Bridge Classes


With Maritha Pottenger

This series will cover bidding in competition (and, of course, some declarer play and defensive challenges along the way). It's a “dog eat dog” world at the duplicate bridge table, so come prepared to sharpen your competitive skills and go all out to slaughter your opponents.

All classes will be at Soledad Club (5050 Soledad Road), from 10:05 AM to 12 Noon. Please pre-register with Maritha ( so I know how many duplicate boards to make up for each class. The classes will be $80.00 for the entire series or $20 per individual class.

January 8: Overcalls at the One Level: What You Need; When & Why to Do It.
Overcalls serve several purposes. We can try to buy the bid; we can show strength and be seeking the right contract, or we can be trying to get partner off to the right lead if we end up defending. The last criterion is the MOST important with light one-level overcalls. Learn when to overcall a 4-card suit; when to overcall with only 7 high card points, etc.

January 15: Overcalls at the Two Level and 3 Level, Including Bidding Over Preempts by Opponents: What You Need; When & Why to Do It.
Overcalls at the two level and above are a serious business. This is when the opponents will start making penalty doubles. Light overcalls at the 2 and 3 level can lead to going down 800, 1100, and more—generally a recipe for making partner unhappy. We will focus on how good your hand should be, and how good your suit should be in these circumstances (including bidding—or not—over an opponent's preemptive opening bid).

January 22: Take Out Doubles and Responses to Them
Just because the opponents opened the bidding is no reason to give them a “free ride.” Be willing to compete. Many people confuse jumps opposite partner's takeout double with weak jumps shifts and weak jump overcalls. They are totally different situations. We will review the significance of each of the various responses to partner's double—and when to convert take-out (or negative or responsive) doubles into penalty by passing.

January 29: NO CLASS. Riverside Regional—FREE EDUCATION all week, including 2-hour class on Monday, January 29, at Riverside Convention Center.

February 5: Balancing No Trump and Responses
When you have the wrong shape for a balancing double, and you have no suit to overcall, a balancing no trump call may save the day. We will go over the most common ranges, whether to play systems on or not, and what each of partner's responses (including jumps) should mean.

February 12: Don't Let the Opponents Play Two of a Major (with a Fit) When They Want to Stop There and When to “Take the Push”
One of the “laws” of duplicate is to push the opponents up one level when they want to play one or two of a major. What are the balancing principles to help you provide that “push”? And, suppose you are on the other end: the opponents have “bid one more” to try to push you up. Do you go to the three level or not? We will cover the factors that will help you decide when to bid on, when to pass, and when to double for penalty.