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Please join us Monday, Dec 4 for our annual holiday potluck luncheon.  Bring a dish of your choice and enjoy lunch with your bridge friends, before the 11:30 am Unit Game (extra points).  The potluck will start at 10:45 am with both open and limited games following.

    Our annual holiday dinner and bridge party is on Saturday evening, December 16, 2017.  Dinner will be provided with a signup, so you can let us know if you’ll be attending.  Please watch for the signup and plan on enjoying dinner, followed by a Unit game, earning extra masterpoints.   The dinner begins at 6:00 pm with bridge afterwards.  Tables will be limited to 25, so sign up early.

     Lastly, our annual New Year’s Eve Bash will be Sunday, December 31.  Welcome in the New Year with all your friends at the Bridge Center.  Please bring an appetizer or dessert and come enjoy the evening. Extra points, extra fun, beginning at 7:00 pm.



Make A Wish…….

  The Franklin County Children’s Services (“Make A Wish”), will accept unwrapped children’s gifts and/or cash and checks once again this year. Feel free to take advantage of toy sales and load up on gifts for children who desperately wish to celebrate Christmas.  Norma and Dominic Nickoloff organize and deliver your annual gifts. We all appreciate your generosity and kindness.               


Congratulations Hugh McCracken! COBA’s Newest Life Master!

Playing with Ricki Rosen at the COBA-Dayton Regional, Hugh earned about 5 gold points. Continuing his winning streak, he and Elaine Strutner scored 1.5 silver points at the COBA Sectional. Accomplishing his goal of Life Master, he composed a lovely poem (2nd page calendar) and we wish Hugh many successful bridge games in the future

     In late September we walked on the “Robert Frost Trail,” near his home in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The trail meanders through wood and meadow and twice across a wide brook for about a half-mile, circling around to its beginning.  After a short distance, we came upon a trail marker topped by an engraved plaque of a beloved Frost poem. After pausing both to read the poem and take in the landscape, we walked into the woods, occasionally stumbling over roots in the path, but taking more care as we looked for perhaps another marker.


     And behold:  At indeterminate intervals other markers and poems. The poems, like people, were filled with story, syntax and style (e.g., “Stopping by Woods,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Birches,” “West Running Brook,”). When we walked out of the woods into bright sunshine on a meadow, and along the brook for a time, reveling in both the poem-markers and the intervals, we felt the poems as old friends.


     And so bridge. Where my mentors, partners and all bridge friends have helped me keep eyes on the path and picked me up after stumbling, in our late Septembers we all continue in our intervals, occasionally pausing for story, syntax and style, and hoping that “We have miles to go before we sleep, and miles to go before we sleep” before we circle around to our beginning.


                                                              By Hugh McCracken



   Here’s your opportunity to play hands and see your immediate match score after each board,WEDNESDAY. OCTOBER 25 morning (11:30 am).  Awards are 81.8% of sectional rating with ½ red and ½ black points. This contest pays section-top winners one gold point each and players receive the smooth analysis booklet. It will contain the complete hand analyses of deals by many-time national champion, Larry Cohen. With a special method of scoring, players can check instantly for their board result. Come enjoy this once-a-year excellent competition!


   October also is our time to enjoy the annual Club Appreciation games, held in honor of Jane Johnson, who had a wonderful spirit, as the manager of the ACBL Club department.  In honor of the players who frequent games at bridge clubs, the awards for each game are very high.





    When responding to Keycard with a void, do not count the void as an ace.  With 1 or 3 aces, jump to the six level of the void suit. If the void suit is higher ranking than the trump suit, jump to the six level of the trump suit. With 2 aces and a void, respond 5NT. Disregard the void if you do not have an ace. 


   It is important to count declarer's tricks as the play progresses.  If you can see that declarer has enough tricks in three suits to make the contract, shift to the 4th suit. Some chance is better than no chance. 

Don’t forget when dummy tables, add declarer's likely point count to dummy's known count. Now add that total to your point count and subtract from 40 to determine how many points partner has.  It helps!


When dummy has shown a long side suit plus trump support, lead a trump. If you have the side suit well bottled up – even if partner has bid.








COBA’s newest Life Master at the Cols-Dayton Regional playing with Jane Witherspoon



Facts About 4th Suit Forcing to Game

§  4th suit forcing is not used after a 2/1 response. It is used when one player has bid one of a sit and his partner responds a the one level.

§  4th suit forcing is not used when your opponents intervene in the bidding. Instead, use a cuebid as a forcing bid.

§  4th suit forcing is not used after a reverse or after a 2§ opener, because you are in a forcing auction already.

Responses to 4th Suit Forcing

   In order of importance:

§  Bid partner’s major suit if you hold three of them.

§  Bid Notrump at the lowest level if you do not have three of the major, but you do have a stopper in the 4th suit, and otherwise

§  Bid naturally – that is, if you hold four cards in the 4th suit, with a stopper, raise the suit.

§  Occasionally, you won’t have any of the above. Make a descriptive bid, often a return to your original suit.


The Logic of 4th Suit Forcing to Game….an alertable bid!

