About the Seminars
Dealing with 1NT
Responding to 1NT
Defence against the 1NT
Dealing with 1NT attempts to deal with an opening 1NT overcall from both sides: in the first seminar we look at responding to 1NT, addressing Stayman & Transfers, whilst the 2nd seminar deals with defending against 1NT, including doubling, Landy and natural overcalls.
Both seminars talk about the pre-emptive nature of the weak notrump: the advantages of opening 1NT and the need to overcall aggressively to counteract the pre-emption.
Stayman & Transfers
This is generally used as an Improver seminar: either for revision or for those new to the topics. The first seminar deals with red suit transfers in response to 1NT. The 2nd seminar deals with Stayman. The two seminars together give a full system in response to 1NT - I recommend that most players play this system because a 1NT opening is a very regular bid (especially the weak notrump), so having a precise system of responses is important. Furthermore, since it comes up a lot you will get plenty of use out of it!
Landy & Response to 1NT
These seminars deal with a 2cx bid over a 1NT opening from both sides of the table: showing how Stayman differs from Landy. I recommend Landy as a defence to 1NT since it is relatively straightforward: it uses a 2cx overcall to show both majors. The first seminar focuses on Landy, whilst the second seminar looks at Stayman on weak and strong hands and dealing with interference over your conventions.
These are a series of seminars aimed at players who want a refresher course in Acol. They cover all the basics of the system: responding to 1NT, responding with support; rebidding and responders rebid. By taking you through the first four bids of a constructive auction it allows you to regain confidence in your bidding skills.
Slams & Cue Bidding
Key Card Blackwood
These two seminars aim to persuade you to look for slams more often and tell you when and how to do it. Key-Card Blackwood is a simple extension of normal Blackwood and yet makes slam bidding much more accurate.
Splinters & Cue Bidding
To bid more slams and bid them accurately you do have to use cue-bidding: this is not an easy topic, but it is certainly worthwhile for any aspiring player. A splinter is a bid that shows a singleton in the suit bid and support for partner's suit at the same time. On 50% of all hands that I am asked how a pair might have bid a slam, the answer will be using a splinter bid or by cue-bidding.
Declarer Play in NT
Declarer Play in Suits
The aim of these seminars is to reinforce basic declarer play tactics including hold-ups, entry conserving plays and patience in 1NT contracts. In suit contracts we discuss drawing trumps and when not to draw trumps: for ruffing, entries and to manage your losers.
The first seminar deals with take-out doubles of suit opening bids and responding to them. The second seminar deals with the interesting subject of penalty doubles - very few people have learnt much about these, other than doubling a 1NT opening. We talk of doubling notrumps, partscore contracts and game contracts. The aim of the seminar is to get players to double much much more!
Endplay & Avoidance
This topic deals with slightly more advance declarer play. However the topic can be grasped by all levels. Some of the hands are straightforward, whilst others are quite difficult. Endplay deals with the strategy of putting an opponent on lead when he has to give you an advantage - forcing him to lead in to an ace-queen holding or to give a ruff and discard. Avoidance play deals with keeping one particular defender off lead because he can do damage to your contract. Both subjects are made accessible to all players.
Further into the Auction
These seminars look at the third and fourth bids of the auction and the conclusion thereafter. The first seminar looks at the late auction from opener's point of view, whilst the second seminar looks at it from responder's point of view. Topics include notrump rebids, reverses from opener and responder and fourth suit forcing.
Losing Trick Count
10's, 9's etc
These seminars look at hand evaluation when you have a fit and when you do not have a fit. When you have a fit, the losing trick count is a very valuable form of hand evaluation and is worth trying to use. Without a fit we use the point count system, but this often needs a bid of tinkering - how are your honours working, how many tens and nines do you have . . .
Improvers - Take-Out Doubles
Responding to takeout doubles
This seminar is aimed to demonstrate the use of take-out doubles - it explains the idea behind them and then the kinds of hands that might make them. The second seminar shows how you respond to the double, when to jump respond and when to pass.
Leads & Defence
Defence is tremendously difficult and very few people ever get taught about it. The defence seminar aims to make sure that you have the basics in place, telling you when to take your aces and how to use your other high cards.
