By Prof Tony Campbell

A PARTICULAR difficulty in bridge is what to bid when your opponent opens with one no trump, and you have good cards in both majors.

Such a hand turned up last week in a closely contested team of four march played in Bridge Base Online (BBO).

There are in fact several conventions to deal with this. Some players use one called Landy, where two clubs over the opening one no trump shows at least 4/4 in both majors. All other overcalls are natural.

However my partner and I play a different system, known by most players as Cappaletti, invented by a US bridge player in 2007. In fact, this system was also invented by one of our club members at Penarth, Julian Pottage. A bid of two diamonds over the one no trump opening is used to show both majors, usually at least 5/4, or preferably 5/5. Two clubs shows a single suited hand.

The Auction

So, after West opened one no trump, weak showing 12-14 points, my partner as North bid two diamonds. My major suit holding was not impressive to say the least.

However I had no choice but to bid my best major, hearts, even though I only had two cards in this suit. When my partner bid three hearts, I was pretty sure he was at least 5/5 in the majors. Since I had stops in both minors and the king off spades I bid three no trumps, which my partner converted to four hearts, expecting me to have at least two hearts.

The play

West led the queen of diamonds. I decided not to ruff, and so threw away the five of spades, East winning with the ace. Rightly, East returned the nine of clubs. The only chance was that he had led away from the queen, so I played the jack, which was won by West’s ace.

He returned another club, which I won in hand with the king. I can now count at least ten tricks if I ruff a spade in dummy. So I played a spade to the king, ruffed a diamond in hand and ruffed a spade in dummy. I then cashed the king of diamonds, and drew two rounds of trumps, conceding the queen of hearts. In fact this play was not the best line.

East has shown up with six points, so the rest of the points, including the queen of hearts and the queen and jack of spades, must be held by West. So after ruffing one spade, I should have taken the heart finesse, and then I would have made eleven tricks - two spades, six hearts in hand, and in dummy a spade ruff, 1 diamond and 1 club, for a score of 650. This gave us a swing of ten IMPS, as N/S at the other table were not in game.

What have we learnt?

1. It is important to have a defence system when the opposition open one no trump, whether weak or strong.

2. At teams it is vital to bid all the games that can be made.

Further information

Cappaletti/Pottage is a very useful system when the opposition open one no trump. A two club overcall shows a single suited hand, two diamonds both majors, two hearts or two spades shows the major and a minor, and two no trumps shows both minors. In spite of many shops, restaurants and pubs opening, sadly there is little chance of bridge clubs resuming in the near future.

Penarth and other Wales’ clubs have many members over 60. We are the high risk group, and must be protected. Professor Brian Morgan, of Cardiff Metropolitan University, and I are setting up a Wales COVID communication group between the business, education and science sectors to help find creative solutions to the restrictions the SARS-Cov2 coronavirus has imposed on us.

I will also post some information relevant to bridge clubs on the Penarth Bridge Club web site. If you have any views, experiences and information you would like to share, please email me. Meanwhile, good luck with your online bridge. Bridge Club Live (BCL) is very good and may be open again for new registrations.

As shown in this article Bridge Online Base (BBO) is also OK. BBO is still open for registrations. Contact for information. I hope you are able to keep copies of my articles as I build them up. Please let me know if they are useful. You can always find them online at www.penarthtimes/bridge. Keep an eye on Email me if you have anything you would like me to discuss at Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance. Virtual table up.