Larry Cohen Bridge

Lesson for the week.  Here is a hand in which you as south find yourself after the bidding goes 1NT by you then Pass,Pass, Pass.

They say that 1NT is the hardest contract to make (one of my students once suggested that your partner should always raise you to 2NT, since that contract is easier). From an online game, as South, you hold:

♠ 94  ♥ A53  ♦ AQ53  ♣ AJ64

Your 1NT opening buys it and LHO leads the ♠6 (standard). What is your plan?

♠ KJ82
♥ 76
♦ K64
♣ 8732
♠ 94
♥ A53
♦ AQ53
♣ AJ64

This was IMP scoring, but I don’t see that the plan should be any different at matchpoints. In notrump, I like to count winners. You have 3 sure diamonds and 2 aces for 5. This spade lead gives you a great chance for extra tricks. If LHO has led from the ace-queen, you can win the jack now and later lead up to the king.

Players are reluctant to lead from AQ against 1NT, so let’s say you choose instead to hope LHO has led from Q10-empty. You play low from dummy and hope East produces a low one or the the ace. No, he plays the queen. That’s not terrible news–at least it wasn’t the 10. Now, you will be able to later build additional trick(s) in spades. Note: The Rule of 11 tells you that East had only one card higher than the 6 (11-6=5 and you can see 4 of those cards). Looking at those great spades in dummy, RHO switches. He plays the ♠Q. And you?

Well, in my tricky way, I have glossed over the key play. Did you unblock your ♠9 at trick one? You will soon see why that was a good idea. Let’s say you hold up in hearts and the defense plays them until you win your ace. The diamonds can wait; you want to play a spade now while dummy still has the ♠K as an entry. If you play the ♠9 (which you carelessly retained), LHO plays low. Your 9 wins the trick (winning in dummy is no better), and you are stuck in your hand. When you test diamonds they don’t split and you have only 6 tricks for down one.

What if you properly unblock the ♠9 at trick one? Your foresight makes the rest easy. When you win your ♠A you lead your ♠4 to dummy’s 8. Then you are in dummy to knock out LHO’s ♠A and you have 7 sure tricks. This was the Real Deal:

Dir: South
♠ KJ82
♥ 76
♦ K64
♣ 8732
♠ A10765
♥ K842
♦ 107
♣ Q5
♠ Q3
♥ QJ109
♦ J982
♣ K109
♠ 94
♥ A53
♦ AQ53
♣ AJ64

My lawyers have made me state that there is a double-dummy way (too many players out there run my deals through double-dummy software and write letters to the editor) to survive without unblocking the ♠9 at trick one. Still, it is the correct play and be proud of your +90 if you saw it!

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The Board of Directors of Reno Youth Bridge, Inc. has announced it will hold its annual Spring Intramural Team Game Tournament on Saturday, April 27th  during the Reno Bridge Unit’s “April Showers” Sectional at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Sparks.  Each year, RYB sponsors this event to determine which of its member schools will take possession of the WCSD-RYB Silver Cup pictured here and presented annually to the school whose four man team wins this tournament. 


Be sure to inform your parents of the date and time for this event.  Registration begins at 9:15 AM and the tournament starts at 10:00 AM.  Snacks will be served between 11:00 and 12:00 Noon and a light lunch will be served during the awards presentation after the end of the tournament at 1:30 PM.   Tell your parents you will be ready for pick up by 2:30 PM. Group pictures will be taken for inclusion on the RYB Website so be sure to wear your RYB Tee shirt or RYB Polo shirt.  At your next after school Bridge Club meeting, talk to your Faculty Representative or instructor about who you would like to partner with and who will be the other pair as members of your 4 man team. 


Both entry and your lunch are free and this is the single most important tournament of the year for members of Reno Youth Bridge.  It will enable the winners and other rankings to earn up to 50 RYBAP Silver points in the race for the $1000.00 “Condition Precedent” College Tuition Scholarship Award granted to the RYB student earning the highest number of total RYBAP points during the 2015-2016 school year.   In other words, this tournament is a big deal so you don‘t want to miss participation.  Form your four man team now.  Practice with your partner on BBO during Spring Break.  This is a great value and a lot of fun!

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RYB-McQueen Bridge Team To Compete in SF Team Championships

April 1, 2016Sarah Macharg, (Captain), Matt Oakley, Sidney Inouye and Emma Miller, members of McQueen High School Bridge Club are putting in extra hours of practice in preparation for their entry as the Reno You9th Bridge Team of Four who will be competing in the Second Annu11al Bay Area High School Team Championships scheduled for April 17th at the Bayshore Bridge Club in Burlingame, California.  This will be the first year that Reno Youth Bridge will have a WCSD Member High School entering this celebrated event.  Six Bay Area High Schools also have entered Teams to compete for becoming the Bay Area High School Team Champion in District 21 of the American Contract Bridge League.  The event is being sponsored by the Silicon Valley Youth Bridge Center, Debbie Rosenberg, President.  

Emma Miller and Sidney Inouye are an experienced partnership that has competed successfully in several Reno Youth Bridge Sponsored Duplicate Tournaments over the last three years and have been very successful in their efforts at ACBL National Tournaments venues in Chicago last Summer and here in Reno last month.  Sarah Macharg and Matt Oakley are also an experienced partnership having won the RYB-WCSD Silver Cup at the RYB Spring Intramural Team Matches in April, 2015.  Kathy Lane, Chairman of Reno Youth Bridge Inc., has said that this team should perform very well given their experience and we are confident they will do their best to bring back the winner’s trophy. 


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The Learning Center

By Larry Cohen


Bidding and Rebidding to Partner’s opening



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Two over One Lesson #2

2 over one Image Lesson #2 South Deals

You are South:  E-W are Vulnerable- IMP Scoring

Your Hand is:

         Spade 10 8 6 3

         Heart A Q 9 8 6

         Diamond A 9 7 6

         Club 8


 West        North        East       South

   –            –               –             Pass

Pass           1Club           Pass        1Heart

Pass          3 Heart           3 Spade           ?    


What do you bid? and why?  

Go  to RYB Facebook and post you answer

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Second Annual Bay Area High School Bridge Championship

February 15, 2016: Reno Youth Bridge High School Members have been invited to participate in the Second Annual Bay Area High School Bridge Team Championships to be held at the Bayshore Bridge Club, 1300 Bayshore Highway #168, Burlingame, CA (map) on April 17th, 10:00AM to 6:00PM.  This is a knock out event so those who do not qualify for the afternoon Team Gam session are able to play in a single session open Pairs event.  McQueen High is entering a team made up of Emma Miller, Sidney Inouye, Matt Oakley and Sarah MacCharg.  Other players indicating interest are Henry Weisberg, Vitas Gedvila, Nathan Lu and Larson Rivera.  It is hoped teams from Galena and Bishop Manogue will also consider participating.  Hotel space at special rates are available on a first come first served basis. Contact Dan Green for additional information or help with transportation.

Who: Students in grades 9 through 12. Each team must consist of exactly four players affiliated with the same high school

Prizes: Trophy, prepaid gift cards, school pride!


Register your Team – Team captains should register for the event by March 26th.

Register your Pair – Pairs are not required to sign up but those who do so by March 26th will receive a T-shirt and other gifts.

For more information contact Debbie Rosenberg, (408)


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