The Rueful Rabbit — Down the rabbit hole…

Lauria Versace NT System

Hi All,

Its no secret that L-V are my favourite team mates, they just havn’t answered my call yet.

L-V employ a nice 2C structure over NT however the system does not roll off the tongue like Stayman.

Their 2C responses start of giving broad brush strokes of the hand.

Later, responder may :

1) Ask for more info if the hand is in the slam zone

2) Show important features for reaching the best game

3) Sign off quickly in 3NT where you don’t want to give the defenders too much information.

Additional advantages:

– Opener plays all NT and suit contacts with the exception of clubs.

– Possible to identify a 4-4 minor slam where 6NT has no play.

-Despite the rigorous relays there is still scope for judgement in evaluation the hand within the context of the bidding.

I know there are many alternatives to Stayman than can pinpoint a Tens in key suit but they are either too complex or don’t obfuscate enough in the bidding.

About the L-V NT

– They open NT with 15-17 HCP.

– Then never have a 5cM. (with 15-17 and a 5cM, they open 1M and employ Gazilli [see an earlier post])

– Oceasionally they will open NT with 4M 5M 2x 2x where the minors are stopped.


The relay questions are:

1) Majors

2) Confirm Max/Min

3) Remaining shape

My write up (below) is not complete and is certainly not a definitive guide – It is my understanding based on viewgraph data available at my bidding database –

Have a good game,


Hand Visualisation

Dear Bridge Player,

Setting the scene

Some months back, I was playing a teams match in a Dublin league with Ireland’s top player – Tom Hanlon (aka Kinder). We were up at half time and we were coasting through the 2nd set. This was the final hand.

Vul All
4th in hand you hold
♠ AQ
♣ AQxx

The Banker Kinder The Judge You
1 Pass 1♠ X
2NT 3 3♠ Pass
3NT Pass Pass X
Pass Pass 4♠ All Pass

You might say that I was a fool for doubling 3NT and a coward for not doubling 4♠.
If so, you may be right.
I lead the K and The Banker tabled …
♠ x
♣ KJxx

Declarer won in Dummy, all followed. Then he lead a spade to the King and Ace.

What Next?
When I say dummy I was not hopefull. My thinking at the time was – declarer has six or seven spades stiff diamond. The Clubs are onside and he has a source of tricks, let’s call it a night.
Mental lasiness. Failure to complete the visualising of the hand.
At this point I ahould bang down the Ace an another club and give him a ruff for the setting trick.
Here is the full hand …

Board 32

Vul All

Dealer West

















Kinder is a entertaining guy and he didn’t lose his opportunuty …
“I expected you to get that.”
How cutting 🙂
My decision to enter the auction with a double was probably marginal knowing that we were unlikely to win the auction holding the minors.  It goaded Tom to risk life and limb bidding 3. This in turn gave me a blueprint of the hand and failed twice to go positive.
We played well in general and blasted the opposition into outer space and all I did on the way home was kick myself.
Very Rueful.

Pat Walshe R.I.P.

From today’s bulletin in San Remo.

“The well-known Irish bridge player Pat Walshe died on
21st June 2009, after a short illness, at his summer home
in Wexford Ireland.
Pat represented Ireland internationally on many occasions.
His most notable international performances included
a gold medal in the Common Market Pairs, and
silver in the Mixed Teams Championships. He won every
major national Irish Championships, and was ranked as
a Grand Master.
He will be sadly missed by the Irish contingent in Sanremo,
whose thoughts are with his wife Grainne Barton
Walshe, his stepsons Andrew David and Paul Barton,
and his darling step-grandson.
‘Ar dheis De go Raibh a anam’ (Translation: May his
soul be on the right hand of God).
A book of condolences will be available at the information
desk for anyone who wishes to express their

Funeral arrangements:
Tuesday, 23 June – Removal to Church of St. Mary the Immaculate and St. Joseph,
Carrick-on-Bannow at 7.30pm.
Wednesday, 24 June- Funeral Mass at 12pm followed by burial at Bannow Cemetery.

Pat was one of Ireland’s true bridge magicians and I hope to find a couple of hands to post at a later time.

Karel and Anna on Tour

Dear Readers,

The European Open Bridge Championships are on in Sanremo at the moment and the Mixed events have just been completed.

Irelands top Irish mixed partnership Karel DeRaeymaeker and Anna Onishuk finished 9th (out of 300+ pairs) – A very fine achievement and their best to date abroad. I want to congratulate them (and commiserate on what could have been).

This is on the back of a good performance in the teams with Lucy and John Phelan.
They qualified for the last 32 teams and were knocked out by one of the favorites.

I’m sure many of my Irish readers want to know how K & A do it…

1) They have very good card play technique – the have studied books and have the intellectual grunt put it into practice. There are 2 aspects to this offensive and defensive. I would say that defense is what separates them form any other Irish mixed partnership.

2) Aggressive system and implementation of it. 2 level openings:

– 2C shows the majors (4-4)
– 2S shows the minors (5-4)

These bids really roll the dice but to a lesser extent for the offense. Particularly over the 2s opening, the defenders are on the back foot.
Not everyone can or should play this because success in the resulting contracts are predicated on 1) above.

