Online bridge March 2020 Newsletter

Auckland Bridge Club Inc Newsletter

24th March 2020


Play online now

  • Several times a day check front page this website.
  • Any NZ player can join our events provided they have registered and logged in to BBO (Bridge Base Online), and set their country to “New Zealand” (more instructions later in this message)
  • Each event is called something like “Pairs for Kiwi Afternoon/Evening by AKBC”
  • We are still experimenting with formats 
  • Your Directors and Organisers are Patrick Carter and Julie Atkinson
  • If you are already accustomed to online play, you may find the pace a little slow but Patrick and Julie will tweak the settings as they (and we) gain experience
  • Julie has very generously offered her home telephone number for calls ONLY in the 30 minutes before the start of an event 09 629 3660.
  • Arrive ten minutes before the start time
  • Event starts automatically at stated times, with or without you.


Those generous souls amongst you who have expressed a wish to make a donation to Auckland Bridge Club Inc (both a registered Charity and Incorporated Society) can pay online to

ANZ Remuera
01 0258 0010388 00

Remember to put your name as a transfer reference. If you require a receipt for tax purposes please email the club at .

Getting started (basics) and click the red ‘Play Bridge Now’ button, or go to


How to join Kiwi from AKBC


  1. This will be a pairs tournament, so you will need to organise a partner.  If you are a singleton, there is a partnership desk, described in step 3, below.  Alternatively Patrick (who will temporarily be using BBO login: Trick13), or Julie (qwikjanz) might be able to help partner up any singles.
  2. Log into BBO before 7:30pm, and select Competitive and then All Tournaments.  Look for a tournament named "Kiwi by AKBC" or similar.
  3. To register for the tournament your partner needs to be on-line.  Click on the tournament name in the Title column (not the host name).  You will be asked for your partner's BBO username, and your partner will see an invite pop up.   Alternatively if you don’t have a partner, after clicking on the tournament, click the Partnership Desk option near the top of the screen, and click the ‘Add your name’ button.  Events become visible no earlier than 120 minutes before the start time.
  4. when the tournament starts, you are automatically transported into the tournament from whatever else you might be doing on BBO.
  5. The tournaments kick-off automatically at the designated time. There is no discretion for the Director to delay the start.  Don’t be late.

Technical note:  Your IP Address, which is mapped automatically to a country, determines whether or not you can enter an AKBC event.  This is not an issue for standard NZ connections but may be a problem if you have chosen to use a Virtual Private Network.

Bored silly

Master Bridge was a TV series created and broadcast in England in 1983. You can see all 14 episodes here. For a 2019 update you can check this out.  The Pakistani expert, Zia Mahmood, stars in both series.


Club Office

The Office is closed.  But please feel free to email the Office for any help you may need. And please let the Office know of anyone who you think would welcome a helping hand.


Something from Julie Atkinson

It has been a very interesting week and substantially different to expectation.

Patrick is now at home all day. On the plus side I can hear the TV without the noise of the dealing machine, but the downside is missing everyone we see at the bridge club. The other plus was going out for a wonderful meal on Wednesday night, marred when my son rang me (a rare event) to ask how I was. Perplexed I asked “Why?”. Answer… the TV said to ring and talk to someone elderly!!!

A bit tongue in cheek, but we have many wonderful members and want to stay in contact with them over this time, so perhaps we should take a minute to ring and say Hi.


Something from Patrick Carter - Restricted Choice


With the current Covid19 restrictions it seems appropriate to talk about Restricted Choice. You may have heard that term applied to bridge before, but do you know what it means? This is a hand from Tuesday evening, the session immediately before the choice of playing bridge at the club was so suddenly restricted:


Q7432                                                                    J
642                                                                         J73
T7                                                                            Q8532
K84                                                                         QT93


Only one pair bid the very lucky 6NT. It needs the heart suit to be either 3-3 or a short jack. It also needs the diamond finesse to work and, most unlikely of all, it needs 4 tricks from the spade suit. The chance of all those things happening together is less than 3%, but on this occasion the cards are indeed distributed in just the right way.


For the pair in 6NT if they had made 12 tricks it meant the difference between an ice-cold top and a complete bottom. Even for the pairs in 3NT it was important to make that extra trick, because 12 tricks were worth an 80% score and anything else was below average.


The key moment comes when declarer cashes the Ace of Spades in the South hand and sees the jack drop from East. The chances of East holding specifically a singleton Jack or specifically Queen-Jack doubleton are approximately equal so you might think this is just a 50/50 guess like calling heads or tails at the start of the evening to see who sits North/South. However, you would be wrong.

The term restricted choice here is used to say that if East had the singleton J they would have no choice other than to play it. If they had QJ doubleton then sometimes they will play the Jack and sometimes they will play the Queen. That sounds very confusing to some people and they have trouble understanding how it could make a difference. Maybe if I explain it a different way it will help.


The following 3 holdings are all about the same likelihood to be dealt:

Singleton Queen
Singleton Jack
Doubleton Queen-Jack


If you held the North/South cards hundreds of times, none of those possibilities would come up very often, but if you played them often enough so that East played an honour on 30 occasions you would expect that of those 30 occasions it would be;

A singleton Queen               10 times
A singleton Jack                    10 times
Queen-Jack doubleton       10 times


If you finesse every time that you see East drop an honour card, without worrying about whether it was a Queen or Jack, then you will be right 20 times out of 30.

If you keep hoping that East has been dealt Queen-Jack doubleton, playing for the drop, then you will only be successful 10 times out of 30.

This situation arises more frequently when you have a 9 card trump fit:




If you play the Ace and East drops an honour then taking the finesse for the other honour will work twice as often as playing for the drop.

It is important to realise that this is only important when you are missing those two cards (the Queen and Jack) that are of equal value to the defence because they are consecutive.

If your suit is:




Now, if you play the Ace and East drops the 9, then that is completely irrelevant. In this situation the odds are almost equal. If you have absolutely no clues then you have a very slightly better chance by playing for the drop. It is only a very small difference though. Experts will go with any hunch they have in this situation, rather than rely on the pure statistical chance, because the difference in those chances is only about 1%