Friday, September 27, 2019

Welcome to Jennbridge!


Tips for Astonishing Success at  Bridge Tournaments


Would you like to have more fun and greater success at bridge tournaments? Then this book is for you. The Bridge Tournament Handbook is for busy advancing players who want some great tips to tune up their game before heading off to a tournament - or even their local bridge club. It presents valuable information that you can refer to again and again, so can be used as a reference book.

Written for intermediate/advanced players -- with a dash of information for newer players.

Did you know that there are steps you can actually take to prepare for a bridge tournament? Just like professional athletes prepare for competition, we, as bridge players can prepare for competition. There are steps we can take to gain more confidence, more focus and the right mindset. We want to be confident, alert and bold. The Bridge Tournament Handbook will help you hone your skills and get you into the winning mindset. Hundreds of insightful tips from teachers and experts illustrated with great hands from actual tournaments. 

Bridge is the most entertaining and intelligent card game the wit of man has so far devised.           Somerset Maugham
  • Playing at the Nationals and Other Tournaments (For Newer Players)
  •  Focus, Concentration and Improving Memory (Memory is everything!) 
  •  Convention Card Review, Plus Larry Cohen's Classic Tips to Simplify 
  • Strategy and Tips for Pair Games 
  • Strategy and Tips for Team Games
  • Probability of Suit-Divisions Table (A great reference source)
  • Bidding Tip: Losing Trick Count (Contains my NABC handout)
  • Declarer Play Tip: Counting (For serious players: Improve your counting for excellent play!)
  • Defensive Tip: Carding, Discarding and Signals & Opening leads
  • Expert Bidding Secrets (Not taught in bridge lessons!)
  • Card Play Principles: Restricted Choice, Rule of 11
  • Great tips from Teachers and Other Experts: Gerry Fox, Jo Ginsberg, Peggy Tatro, Bruce Blakely, Sara Rothmuller, Bob Klein, Kathy Venton, Kate Hill 

A. Types of Pair Games                                                                  
B. Types of Team Games                                                                
C. Types of Masterpoints
    This handbook is filled with hundreds of great (previously unpublished) tips for tournament success and presents a valuable roadmap to navigate the rough waters of competitive bridge and get you on the winning path! 

    One copy: $14.95. Bridge Bulletin Special: 2 copies for $24.95! 
    Order from the PayPal button on the top right. **Discounts for bridge teachers.
    Questions: Contact me at 

    Guaranteed to elevate your game or your money back! See book reviews on top right. 

    Thanks - See you in San Francisco! I will be a "celebrity speaker". Come say hello!

    Wednesday, September 25, 2019

    Losint Trick Count Q & A

    Here's an email I received this week about using Losing Trick Count.

    Hi Jennifer,

    Question on how the bidding should have gone with a 1,5,6,1 distribution please.

    N: S K84, H QJ3, D J2, C J976         7LTC, 12 pts
    S: S 97652, H K5, D K53, C 643      9LTC, 6 pts
    E: S AQJ3, H 862, D AJ, C AT98      7LTC, 16 pts
    W: S T, H AT974, D QT9842, C 7   6LTC, 6pts

    I was West and with a 6 losing trick count opened 1H. Right, Wrong?

    Bidding: P – 1H – P – 1S; P - 2D – P – 3NT we went down 1

    Bridge printout says we make 2NT, 4H, 4D.

    So with my 5-6 west hand, should I have opened or passed?
    Or how should this board have been bid? Maybe to get to 4H or 4D?

    At this time, we are playing Standard American. Any thoughts on how to evaluate and bid this board etc. would be greatly appreciated?

    Thank you.


    Dear 6-5 friend,

    Although you only have six losers, you don't have enough HCP to open the bidding. You should be "in the range" – probably at least 10 HCP. Also remember this: losing trick count does not really apply until you find a fit.
    That being said – once you open, your partner has heart support and should always take you to game in hearts, not NT!
    Now let's look at how the auction should have gone. Your partner would open 1NT and you would transfer to hearts. Now you might consider taking another call, say, 3D, at which point he would jump to four hearts with his maximum. His hand will play great in hearts with his aces, three trumps and ruffing value.