3) Overcalls are very aggressive, frequently on 4 card suits. The partner of the overcaller must be light footed as the overcaller can be very light.
Weak jump overcalls can be based on 5 or 6 cards suits.

All of the above make them formidable to play against.

We wish them more success in the future.

Have a good game,

Textbook hand; Bidding best forgotten

Dear Readers,

I was playing with some friends on BBO last night when this hand came up …

Let me set the scene
I was Non Vul Vs Vul and the dealer passed and I opened 1 &clubs
My right hand opponent is a talented player and bids AGRESSIVELY – or maybe I should say that his hand does not have to perfectly match his bid – there is a fluidity in his game.
My pick up partner had shown himself to bid and play well on the previous few hands.

Mr Fluid overcalled 2 (showing a weak hand with a 6 card suit) and partner bid 3NT. Like a Rueful Rabbit trying to wear a Hideous Hog mask I bashed out 6 ♣ which ended the auction.

[The more cultured bid is 4 ♣ (which is forcing) but it was late at night and time was of the essence as the leveretts were about to wake up.]

Here was the full layout …

Mr Fluid led a heart to the Queen and Ace.

I played the ♣ J to the Ace and a ♣ to the king to finesse the diamonds.
Cashed the Ace discarding a heart and ruffed a heart. Then I entered dummy with a trump to play a spade towards my hand, playing the 8 when West played low. No matter how the spade honours are distributed, the contract is cold.

The holding in spades is quite a well know holding for producing and endplay situation. (It was part of the reason I had confidence in bidding the slam.)

Like I said, nothing to fancy merely textbook stuff.

Have a good game,

Bridge Lessons

Hi All,

I have started a new website to promote my bridge lessons which I’ll be holding all over the island of Ireland.

The site focuses on advances/expert lessons but I’ll be teaching all grades.

Please check out my site …

I’ve also added a sample lesson in the form of a web video. Its quite a difficult hand but I hope you enjoy it.

Regards, James.

Camrose 2009

Dear Bridge Players,

From an Irish perspective, the ’09 Camrose was not a success. In the end the two English squads fought it out the EBU taking the upper hand. Congrats to them!

All was going well for Ireland in the first two matches against Wales and England. At that point I though we would win. But the Scots got their tails in the air from the start of the 3rd march and kept going. After that it was a plod all the to the end of the competition.

Anyway enough doom and gloom – If thats what you are after go the business pages.

Have a good game,

Holmes Wilson

Dear Bridge Players,

The main teams event on the Irish bridge calendar takes place this Saturday and Sunday in the Radisson Hotel in Athlone. According to the CBAI website there are 74 teams.
It’s a swissed 3 session event – 5 rounds per session.

See the entry list here!

The reigning champs are Gay Keavney, Martin Jones, Adrian Thomas and Peter Goodman – the latter 3 being Welsh dragons. So, if you see them at the table, play your best game.
I would say they are a banker for a top 3 finish. However bankers reputations are fading fast.

In my view only 10% of teams have a chance of winning. That translates to 7/8 teams.

Due to the size of the field and early randomness, the big clashes generally occur in the latter matches of the 2nd session. After that you get teams lying in 7th to 14th spot being churned up to the top tables.

Aside from the bridge this a great competition from the social standpoint. Many will not get more than 4 hours sleep.

There is a notable absence of Hanlon – McGann I expect they are professionally enguaged.

See you there,


Slam Zone

Dear Bridge Player,

Fortune favors the brave but it is frequently kind to the foolhardy … thats me!

Here are a few hands from BBO. Playing with Michael McDonagh (Sharkirl)

Dealer S
Vul All
Scoring Imp
Lead 4
West North East South
p 1 p 1NT
p 2 p 2
p 6 p p

2 Clubs was New Minor Forcing – I thought we agreed 2d to be minimum no feature but it showed 5/6 Diamonds. 1370 in (12.5 imps) as trumps and clubs break with the King onside.

I didn’t apologise because I was playing against a journalist. The fecking Mejia have ruined this country!

In this session, we started out with the following hand which set the tone …

Dealer N
Scoring Imp
Lead 7
West North East South
1 2
3 4 p p
5 5 6 p
p p

Irish Camrose News

Dear Bridge Players,

Deep Throat just contacted me on the red phone to give me some Iriah Camrose Team News. Two friends of mine have been selected to play in place of Hugh McGann and Tom Hanlon (aka Kinder) (They can’t play in the Oxford leg of the competition).

Their names are Terry Walsh and Derek O’Gorman. I know both of these for years and I’m personally delighted with their selection.

I’ve enjoyed playing with Terry over many years and he is a truly creative player. As of last November, he has seen all 635 billion hands. Despite his fiery reputation at the table he is a true gent and past master of the aprés bridge scene.

I first met Derek in Cork Bridge Club about 2o years ago. There was a picture of him with Hugh McGann on the wall (maybe it’s still there?) commemorating their high finish in the European pairs (year?).

Shortly after learning the game, I was playing rubber bridge in Cork with Geoff Roberts against Hugh and Kinder – needless to say, I was feeling the pressure but what’s the point trying to play if you can’t play against the best? Having said all that, we all had a few gallons onboard!

They ran rings around me, as you migh expect, but I remember Derek kibitzing me throughout and offering much-needed advise after each hand – what a gent!

Best of luck to the team!

Have a good game,