Newsletter April 2017

Its a real pleasure to see how so many players have advanced in this last year. Bridge on Sundays was formed to enable those having lessons (by me in the early days) have somewhere to play in a friendly atmosphere. Going to a bridge club can be a bit daunting for the first few time, so we provided that link between the serious clubs and teaching.

A query that seems to crop up with far too frequent regularity is the "short minor". An opening bid of a minor suit is neither alertable or announceable provided it always has at least three cards in the suit. If it can be 2 cards then you say so. Bidding systems like a strong club (Precision, ~Blue etc) are alertable because there need not be any clubs in the hand. Likewise, an opening 1 that shows no five suit except s is alertable. Players who use 5 card majors systems often have to open with a minor suit, but provided it is at least a 3 card suit it is not announceable. 5 card majors is the norm in Europe and USA so the majority of the worlds bridge players play some sort of similar system. Opening the bidding with a 3 card club suit was part of the old Acol system when you held a 3-3-3-4 hand and more points that the 1NT opening required. So if opponents open a minor suit and do not alert or announce it, you should not ask if it can be short!

Recently Harlow Knights Club has been debating whether players should have convention cards. Harlow has decided sensibly that anyone playing "standard English" need not have a convention card, but everyone else should have at least one card between the partnership.

At charity bridge drives, only simple systems have been allowed. Perhaps it's time for a change. Now red suit transfers are allowed, and with many players going to formal lessons, I've been asked to allow weak twos in the major suits showing a 6 card suit and 6-10 pts. Players who only play social bridge may not easily be able to cope with this pre-emptive bid, so we need to balance their needs against those of the more progressive players. We will decide how to implement any change, if the charity organisers decide that weak twos may be played