Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Colbert’s Rules

Colbert’s Rules

Playing with Ray in the CNTC qualifying a few days ago we met Dave Colbert in the final round. Some years ago Mike Cafferata one of Dave’s frequent partners wrote a series of article for Canadian Master Point in which he outlined a series of rules called Colbert’s Rules. These were the rules that Dave made his partners play and they still seem very good to me. To research this post I looked the articles up in Northern Lights a book we published a few years ago. If you haven’t read this book borrow a copy from your friends or buy one it is still a terrific book and lots of fun to read. It is the best of our old magazine Canadian Master Point.

Colbert’s rule #4 is one of our favourites. Ray and I quote it to each other from time to time when we are playing. It is:

Look for excuses to bid, not excuses not to bid

So it was funny that in our relatively short match against Dave two examples of this rule came up. The first time one of us invited and partner sank into thought before passing. This is almost a sure sign that Colbert’s rule has been broken and indeed it had been. The game was a good one and it made. A few hands later Dave showed us the way.

He held SK10X H AKX D AKQJX C Ax

and opened 2C when his partner bid 2H showing 3 points or less and no kings.  Dave decided to bid 3NT. At the other table our partners bid a more obvious 2NT which was passed by partner who could not offer any help with

S xxxx H xxx Dxx C 98xx

Dave figured that he had 8 tricks and even if partner could not make a contribution he had 9 on a spade lead and on any other lead he would have chances. I did lead a spade from S QJX H Jx D xxx C QJxxx and Dave quickly claimed 3. The whole hand was


  S XXXX  
  H XXX  
  D XX  
  C 98XX  
Me   Ray
H Jx   H Q10XXX
  S K10X  
  H AKX  
  C AX  


At the other table the CQ was lead and this proved to be allow 9 tricks as well. In fact I believe the hand can be made on any lead.  Declarer ducks a club and runs diamonds.  Ray will have to either throw a heart or stiff his spade Ace.  If the former Dave can play a small spade if the latter Dave can play three rounds of hearts and endplay Ray in spades.

1 Comment

RayJanuary 8th, 2008 at 11:35 am

Linda has saved me some embarrassment by not giving in full the deal from this match where I disobeyed Rule #4 and cost our side a game swing. Rust is my only excuse (I play about twice a year these days). If most players followed Colbert’s Rules their game would improve noticeably.

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