Hello. You are reading the last post for 4NT: The Southern California Bridge News Online. Thanks to everyone who read, contributed and told their friends to read and contribute to the blog! I hope you all enjoyed 4NT.

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Don’t forget to go to Bridge Week starting July 3, 2009!

by Judy Kay-Wolff

After nearly 40 joy-filled years with Norman, our marriage ended on January 17, 2002 when he succumbed to cancer.   I had learned a few months before his days were numbered so I mourned privately knowing the end was in sight.

However, the universal world of bridge rose to the occasion and outdid themselves with notes, letters, calls, flowers, plants, memorial contributions .. and more .. making this sad occasion so much less painless — knowing how much he was revered and transforming it into a celebration of his life.    Many out-of-towners drove or flew in for the funeral.   It was an overwhelming gesture of love. Being surrounded by close family and dear friends and cherished memories of nearly four decades together was very consoling.
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by Jordan Chodorow

Several good pairs showed up for Thursday night’s club championship at Beverly Hills a few weeks ago. I wisely came armed with Sally Aminoff, who outplayed the field (and me) at every turn.

On the first round, we opposed a well-known expert and his good partner. After my LHO opened 1NT, Sally got us to 2, putting down KT Qx QJ8xxxx xx opposite my QJxx Txx AT KQxx. The opening lead was the 9 around to my ten. I played a spade to the king, which held, then ran the ten from dummy around to LHO’s ace. When LHO reflexively continued another diamond to the king and ace, I had a parking place for dummy’s two hearts and lost only a spade and a club for +150 and a 67% board. After the opponents missed a spade game, Sally drove us to a Moysian spade game that played better than notrump for a top. Finally, against 3NT, Sally found the winning lead of declarer’s first-bid major. Defenders too often allow themselves to be put off this lead, even when the major response is mandatory, declarer has not asked about partner’s support for the suit, and dummy has not promised any support for it. Holding declarer to her eleven top tricks earned Sally a tied top.

On the second round, Sally played the spots off 3NT to take eleven tricks for a tied top. Then, she set 3NT three tricks for a cold top and set another 3NT for a tied top. Finally, she found a good club lead to defeat 1, a contract made at other tables, for another icy top.

On the third round, Sally defeated 3 two tricks for +200 and a 67% board. Then came one of the two zeroes I earned us. I held Kxxx AQJx Q 9xxx and threw in a 1 opening in third seat. Sally wasn’t in on the joke and corrected 2 to 2 for -200, matchpoint death. Sally then set another 3 contract before forgetting that the 7 was high at notrump and conceding eleven tricks for a dead average.

On the fourth round, I loved Sally’s white-on-red 1-3 Bergen raise on four spades and out. It left my RHO poorly placed to compete with her big red hand and Sally’s aggressiveness paid off to the tune of +500 and a 67% board. Then, my LHO found an undisciplined 3 reopening over my intermediate fourth-seat 2 bid that, despite catching a primo dummy, went down 200 for another 67% board. The opponents then languished in 2, making the same ten tricks available in their 8-card heart fit; -130 was a 67% board for us. Sally ended the round by taking the maximum eight tricks available to her in 1NT.

On the fifth round, Sally placed us in the best-scoring strain of 2NT, where the gift of a ninth trick gave us an 83% board. On the next board, both red, Sally overcalled 1 with 3 on KQJ-seventh and out. Holding A Jxxx Axx ATxxx, I made a move at slam but stopped at 5 over 4, making for a 67% board. Interestingly, two pairs played 3NT, which has nine top tricks for the same +400. Our relatively inexperienced opponents found a very nice defense to beat Sally’s 4 one trick, but we survived with an average as Sally had stolen the bacon against their making 5.

On the sixth round, Sally and I each made a routine spade game, then Sally declared notrump with Txx Kxx J9x Axxx opposite dummy’s Jx Ax KQTxx KQJx after her RHO had overcalled in hearts. A heart went to dummy’s ace, the overcaller discouraging, and Sally forced out the diamond ace from LHO, who continued…a heart, as Sally claimed her tricks for an 83% board. On the last hand of the round, I held T542 2 QT53 KT83 and heard Sally open 1NT (15-17) and RHO overcall 2, which bought the contract. What would you lead? I posted the question as a poll on and received votes for all four suits. The winning choice was the heart, which sets the contract three tricks if we time it perfectly. My choice of an attacking club earned us the second of two zeroes. Those of us who don’t love singleton leads would be well served to remember that since “everybody” will lead the singleton, it’s sound policy to keep pace with the field and win the event on another board.

