Welcome to Hondo Bridge

About This Page

Howard Schutzman is a teacher and expert player on Bridge Base Online (www.bridgebase.com). His nickname on BBO is hondo717.  Click here to see an article that BBO wrote about Howard. He has been playing duplicate bridge for more than 40 years. Over the years, he has developed articles and notes on learning to play bridge.  This material is presented here, and is available for anyone to download at no charge. Click here to see an article in the June 2012 ACBL Bulletin recommending this site.

Also pictured are Ava and Misty. Ava is Howard's lifelong partner, in bridge and all his other endeavors. She is an accomplished player in her own right. Her bbo nickname is ava17. Misty is our adorable and impish family commentator. She is often vocal during my Thursday voice lessons.

Howard runs a free weekly teaching session on BBO. Kibitzers are always welcome at these sessions, and encouraged to chat with Howard. He runs a mentoring sessions in the BILies Retreat public club, on Wednesday at 9:30 PM Eastern, open to all BBO players. Students are encouraged to mark Howard as a BBO friend, and welcome to watch him play and ask questions any time he is online. He will also gladly answer any questions sent to him via BBO email.

Howard also maintains an email list for interested students. He sends out periodic emails with his teaching schedule, movies from his mentoring sessions, and any other material he feels would be of interest. If you would like to be added to his email list, click here

Howard partners with E-Bridge Workshops, whose goal is use the internet and other technology to enhance bridge education. Imagine having world class bridge teachers, including Jerry Helms, Marty Bergen, Ron Klinger, and Barbara Seagram, lecture to your local bridge club! Click here to access workshops from these teachers.

Howard partners with Marty Bergen, one of the most popular bridge authors and teachers. You can purchase Marty's books and online audio visual lessons through Howard by clicking on the links listed below.

Site Index

Howard's materials are in the following formats:

Pdf   This is a standard Adobe pdf document that can be viewed in most browsers and by using the Adobe Pdf Reader software. Click here to download the Adobe Reader.
Movies   These are interactive bridge presentations, with quizzes and practice hands. Those movies with a View link can be viewed using any web browser. Those movies with a Download link can be viewed using the Bridge Base Online Windows version. Click here to download. You can also view downloaded movies on a Mac, Linux, or Windows computer using Roger Pfister's aaBridge program. Click here to download aaBridge.

The following material is available on this site:

Tutorials Tutorials
  Bridge Survival Kit
  Example Hands
  Watson Play of the Hand Tutorials
  Larry Cohen What Should We Play Articles
  Learn To Play Bridge Tutorials
  Lukacs/Rubens Test Your Play Problems
  Bridge World Learn Bridge Defense Problems
Lesson Series      Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Favorite Conventions
  Declarer Play Lessons
  Fundamentals of Constructive Bidding
  Basic Defense Lessons
  Slam Bidding Lesson Series
  2 Over 1 Lesson Series
  Weak NT Lesson Series
Bergen Store Signup for Online Audio Visual Lesson
  Purchase Books on Slam Bidding
  Purchase Books on Declarer Play
Other Mentoring Session Notes
  Hondo's Email List Signup
  Bergen Lesson Samplers
  Bridge Puzzles

Ava and I run a monthly informal supervised play group. One year, I prepared a series of tutorials on various bridge topics, including bidding, play, and defense. As you will see if you download any of them, I tend to favor teaching general principles rather than specific rules. Ava calls my approach "Big Picture Bridge". You might want to download these first to see if you like my approach.

