SLAMS in bridge are some of most exciting hands to bid and play. But, when wanting to bid one, you often find yourself very uncertain whether you really have enough to make the 12 or 13 tricks between you and your partner, necessary for a small or grand slam. Such a hand turned up last week at Penarth Bridge Club.

The bidding at most tables led to 3NT, but no slam. But, at one table, South reasoned that, for the 3D jump bid, North must have 15 or 16 points, with six diamonds to the AQ, and probably the A or K spades for the 3NT bid. So, counting up the tricks, South could see potentially 1 spade, 3 hearts, 6 diamonds, and 1 club, making 11 tricks. But, the ace of spades, and AQ of diamonds, only added up to 10 points. So North must have also the K of spades or clubs, and another queen or king, to make the 15 or 16 points for the 3D bid. To be sure, South then bid 4NT, asking for North’s aces. North bid 5H, showing two. This gave South the confidence that North had the ace of spades, and not just the QJ of spades, and the K of spades or clubs. This meant they must have 12 tricks between them, and so South bid 6NT. East led the 7 hearts, which North finessed with the ten, losing to West’s king. West then returned a spade, which North won with the ace. The K and J of diamonds were then cashed. North returned back to hand with the K of spades, and cashed the rest of the diamonds, the Q of spades, and finally played to dummy’s A of clubs for the last and twelfth trick, and a top. Well done! It just shows how, once again, it is worth trying to count your positive tricks when bidding, and not just your losers.

Results at Penarth Bridge Club from last week

Tuesday 29th Oct 2019

1st Joy Seculer & Trish Tracey (62%): 2nd Val Hetheridge & Tony Campbell (56%); 3rd Pat Sullivan & Hugh Simmonds (55%).

1st on handicap: Cyrus & Carmel Hughes.

Thursday 31st Oct 2019

1st N/S Peter Sampson & Viv Duckers; 1st E/W Alan & Yvonne Simons

Friday 1st Nov 2019

1st Martin Thomas & Sean Macdougall (60%); 2nd Trish Tracey & Tony Campbell (59%); 3rd Judy Collins & Francine Douglas (52%).

Handicap: Martin Thomas & Sean Macdougall

Penarth Bridge Club runs several simultaneous pairs events (SIMS) during the year, where the same hands are played all over the country, and sometimes the world! So a date for your diary is Tuesday 12th November, when there will be a SIMS event in support of Children in Need. 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. You can see each hand, compared with the results, on the web site

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 or via contacts on the web site for further information. Table up. Professor Tony Campbell