Improver articles

  • Daily Bridge in New Zealand

    11 Nov 2021

    Any rethink? For less experienced players and others. When you play “500”, you bid first time round or not at all. In Bridge, of course, you can pass several rounds of bidding and emerge “out of the bushes” with a bid. In... read more here

  • Daily Bridge in New Zealand

    14 Oct 2021

    Two, One or None: for less experienced players and others. Given a choice, what would be yours? No, we are not talking about the number of games of bridge you can have this week. No choice, there. The answer would certainly be “2” at... read more here

  • Become a Better Defender with Pam Livingston

    19 Jul 2021

    Pam Livingston is a regular member of our daily Panel, a New Zealand international bridge player and an expert bridge teacher. She is offering to help you to improve your defence. See below: Here is the link to view the lesson replay and to... read more here

  • Daily Bridge in New Zealand

    20 May 2021

    Beating the Gambler? for less experienced players and others. Much of Bridge bidding is relatively scientific to reach the best possible spot for our side…and then there is the Gambling 3NT opener. South DealsBoth Vul... read more here

  • Daily Bridge in New Zealand

    4 Feb 2021

    Friendly lead? For Less Experienced Players. The Lead and The Line. Is there a connection? There certainly can be. Sometimes you receive a very friendly lead and can play the board in a relatively easy manner, whatever that means! Then, there... read more here

  • Daily Bridge in New Zealand

    21 Jan 2021

    For Less Experienced Players. The Wrong Hand. It did not seem at the time such a big error to make…and it was not 100% terminal but a tiny mistake caused our declarer today to fail in what seemed to be a rock-solid contract.... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    17 Mar 2020

    This week’s board is topical as it occurred in last weekend’s North Island Teams. If you fail to find the correct line, do not feel too bad as the success rate of those in slam was not that high: match 6 Board 10North... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    10 Feb 2020

    Make Crime Pay. All the best bridge books (and probably some lesser ones too!) teach us how we should bid hands correctly, using tried and true methods. There can be no more” tried and true” convention than Blackwood, whichever form... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    5 Feb 2020

    Cutting down the Losers. When you are playing a suit contract, you must look at how many losers or possible losers you might have and then decide the best way to reduce that to a number where you can make your contract. When you are in 4 of a... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players revisited

    29 Jan 2020

    Another Duck! Lightning never strikes twice, does it? It sure does at the bridge table. same declarer same unusual situation same week same contract same lead… would that be 6 “same’s”? same result?... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    14 Jan 2020

    So Your Finesses Fail? Don’t Take Them! We are going to continue last week’s theme about the age-old art of finessing. It’s possible after reading these two articles that you will not take a finesse ever again. If so, you will... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    7 Jan 2020

    No Mirror Needed.  So, how many New Year’s Bridge resolutions did you make? No more overbidding. No more underbidding. You will probably achieve both of those if you stop playing the game! Otherwise, it’s not what you do but... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    25 Dec 2019

    Combining Chances It’s Christmas. It’s still bridge time  and there’s still some contracts to be made. This one is not where you really wanted to be but bidding one for the road seemed the right idea at the time. Back your... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    17 Dec 2019

    CRIME DOESN’T PAY….OR DOES IT? We are talking about “crime” in the bridge sense, of course. We would never advocate that committing any other kind of crime would be worthwhile, especially with Christmas, the season of... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    11 Dec 2019

    Christmas has come early: don’t you know it! Well, our declarer did not realise that an early Christmas gift had come their way when they played the following board recently. 23 high card points between the two hands and the sight of dummy... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    13 Nov 2019

    Patience and Prayer: The Day of the Jack (all!). It’s time to defend a hand. It’s one of those 3NT contracts where it looks like you are on your own. You have an 11 count, declarer a 10+ overcall and dummy an ominous 14. Partner could... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    29 Oct 2019

    Nice One, Michael. Two questions for you this week but do not feel too bad if you get the answers wrong. You would have plenty of top players for company. Firstly, you are on lead to 3NT and choose to lead the spade Jack. This is what you,... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    21 Oct 2019

    Bid it…and Make it. Catering for Normal Breaks. It was really good that 9 out of the 16 pairs who played the following board in Teams matches bid to the excellent 6 spade contract. What was a shame was that of those 9 pairs who were... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    10 Sep 2019

    It should not have made…but it did! Have you heard that before? Have you experienced that before? Be honest. Yes, you have. Recently? It’s OK… no-one is asking you to reveal! The defence was not that hard to find, either. Was... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    28 Aug 2019

    RIGHT SWITCH: WRONG RESULT? Good defence and good declarer play on the same board? The end result could well not be good for both sides.The defence did all they could to defeat declarer’s 4 level contract. Would it be enough? Let’s... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    19 Aug 2019

    Different Leads: Different Problems On the following board, most West players did the normal thing of leading their partner’s suit. You cannot be wrong even if you are not right! What would be your plan assuming you play low from dummy,... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    13 Aug 2019

    It’s OK to return partner’s suit…except…. When it’s wrong! Helpful advice? Not really. Defence can be hard (another unhelpful comment!), One factor which can make it easier is when our partner makes a bid.... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    6 Aug 2019

    Double and Defend Strongly when they overstep the mark. A couple of bidding situations for you first up…. for although this article is primarily about playing and defending hands, the bidding is very much connected with both. East’s... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    23 Jul 2019

    Trump Signals Can Save The Day… ….. or even help beat a contract. What are they? Normally, we follow quite meaninglessly with our two or three small trumps. We can give the order we play them a meaning. We focus on the other two... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    15 Jul 2019

    Clear Signal: Less Stress. We learn at an early stage of our Bridge development that we can tell our partner whether we like their lead or indeed which suit we would like them to play when they get on lead. There are various methods of doing so.... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    10 Jul 2019

    The Natural Reaction. You must know the saying “Cover an honour with an honour.” Perhaps, you know the unofficial end to this saying too: “Cover an honour with an honour unless it cannot benefit your side by doing so.”... read more here

  • New To The Table. The Play of the Hand.