The last round saw us oppose the team tied with us for the lead. Sally would hear nothing of a tie, however, earning 88% of the matchpoints to win going away. First, she punished her LHO, who made one of his frequent 3NT bids despite holding hidden three-card support for his partner’s major opening. Sally set 3NT for a 67% board. She then took advantage of favorable vulnerability to inject some undisciplined competition into the opponents’ strong notrump auction, buying the hand in 2H doubled and catching a perfect dummy to post +470. I then took eight tricks in a 1NT contract that started with five for a cold top. The evening ended with our opponents’ stopping short of 3NT; -150 was an 83% board.

Sally declared and defended like a vulture, swooping in and collecting tricks like carcasses. Her aggressiveness and expert play allowed me simply to tag along for the ride.

by Danny Kleinman

Why are duplicate bridge players so eager to become declarer? Don’t they realize that when they declare, they are largely dependent on gifts from two other players (the defenders)? And what if their friends the defenders donate only two tricks? Will that always be enough? Pity the poor declarer in this deal. Even his partner expressed sympathy afterwards.


West leads the Q. East wins the A, and on seeing your 10 fall, fears that you will ruff two hearts in dummy, so he shifts to the 5. You insert the 10, capture West’s Q with dummy’s K, and finish drawing trumps with the A and the J. On the third spade, East discards the 2. What now?
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The ACBL Headquarters announced its intention to move to Horn Lake, MS later this year.

A copy of the press release is available here.

A report on the move from a local TV station is available here.

The total cost of the project, including the purchase price of the building and renovations, is expected to be about $3 million

by Jordan Chodorow

Here are some interesting hands from my most recent game with Chuck Fonarow. Chuck plays mainly at local clubs and his name can routinely be found atop the monthly masterpoint winners lists. He and I play the Magical Minors, Alan Wollman’s double-barreled Big Club system, as an overlay to a quite simple 2/1 card. 1C shows 16-21 “points” with any distribution; 1 shows 11-15 points with no five-card major; 1NT shows 10-12 balanced (11-12 vulnerable); and 2 is the powerhouse.
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jduby Judy Kay-Wolff

Judy Kay-Wolff writes a Tuesday column about her life at and around the bridge table for 4NT.

In my opening blog last week, I alluded to leading a double bridge life — and indeed I did.

Life with Norman was always calm, cool and collected — totally devoid of bridge politics and partnership maneuvering. He began playing with Edgar Kaplan in the ’50s (taking a brief hiatus in the early ’60s when he partnered Philadelphia superstar Sidney Silodor till his death in 1963).

Eventually Edgar and Norman found their way back together (divine destiny) and had one of the most successful partnerships and incredible friendships in history playing together until Edgar’s death in ‘97. It always embarrassed Norman when admirers would comment on the string of Kaplan-Kay victories, but in true Norman Kay fashion, he’d remind them, “Yes, but we probably also held the record for losing more events than any pair in history.”
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by Leo Bell

Vote for what you think is the right bid and leave a comment why you think it’s best. Click on ‘read the rest of this entry’ to see what the experts say and read other comments. This problem appears in the May, 2009 issue of the Southern California Bridge News.


What call do you make?

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One panelist wants to hang onto his plus score at matchpoints.

DAIVD SACKS: Pass. It’s matchpoints, so plus scores are good scores. Most think they can make a game.
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by Danny Kleinman

In the modern style, opener’s reverse is not only forcing for one round, it also promises a rebid. This problem tripped up an experienced player:


Recognizing that a jump to 3 would not do justice to this hand, and playing that a double-jump 3NT rebid would promise a running suit (a case can be made for waiving this requirement while retaining the meaning of long, strong clubs and stoppers), you “reverse” with 2, and face:


You should alert partner’s 2 as a fourth-suit bid that does not promise anything in spades. Then you should deliver the promised rebid.