Knowing which suit to lead is difficult and then choosing the right card is important too! The Leads seminar takes you through the whole of your lead style and then tells you how you can make expert leads to make your partner happy.
Thinking Defence in NT
Thinking Defence in Suits
Taking your defence to another level will increase your scores hugely. These seminars will give you ideas on how to get your mind in gear for the defence: by thinking about each suit before they are led. We talk about which suit to switch to and how trump leads and switches can work to your advantage. There are ideas that will improve players of all levels.
Disrupting declarers plan
Count in defence
Taking your defence to another level will increase your scores hugely. These seminars aim to make you think how declarer is going to play his contract and therefore how you might defend in order to disrupt him. We also focus on the need to give count when following suit: if you can give a signal to tell your partner how many cards you hold it will help him in many ways. This is not a straightforward subject, but if you can master it you will reach another level in defence.
Losing Trick Count
Losing Trick Count
When you have found a fit, you then need to decide at which level to play - evaluation is essential for finding it. The point count is not quite sufficient for a better player's needs. The losing trick count allows a player to fully evaluate a hand including high cards, shortages and lengths - allowing you to bid to aggressive games and slams.
Dealing with overcalls
The first seminar on this weekend focuses on the reasons for overcalling: lead-directing, disruptive, competitive and sacrificial; it also focuses on the importance of vulnerability. The second seminar puts you on the other side of the table, as opener, and explains how to deal with overcalls, using a bid of their suit to show strength. Both seminars will emphasise the part-score battle which is crucial in duplicate bridge.
Defence against pre-empts
The first seminar talks about all aspects of pre-emptive threes: including vulnerability and position; contrasting a 2nd hand vulnerable pre-empt with a 3rd hand favourable pre-empt.
The second seminar talks about bidding after your opponent has opened with a pre-empt: take-out doubles and aggressive competition.
Two suited overcalls
Sacrificing is when you bid a contract expecting to go down, but aiming to give away fewer points than your opponents might make in their contract. This is a crucial and exciting aspect of bridge in all forms of the game. Bidding more tends to be the message especially when you have support for your partner's suit.
Two-suited overcalls make use of the 2NT overcall (Unusual 2NT) and an overcall in the opponents' suit (Michaels' Cue Bid) to show two-suited hands. These can be very powerful bids and are especially good at locating sacrificial contracts, so the topics link together neatly.
Signals & Discards
These seminars focus on the mechanics of defence: giving signals when necessary, but focussing on the important signals. Count is the dominant signal, with attitude following and then a small mention of suit-preference.
Discards focuses on one of the most difficult aspects of bridge, which is to keep the right cards - suit-preference signals might gain on 1 in 20 hands, but keeping the right cards tends to gain on 1 in 2.
This defensive topic would be useful to players of all standards.
Defence against weak twos
These seminars teach BENJAMINISED ACOL: using two hearts and two spades as weak bids and using two clubs and two diamonds to show all your strong hands.
Defence to weak twos talks about how to bid after your opponents open a weak two.
It is always a good idea to learn about popular conventions even if you do not plan to play them yourselves because it makes defending against them so much easier.
Suit Establishment in NT
Suit Establishment in Suits
This is a new set of seminars on Declarer Play focusing on the establishment of suits, including ideas such as the Entry Rule which help you to work out whether you can manage to make use of a long suit. The first seminar deals with establish suits by force in notrump contracts, whilst in the second seminar suits can be ruffed good.
Develop at duplicate pairs
So many players have played duplicate pairs for a long time, but have never quite learnt the tactics of the game. The three seminar shows how your bidding, your play and finally your defence, should be adapted. Every ten points counts and the more you can learn about getting those points the better!
UK Break Search
- All rooms with en-suite facilities
- No single supplements1
- Two seminars2
- Two supervised play sessions2
- Four duplicate sessions3
1At some venues there is a limit to the number of no single supplement places - after that a supplement may apply. At Blunsdon House single supplements always apply.
2only on tutorial breaks
3six sessions for just bridge