WHAT an amazing game contract bridge is. Regular players will have played hundreds of relatively straightforward hands.

Yet, occasionally, an incredible hand turns up, which needs some imagination to get the most out of it. One such hand occurred at Penarth Bridge Club last Friday.

This was the bidding sequence at most tables. 6NT for E/W is cold, but not 7NT, as North will start with the AD. West started with a game force of 2C. North then bid 2D, lead directing and trying to put a spanner in the works. East then doubled, to show points and a stop in diamonds. West then bid 4NT, Roman Key card Blackwood. There are two main versions of this – 14/30 (5C/5D) or 30/41 (5C/5D), where 1, 3 and 4 represent = 1, 3 or 4 key cards respectively. There are typically five key cards – 4 aces and the king of trumps. But this only applies if trumps have been agreed, or if the last bid was a proper suit, and not an artificial bid. Neither of these existed, so East bid 5D, showing one ace, was as per normal Blackwood. West now did not know whether East had the AH or the AD, so did not gamble, and went for the safe bid of 6S, though some players bid 6NT, both of which are cold after the AD - seven spades, one heart, the K and QD, and two clubs, or five clubs. In fact, 7S is cold, though not a good percentage contract, as it depends on a 3/3 club break (33%), or the lead of the AD. But, ingeniously, one East bid 2H after North’s 2D, showing the AH in their system, and West bid 2S, followed by 3NT from East. West was now happy to bid 7S knowing that East was likely to have the QC as well as the AH. The lead of AD was trumped in hand, followed by two rounds of trumps. Even if the clubs do not break, declarer wins the rest of the trucks with ease, for a top!

Results at Penarth Bridge Club from last week

Tuesday 8th Oct 2019

1st Tony Campbell & Brian Hardey; 2nd Joy Seculer & Meryl Skipper; 3rd = Jim Elder & Patsy Cohen with Peter Craig and Marnie Owens.

1st on handicap: Tony Campbell and Brian Hardey.

Thursday 9th Oct 2019

1st N/S Peter Daughton & Roger Green; 1st E/W Jackie Lewis and Marnie Owens

Penarth Bridge Club is a warm and friendly club that meets every Tuesday and Friday at Trinity Church Hall, Woodland Place, CF64 3EN. There is plenty of parking. We ask players to be in their seats by 6.45 pm, so that we can set the movement for a prompt start at 7 pm. A machine deals the boards, so you can have a print out of all the hands at the end of the play. You can see each hand, compared with the results, on the web site https://www.bridgewebs.com/penarth/.

There is also an improvers’ session every Thursday morning starting at 10 am.

We have several social events during the year, linked to bridge. Contact Tony Campbell or see the web site https://www.bridgewebs.com/penarth/ for further information. Table up.

Professor Tony Campbell, campbellak@cf.ac.uk.