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Duplicate Bridge

Session Notes
Imprecision Logs
Club Manager and Director Materials
Publication Notes


All articles are PDFs. Levels are Intermediate (I) and Advancing/Advanced (A). Articles with Bold Titles are of ongoing importance.

Date Media Title (Level), Summary & Notes
Feb 2019 P Major Suit Game Tries and Raises at Bridge (I/A)
The author leads with his tried-and-true principles of game tries over standard raises and responding to them, but shows their shortcomings. He then proceeds to modern methods, which aim to avoid game tries when possible, and to conceal potentially damaging information from the opponents. Losing Trick Count is discussed and sure cover cards, aka winners, are introduced. The slow-down raise, mini-splinters by responder, and jump mixed raises are recommended. Reverse two-way reverse Drury is introduced, with full game tries available to both partners. The limit raise is merged with the forcing raise both to gain space and for competitive advantage. Important ideas by Marty Bergen, Ken Eichenbaum, Andrew Gumperz, Lew Gamerman and many others are considered in the Appendix, plus tests of specific game try methods. Three pages of annotated references are included. There are lots of ideas and arrangements of ideas here.
Dec 2018 J Improving 2/1 Game Force, Part 1, by Fred Gitelman (A)
This article was originally published in Canadian Master Point, November 1993; repaired by Pete Matthews Jr from available sources and posted with permission of the author.
Topics: PROBLEM 1: The lack of definition of the 2/1. PROBLEM 2: The (misguided) principle of fast arrival, Serious 3NT, Picture Bids. Likely the earliest published, useful description of Serious 3NT methods.
Dec 2018 J Improving 2/1 Game Force, Part 2, by Fred Gitelman (A)
This article was originally published in Canadian Master Point, January 1994; repaired by Pete Matthews Jr from available sources and posted with permission of the author.
Topics: Likely the earliest published, useful descriptions of Last Train to Clarksville (LTTC) and Lackwood.
Dec 2018 J Improving 2/1 Game Force, Part 3, by Fred Gitelman (A)
This article was originally published in Canadian Master Point, June 1994; repaired by Pete Matthews Jr from available sources and posted with permission of the author.
Topics: Responses to cheapest jump shift, used as replacement for Jacoby 2NT. Improving Forcing 1NT Auctions.
Oct 2018 J Disrupting Precision Minor Suit Openings (I/A)
In the Precision bidding system, the one club opening is used for most strong hands. When this comes up, it offers an opportunity to get in the way.
The most common Precision opening is one diamond. The opponents may try to use it to eat your lunch. Be prepared, or go hungry!
Jul 2017 P Roman Keycard Blackwood, Delayed Kickback and Crosswood (A)
Asking for aces or keycards is a major tool in bidding sound slams at bridge. Roman Keycard Blackwood (RKB) is the prominent such tool. This article introduces Crosswood, where the other minor is used to ask for keycards, when a minor suit is trump, and Delayed Kickback, which usually lets you ask with 4 spades, when hearts are trump. Exclusion Keycard Blackwood (Voidwood), void-showing responses, Gerber & Super-Gerber, the Queen Ask, responding to 4NT quantitative, Reverse Baze, and more are here. The 6trump response to the Queen Ask, to show a source of tricks, is introduced. This is a full, playable keycard system in twelve pages, including several options. Slip out pages 9 and 10 for a portable reference. 2016 version
Aug 2015 P Leaping and Non-Leaping Michaels (A)
Leaping Michaels and its extension to Non-Leaping Michaels allow you to bid strong two suiters after the opponents preempt the bidding. These tools are part of a system to cope with such preempts, including the jump to four of a major based on distributional values.
May 2013 P Bridge Playing & Simulation Software Review (A)
This article surveys the top five bridge playing programs for Windows computers: Jack, Wbridge5 (free!), Shark, GiB and Bridge Baron. Two more programs are considered for their capability to let you design your own bidding conventions: Bridge Buff and Blue Chip Bridge. Finally, tools for for performing bridge simulations are evaluated, including a simulation to evaluate three dealing tools: Bridge Buff, Dealmaster Pro, and Deal (free & best!)
Mar 2013 P Anatomy of a Bridge Deal (A)
This article presents a deal with a somewhat unusual bidding decision. More than just providing the correct answer, it show methods to determine that answer.
PDF  Deals analyzed: GiB plays 3 diamonds doubled, by East. PBN 
PDF  Deals analyzed: GiB plays 3 notrump, by North. PBN 
PDF  Deals analyzed: double dummy, North may hold 5 clubs. PBN 
PDF  Deals analyzed: double dummy, North plays 3NT without competition. PBN 
PDF  Spreadsheet of results. XLSX 
Oct 2012 P Opener Rebids 2NT (A)
Years in the making, the author presents his survey of available methods and those he recommends — slip out page 4.
Mar 2012 P After One Diamond - Two Clubs (A)
The author describes his system of playing a two club response to a one diamond opening as forcing to game, if either partner raises or bids notrump. (The system also works with two clubs always forcing to game, but that is a slightly inferior method.) The crux of the system is a key bidding trick.
Jan 2012 P The Raptor and Roadrunner 1NT Overcalls (A)
The Raptor 1NT overcall and its Roadrunner derivative promise a major suit and a longer minor, typically 4-5 or 4-6. High card strength is usually that of a normal opening bid. Evaluation of the systems through 40 deals is followed by a one-page description of each convention. Defenses are provided. The main advantage of these conventions is that they are fun to play, as they appear to be results-neutral, or slightly better - with the loss of the natural 1NT overcall. The author has only played Raptor, and only at Matchpoints, where a single board won't swing an entire session. Supporting materials for this article include:
PDF  Detailed analysis of 40 deals, 34 for Raptor, and 6 "Flannery" deals where East opens in front. PBN 
Nov 2011 P Flannery and Major Nightmare Solutions at Bridge (A)
This is the definitive article on the web about bidding systems for deals where the opening bidder has five or more hearts and three or four spades. The Tucker 1NT rebid is introduced and recommended over approaches based on standard methods, the Flannery Two Diamond opening, the Kaplan Interchange, Opener's Transfer Rebids, Opener's Gazzilli Two Club rebid, and Kaplan-Sheinwold Updated (KSU). This sixth version of the article adds evaluation of Transfer, Gazzilli, KSU, and Extended Flannery methods, more Tucker context deals, and Extended Flannery context deals. Want to start playing Tucker? Just pull out page 2. Also see A Major Nightmare below. Supporting materials for this article include:
PDF  Detailed analysis of 36 "Non_Tucker context" deals, plus 22 deals where responder has a game-forcing hand with spades but not hearts, two per page. PBN 
PDF  Detailed analysis of 53 "Tucker context" deals, two per page. PBN 
PDF  Detailed analysis of 51 "Flannery context" deals, two per page. PBN
PDF  Detailed analysis of 18 "Extended Flannery context" deals, plus 24 more, four per page. PBN
PDF  Spreadsheet summarizing bidding evaluation results. XLS 
Oct 2011 P Explorations of Roman 3-Suited Openings at Bridge (A)
This is the definitive article on the web about specialized openings for hands with 4-4-4-1 distribution. Conventions analyzed that are already in use include: Blue Team Two Diamonds, Mini-Roman Two Diamonds, and Split Roman Two Diamonds. The author also describes and analyzes new conventions: Triple Roman Two Diamonds (in two point ranges), and Quad Roman Two Clubs. These conventions are considered in the context of Eastern Scientific (similar to 2/1 Game Force) and Unbalanced Diamond (a system with artificial openings). This second version of the article adds the Miles Roman Two Diamonds and supersedes the Quad Roman Two Clubs with Triple Roman Two Clubs. The first set of extra deals is evaluated with the main contenders. Supporting materials for this article include:
PDF  Detailed analysis of the original 49 deals, one per page. PBN 
PDF  Double spreadsheet summarizing bidding evaluation results. XLSX 
PDF  North-South hands from the bidding evaluation, for practice bidding.
PDF  Notes on interference by opponents, for practice bidding. DOC 
PDF  Extra deals, set 1, from the bidding evaluation. PBN 
PDF  Extra deals, set 2, for practice bidding and possible analysis. PBN 
Mar 2011 P Legal and Illegal Switches (A)
Switches in meanings of bids can improve normal usage and conventions. Unfortunately, the ACBL General Convention Chart interferes with some, such as three of the five switches described here: Brozel (Pete-zel is OK), Cappelletti (Hamilton, Pottage), NAMYATS, the Kaplan Interchange (a Flannery alternative), and the Tucker 1NT rebid (OK, and better than the Kaplan Interchange).
Dec 2010 P Leong Transfers after Opener Rebids 1NT (A) ... by Eric Leong (assembled by Pete Matthews Jr).
Dec 2010 P Bridge Bidding Systems for Finding Major Suit Fits (A)
Montreal Relay, Transfer Walsh, Crowhurst, New Minor Forcing, Checkback Stayman, Two-Way NMF, Leong Transfers [rev. Dec 2010], Morgan Transfers, Fourth Bid Transfers, Fourth Suit Forcing, X-Y-Z.
Dec 2010 P The Unbalanced Diamond System by Marshall Miles (A)
This article provides a detailed summary of the bidding system, as described in Miles' book. It fills in some gaps, and discusses potential improvements.
Nov 2009 P Bridge Scoring, Strategy, and Tactics (I)
This article describes bridge scoring and its impact upon play, essential information for intermediate and novice players.
Jul 2009 P Miles Responses to a Strong Two Club Opening (A)
Provides an overview of popular methods of responding to a strong two club opening, and a breakthrough by Marshall Miles: artificial two heart bids by both responder and opener.
Jul 2009 P Morgan Transfers after Opener Rebids 1NT (A)

Session Notes

Levels are Intermediate (I) and Advancing/Advanced (A).

Date Location Media Title (Level)
2019-02-04 Westwood P Careful Play; Penalty Card (A)
2019-02-01 Westwood P Free Bid in Westwood (A)
2018-11-21 Westwood P Threading a Major Nightmare (A)
2018-09-17 Westwood P Unusual Double (I)
2018-08-28 Westwood P Four Deals from Warwick (I/A)
2018-08-21 Westwood P Double and Cue Bid (I/A)
2018-08-09 Westwood P Opening Lead against 3NT (A)
2018-06-19 Nashua Regl P Nashua Deals (I/A)
2018-01-26 Westwood P Defensive Problem (I/A)
2017-10-23 Charlotte Regl P Charlotte Precision Problem (I/A)
2017-10-18 Westwood P Which Major (I/A)
2017-06-06 MIT P Dubious Grand Slam (I/A)
2017-05-02 Westwood P Precision Slam (A)
2017-03-15 Westwood P Two Westwood Deals (I/A)
2016-05-03 MIT P When You're Hot (I/A)
2016-03-26 Westwood P Trumped in Westwood (I/A)
2016-03-15 MIT P Three Slams (I/A)
2015-09-24 Westwood P Low from a Doubleton Honor (A)
2013-11-05 MIT P Redouble Trouble (I)
2013-08-16 Watertown Secl P They Play Flannery (I/A)
2013-04-23 MIT P What do you call an eight card suit? (I/A)
2013-01-29 MIT P Two Deals (I/A)
2013-01-06 Newton Regl P At the Individuals (I/A)
2013-01-05 Newton Regl P Opener Rebids His Minor (I)
2012-11-09 Mansfield Regl P Two Leads from Mansfield (I/A)
2012-08-30 Warwick Regl P Unauthorized Information (I)
2012-07-06 Bethesda Regl P The Tale of the Four of Hearts (I)
2012-06-26 MIT P Preemptive Bidding and Signalling (I)
2012-05-29 MIT P Two in the Glue (I/A)
2012-05-22 MIT P Defending with a Strong Suit (I)
2012-05-08 MIT P Make This Slam (A)
2012-03-20 MIT P Singleton Ace (I)
2012-03-13 MIT P Trump Coup (A)
2012-02-25 Watertown P No Misguess (A)
2012-01-17 MIT P The Rueful Rabbit at MIT (I)
2012-01-17 MIT P Bid Their Suits! (A)
2011-11-22 MIT P It's a Bitch (A)
2011-10-25 MIT P Count! (I)
2011-09-02 Warwick Regl P A Major Nightmare (A)
2011-08-11 Parsippany Regl P Over a Third Seat Weak Two Spades (A)
2011-07-19 MIT HTML Drury and Jump Shifts (I)
2011-07-12 MIT P Opener's Second Suit (I)
2011-04-09 Watertown Secl P Diabolical Lead (A)
2011-04-08 Watertown Secl P Double Restricted Choice (A)
2011-03-29 MIT P Weak 6-4 Majors (I)
2011-03-22 MIT P An Easy Grand (A)
2011-03-01 MIT P Misplay This Hand (A)
2011-02-15 MIT P Almost a Small Nightmare (A)
2011-02-15 MIT P The Five Level Belongs to the Opponents (I)
2011-02-08 MIT HTML J75432-K10-AKQ-J9 after 1NT Forcing (A)
2011-01-25 MIT P 7-5 Misfit (1D - 2C) (A)
2011-01-18 MIT P Easy in Spades, Tricky in NT (A)
2011-01-11 MIT P Suit Combination: A109xx - Qxxx (A)
2011-01-04 MIT P Balancing Preempt (A)
2010-12-28 MIT P Strong Jump Shift (I)
2009-06-02 MIT P Relay Precision Slam (I/A) [posted 2018-02-27]

Imprecision Logs

All items are for advancing or advanced players.

Date Media Title
2017-12-09 P Imprecision in Action

Club Manager and Director Materials

For the calendar years 2006 through 2016, I was the manager of the MIT/DL Bridge Club. Since I'm much better when I'm prepared in advance, compared to coping with directing issues on the fly, I developed tools that helped to run the game more smoothly. Those tools are still available on the club's site, http://web.mit.edu/mitdlbc/www/contrib.html#Manager:

Since I seldom direct bridge games any more, I am not presenting the materials here, at this time.

Publication Notes

Some of the material on this page originally appeared on the MIT/DL Bridge Club site, on the page http://web.mit.edu/mitdlbc/www/contrib.html.

This page (http://3nt.xyz/bridge.htm) is now the official home of this material. Look for updates here.

Media Codes

To describe attributes of the intended media, PDF documents are noted with these Media Codes:

Media Orientation Columns Size Description
P Portrait 1-2 8.5"W x 11"H US Letter, usually single column, best for printing and viewing on a moderate to large screen. Articles published before July 1, 2018 and most other bridge material is in this format.
L Landscape 2 11"W x 8.5"H US Letter, print using less paper for proofreading or making notes, or view on a large screen. This version is seldom provided on the site. With 2-up printing, format J covers most of the function of format L, so this format should seldom be used.
J Portrait 1 5.5"W x 8.5"H US Junior (Half Letter), best for large print on letter paper, printing a book or booklet on Junior size (or larger print on larger paper). Best viewing on small screen. Select the "Fit" option when printing from Acrobat Reader to enlarge print to fill Letter pages. Also see 2-up printing, below. All articles published after July 1, 2018 should be in this format.

Note: I invented these three codes for use on this page.

Formatting for Small Devices

In MS Word 2010, select the Page Layout tab.

Once these required settings have been established, they should not need to be changed:

  1. Click the little corner-arrow in the bottom right of the Page Setup section.
  2. Margins tab: Top, left, bottom, and right all 0.3". Gutter 0.
    For page numbers in the footer, set the bottom margin to 0.4".
  3. Paper tab: Height 8.5".
  4. Layout tab: Header 0.0", Footer 0.2".

Switch to Media Code L:

  1. Orientation: Landscape
  2. Size: Letter (8.5 x 11 in)
  3. Columns: Two
  4. References Tab - Table of Contents Section - Update Table - (select desired option) - OK.
  5. Also do the Index, if there is one.

Switch to Media Code J:

  1. Columns: One
  2. Click the little corner-arrow in the bottom right of the Page Setup section.
  3. Paper Tab - Width: 5.6" - OK. [This switches Orientation to Portrait.]
  4. References Tab - Table of Contents Section - Update Table - (select desired option) - OK.
  5. Also do the Index, if there is one.

Printing - Acrobat Reader Recommended

Large Printing for Media Code J:

  1. File - Save As - PDF (new file type).
  2. Open the PDF, and invoke the print dialog (Ctrl-P on Windows).
  3. Select Portrait orientation and the fit to page option.
    • If using Acrobat Reader, select the Fit button. If you do not see it, first select Size (maybe you last printed 2-up).
    • If using the Edge browser, select the Scale option of Fit to page (not actual size).

2-up Printing for Media Code J:

Caution: If you use Windows 10, the default for handling PDFs is the Edge browser, which cannot print 2-up. The current version of Acrobat Reader is available at https://get.adobe.com/reader/. Keep the box checked to install the Acrobat Reader Chrome Extension, if applicable. Definitely uncheck the boxes, so that the optional offers from McAfee do not get installed.

  1. File - Save As - PDF (new file type).
  2. Open the PDF using Acrobat Reader, and type Ctrl-P.
  3. Select 2-up printing: click the Multiple button, select 2 pages per sheet, and then Horizontal as illustrated:
Dell 3760-PS Multiple, 2 pages per sheet, print both sides

Book Info

Hey, I'm writing a book! I'm sticking special formatting info in this section.

On Jan 1, 2019, I changed the header and footer dimensions above, and noted using a bottom margin of 0.4" with a one-line footer.


Each chapter is a "Heading 1" and has a number preceding its name (16-point bold Arial). Usually, the first topic in the chapter begins without further ado.

Each topic is a "Heading 2" (14-point bold italic Arial). To assure nothing else lands in the Table of Contents, "Heading 3" is not used.

Each topic starts with the main points to be discussed (11-point Calibri). "Heading 6" (12-point bold Calibri) is usually the only heading type in this section, although some run-in headings may begin paragraphs. I'm reluctant to change the 11-point default in my copy of MS Word to make "Heading 6" 12-point. Accordingly, I need to set one heading to 12-point, and then right-click on Heading 6, and select Update Heading 6 to Match Selection I keep having to do this, so it might be per-file, per-inserted-file, or per-section.

Each topic contains Backstory and Alternative Methods sections; each is a "Heading 4" (14-point bold Calibri). Within each of these sections, paragraphs may begin with run-in headings (11-point bold Calibri). This secondary material does not merit larger headings.

Line Endings

As much as possible, I attempt to follow Richard Pavlicek's Bridge Writing Style Guide. This means spaces normally appear between card symbols, suit symbols, and bid levels. Unfortunately, in flowing text, this can cause something such as "2 S" to be split across a line ending. To avoid that, use Ctrl-Shift-Space to insert a Nonbreaking Space between the "2" and the "S" (or spade symbol). We can also find this with Insert > Symbol > More Symbols... > Special Characters > Nonbreaking Space.

Section Breaks, Footers and Page Numbers

Each topic starts a new page. To obtain that effect, we use Page Layout > Breaks > (Section Breaks) Next Page (or occasionally, Odd Page).

Now things start to get sticky. The first section of the book includes the front matter that will not have footers or page numbers. However, those pages are invisibly numbered.

Make sure there are no footers, or footers are empty, in this section.

To start numbering within the front matter, section break to the next odd page. Open up the footer for the first page to be numbered, which brings up the "Header & Footer Tools" (green tab). IMPORTANT: make sure "Link to Previous" is NOT highlighted (yellow). It must be gray, or anything we do here will affect the previous section.

On the first page to be numnered: Page Number > Format Page Numbers... set the Number Format to i, ii, iii. Continue page numbering from the previous section.

We want that page number on the right of the page for odd pages, and on the left for even pages. I did this so long ago, I forgot how. "Different Odd and Even Pages" is in there somehow.

Put 10 spaces before the page number, and precede that with the topic title, this being an odd page. (No chapter titles are in the footer.)

On the next even page, put 10 spaces after the page number, and follow it with the book title.

To start numbering the main body, section break to the next odd page. Open up the footer for the first page to be numbered, which brings up the "Header & Footer Tools" (green tab). IMPORTANT: make sure "Link to Previous" is NOT highlighted (yellow). It must be gray, or anything we do here will affect the previous section.

Page Number > Format Page Numbers... Set the Number Format to 1, 2, 3 and Start at 1.

On the footer for this odd page, position the cursor at the right of the previous topic title, which should be there, and backspace over it. Then type the new topic title.

To start the next topic, section break to the next page. Open up the footer, which brings up the "Header & Footer Tools" (green tab). IMPORTANT: make sure "Link to Previous" is NOT highlighted (yellow). It must be gray, or anything we do here will affect the previous section.

On the footer for the first odd page in the topic, position the cursor at the right of the previous topic title, which should be there, and backspace over it. Then type the new topic title.

Note: A single-even-page topic won't get into a footer. If the topic expands to a second page, then that footer will need to be fixed. Also, if the title of the book is changed, the even page footer will need to be fixed in every section.

Formatting for Kindle

All the information above is about formatting for a PDF file, especially Media J, which should display acceptably on any small device, including a smartphone or a Kindle.

However, I may need to publish in Kindle format. That may wreak havoc on carefully formatted tables. Pagination control is out the window, for sure.

Worse is my use of the Cards font. A Kindle certainly does not have that. Even if it's possible to install it, it might not work as desired. (It's fine in a PDF that contains a copy of the whole font.)

The trick will be to write the whole book in a single Unicode font. The two fonts that I found on Windows 10 to include the required outline (white) heart and diamond symbols, in addition to the solid (black) space and club symbols are:

Arial Unicode MS — symbols slightly smaller; text bolder than Calibri
Cambria Math — symbols significantly smaller; serif
Yu Gothic — symbols slightly larger; text fainter than Calibri
Yu Gothic UI — symbols significantly larger; text sl. bolder than Calibri

Yu Gothic UI is a User Interface font that has been compressed so that it can seamlessly replace other such fonts. Arial Unicode MS looks like the best bet. If the symbols are slightly larger than the rest of the font, they may cause extra space between lines when used in a paragraph.

Anyhow, the point is to produce the entire book in the same font, including the suit symbols. The fonts above have the symbols we need at the prescribed locations:

U+2660 = black spade suit
U+2661 = white heart suit
U+2662 = white diamond suit
U+2663 = black club suit

In MS Word 2010, use Insert - Symbol - More Symbols, and scroll way down. You'll see the Unicode number from the chart above, for the correct symbol. Of course, once you have the correct symbol in the book, just copy it around. These symbols are acceptable, but inferior in appearance to the non-Unicode Cards font symbols.

Unfortunately, although most fonts are Unicode, most of those do not contain the required four symbols. Many contain the black spade and club symbols, but not the white heart and diamonds. (Many fonts do contain a white diamond at the wrong location; avoid those fonts.)

Using a single Unicode font should enable the document to display reasonably on the end user's Kindle — if the kindle has a Unicode font containing our symbols — and if the user selects that font. This is reportedly possible on all recent Kindles, with the Georgia font appropriate for a first try. The appearance of the symbols is wholly dependent on the Kindle font. It would be appropriate to a documented test in the front matter of the book.

More info is out on the web. I found the work of Tim C. Taylor to be helpful, for example, https://timctaylor.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/kindle-support-for-unicode-pt2-how-to-use-unicode.

For a while I had a Kindle, but I gave it to my daughter. I got it to read library books, for which it was kind of a PITA. I like that better on my new Pixel 3 smartphone.

Most photos © Karen C. Matthews. Unless specifically attributed otherwise, all other content © Pete Matthews Jr.