Do not rebid 3, as that is not forcing.
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Today’s New York Times had this article about memory, bridge and aging.

Excerpts from the article included:

Laguna Woods, a sprawling retirement community of 20,000 south of Los Angeles, is at the center of the world’s largest decades-long study of health and mental acuity in the elderly. Begun by University of Southern California researchers in 1981 and called the 90+ Study, it has included more than 14,000 people aged 65 and older, and more than 1,000 aged 90 or older.

Such studies can take years to bear fruit, and the results of this study are starting to alter the way scientists understand the aging brain. The evidence suggests that people who spend long stretches of their days, three hours and more, engrossed in some mental activities like cards may be at reduced risk of developing dementia. Researchers are trying to tease apart cause from effect: Are they active because they are sharp, or sharp because they are active?

Here at Laguna Woods, many residents make such delicate calculations in one place: the bridge table.

Contract bridge requires a strong memory. It involves four players, paired off, and each player must read his or her partner’s strategy by closely following what is played. Good players remember every card played and its significance for the team. Forget a card, or fall behind, and it can cost the team — and the social connection — dearly.

What did you think of the article?

New Junior Masters
(5 points)
Hannah Gough
Mike McKittrick
Louise Wasserman

New Club Masters
(20 MPs)
Martin Barmatz
Drana Callery
Lynne Finley
Carlos Jones
Teri Ponchick
Betty Reed
Carnell Wingfield
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See the schedule here. It starts July 3, 2009 at the Pasadena Hilton.

At the next ALACBU meeting to be held during our July Bridge Week, elections for new officers will take place. Rand Pinsky, Chairman of the Election Committee needs four individuals from different units to serve as the Nominating Committee. Anyone interested in running for an ALACBU office or wishing to serve on the Election Committee should contact Rand at The bylaws state “Candidates for the above offices (president, vice president, secretary and treasurer)  must have previously served or currently be serving ALACBU as an officer, director or committee member.”  The nominating committee will present a slate of candidates at the ALACBU Board meeting.  Nominations will also be taken from the floor.

by Judy Kay-Wolff


I am Judy Kay-Wolff, your new Tuesday blogger, who has really led a double bridge life. Born in Philadelphia, I attended Temple University and the summer before graduation, I conned my parents into letting me attend Columbia University to take a summer course in Abnormal Psychology (which served me well in my later years).  That first morning on campus, en route to my class, I spotted four male psychos sitting outside at a round table under an umbrella screaming at the top of their lungs and throwing cards at each other. That 1955 incident changed my life.  It was my first exposure to bridge. The tables are now square, the umbrellas are gone and now they have something known as zero tolerance!

I returned to Philly, took a course at Junto, met many other bridge junkies and played either “kitchen” bridge or duplicate every single solitary night and all weekend long. Soon I ventured into the tournament world where I met Norman Kay whom I married in 1963 and we shared a wonderful 39 years until his death in 2002.   Charlie Goren was at my wedding (which mesmerized my mother’s bridge cronies) and this starry-eyed little bridge addict got to rub shoulders with the likes of Roth, Stone, Landy, Crawford, Rapee, Sobel, Root, Gerber, Jacoby, Kaplan and so many of the old-time legends  who captured the headlines in the sixties. I played less and kibitzed more.   It was the thrill of a lifetime to which few others were privileged.

Until next Tuesday …

by John Jones

Vote for what you think is the right bid and leave a comment why you think it’s best. Click on ‘read the rest of this entry’ to see what the experts say and read other comments. This problem appears in the April, 2009 issue of the Southern California Bridge News.


What call do you make?

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Some panelists think double is easy.

MICHAEL SHUSTER: Double. Should be a universal choice. RHO has at most 10 hearts, so there is no danger they will make it. Bidding 6 would be a serious error. Just because RHO thinks you can make it doesn’t mean you can. LHO has yet to call in this auction and could still hold a fine hand.
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by Danny Kleinman


At both tables, North led the 3. How should West declare?

At Table 1, West put up dummy’s 10 at Trick 1. South covered with the Q, and after winning the A, West slipped a heart past North, who played the 10. South followed with the 5.
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