    Good luck!

    * These topics are covered in my articles in the Bridge Bulletin; the most recent series published in May, 2018 through Oct., 2018.
    *For more info, grab a copy of one or both of my LTC books, available on this site.

    See you at the table!

    Sunday, September 22, 2019

    A One (1) Loser Hand!

    Playing pairs at the Santa Rosa Sectional yesterday, I was stunned to pick up this hand.

    ♠ AKQ1092
    ♣ AKQ4

    I didn't bother counting the points...I don't think I've ever seen a hand like this!

    After RHO passed, I duly opened 2♣. Partner, Bob Klein, bid 2, waiting, and I bid 2♠.

    As he considered his rebid, I considered mine. "If he shows a 'double negative', I will still bid a slam", I thought. Or...he may hold one of the other kings which would be great.

    4♠ was his rebid.  Wow!  Not a strong bid, but showing a little something.

    I couldn't resist. From the bidding box I pulled out the 7♠ card!

    Everyone at the table was quite surprised.

    Now let's see what he's got.  The J♣ was led.

    ♠ J75

    ♠ AKQ1092
    ♣ AKQ4

    There it was--the K!  Now I needed to be able to get to the board, and that could be accomplished in a couple of different ways.  If spades broke 2-2 it would be easy.

    I played the A♠ and K♠ and all followed!  Now I cashed the A and the top clubs (which broke 4-2) and ruffed the 4th club with the J♠. My diamond loser was discarded on the K and I scored up my grand.

    At the end of the round, Bob asked me what my hand was and pointed out that it was a ONE LOSER HAND! (Bd. 13, second session.)

    I could have bid RKC and then asked for kings to arrive at the same contract.  I kind of liked to just leap there, however, due to a bit of fun bridge superstition I have. I refer occasionally to the "Bridge Gods" and believe that if you don't pay maximum respect to great hands, that the Bridge Gods will not bless you with others in the future!

    Plus 2210 was worth 15 out of 19 matchpoints and helped us to a high overall finish.

    See you at the table!

    Sunday, August 18, 2019

    Tip from Bridge Tournament Handbook Leads to Great Score

    This email just arrived from Laura Kenney, wife of Gene Simpson, popular bridge professional. Laura is an excellent player in her own right, and recently bought my new book in Terra Linda.

    Gene and I had a sit-out for boards 29 and 30.  I started reading your book.  Of note is page 10 on competitive bidding.

    Shortly thereafter, I was sitting South for Board 3.   I dealt and passed. West opened 1D, my partner passed, and East thereafter preempted 3D. 

    While it may be that a 3H call by South is an obvious choice for a good bridge player, I was a bit afraid to make it, especially since my partner  could not bid over West's 1D opener (and Gene and I make very light overcalls).  In any event, you inspired me to bid 3H -- you really did -- and that got us a good result.....I was down one and 3D was cold.  The most common result on the board was E-W plus 110.

    So thank you!

    Thank you Laura!  Here is the hand she is referring to:

    Board 3
    South Deals
    E-W Vul
    J 9 8
    Q J 10
    A 7 2
    10 9 5 3
    A 7 6
    K 5 2
    K J 10 3
    K 8 7


    K 10 5
    9 8
    Q 9 8 5 4
    Q J 2

    Q 4 3 2
    A 7 6 4 3
    A 6 4

    As South, Laura passed initially.  West opened 1, East jumped to 3 and it was her call. She was a little reluctant to come in with a 3bid, but that bid led to an 80% board.

    The tip she refers to from my book is actually a fabulous tip from Marty Bergen, a great writer and teacher. One of a collection of tips from some of the best bridge writers in the country.  The Bridge Tournament Handbook will transform your game.  Buy now to read this tip and many more like it!

