Welcome to my new site, news on upcoming lectures

I have moved all the free Bridge lesson material that was in the Bridge area on KittyCooper.com to this site. Well almost all of it. Let me know if you miss anything. It is all free to use, just credit me.

For those of you who enjoy my lectures at Western regionals, my next one will be “Preempting” at the Scottsdale regional in October 2011.

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Teaching Adult Beginners

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I spent ten years in the 1990s teaching two or three club series a year (now called the ACBL Bridge Series) to adults in NYC (Greenwich Village) and really enjoyed it.  I did it as a ten lesson series, stretching the first lesson into two lessons to add more play time and including point count at the end of the new second lesson. I also took lesson five, finesses and opener’s rebids, and made it into two lessons. First I did opener’s rebids using the hands from lesson two in the diamond series. Then the following week, a bidding review, followed by finesses using the lesson five club series hands. Most adults find finesses very difficult so we needed to spend a lot of time on it.

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Social Site for Bridge Players

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Bridge Winners includes an online ACBL convention card editor! Articles on the nationals, pictures, beginner and intermediate articles and much more … it is a social networking site for tournament bridge players with 3800 members as of today.

And for those of you who did not know this, my other job besides bridge is web developer (I own Open Sky Web Design) and we helped build that site. Some of the features there, like suit symbols in posts, will be available here and for sale (inexpensively) to add to your own blogs.

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Why Nine Never?

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Everyone knows the adage “eight ever, nine never” which refers to finessing for the queen of trumps. I recently received this question about it, which is answered below.

Why do you play for the Queen to drop when you have nine trumps, isn’t a 3-1 split more likely than a 2-2?

It is true that when you are missing four cards, a 3-1 split is more likely than a 2-2 split. However a specific 2-2 split is more likely than a specific 3-1. When you cash the Ace and lead towards the KJ and everyone follows, there are only two possible cases left, the 3-1 where the queen is finessable and the 2-2 where the queen is dropping. Read on for a fuller explanation of why the 2-2 is more likely.

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Splinter Bids

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I. Controls plus Tricks can produce slam on less than 33 points

Point count is not very accurate with unbalanced hands that have a good fit. Tricks and controls, or controls with distribution and lots of trump are the hand types that make slam easily with less than 33 points. Here are the two hands from the post on slam bidding repeated to illustrate this point. Notice how the well-placed shortness makes slam on both of them.

West East West East
AJ3 KQ10987 AJ987 KQ1065
KQJ1085 A97 4 A9854
A3 965 A7652 5
85 6 A7 63

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Major Suit Raises – JACOBY 2NT

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I. Responding to partner’s one of a major opening

When partner opens one of a major and you have three cards or more in support then you know you have an eight card fit. When you first learned bridge your teacher undoubtedly told you to raise your partner immediately when you know you have a golden fit and show your point range at the same time as follows:


Point Range


Raise to the



2 level



3 level




This is all well and good, but for slam bidding, having a nine card or longer fit is more likely to produce the extra tricks. Also when you have four card support, you have more trumps to ruff with, so a trump lead can no longer hurt you. Thus more advanced players change their stronger responses to discriminate between having 3 or 4+ card support. This means a limit raise, the raise of the major to three, requires at least four trump. So with only three card support, you bid a new suit first and then jump raise.

II. Making a Game Forcing Raise: Jaoby 2NT

With game going values or better and four card trump support, we use a special convention called the Jacoby 2NT. It was invented by the great games player Oswald Jacoby. The bid of 2NT in response to partner’s opening bid of one of a major shows at least 4 trump and 13+ points in support. This leaves the whole three level and much of the four level for exploring for slam. Now you can use the immediate raise to four of the major for preemptive hands, hands with five or more trump and not the high card points for game

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Slam Bidding Basics over Suit Openers

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Point count is not very accurate with unbalanced hands that have a fit. Tricks and controls, or controls with distribution and lots of trump are the hand types that make slam easily with less than 33 points. For example, the following two deals both make slam and neither has the required points.

West East West East

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Slam Bidding Basics Over Notrump Openers

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It takes 33 points to make a small slam and 37 to make a grand. Do you have them? When you have a good balanced hand of your own, add your points to partner’s possible minimum and maximum counts to see what the possibilities are. The following table shows your bids over 1NT, the point ranges assume a 15-17 1NT opener.

Bid Your HCPs Meaning
4NT 16-17 Please bid 6 with a maximum
5NT 20-21 Please bid 7 with a maximum, else bid only 6
6NT 18-19 This is what we can make (you may not raise)
7NT 22+ This is it.

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BALANCING at the two level

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When the opponents have stopped in a part score at the one or two level, should you pass it out or bid? The answer depends on what contract they have stopped in and what kind of hand you have yourself.

Let’s look at the classic situation where they are in two of a major:

1 Pass 2 Pass

Pass ?

First of all, they have less than 26 pts, probably less than 25; their range is roughly 19-24; this leaves plenty of high cards for our side. The mathematics of suit distributions indicate that if they have an 8 card fit, we usually have one as well. Thus if we have an 8 card fit and roughly half the high cards, perhaps we should try to play the hand.

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Balancing at the One Level

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I. Definition of the Word BALANCING

The term balancing means taking a bid other than Pass after two preceding passes. In other words, balancing is an attempt to prevent the opponents from playing the hand. For example,

1 Pass Pass        and it is your bid

Saying Pass here would be the final decision of the auction, while bidding means there have to be at least 3 more bids. You’d better be right to pass!

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