You are correct Roger. I checked this line with Deep Finesse and it does in fact lead to defeat.

Peter DeLucaFebruary 26th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Great start on your blog Chuck. I agree that making the contract is the goal forgetting overtricks. How many pairs do you think will be in 4 hearts with the north hand having a club void and south rebidding their clubs?

Best wishes for your future blogs.


Lynn GoldmanFebruary 27th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I loved your blog, Chuck. Great presentation. In addition to your thoughts on the play of the hand, I have enjoyed reading the comments made here by others as to their thinking regarding the line of play and bidding as well. Thanks Chuck. Looking forward to more!

jack shinehoftMarch 5th, 2010 at 10:14 am

Chuck, I like what you are doing; keep it up. I have two problems for your consideration. I don’t know if you are interested in receiving these, let me know. The first is at matchpoints; you are in fourth chair vul vs. non vul. Your lho passes, partner bids one heart, your rho then bids three spades. Your bid? The second is also matchpoints. The correct answer maybe just a question of style. You hold six spades to the ace ten nine, a doubleton queen of hearts, three diamonds to the ace jack and the queen and one club. Partner opens one no trump. Your bid? Look forward to hearing from you….Jack

NAMIEMarch 7th, 2010 at 1:25 pm


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