    See you at the table!

    Saturday, August 17, 2019

    Factors to Consider When Playing IMPs

    I'm going to be teaching about team game strategy this fall and so will start writing some posts on factors to consider when playing IMPs.

    Here is an old, updated post originally entitled: Playing The Opponents 

    Playing in a bracketed Swiss team game recently, I was faced twice with the same tricky card combination, both in the club suit:  KJ9xxx opposite a singleton.

    Both times I was in game and needed to get it right to make my game.  Each time I "played my opponent".  Did I score up my games?  Read on!

    1.  Playing against a strong team, both vul., the bidding went pass, pass and I opened 1 in third seat:

    ♠ A1098x
    ♦  Jx
    ♣ x

    Partner bid a forcing notrump and I rebid 2.  Pard jumped to 4 and a heart was led:

    ♠ xx
    ♦ Qx
    ♣ KJ9xxx

    ♠ A1098x
    ♦  Jx
    ♣ x

    Clearly a light game, but at least I had chances on a non-spade lead.  I would need for something good to happen in the club suit to have any chance.

    I won the heart in my hand and threw my club on the table.  LHO played low and I paused to think.  LHO was a very experienced player who would not duck the probable setting trick--ever.  I therefore inserted the jack and RHO won the ace!  She returned a heart which I won on the board.  I then cashed the K and ruffed a club with the suit breaking 3-3!  4 clubs, 5 hearts and 1 spade added up to 10 tricks and I scored up 620.  I was pleased to learn that this netted our team 12 imps.

    2.  In the final match I picked up this hand and opened 1 in third seat, none vul.:

    ♠ Kxx
    ♦ AQxx
    ♣ x

    LHO overcalled 1, partner bid 2, I bid 2N, LHO paused before passing, and pard bid 3N, ending the auction.  A spade was led.

    ♠ A
    ♦  K10xxx
    ♣ KJ9xxx

    ♠ Kxx
    ♦ AQxx
    ♣ x

    I can count 8 tricks (5 D, 2S, 1H) and here I am in the same situation--needing to guess the club suit correctly to make my game.  OK--what was the meaning of that hesitation by LHO? 

    I know the player to be a good, experienced player.  Surely he wasn't thinking about bidding on.  He must have been contemplating a double.  Why would he do that?  Conclusion:  he must have most of the outstanding high cards and thinks he can get in often enough to set up and run his spades.

    I win the spade on the board and lead a diamond to my hand.  The moment of truth.  I lead my club, LHO plays low smoothly and I call for the king.  It holds!  That is my ninth trick and I score up my game.  It seems that I read the hesitation correctly.  Plus 400 gains an unlikely 12 imps.  (I'll have to ask my teammates what happened at their table.)

    Be present.  Consider the skill level and propensities of your opponents.  Play close attention during the bidding and play to gather all possible information and use it to your advantage.

    And, of course, bid close games and keep improving your declarer play!

    See you at the table!

    Tuesday, August 13, 2019

    Bridge Tournament Handbook News

    Baron Barclay is now carrying Bridge Tournament Handbook (

    Their blast email, which came out today, featured it in the New Book section.  Here is the description:

    With decades of high-level tournament bridge experience, Jennifer Jones knows what skills are essential to tournament success. She presents this impressive collection of tips on key bridge topics with clarity, illustrating them with her own exciting tournament hands.

    Packed with outstanding bridge resources, plus hundreds of great tournament tips from Jennifer and other bridge teachers and experts, this handbook will lift your game to a new level.

    The "Secrets of the Experts" section presents valuable bids and concepts not ordinarily included in bridge classes and books, and the section on Counting is quite instructive.

    Experienced players can refresh their recollection of fundamental concepts such as Losing Trick Count, Restricted Choice, Rule of 11 and the table of suit-break odds, while newcomers can study the types of pair and team games played at NABCs in the appendices.

    Jennifer's personal account of her focused approach to a session of tournament bridge is enlightening, as are the descriptions of her thoughts as she bids and plays challenging and interesting hands.

