Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Day 3 – Internet journey to better bridge

I really want to learn lots today so I decided to go to Larry Cohen’s website.

It contains a lot of interesting looking articles.  It has a lot of material for beginners and intermediates too.

Larry has done three books so far which are Master Point Press titles, the most famous is To Bid or Not to bid – about the law of total tricks.  I like all of Larry Cohen’s writing and Larry Cohen’s Bidding Challenge is no exception.  Here you and your partner can bid hands and then compare with the world’s best since all the hands are taken from Invitational Pairs events.  (For a sample see the PDF at

I love Larry’s CD My favourite 52 hands (he has a sample on his website).  There is lots more on this site and I know that I would like to read his article about the finals of the team trials (which they lost in the last set) but I will save that for another time.

 If you can’t learn something on this site then get off the web and come back later when you are not bridge brain dead. Larry Cohen is definitely one of the outstanding bridge teachers and authors (and players) of this generation. His website however, could use some better organization but with material of this quality, I don’t care.

To start off I read an article called Don’t Give Up and by the first few paragraphs I realize that he has made me think differently. This is a play hand but there is an interesting point in the bidding. You try it: You have S AJ H A108754 D Q5 C AJ3 You open 1H in second chair (white on red) and LHO bids 2NT for the minors. Partner bids 3C which you have agreed shows a limit raise or better in hearts. RHO passes. What do you do? My immediate reaction (and the bid at the table) is to cuebid 3S since slam is certainly possible. Larry suggest bidding 3D as a game try. If partner signs off raise then you can forget about slam and just bid 4H. I see that is the right bid now. The play portion of the hand (which includes a strip and endplay) has an interesting inference. It is natural to think about what the 2NT bidder holds but don’t forget to consider his partner who passed in first chair. (In this case you can deduce that his partner does not hold SKQ109xx since he would have opened a weak 2 spade bid and that helps you to plan the play). The most interesting part of declarer play and defense for me is to use all the clues from the bidding and choice of plays to work out what is going on. When I am in the zone I can do this well. This article reminds me about how to organize my thinking to move into the play zone more often.

The next article I read is called a vital opening lead. It contains a useful point. Try the lead first S J643 H 98732 D 3 C 1042 The auction goes 3NT gambling on your right showing a solid minor with no outside cards and 6NT on your left. What would you lead. Now I am going to give you a hint. You have an agreement with your partner that in an auction like this if dummy jumps to a slam and dummy hasn’t bid a suit, a double asks for the highest unbid suit (here a spade). If this helped you to pick a heart lead you are a winner. Dummy held S AK107 H K10 D 84 C AKQJ8 (and should have bid 6D). You can guess where the rest of the high hearts are! I immediately check my notes. I don’t have an agreement! Definitely something to add.

Obviously I will come back to this site but time to move on. But before I go I sign up for his newsletter and I read the current addition. I suggest you do too.

Well since today is going to be a great day I decide to go to the website of another author and a great friend, Eddie Kantar

It is impossible to say enough about Eddie Kantar.  I love him and his wife Yvonne.  Eddie is a prolific Master Point Press author.  I had the privilege of working with him on his latest update to Roman Keycard Blackwood, coming soon.  He is also one of the great players and it is fascinating to listen to him discuss a deal.  You can’t help but learn something.  If I had to pick a bridge teacher for any level of player Eddie would be my first choice.   Enough!

First I start at the humour page, just to warm me up.  Here are a couple of samples:  The ones I chose are more things to think about.  I think I should pin this one to my terminal (when I play online)

It’s not the handling of difficult hands that makes the winning player. There aren’t enough of them. It’s the ability to avoid messing up the easy ones.

-S. J. Simon 

Here is one that Ray and I always use.

When I take a 50-50 chance, I expect it to come off 8 or 9 times out of 10.

-The Hideous Hog. 

There is a lot on this website too but for today I decide to try one or two test your play.  ( I wish he separated the answers from the problem but I do this by moving the window towards the bottom of my screen and hiding the answer.  I try problem 11 and 12.  I like problem 12 better but both would be suitable for advanced players.  I suppose that doing a lot of them would be decent practice for brushing up on my technique although so far I would be disappointed if I didn’t get them right.

Wanting more. I checkout double dummy problems (which are described as mostly aimed at the average reader) but try #1 Hard to imagine which is labelled as a toughie.  It is.  I get most of it quite easily but it will take a while to get the whole solution right.  Here is the problem but head over to the website for the solution at


                                 S. K742

                                 H. 8 

                                 D. 87532 

                                 C. 1098 

West                                              East

S. J53                                             S. AQ10

H. Q97653                                      H. J42 

D. AKQJ                                         D. 10964 

C. –                                                C. 543 


                                 S. 986

                                 H. AK10 

                                 D.  –

                                 C. AKQJ762 

South to make 5C after West leads the DA. 

I know that double dummy problems don’t make me a better player (even if they are fun) so I move on to ideas.

There are a lot of good ideas here.  I gravitate quickly to an article on responding to 2NT (with slam invitational hands).   I have never found a way that I love to handle the auction after an opening 2NT.

It does have a lot of interesting ideas and I think is better than what Isabelle and I play now but I know that Isabelle hates the idea of using 2NT-3NT as a relay (if you want to bid 3NT you have to start with 3S which forces 3NT).  I will ask Ray and Colin to take a peak and see what they say.

One last interesting thing from Eddie’s bio

 Eddie with Aldred Sheinwold being inducting into the

Bridge Hall of Fame.


Eddie is the only person ever to have played in a World Bridge Championship and a World Table Tennis Championship.  Eddie was inducted into the Bridge Hall of Fame in 1996, the same year he was inducted into the Minnesota State Table Tennis Hall of Fame.

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