  Declarer Play Techniques for One Suit
  Declarer Play for No Trump Contracts
  Declarer Play for Suit Contracts
  Opening Leads
  The Versatile Double
  Competitive Bidding    Tutorial    Movie By Kia: View    Download
  Slam Bidding
  4th Suit Forcing (Movie By Kia)    View    Download
  Bergen Raises (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  DONT (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Handling Interference Over 1NT (BBO Movie by Kia)    View   
  Two Suited Overcalls (Unusual NT and Michaels) (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Negative Doubles (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Lebensohl (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  New Minor Forcing (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Inverted Minors (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Restricted Choice (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Raises in Competition (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  A Comprehensive Review of Weak-2 Opening Bids (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Dummy Reversals (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Gerber,Blackwood, Quantitative 4NT (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Quick Tricks (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Losing Trick Count (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Reopening Double (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Bergen Hand Evaluation (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Balancing (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Rule of 20 (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Support Doubles (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Responsive Doubles (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Takeout Doubles Part 1 (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Takeout Doubles Part 2 (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Takeout Doubles Part 3 (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Takeout Doubles Part 4 (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Takeout Doubles Part 5 (BBO Movie by Kia)    View    Download
  Responding to 1NT Holding 2 Major Suits    View    Download
  The Law Of Total Tricks    View    Download
  IMP and Matchpoint Scoring    Tutorial    Movie By Kia: View    Download
  Reverses    View    Download
  Super Accepts    View    Download
  Think With Fred Gitelman - Part 1    View   
  Think With Fred Gitelman - Part 2    View   
  52 Facts of Bridge Life By Eddie Kantar    View   

I sometimes predealt two hands for use with our supervised play group, and wrote up an analysis. These were used to demonstrate the lessons from the tutorials. These hands were from actual deals I played at our local duplicate club. Below are several of the writeups, including a brief description of the topics that were demonstrated.

  Set 1 - Basic End Play, Slam Bidding and Play
  Set 2 - Defensive Techniques
  Set 3 - Ogust, Visualization, Reverses, Restricted Choice
  Set 4 - Slam Bidding, Managing Entries, Maximizing Your Chances
  Set 5 - Defensive Planning, Sacrificing
  Zip File with All Hands

The best and most comprehensive book on bridge card play is The Play of the Hand by Louis Watson. I read it early in my bridge career, and it really helped propel me to a much higher level of skill. Although it was written in 1934 (and updated in 1958), the principles it teaches are still very relevant to modern bridge.

The biggest difference between the mediocre and expert bridge player is the play of the cards. If you read Watson, you will learn all of the important fundamentals about card play, and greatly improve your skill. Even if you never pull off a squeeze or end play, if you practice the fundamentals of card play taught by Watson, you will be a winner at bridge.

Thanks to Kia, my movie producer, I am able to offer you the material from Watson as BBO movies. Each movie is one or two chapters from Watson. I will be adding new chapters as Kia creates them.

Part 1 - Fundamentals of Play

Topic Movie
How the Watson Movies Came To Be View    Download
How To Navigate The Movies View    Download
About Watson and His Book View    Download
Introduction By Sam Fry, Jr. View    Download
Watson's Introduction To Part 1 View    Download
Chapter 1 - The Power of Honors View    Download
Chapter 2 - The Positional Value of Honors View    Download
Chapters 3 & 4 - Double and Combination Finesses View    Download
Chapters 5 - Entries View    Download
Chapters 6 - General Principles View    Download
Chapters 7 & 8 - Establishing a Suit at NoTrump View    Download
Chapter 9 - Holdup Play View    Download
Chapter 10 - Unblocking View    Download
Chapter 11 - Ducking View    Download
Chapter 12 - Trump Management at Suit Play View    Download
Chapter 13 - Ruffing Power View    Download
Chapter 14 - Plays Postponing the Trump Lead View    Download
Chapter 15 - No Trump Plays at Suit Contracts View    Download
Chapter 16 - Miscellaneous Trump Plays View    Download
Chapter 17 - Elementary Defense Against NoTrump View    Download
Chapter 18 - Third Hand Defense Against NoTrump View    Download
Chapter 19 -Elementary Defense After the First Trick View    Download
Chapter 20 - Defensive Discards View    Download
Chapter 21 - Defensive Plays By 2nd Hand View    Download
Chapter 22 - Continuation Plays View    Download
Chapter 23 - Opening Leads Against Suits View    Download
Chapter 24 - Defensive Suit Play by 3rd Hand View    Download
Chapter 25 - The Policy of Suit Shifting View    Download
Chapter 26 - Forcing the Declarer to Ruff View    Download
Chapter 27 - Trump Leads by the Defending Side View    Download
Chapter 28 - Over-Ruffing by the Defending Side View    Download