    *Joanne P., a Silver Life Master from my Santa Rosa club sent me a nice comment on the book:

    I stopped in Vegas last month on a planned trip to the East Coast where I played for a day and a half in the Nationals.  And, to treat myself, I started to read your book on my short flight over.   I thought it was AWESOME.  So much valuable information was packed into that small booklet!  I devoured it (not sure I'll remember any of it) and got through most of it on the flight (and loved the meditation suggestion!).

    Thanks Joanne!

    See you at the table!

    Friday, August 2, 2019

    Why Buy Bridge Tournament Handbook?

    An reader asked me point blank today why he should buy the Bridge Tournament Handbook.

    "Two compelling reasons." I replied.
    • First, it is a great value.  It contains much of the material for advancing players covered in my private bridge coaching programs.
    • Second, it contains literally dozens of valuable bridge tips and expert advice for intermediate players that you won't learn in other lessons. I always thought it would be fun to write a book containing "expert secrets" not taught in lessons. So--I included some of them in this book. Most of the concepts are illustrated with my own bridge hands played in tournaments.
      1. Check out the section on Five Level Bids Asking about Holding in Opponent's Suit.
      2. Study the section on "Positional Considerations" and "Working Values" and tell me where else you can read/learn about these concepts.
    While Bridge Tournament Handbook has an opening chapter encouraging newer players to attend the Fall NABC, 95% of the book is aimed at intermediate players striving to become better players.

    For example, here is a great tip from teacher Gerry Fox:

    1      The two keys to efficient discarding when declarer runs a string of winners are a) paying attention and b) partnership cooperation. 
      As declarer runs a long suit, the defenders will be forced to part with several of their cards. Knowing which ones to save can be an agonizing affair, but here are some simple rules to guide you:
    1)  Use discard signals to help each other. Playing standard carding, a high spot card on the first discard means you have values in the suit and can protect it; a low spot card means the opposite, suggesting possible values elsewhere. 
    2)  Try to keep equal length with what you see in the dummy or what you know to exist in declarer’s hand. If, for example, declarer has bid spades, he must have at least four of them; holding four yourself, you should retain all of them. 
    3)  If your partner is saving cards to protect against a certain suit, you can abandon that one. Conversely, if partner has abandoned a certain suit, you should try to protect it, if possible.

    To reach your goals at bridge and move to a higher level, it's time to add this book to your library!

    See you at the table!

    Tuesday, June 25, 2019

    Reviews of Bridge Tournament Handbook

    Some friends and bridge teachers have kindly provided some comments on my new book, Bridge Tournament Handbook.

    • From Peggy Tatro, 30 year teacher in Terra Linda,  Marin County CA:  Jennifer, the handbook is fabulous! I am enjoying reading it and it seems like an invaluable source for players you are targeting... It's a great aid for advancing players. 
    • From Joanne Pransky, a Silver Life Master from Santa Rosa:
      I stopped in Vegas last month on a planned trip to the East Coast where I played for a day and a half in the Nationals.  And, to treat myself, I started to read your book on my short flight over.   I thought it was AWESOME.  So much valuable information was packed into that small booklet!  I devoured it and got through most of it on the flight (and loved the meditation suggestion!).
    • From Bruce Blakely, bridge teacher in San Rafael CA:  This is a nice concise book filled with great, practical tips on bidding, play and defense, just in time for this year’s San Francisco NABC. Jennifer has combined her "right on the money" analysis of hands she played in tournaments with additional play tips from local teachers and players. It is a great summary which I purchased for some of my intermediate partners and a handy review of key Bridge concepts.   You can take these lessons right to the bank (of masterpoints)! 
    • From Maxine Reagh, an advancing player from Santa Rosa CA: Congratulations on a well-rounded book. The tips by experts are substantial, helpful and confirming. The appendix is so helpful – just what was needed. It is a terrific resource. Thanks.  

    See you at the table!