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Apr 15th

A Difference of Opinion

It was a beautiful bright Spring morning and I had just turned the computer off, happy in the knowledge that all of our subscribers had their Saturday Hand of the Week email to play over their croissants, jam and a steaming mug of tea. What could be a nicer way to start the weekend?

We started sending our Hand of the Week newsletters out in February and judging by the encouraging feedback, we’re not alone in thinking that having an interactive bridge hand with commentary by an eminent bridge author to play is a thoroughly pleasant pastime to enjoy each weekend.

As I closed the computer and thought of the hand I’d just sent, Reading the Cards by prolific and popular bridge author David Bird, I imagined all of our subscribers up and down the country, plus a few more at the further reaches of the globe, playing the hand and benefiting from David’s expert tuition. I could almost see those smiles and hear that collective “Ah, yes David, I see what you mean”…

…Except that one subscriber didn’t agree. When I checked my emails on Monday morning, I was surprised to find that not only did Cliff H not agree with David Bird’s recommended line of play, but he’d taken the time and trouble to write out exactly how he thought the hand should be played.

So, I decided to copy Cliff’s email on the blog, to see what you think. But first, here’s the Hand of the Week in question. Try it for yourself then see below Cliff’s recommended line of play.

Cliff’s Email

Hand of the week.


Thanks for this. What’s wrong with:

Trick 1, Ace of spades

Tricks 2 – 4 3 rounds of hearts, finishing in hand

Tricks 5 – 8 4 rounds of clubs taking the marked finesse and discarding a small diamond from hand

Trick 9 exit with two small spades (one from each hand) to West – unless she’s psychic there will still be one of Q and J of spades in the West hand

Trick 10 is then the surrendering of a ruff and discard with a spade (ruff in the N hand and discard another diamond from the S hand) lead from W or a diamond away from the king – either gives S the rest of the tricks?

This play safeguards against East holding the Jack of diamonds. I know many Wests who would open 1S with the hands given – with a small diamond from the East hand swapped with the Jack of diamonds from the West hand. The suggested line fails against this alternative set of holdings. My line succeeds unless West is Sabine Auken.

All best wishes

Cliff H

More About Cliff

Name: Cliff H

Bridge player for: 45 years

Level of expertise: Amateur

Preferred bidding system: SEHAWK (Standby Every Hand A White Knuckle Ride)

What Do You Think?

You’ve played the hand, read David Bird’s commentary and seen how Cliff a.k.a. Mr SEHAWK would have played it. But what do you think? We’d love to hear from you. You can share your thoughts and ideas easily with us by leaving a reply at the end of this article. Next week, we’ll tell you what David Bird said in response to Cliff H’s email…

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