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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

BridgeMatters Blog moved to BridgeBest!

This last Wednesday we received this email from "The Blogger Team, Google":
You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at are set up to publish via FTP. Earlier this year we announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and that deadline of May 1st is quickly approaching. This is the second and final email reminder ...
Basically it means no more blog, in blogger format, hosted on

The blog has now been moved to the BridgeMatters owned site:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My fav big club auction and multi-way 1C openings

Two new posts on


The new site was up for most of the day yesterday, but sorry when it does have problems, as there's a problem we are still hunting down. Tomorrow, the last day of the Google deadline, there will be a post here explaining why the blog had to move. Btw an easy way to send me a message is just use the BridgeBest message feature.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Don't be a small game hunter

This blog post is up at its new home at:

If returns an error (since I use cheap hosting), please retry in a couple of minutes. (but not the blog) will remain on the more expensive hosting to ensure that the items offered on the site remain online at most times.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The 3+ Step Mechanism

This post has been moved to:

as part of moving the blog to its new home on

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Issues May Changes

The April issues of both The Bridge World and the ACBL Bridge Bulletin arrived in the mail this week, and in typical fashion for me, I headed right to the bidding articles. Quebec City's Dimiter Zlatanov continues his intriguing set of articles on bidding concerns - in The Bridge World April issue he looks at bid assignments when the person bidding has shown a suit, and is now showing a fit for partner, where the partnership will reach game or slam in the fit suit. He suggests the following steps, and I'll use the sequence 1S-2D(GF);-2H-2S;-? as an example (not one of the examples in the article as its fun to see how well the idea extends itself):

Step 1 (3NT): no shortness (in this example exactly 5-4-2-2)
Step 2 (4C): singleton or void in clubs (using the article rule "the lowest possible bid shows shortness in the suit of its bid - I prefer the rule show shortness in reverse suit ranking order).
Step 3 (4D): singleton in diamonds.
Step 4 (4H): void in diamonds.

Btw if you were just going to buy one issue of The Bridge World, how could you beat an issue with a Spingold final write-up by Rosenberg, an interview with Zia, and Kantar cleverly discussing "Playing a Suit for No Tricks". I don't even need to give the full name of these authors, they are so well known. Linda Lee discusses the issue further here:

In the ACBL Bridge Bulletin, Billy Miller continues his new series of articles on bidding devices, The Coolest Gizmos and Gadgets. In the April issue he looks at an expert approach when Stayman is doubled. He recommends:


Pass: no club stopper
Redouble: four really good clubs or five decent ones
2D, 2H, 2S: normal Stayman replies, but with a club stopper

After 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-P-?

Redouble: tell me what you have with special replies (see below)
2D: A hand that used Stayman to pass whatever opener bid
2H: A hand that used Stayman to show both majors, weak
2S: A hand that used Stayman to invite in spades

Although not noted in the article, these 2D, 2H, and 2S bids by responder depend on the partnership agreement of when and when not Stayman is used - for example is Garbage Stayman allowed by the partnership.

After 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-P-XX-P;-? (here opener has shown no club stopper, and then responder has asked, with special replies)

2D: 4Hs, not 4Ss
2H: 4Ss, not 4Hs
2S: no four card major
2NT: both majors, minimum
3C: both majors, maximum

These replies are designed to get responder to play the hand if there is a major fit, in order that any club value that responder may have is protected on the opening lead - since opener has no club stopper, one needs methods over the normal approach of the 1NT opener plays most contracts.

All of this works, but my previous study of this type of treatment has shown one problem - if pass denies a club stopper, but otherwise does not show or deny anything in particular, the auction will often be 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-3C-?, and now the gadgetry above is off, and you need even more gadgetry.

If your partnership memory can handle it, you really want the special stuff immediately over the double, such as:


Pass: club stopper, can have good/great clubs - now redouble by responder asks
Redouble: no stopper and no major
2D: 4Hs, not 4Ss, no club stopper
2H: 4Ss, not 4Hs, no club stopper
2NT: both majors, minimum, no club stopper
3C: both majors, maximum, no club stopper

After 1NT-P-2C-X;-P-P-XX-P;-?

Pass : good/great clubs, and a hand that would bid 1NT-P-2C-X;-XX in standard.
2D: club stopper, no major
2H/S: natural, club stopper

To simply to a meta-agreement, play transfers over the double, and use pass to show a stopper if the double was lead directional, and use pass to show extra values if double showed strength. After the pass (stopper showing or extra values depending on meaning of double), redouble by partner asks for natural bidding. Thus we have:


Pass: club stopper, or good clubs - now redouble by responder asks for natural replies
Redouble: transfer, shows what a 2D bid would have shown, no stopper
2D: 4Hs, no club stopper
2H: 4Ss, no club stopper

This is not the coolest gizmo but quite workable in the heat of competition.