Chris Hasney

Modern Bidding Practices Question

Assuming SAYC with 11-14 HCP range to balance over 1NT, P, P… and no conventional defenses to 1NT in that (or direct) seat, what is the meaning of double?
In his 1983 book on Balancing (I have the 1993 6th edition) Mike Lawrence suggests it is penalty, to be used sparingly. If that is the case, what would a 2C bid by Advancer mean? That came up today, and my partner played played in a 3-2 club fit (going down only 2 — I was so proud!). Of course, he meant the bid as Stayman.
I asked an an experienced bridge teacher for her interpretation of double, and she said “Takeout.”

A bid cannot have two meanings in the same auction. So, what is the consensus? And by the way, for novice/intermediate players out there, these are the discussions you need to have with partner rather than what to do over a reverse Watusi jump 3C opening bid by the opponents and whether we should agree to play 2-way checkback and 3-way NoTrumps.

Yee Haw, Curtis Improving

I was devastated to hear from a bridge friend that Curtis Cheek had contracted Swine Flu and was in big trouble. I am so happy to hear from Memphis MOJO’s blog that he is recovering. Whew! I would have posted this there but one has to sign up for that thing to do so. Please feel free to post comments below for MOJO and Curtis. Yea! Go Curtis!

“Team Game” Makes Life Master

The video “Team Game” has now reached 300 views. So of my 4 videos about college-age kids and bridge, all but one are “Life Masters.” Unfortunately “BMOC (Bridge Man on Campus)” is still a 199r. Perhaps he’s too busy with the girls. Have a look at youtube dot com/7ntxx. Maybe you can help push him over.

Bridge Joke

I hadn’t heard this one until someone emailed it to me.
A bumbling bridge player explained to his friend how he planned to improve his game: “Every night when I go to bed I think about the mistakes I made that day at the bridge table.”
“Gee,” his friend said, “how do you get any sleep?”

New Bridge Videos

I just found out about a youtube channel that is doing what I recommended and intended to do myself. Namely, it has good looking teenagers teaching bridge! You can find it on youtube at /BridgeUnion. I recommend you go there and send your grandkids!

“Rubber Bridge” Makes Life Master

“Bridge Babe” was the first to pass the 300 mark. Now “Rubber Bridge in the Student Union” has over 300 views on youtube. “Team Game” is getting close, with “BMOC” (Bridge Man on Campus) trailing. These are all videos of college age bridge players. I’m tracking progress just like the ACBL ratings. Hope BMOC makes it before year end or he’ll need 500 views!

These videos can be found at  I encourage all young bridge players to make videos of themselves having fun playing bridge and post them to youtube, then let me know of the post so I can cross-link.  We want to show that bridge isn’t just for old folks, and that the rubber version can be loud and fun, unlike duplicate which is a bit restrained in the laughter department.  (I really hate being shushed when I laugh at something funny that happens at my table!)

Gene Freed Dies

My first bridge teacher told me that “Pass” was not a dirty word. But it is now. Too many great bridge players have “passed” recently. Now Dr. Gene Freed has died. This guy was a real gentleman. He was one of those clients with real bridge talent. Learn more at

“Bridge Babe” Makes Life Master

She’s done it!
Last Fall several young actors met at a community college to film promotional videos supporting the idea that bridge is a fun pastime for healthy, good looking young people, not just a game for nerds and fogies. The most difficult of the four videos was “Bridge Babe” starring Marie Sembar. The reason it was so difficult is that much of the footage was lost due to a problem with one of the cameras, and the sound quality was bad for the same reason. In post production video editor Dr. John Buono got creative and really turned out an interesting piece of work… so interesting that it is our most watched. Just today it hit the magic 300 hit number, so with apologies to the ACBL I say she’s made Life Master. Looks like “Rubber Bridge in the Student Union” will be next.
You can view “Bridge Babe” and the other videos at

Reader Opinions Solicited

I received an e-mail entitled “Ten Ways to Beat Blogger’s Block.” Number ten was: “Ask your readers what they would like you to write about.” Brilliant!
So, folks, what is your most burning bridge question that you’d like me to address?

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

Let’s hope we stay that way.