Hand of the Week (updated November 17)

Bridge is a fascinating game because bridge players are always learning! Even though you have learned all the rules and know how to apply them, you must pay close attention to the bidding and communicate well with your partner if you want to be a strong, competitive player. You should base your bidding on points and length of suits, but you should also re-evaluate your hand throughout the bidding. Reading books and studying can help, but you can learn a lot by analysing the hands after you have bid and played them. Mistakes are beneficial for you as long as you learn something from them. Experience is often the best teacher!

Here are some games that I have actually played. I have picked these particular games because I felt I had learned something new and valuable from reviewing them afterwards. These hands can be a good learning tool for anyone wanting to learn more, but may be especially helpful for duplicate players who want to improve their scores.

Here are some suggestions: (1) Try bidding the hands before looking at the bidding scenarios. (2) Set up the hands and have 4 players bid and play them before looking at the results. See how the bidding compares with the results shown. It may or may not surprise you that there can be huge variations in the results. Some players are more aggressive and take chances. Some are meticulous about strictly following the rules. Some know how to make it difficult for their opponents to get a good score.

This is also a good introduction to give you a sense of the game of duplicate for those wanting to try it. I like to play duplicate because it helps me to improve my performance and sharpen my skills; it helps me learn from my mistakes; I enjoy the challenge of trying to do better; I enjoy good, friendly competition.

Why should social bridge players consider playing duplicate if they are not interested in competition? First of all, it helps you learn more if you use the hand records to analyse the bidding and the play to see how you and your partner can improve. Second, the benefit is that duplicate games are usually set up using a card dealer machine which deals hands with equal opportunities for both N/S and E/W to bid and take contracts. You won’t sit there for an afternoon without getting any points and the chance to bid. When humans shuffle and deal the cards, sometimes one side gets most of the points for that day and the other side rarely gets a chance to bid. You will have more fun when you can bid and play hands as frequently as everyone else. And third, you are given a score that compares you and your partner to others who had the same hands that you did. In social bridge games, you can have good hands and bid/play them poorly and still get the top score. However, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t play social bridge just for fun!

Please email me at info@ateacherfirst.com if you have any comments. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Here is an explanation of how to interpret duplicate scores: How to Read and Understand Duplicate Results

#56 – Hand of the Week
Distribution can make quite a difference!

#55 – Hand of the Week
Re-thinking a “bust” hand.

#54 – Hand of the Week
Assessing and communicating game potential

#53 – Hand of the Week
Slam it or forget it?

#52 – Hand of the Week
Aggressive players often finish first!

#51 – Hand of the Week
Sometimes your competitors get a break and you don’t.

#50 – Hand of the Week
When not vulnerable, go for it!

#49 – Hand of the Week
Be sure to take the contract to game when you have the points. “The one who knows, goes!”

#48 – Hand of the Week
The power of the pre-empt.

#47 – Hand of the Week
What to do after the transfer.

#46 – Hand of the Week
How much will you compete? And how will you play the hand?

#45- Hand of the Week
How would you open this hand?

#44 -Hand of the Week
Sometimes there is no easy bid.

#43 – Hand of the Week
It is not nice to thank the opponents for their mistakes.

#42 – Hand of the Week
Opponent’s bidding should not deter you.

#41 – Hand of the Week
Making it difficult for your opponents to find the best contract.

#40 – Hand of the Week
Major or Minor Suit? Finding the best contract can be difficult.

#39 – Hand of the Week
Very curious bidding!

#38 – Hand of the Week
Play of the hand — be careful!

#37 – Hand of the Week
“Fits take tricks!” and other things to learn

#36 – Hand of the Week
Communication between partners is very important.

#35 – Hand of the Week
Finding slam and the best contract.

#34 – Hand of the Week
Knowing when to “hold ’em and when to fold ’em” applies to bidding for bridge contracts, too. Sometimes it’s best to give it up and let them take the contract, even when you know you have game-going points.

#33 – Hand of the Week
Don’t be so intimidated by an opponent’s weak, but aggressive, overcall meant to make bidding difficult for you. Partners must learn how to handle this kind of interfering bid. There’s a reason why the opponents do this and it’s very frustrating when they are successful.

#32 – Hand of the Week
Can you bid and play better?

#31 -Hand of the Week
With 5-4 in the majors, how do your respond to partner’s NT bid?

#30 – Hand of the Week
What’s your strategy to play this hand?

#29 – Hand of the Week
Sometimes you cannot find the perfect bid.

#28- Hand of the Week
When most do not bid slam and most do not make slam, you know it’s a challenging game!

#27 – Hand of the Week
Assessing your hand with a void.

#26 – Hand of the Week
These players had some difficulty with the bidding and the playing.

25 – Hand of the Week
Can you correct an error when bidding? Sometimes you can, with some quick thinking.

#24 – Hand of the Week
How weak should you be to open with a 6-card suit?

#23 – Hand of the Week
How would you bid E/W hands? If you were North, on lead, which card would you pick?

#22 – Hand of the Week
How will you handle an interfering bid after 1NT opening by partner?
Is a 5-3 fit in a major better than a 4-4 fit? With 5-4 in the majors, should you use Stayman or Jacoby?

#21 – Hand of the Week
Pre-emptive bids can be a boondoggle for the opponents.

#20 – Hand of the Week
Sometimes it is difficult to bid a slam.

#19 – Hand of the Week
Is it better to be in a NT contract or minor suit contract? Is a 7-card fit in a major better than a NT contract?

#18 – Hand of the Week
With a long, strong suit, be aggressive.

#17 – Hand of the Week
Slam is not always easy to bid. Sometimes slam will make because the risk is not there.

#16 – Hand of the Week
Slam was there. Why didn’t it make?

#15 – Hand of the Week
Partner opens with a Weak Two bid. Should you bid or pass?

#14 – Hand of the Week
Sometimes bridge can make you laugh. Playing with a partner who prefers 3NT contracts over any other game contract can be frustrating, but also interesting. A good sense of humor should be a pre-requisite to playing bridge.

#13 – Hand of the Week
A pre-emptive weak bid can be a good strategy, especially when your side is not vulnerable. Should you make a sacrifice or not?

#12 – Hand of the Week
Should you open 1NT or 1♠ with 5 spades and 16 HCP? Opinions vary on this. The results may surprise you.

#11 – Hand of the Week
Some players have all the luck. Bid to game and go down. Don’t bid to game and make it. <Sigh> We were Pair #7 East/West, bid appropriately, played the best we could, and yet got only an average board on this one.


The hands below have been posted for a long time. The more recent ones are above.

#1 – Hand of the Week
Hint: Fits take tricks. Don’t rely on point count alone.

#2 – Hand of the Week
Which call would you make — double or overcall?

#3 – Hand of the Week
Overcalling with a NT bid, when appropriate, gives partner valuable information.

#4 – Hand of the Week
Should I focus on the safer minor suit or risk NT with a singleton?

#5 – Hand of the Week
Afraid to play your Ace? Then you may be giving the opponents a top board.

#6 – Hand of the Week
A skillful play of the hand can take enough tricks for game, even when it is not biddable.

#7 – Hand of the Week
A singleton in opponent’s suit should be evaluated accordingly.

#8 – Hand of the Week
With 18 HCP and a void in opponent’s suit, force partner to bid!

#9 – Hand of the Week
The meek vs. the brave … the scores are the proof as to whether your non-competitive strategy was a good one.

#10 – Hand of the Week
Both sides have equal points and both are vulnerable. Which side has the most stamina and courage to take the contract? Communication and trust between partners and analyzing the bidding helps!