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   Nov. Nov. 10/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 Toronto's Barbara Seagram owns the largest bridge school in North America, Kate Buckman's Bridge Studio, where she teaches more than a thousand students a year. Barbara and Britain's Marc Smith joined forces to write "25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know," voted the American Bridge Teachers Association award as best student book of 1999. We particularly enjoyed the chapter on Weak Two-Bids, which begins by revealing that these opening bids were invented by Harold Vanderbilt in 1925 as part of his then-revolutionary Strong Club System. Modern the weak two is not although it took a few decades for them to catch on. Today even social players have abandoned the venerable strong two-bid in spades, hearts and diamonds in favour of the much more frequent weak openings because it's more fun to bid than to pass. If you do not play these "6-10 points, respectable six-card suit" openings, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to make life more difficult for your opponents. Here's an illustration:

East-West vulnerable South deals

  10 3 2
10 9 8 5 4
A 10

A 8 2

7 6
A Q 7
Q 9 8 6 3

K 7 6

A 9
K 6
K 7 5 4 2

Q J 4 3

  K Q J 8 5 4
J 3 2

10 9 5

West North East South
Pass 3 End  


Opening Lead:

 East-West, if left to their own devices, would most likely bid to 5
, a good contract that would make on a layout like this one. But consider how difficult it becomes to reach 5 or even to enter the auction when South starts with an opening bid of 2. A very aggressive West might double for takeout, but if he passes and North boosts to 3 (which does not invite game), it is likely that East-West will be frozen out of the auction. 3 can be set two tricks as long as the defenders get around to clubs in time, but plus 100 won't be much compensation for the vulnerable game available to them.

 Each chapter clearly describes the requirements for the recommended convention or treatment, gives the history of the convention, develops the auction, adds tips and advice, provides a point-by-point summary, and concludes with a comprehensive quiz.