By Prof Tony Campbell

AN important part of your bidding armoury at bridge is a system that you can use over the opponents one no trump opening, whether this a weak or strong.

Here is a hand that illustrates this well, and uses a convention called Cappelletti-Pottage.

The Auction

West, with seventeen points, opened the bidding with one no trump, as they were playing a 15-17 strong no trump opening.

Two clubs bid by North was part of the Cappelletti-Pottage overcall convention, which showed a long suit, as yet undisclosed. This system bid is usually attributed to the US player Michael Cappelletti with his partner Edwin Lewis. But it is also attributed to Fred Hamilton, John and Julian Pottage, and Gerald Heims.

East, with only five points East passed. South then bid two diamonds asking his partner, North, to pass or correct. So, of course, North bid his spade suit, two spades being passed out.

The play

East began with the six of diamonds, his fourth highest in that suit, which was won by West’s king. After North played the ten, West was reticent to continue with the ace of diamonds, fearing North as declarer would ruff it, setting up the queen in dummy as a winner.

So, East played the ace, king and then a third club, that was won by dummy’s jack. So how would you play the trumps, without prior knowledge of the distribution? You are missing both the queen and jack of spades. Since the opposition hold five trumps, you are bound to lose one spade. But you can’t afford to lose two. West has opened one no trump, so he is likely to have the queen of spades, and probably the jack too.

So, the correct play was first to play the king of spades from dummy, followed bv dummy’s three of spades. If West plays the queen or jack, North covers it. But if, as happened in the match, East plays his eight North plays the ten of spades. Eureka it wins, showing that the trumps were four/one. Declarer followed the ten of spades by playing the ace, leaving East with his winning queen. North then played a small heart towards dummy’s king-queen, the trick being won by East’s ace. East then played the jack of diamonds which was overtaken by dummy’s queen, followed by West’s ace, the trick being won by North ruffing.

Declarer then played the queen of clubs which was won by West ruffing with the queen of spades. West returned a diamond which was again ruffed by North. He then won the last two tricks with his jack of hearts and last trump, making eight tricks in total for a score of 110 – five spades, one heart, and two clubs, leading to a gain of six IMPs on this hand. Well bid and well played.

What have we learnt?

1. It is very useful to have a defence system over a one no trump opening by your opponents. Many people play a convention called Landy, where two clubs shows both majors. This is a good convention. But the Cappelletti-Pottage system is more flexible, though more complicated.

This is the system I play. Two clubs over the one no trump opening shows a single long suit, as here. Two diamonds shows both majors. Two hearts or two spades shows the major and a minor, and two no trumps both minors. Double of a one no trump opening typically shows 15-17 points. Julian Pottage is a top player in Wales and a well-established bridge author. We are lucky to have him as a visitor to Penarth Bridge Club.

2. When in a suit contract and you hold eight trumps between you but are missing both the queen and jack of trumps, a safety play is often useful, as here. It takes care of a four/one distribution of the trumps, preventing you losing two tricks in the trump suit.

Penarth club results

East Wales Bridge Association (EWBA) runs an annual team of four league, online at present, of course. There are three Divisions, our team representing Penarth Bridge Club is called Penarth Menagerie, named after the famous books by Victor Mollo originally published in the nineteen sixties in Bridge Magazine which inspired me as a student. Penarth Menagerie are lying second at the moment with twenty five Victory Points, having lost our first match by 1 IMP and won the second by 25 IMPS.

We are lucky that there are people willing to give up their time to run such leagues, and to act as Tournament Directors for online bridge. Here are the results of last week from the Penarth-Sully online bridge, details and the hands are available on the Penarth Bridge Club web site. Just click on Results and then the appropriate date. Wed. 14th April; 1. Martin Thomas and Val Hetheridge (61.9%); 2. Pat James and Philip Bottrill (56.4%); 3. Evarard Kerslake and Meryl Skipper (55.6%).

Fri 16th April; 1. Judy Collins and Janet Cunnington (64.1%); 2. John Salisbury and Tony Ratcliff (58.3%); 3. Roy and John Holloway (55.7%). Please contact me or Meryl if you want to join. The current positions in Peter Sampson’s ladder are: 1. Angela Hudson and Rod Hudson; 2. Val Hetheridge and Sean MacDougall 3. Carolyn Matthews and Patsy Cohen. Our weekly zoom bridge classes continue. Let me know if you would like to join us.

Further information

If you have any views, hands, and information you would like to share, please email me, My articles are available online. Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance.