Friday, August 25, 2017

Article for Vineyard Gazette, by Jim Kaplan

Robert S. Todd is a resident of Tallahassee, but he says he lives out of a suitcase. Todd teaches bridge, gives playing lessons, runs duplicate play on cruises, you name it. Oh, and he’s also an expert player.

Todd and playing partner Judy Hyde enjoyed games at the Edgartown and Martha’s Vineyard bridge clubs on August 7-8. Sitting North and dealing, with East-West vulnerable, Todd held these cards:

 S Q 5
 H Q J 9 6 4
 D K
 C J 10 8 7 3
He opened 2H! The weak two-bid usually shows a six-card suit, but experts will bid it with two five-card suits. Responder bid 2S, showing a good hand with usually a six-card suit. Todd then jumped to 4S, showing a good pre-empt with a three-card or honor doubleton in spades.

Naturally, they made game. Against me and my partner.

Here’s a bid that rarely appears but can lead to spectacular results. With South dealing and East-West vulnerable on Board Three of the M.V. Club game, you hold these cards as East:

 S 5
 H A K J 8 7 6 4
 D A K 10 3 2
 C —
After two passes, North bids 2S. What do you do?

Todd said he would unveil “leaping Michaels.” Over opponent’s weak two-bid in a major suit, a jump to four of a minor shows at least 5-5 distribution in that minor and the unbid major and game-going values.

Therefore, Todd said, bid 4D to show diamonds and hearts. If partner responds 4H, go to 6H; over a 5D response, bid 6D. As it happens on this deal, partner bid 4H, and the leaper goes to 6H, making.

On another board, I was dealt:

 S A 7 3 2
 H A Q
 D K 9 8 2
 C A Q 2
A 2NT bids shows 20-21 high-card points, but I promoted my three aces a point and bid 2NT. Todd agreed. “If you’re hoping to get to 3NT, make a bid that doesn’t give away much. Today I bid 2NT with 18 HCP and six diamonds and a semi-balanced hand.”

Todd travels about 40 weeks a year, all over the country and world, playing and teaching bridge. He splits his time among playing with students, teaching seminars and workshops and hosting bridge cruises. He also does a lot of bridge writing and online teaching with his students on Bridge Base Online.

Todd does a free email weekly lesson (called This Week in Bridge, TWiB). You can sign up for it on his website or order his books on

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