    30 Jun 2019

    A Good time NOT to win a trick. We spend about half our time during the play of a hand defending. So, it is well worth looking at some of the things a good defender could do. That’s in addition to learning about playing hands and the... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    25 Jun 2019

    Bread and Butter Defending…but no jam! Sorry to be unsensational but it is very rare for any Pairs tournament to be won by one’s slam bidding or by bringing home low point-count risky 3NT contracts. It is much more likely to be won... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    10 Jun 2019

    Good Planning, Good Luck, Good Result The opposite is often true. A faulty line brings its deserved reward in failure. So, sometimes, sensible play will bring a little piece of good fortune and a good result. Keeping an eye on losers when playing... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    27 May 2019

    NOT MUCH TO DO…SO DO IT RIGHT! Most of the hands we discuss in these features are game contracts, needing to be made or defeated. Yet, whether you are playing Teams or Pairs, those part-scores are just as important. Here is one of those... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    21 May 2019

    A Touch of Good Fortune. A little levity but still a challenge for you in the play at the same time. So, we can combine the headings from two features into one. You are playing a Teams style match when your opponents engage in what sounds like a... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    7 May 2019

    “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” “I had my 10 high card points. I held two aces. Why shouldn’t I overcall?” muttered East after the opposition’s game contract slithered home. East was not finished yet,... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    30 Apr 2019

    Creating an Illusion. Pure Cheek: Pure Tempo. A break this week from how you should or should not play or defend a board. We are nevertheless going to give you a declarer problem. You are East below after a very natural bidding sequence to 3NT.... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    24 Apr 2019

    A “Sweet” Lead but Just Dessert. When you get what looks like a lucky lead, don’t waste your good fortune. Then is the time to be extra extra careful or else you will waste your good luck and will not be so lucky next time.... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    15 Apr 2019

    Getting the Message Across. As a defender, we are not allowed to speak to one’s partner during the defence. You can communicate by the play of the cards but that is all. We call it signalling. It takes two “to tango” and two to... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    8 Apr 2019

                Trust your Partner: not their Bidding! The first half of the above statement is definitely true. It is great for partnership morale and it is usually good for your score as well!... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    2 Apr 2019

    TOO GOOD TO WASTE Most players who have been playing bridge for a while realise that one way they can reduce the losers they have in a side-suit, where dummy has a shortage in that side-suit is to use dummy’s trumps to ruff those losers.... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    25 Mar 2019

    “Grand” Counting. It is amazing what you can discover about the shape of one’s opponents’ hands by simply playing out winners. It can have a significant impact on how you will play in arriving at a key decision. When... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    13 Mar 2019

    IMPRESSIVE IMPROVERS! Quite often in this feature, we look how a deal has been misplayed or misdefended and examine how it should have been handled correctly. It is nice to be able to relate here the story of the excellent way an Auckland... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    5 Mar 2019

                Where There’s Life, there Can Still Be 9 Tricks. When only 7 out of 29 players made a “cold” 3NT contract in the recent North Island Teams, it may be worth a... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    26 Feb 2019

    A HELPING HAND That’s for your partner. The idea is that when you are defending you combine to find the best defence possible. Sometimes, the best action to take is obvious to you. You do not need partner’s advice. Yet, on other... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    18 Feb 2019

    “COUNTING MATTERS” Well, not all the time…not on every deal but sometimes giving count and interpreting the count of a suit is vital. Let’s defend the following deal and understand why. You are sitting East and hold the... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    4 Feb 2019

    “A GREEK GIFT”. Was it inadvertent? Had the declarer pulled the wrong card by mistake? Just take a deep breath before you follow with a low card. You were only entitled to two spade tricks but now seemed to have three!... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    27 Jan 2019

    Time To Count. Declarer’s hand, that is (well, for today! A declarer may well be able to count a defender’s hand too.) Is that something you never do, rarely do, try and do but get stuck and confused or always do? Be honest. While a... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    21 Jan 2019

    A Time to Draw Trumps Generally, defenders do not, or should not, draw trumps, especially at trick 1. One time when it is correct to disobey that rule is when the defence has the majority of high card points. In this situation, the contract may... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    14 Jan 2019

    False Confidence Some good defence left a declarer recently with a large slice of egg on their face. The defence was better than their bidding but it was the declarer who was found wanting at the crunch moment:   Board... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    7 Jan 2019

    NEW YEAR: SAME OLD Welcome to a brand-new year of bridge. New resolutions made..and for bridge players, that means wishes like: no more dropping partner in part-score when you know you should be in game no more forgetting to return... read more here

  • A Miracle for Christmas Day

    25 Dec 2018

    A nice Christmas message for you. They happen at the bridge table, too. As you unwrap your Christmas presents, have a read of the following. You can read it on two levels. If you are an experienced player, you can challenge yourself on making the... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    18 Dec 2018

    ONE CHANCE…BETTER THAN NO CHANCE! Even if it is a slim chance! If you have a small chance which is almost no cost if it fails, then try it. Sometimes, at Christmas, when you got out of the right side of bed that day, on your birthday, when... read more here

  • Play and Defend Better: for improving players

    10 Dec 2018

    Cast Aside Self Pity :Match their Good Defence! Why is it when you are in times of need (I know, your contracts always seem to be in a state of need…needing a favourable lead, needing a finesse or three to work, needing just a little slice... read more here

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