This blog provides supplementary thoughts and ideas to the site. If you haven't seen the main site, there is a lot there including the Martel and Rodwell interviews, photos, and articles. This blog is focused on advancing bridge theory by discussing the application of new ideas. All original content is copyright 2009 Glen Ashton.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Linda Lee continues to be one of bridge's most prolific bloggers. She is now starting what will be an interesting two weeks plus: "15 Days to better bridge - a web odyssey" at

In an earlier post today Linda was talking about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and Jonathan Ferguson - I haven't run into a Buffet table yet, but I certainly partnered Jonathan, and I was shown on the Canadian national news, nameless, playing against Gates in the 2002 Worlds (Karen and I were in the mixed up Pairs). Gates was very kind to allow me to take some photos of him at the time, one here:

Yesterday Linda mentioned the love of reading old Bridge Worlds. I've been a subscriber for close to 30 years, and I love old BWs and I love my new BWs when they arrive each month. A BW subscription is one of the best ways of improving your game fast, aside from Linda's 15 days.

For example, the August issue had Kokish and Kraft conducting the Challenge the Champs bidding feature. On one hand they note that after 2C-2D;-2S-3S;-?, opener's 4 of a new suit should be natural, as a slam could be cold in another suit (often a 4-4 fit while the longer spades provide discards). Thus 2C-2D;-2S-3S;-3NT should initiate the cuebidding sequences - this is wise from a useful space principle (the principle first discussed in BW) - opener is never going to show all but responder will have just a few values to cuebid, with opener being captain of the auction.

Speaking of cuebidding and strong hands with spades, Ken Rexford has been discussing using two strong forcing openings - 2C and 2D. Certainly the French do this quite a bit, and my partnerships were using a style in the 80s with 2D as a game forcing hand with a four card major and longer second suit (Over the 2D opening, responder can bid 2H without 4+Hs, 2S with 4+Hs but without 4Ss, and 2NT with both majors) - modified from a BW article by Australian David Morgan (who lived in Ottawa for a bit). Ken's idea is that 2D shows 4+Ss, and 2C denies 4Ss. If you play two strong openings, I like this approach for the split. See:

Speaking of prolific bloggers, there is a lot of activity recently at:

Today Meg Myers had a great article on how to promote the game for the younger players. Yesterday, McKenzie Myers gave a detailed breakdown of extended Stayman. Lots of useful information and postings at this web site and blog.

The Burton Bridge club (UK) has a section on conventions on their web site, and Ray Green submitted a good piece on the Vertigo convention:

I expect this convention will become very popular. One modification I will suggest is based on the approach that was used by Molson-Baran: when 1NT is not vulnerable and playing at matchpoints (or Board-a-match), 2m shows a 5 card major and 3+ in the minor (not 4+) - this gets all your hands with five card majors into the bidding. In the 80s during a local regional they scooped all the matchpoints by overcalling 1NT with 2C on a 3-5-2-3 (their 2C overcall showed 3+Cs and a five card major). 1NT not-vulnerable is a great spot for the opponents - if you have +110 your way (2 of a major, 3 of a minor), they can afford to go down 2 in 1NT (-100). One of the best articles ever on this is Chris Ryall's:

I mentioned in a previous blog post that if you have any questions, email me at

I've moved most of my email activity to various gmail accounts, so don't use older ones please.

This month, I received a question about Total Victory and 1C-1D(hearts);-1S - what is it and what happens next?

On page 20 of the Victory notes, you will notice this bid is MIA (missing in action) - it shows 4+Ss, fewer than 3Hs, and an unbalanced hand with clubs. For follow-up sequences see page 163 of ETM Gold:

After 1C-1D(hearts);-1S-?

Pass, 1NT, 2C, 2H are signoffs (if you have long diamonds, pick one of these, usually 1NT or 2C).
2D is artificial game force.
2S is mild invite.
2NT to 3S are invites.

This is like a standard 1C-1H;-1S sequence, with 2D "fourth suit" game forcing.

You can modify this to play 2C is a signoff in either minor - opener bids 2D if does not know which. This two-way bid can also be used in the standard 1C-1H;-1S sequence to produce a D signoff, and now I'll signoff here before this blog entry gets too long.


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