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RANDOM JOTTINGS - 25th March 2002


Lycos have restarted a games website. No longer with Pogo but on a site called Gamesville. Also back (?) with a site are Mplayer. Possibly both sites were there all the time!

I tried the Gamesville site, but personally, I didn't like it too much. The people that I played with were very friendly, but just a bit too chatty for me! The site works OK although there was certainly one bug. If you typed in text, then you couldn't see what you were typing until you pressed Enter. I tried this site again, but couldn't get through to the gamesroom. Whether it's a bug or a problem my end I don't know.

I haven't tried the Mplayer site. Maybe because I remember the Spyware installed on their other site.

One site definitely worth a look is Joe Andrews spades column on The Zone. This is located here. Joe provides a monthly column called "Tips & Strategies".

I have received one or two emails recently asking how to play Spades on this site. Well the answer is - You can't! This is an information site. If you look at the "Where to Play" section of the site, then this lists some of the better sites where you can play. All of the sites will require you to register. Also, Java needs to be enabled. This may well mean that you are unable to play at work because of the companies Firewall. If your company blocks you from playing, then there is nothing you can do about it. You are there to work aren't you!


This time I intend to look at - 'Covering a Nil' Recently I have had one or two partners who were not acquainted with the right techniques. I have played with partners who rattle off all their top cards in every suit. This is not the right technique. As a general rule you should lead a high card in your longest suit and keep leading that suit, but things aren't always that simple.

Hand 1



With a score of 395 to you and 460 to E-W, you bid a conservative 4, followed by 3, nil from your partner and a 2. What do you lead? (See below for the answer)     (25-3-02)

Hand 2



You have bid 3 and your partner bids Nil. What can go wrong? Obviously the suit that you are most worried about is spades. Your partner has probably got a spade higher than yours. Therefore you need some "help" from E-W to cover.You start with A followed by K. West cuts the second diamond with Q and leads 6 followed by the 8 and 5 and won by your 9. What do you lead? At first sight the Q looks like the right card, but think about it. If you lead Q West will probably cut with another high spade. This second high spade is one less card to cover your partner's spades. Therefore don't lead diamonds - lead something else. A heart or club is OK, but I would probably lead the 7 or 8, trying to make West play a high spade which would let North drop his high spade. Remember, when you are covering a nil and have poor spades, try and prevent your opponents from cutting with their high spades.
If you have any comments on this hand, please let me know.

Hand 1 (What happened?)

  N   8752
W   E
This is Hand 1 (above) - OK let's face it. It's not a hand you would choose to cover a nil, but you have to! Let's go through the reasoning. Leading AH is a safe lead. However, if E-W later play more hearts, you will probably have to cut and that may leave you unable to cover your partners spades. Some people may think that K is a good lead. However, this leaves you very exposed to further diamond leads and I would rate the lead of K as very poor - You should keep the K as long as possible to protect your partner's diamonds.The third possibility is the J. If your partner has something like Q83 then he has to either discard the Q or play it under the A or K. By playing the suit immediately, E-W may will have no time to discard their high cards and North will be able to play the Q under the A or K. If East has both A & K, then the nil would probably have been set anyway. If you lead clubs every time you get the lead, then the nil should make.
What can we learn from this? Well generally lead from your longest suit provided that the intermediate cards are not too low. By the law of percentages, your longest suit is probably partner's shortest suit. However, watch the cards carfully.

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(This page was last updated on 25th March 2002