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A Lighter Look


“Who’s afraid of the big bad no trump

The big bad no trump, the big bad no trump

Who’s afraid of the big bad no trump….”

Not you nor partner nor I!

So, are you? Come on, you are vulnerable and have a modest hand but systemically you have a bid and the point count to justify an aggressive action:


Heart-small 84

Diamond-small Q974

Club-small JT

You are playing against opponents well able to wield the axe against 2Spade-small. So, you pass their strong no-trump opening.


It goes round to your partner who has the same point count, almost the same shape and the same system bid available. Partner holds:

Spade-small JT7

Heart-small KJ732

Diamond-small 8

Club-small KQ62

Same opponents, same threats of the red card or just -200 (it is Pairs but it is not much of a score at Teams, either!).

What’s your decision? Another chicken.gif

While this was happening, something almost too small to be noticed was happening around the tables of the Howick Bridge Club.

Jeremy system card.jpg

You may recognize the above, the inside of an official New Zealand Bridge System Card. It was a bridge tournament and our governing body’s rules say you should carry one of these around with you all the time. This player had even gone the extra mile of completing the inside, not necessary for a 3A event. Very honourable. So, what’s the fuss? Take a look at this:

Jeremy system card and STOP card.jpg

You may know those red cards used to slow the bidding down. They are of a size to notice but are not huge. Yet, these system cards, carried by both members of one partnership, though immaculately filled out, were smaller than a “STOP” card. Just a trifle hard to read.

The ruse seemed to work as Jeremy Fraser-Hoskin and Clair Miao worked their way through the first session scoring a very creditable 60%. Everyone looked at their system card but no-one could read a word! Excellent!

However, at lunch time, their opponents found the answer to combat this great tactical approach. Everyone put their glasses on…and immediately, Clair and Jeremy’s score dropped dramatically.

Back then to our two    chicken.gif

Yes, they passed out 1NT. These were the four hands:


South Deals
E-W Vul
4 2
10 9 6
K J 6 3
9 8 7 3
A K 9 8 3
8 4
Q 9 7 4
J 10
W   E
J 10 7
K J 7 3 2
K Q 6 2
Q 6 5
A Q 5
A 10 5 2
A 5 4
West North East South
      1 NT
All pass      


Best defence has 2Spade-small beaten by a trick while 2Heart-small makes on the nose. (normal defence on the day saw those in 2S score one over- trick.) South can score 7 tricks in 1NT. That fearsome North, GeO Tislevoll (in no way “a big bad wolf”) would have been a quiet mouse had either opponent bid.


Thanks in part to the two big chickens, GeO and his lovely wife Faith went on to win the event. As Faith said at the table after scoring 120 in 1NT, “ two big chickens make one big casserole”!

chicken casserole.png

p.s. We know that it was the three pigs which were being chased by the “big bad wolf” but they too were certainly “chicken”…and please bring your best glasses to the National Congress as Jeremy and his system card will be there too….

Richard Solomon



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