Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

15 Days to better bridge – a web odyssey

There is so much great stuff on the web that I decided to see if I could find one thing each day that would help me to be a better bridge player.  Here is my challenge.  Each day I must find something that I believe will really help me and/or my partnerships to improve and each one must be different.  I will report back my adventures.  I am always happy for suggestions if you want to help me along.

I will of course also report any misadventures or false steps along the way. 

Day 1

My first stop was the playBridge Hand Generator at  I actually do have Dealmaster Pro.  Dealmaster Pro ( is much more flexible but the playBridge Hand Generator is free and looks like a good fast way to create a few practice hands to bid.  It has the basic constraints you would want, allowing you to control suit length and high card points.  They could make it better by adding definitions, like a weak 2 bid or a one spade bid, allowing combinations of suits either spades or hearts are 5 cards long etc.  I do like one feature.  You can deal hands with specific target cards in a hand.  For example, you can say that you want north to have the SA and the HA. 

Deal generators are good not just to deal out hands but to test ideas but bidding and play.  You can deal out hundreds of hands and analyze which approach works best.  I remember Paul Heitner talked to me about this idea 20 years ago.   (Paul, known as the Whale, died too young, was editor of Bridge Journal and a fine bridge player.)

I followed a link from Playbridge and found David Stevenson’s page and saw a page on bridge laws.  The laws have recently changed so I thought I would take a look.  A lot of it seems a bit old but the heading psyche articles catches my attention.  I don’t know why I find pysches fascinating.  I never make them but I know, in my heart, I want to sometimes.  There is an interesting idea here about pysches and false cards.

The author Robin Barker points out that if partnership know that they will use false cards in a number of positions then they have an agreement and really should disclose it to the opponents.  There is some truth to this but however would you do it.  I have thought before that carding is an area of very poor disclosure.  His links to the updated laws don’t work so I do my own searching but before I go I can’t resist a few of Robin’s humour links first.  I love the Edgar Kaplan quotes.  Try this link to for even more of Edgar: 

Here are a few Edgar items

The Canadians made dubious penalty doubles at both tables (dubious by my standards, but I double fewer voluntarily bid games than most -I figure that good opponents, looking at their cards, may know what they are doing).This led to a huge swing after Sutherlin’s courageous four-spade bid (…) (I would have used a different adjective had he taken a painful penalty).I’ve never understood why they say that down one is good bridge. [after a partscore went one down; with the same cards, Meckstroth made 3NT+1] Making an overtrick –that’s good bridge.

I found the 2007 laws at this location.

The first thing I noticed was that it had 69 pages which seemed like an awful lot. Couldn’t they just list what had changed. Right up front I see the definition of a psychic call. I remember an argument on BBO about whether random bids over 1C are psychic. It is defined as a deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength and/or suit length. I think that does mean that random bids over 1C are indeed psychic.

Things I didn’t know but aren’t very useful

a player could request a cut of the pack after the shuffle. 

you have to look at your cards before bidding

Useful things I should have known

During the auction any player can draw attention to an irregularity even if it isn’t his turn

Dummy isn’t allowed to draw attention to an irregularity until the end of play but may attempt to prevent a player’s committing an irregularity. 

If you can’t play the board the best result that can be awarded (if you are not at fault) is average plus (60%) and the worst average minus (40%) (normally plus or minus 3 imps)

A logical alternative action is one that among the class of player and using the methods of that partnership would be given serious consideration by a significant proportion of such players and some might select it.

you can ask for an explanation of a bid throughout the card play (at your turn)

Okay, I made it to page 20.    It is kind of interesting but I am not sure it is really making me a better player.  I will bookmark it and read more if I am having trouble sleeping.

I am at a bit of a dead end and so I decide to google bridge movies.  I wind up at Jeff Goldsmith’s Home Page.

Lots of interesting stuff here .  I try a couple of hands in the KR evaluator (Kaplan- Rubens) and it seems to do a good job of evaluating distributional hands (well, I agree with it anyhow).

The bridge movies and problems … finally the meat.

I am playing matchpoints… can’t be good.  Here is the first hand decision:

You have S A98765 H K D AQ105 C J2

Partner opens 1H and you bid 1S (which shows 5 in your methods – you play Flannery).  Now partner bids 1NT shows 12-15.  You can bid 2D an artificial inquiry, 3S forcing, 3NT or 4S. 

This is matchpoints so I think 3NT is an easy call.  It could be right at any scoring.

I push the button and find out I have got 80% on that board.  Maybe I do like matchpoints.

This is definitely a lot of fun.  (There are other types of movies and problems too).  I am going to get Ray to try this out and get into a matchpoint mood before Sydney.

Going through the entire bridge movie taught me a number of interesting bidding ideas for matchpoints.  I have learned something!

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