By  Jim Bachelder


     Recently, I have encountered players, playing 2/1 Game Force, who have not alerted the bid of the 4th suit. When I inquired as to why no alert was proffered, the reasons were that they were ALREADY in a forcing auction and frequently state the following:

(A) “Wouldn't that be redundant? (we’re in a game force),” or

(B) “It’s most likely natural.”


Your hand:     S   K9                                    Partner           You

                         H   432                                       1S                2C

                         D   J65                                        2D                  ?

                         Cl   AKQ76


Your possible rebids:          1.  2S =  3 spades

                                                2.  2NT= guarantees a heart stopper

                                                3.  3C = 6+ clubs

                                                4.  3D  = 4 or more diamonds


The correct bid:  2H, 4th suit forcing to game. Clearly, it has nothing to do with hearts.


Your hand:    S   432                                   Partner           You

                         H   K9                                         1H                2C

                         D   KJ6                                      2D                  ?

                         Cl   AQJ76


Your possible rebids:          1.  2NT= guarantees a spade stopper

                                                     (if your KJ6 of diamonds had been spades,

                                                      you would rebid 2NT with alacrity)

                                                2.  3C = 6+ clubs

                                                3.  3D  = 4 or more diamonds

                                                4.  2S  =  4th suit forcing, artificial, forcing, and alertable


Reasons for initiating the 4th suit response:

            1.  You may not know which game to bid

            2.  You have a notrump oriented hand but NO stopper in the unbid suit (or in opponent’s suit). Don’t make the mistake of bidding notrump with no stopper or you may regret it

            3.  You wish to keep the bidding low because you have potential slam interest


Slow Losers vs Fast Losers

 By Joyce Penn

   How many tricks do you expect to win if one suit that you hold is AKx, opposite three small cards in the dummy?  How many tricks to you expect to win if a suit that you hold is KQJ, opposite three small cards in the dummy (xxx)?

   In both cases, declarer can expect to win two tricks and lose one. This is where the similarity ends. In the first holding, declarer has a third round loser (slow) which gives declarer time to use another suit to discard that one loser.

   In the second holding, declarer has a first round (fast) loser. Declarer would need three discards from another suit to avoid that loser. Declarer cannot afford to lose any tricks in the process, since the loser in the second holding can immediately be grabbed by the defense. It is useful, when declaring, to notice if your losers are fast or slow. When planning the play of a hand, slow losers can be used to your advantage: search other side suits for ways to discard those losers.

   A “mirror” distribution refers to the holding where both declarer and dummy have the same length in all four suits. No matter how many high card points are held, declarer may have limited trick taking ability since no suit can provide discards for slow losers.


A Guide to The Limited Games at the Bridge Center


   Each Monday and Friday morning, we hold a limited pairs section beside our Open Pairs section, at 11:30 am. Masterpoints awarded are 80% of those in the open game and allow you to compete against other limited pairs. The maximum award is 1.20 masterpoints for a limited game. On Monday, you, or your partner, may not have more than 750 MPs and on Friday, players with up to 1,000 MPs may play in this section.

   Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, we hold a handicap open pairs game, in which players with limited masterpoints are given a board handicap, based on their existing masterpoints. Handicap categories begin with the 0-5 masterpoint players, progressing through 5-20 MPs, 20-50 MPs and all the way to 2,000 MPs, at which point, no handicap is given. Masterpoint awards are “split” for these games. There are two categories of winners, raw and handicap. First place in the handicap field is 50 percent of what it would normally be, but players who place in both fields, receive a combination of scores. No negative handicaps are permitted.

    Circle your difficult hands each Tuesday and join Joyce, at 3:15 pm, for a discussion of the bidding, play and/or defense, of those tough boards. If a convention is involved, in the bidding, Joyce will review it and consider alternative treatments. She discusses leads and declarer play, to help you improve, from week to week. Each Thursday morning, at 10:15, join Cheryl for regular instruction and hand analysis. Bring your problem hands to discuss and learn Cheryl’s solutions as she discusses each hand, and topic. There is no charge for these sessions.



Passive Defense = “safe.” Leading from three low cards or the top of a sequence. This type of defense is usually indicated unless you see a runnable side-suit in dummy and suspect declarer can throw his losers away.

Aggressive Defense = “attacking.” It is designed to capture tricks quickly, such as leading away from a king or laying down an unsupported ace. Suppose you decide to attack a suit holding K J 2. Which card should you lead? Lead the 2, hoping your partner has the Ace and can come back through declarer, trapping his Q with your K and J. Try to be passive, unless the evidence indicates that declarer can dispose of losers, unless you do become active.


1. The common phrase, “Eight Ever-Nine Never,” refers only to the missing Queen of trump. Therefore, if you are declaring a hand with 8 trumps between you and the dummy, it is probably correct to finesse for the Queen (“ever”). If you are declaring a hand with 9 trumps between you and the dummy, it is probably correct to NOT finesse for the Queen (“never”). That is, with no extraneous information from the bidding, play the Ace of trump, followed by the King of trump, hoping that the Queen falls. 2. An opening lead of a singleton is seldom correct – especially if your partner has never bid. Why? He’s not getting in to give you the ruff you want so badly!