Prof. Tony Campbell CBE

Next year Penarth Bridge Club, founded in 1972, will celebrate its golden jubilee.

Thus, this club has made a major contribution to the culture and life of Penarth for 50 years.

We have been lucky enough to have had several members who have played bridge for Wales in the Camrose Trophy, the annual home international competition, as well as the European championships.

Also, we have members who play regularly for East Wales and in many National events, with the Penarth Menagerie team representing the club in Division 1 of the East Wales league.

But sadly, Covid has taken its toll. We have had great success with online bridge during the pandemic, but now we have reopened for Face-to-Face bridge our numbers are too small to be viable.

Please come and support this historic club. However, let’s be positive. We are exploring merging our Tuesday and Friday evening sessions with another club.

And, if all fails, we will resume online bridge. Penarth Bridge Club will live on!

So, here is a recent hand played at a Face-to-Face session where careful judgment by both declarer and the defence were required to achieve the optimum result.

The Auction

North had seven spades and just seven points, ideal for a pre-emptive opening of three spades. The aim of pre-emptive bids is to put a spanner in the wheel of the defence.

However, the danger always is that, as here, your partner has a good hand and so has a difficult decision to make on whether to pass or bid on for game. After some thought, South could see at least six spade tricks, even if his partner did not have the king of spades.

There were also two certain heart tricks, and it ought to be possible to rustle up a trick in diamonds and one more from North’s hand. So, South bid four spades.

The play

Trick 1 – East was on lead and did not fancy a diamond or a club. And the jack of hearts lead was fraught with danger. So, interestingly, East chose to lead the five of spades, reasoning that his king was safe for a trick if North held the ace.

And even if South held three spades to the ace, North must surely have an entry somewhere to take the spade finesse. Anyway, declarer paused to consider the hand.

Without the trump lead the contract would have been secure as he could have ruffed a losing club in dummy. But now things were difficult.

North decided to play the ace of spades, hoping to drop a singleton king in West’s hand. But no luck. Tricks 2 and 3 – Declarer then played a club to his ace, followed by a small club from hand, the trick being won by East’s king.

East was now quite pleased he had decided to lead a trump at the first trick. Trick 4 - East won the next trick with the king of spades, preventing declarer from ruffing his losing club.

Trick 5 – East then led his ace of diamonds, which was ruffed by declarer in hand. Trick 6 – Declarer drew East’s last trump with his queen, discarding a heart from dummy. But he could now see he still had a losing club and a losing heart, one down, having already lost two tricks.

But could there be a squeeze on? Tricks 7, 8, 9 and 10 – Declarer then rattled off his last four spades, forcing four discards from both East and West. East could see that dummy had to discard before West, so he jettisoned his remaining four diamonds, keeping the jack of clubs and two hearts.

Declarer decided to discard one more heart and the rest of dummy’s diamonds. West had to hope his partner East held the jack of clubs, otherwise he was genuinely squeezed. So, he discarded the rest of his clubs, keeping his three hearts to the queen.

Declarer then played a small heart to dummy’s ace. He followed this with the king of hearts. Bad luck, East’s jack dropped but not West’s queen. Trick 13 - West then won the last trick with his queen of hearts, declarer only making nine tricks - six spades, two hearts, and one club, one down for a loss of 50 points.

Four spades was a perfectly reasonable bid by South. But well done by the defence for the opening lead and care in their discards.

What have we learnt?

1. areful judgement is needed when responding to partner’s opening pre-emptive bid, particularly when non vulnerable, since the pre-emptive bid is likely to be quite weak.

2. Sometimes it can quite be safe to lead a trump from three to king, as here.

Penarth club results

Friday 1 October: 1. Joy Seculer and Mike Downey (65.6%); 2. Peter Craig and Sean Macdougall (62.5%); 3. Tony Campbell and Simon Brindle (46.8%). Tuesday 5 October: 1. Clwyd Jones and Trish Tracey (62.5%); 2. Patsy Cohen and Carol Cochlin (54.1%); 3. Jim Elder and Meryl Skipper (45.8%). Friday 8th October: 1. Tony Campbell and Mike Downey (65%); 2. Peter Craig and Sean Macdougall (55%); 3. Rod Hudson and Trish Tracey (53%).

Further information

The Thursday group has re-opened, running from 10am to 1pm. People are requested to arrive by 9.45am.

We are starting sessions with a short discussion on the theme of how to communicate with one's partner. Because of Covid-19, we have to control numbers, so people are requested to contact Peter Craig in advance at, 02920195048 or 07960472031.

Partners will be arranged as required. Mask wearing is required and people should bring their own refreshments. People are requested to arrive by 9.45.

Attendees should have been double vaccinated. If you have any views, hands, or information you would like to share, please email me, Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance. Table up!