Part 2 - Advanced Play and Expert Techniques

Topic Movie
Watson's Introduction To Part 2 View    Download
Chapter 1 - The Less Common Finessing Situations View    Download
Chapter 2 - Safety Plays View    Download
Chapter 3 - End Plays View    Download
Chapter 4 - Defense Against End Plays View    Download
Chapter 5 - Counting View    Download
Chapter 6 - Coups View    Download
Chapter 7 - Squeeze Plays View    Download
Chapter 8 - Two Unusual Echos View    Download
Chapter 9 - Miscellaneous Advanced Plays View    Download
Chapter 10 - Psychological Strategy View    Download
Chapter 11 - Planning the Play View    Download
Chapter 12 - Some Modern Innovations
Chapter 13 - Some Loose Ends
View    Download

Larry Cohen, longtime partner of Marty Bergen, has written a series of articles called What Should We Play. In them, he goes through every entry on the ACBL convention card, discusses what it means, and gives his recommendations as to what conventions you should and shouldn't play. For the most part, I agree with Larry Cohen's general approach to bidding and think these are worthwhile articles to read. Cick here to see the entire set of articles.

Kia is converting this material to movies that you can view with my Bridge Viewer. These movies provide the user with a nice interactive way of reviewing this material. And he has added commentary from me when I think the material needs clarification or a different point of view.

Topic Movie
2♣ Openers - Part 1 View   
2♣ Openers - Part 2 View   
1 Of A Major Openers View   
Responses To 1 Of A Major By A Passed Hand View   
Handling Interference Over 1 Of A Major View   
1 Of A Minor Openers View   
Responses To 1 Of A Minor Openers View   
Jump Shifts, Reverses, 4th Suit Forcing View   
New Minor Forcing, Inverted Minor Raises View   
2/1 Game Force Brief Summary View   
Weak 2-Bids View   
Weak 2-Bid Responses View   
Negative Doubles View   
Responsive Doubles View   
Maximal, Support, and Other Doubles View   
NT Ovecalls View   
Simple Ovecalls View   
Defense Over 1NT View   
Jump Overcalls View   
Over Opponent's Takeout Double View   
Opening Preempts View   

Fred Gitelman (founder of BBO) developed a Learn To Play Bridge series for the ACBL. Fred is an excellent writer and his material does a very good job of covering the basic principles of all facets of bridge -- bidding, declaring, and defending.

Kia is converting this material to movies that you can view with my Bridge Viewer. These movies provide the user with a nice interactive way of reviewing the fundamentals of good bridge.

Topic Movie
Opening Leads Against NT Contracts (Chapter 2 Part A) View   
Opening Leads Against Suit Contracts (Chapter 2 Part B) View   
Third Hand High/Rule of 11 (Chapter 3 Part 1) View   
Second Hand Low (Chapter 3 Part 2) View   
Covering an Honor with an Honor (Chapter 3 Part 3) View   
Attitude Signals (Chapter 4 Part 1) View   
Count Signals (Chapter 4 Part 2) View   
Suit Preference Signals (Chapter 4 Part 3) View   
Defensive Signals (Chapter 4) 1 Page Summary View   
Jacoby Transfers (Chapter 5 Part 1) View   
Other Responses to 1NT (Chapter 5 Part 2) View   
Responses to 2NT (Chapter 5 Part 3) View   
Bidding After an Opponent's Takeout Double (Chapter 6 Part 1) View   
Bidding After an Opponent's Overcall (Chapter 6 Part 2) View   
Michaels and Unusual NT (Chapter 6 Part 3) View   
Suit Combinations With 8+ Cards (Chapter 7 Parts 1 and 2) View   
Trump Management (Chapter 8) View   

Paul Lukacs, an Israeli expert, and Jeff Rubens, editor of the Bridge World magazine, wrote two volumes entitled Test Your Play As Declarer. These books contain difficult declarer play problems. If you study them, you will learn many of the advanced play techniques used by experts.

Thanks to Kia, I am able to offer you the material from these books as BBO movies. Each movie presents a few of the problems. The movie format allows the reader to plan the play and interactively try his or her solution before reading the correct answer. It is an excellent learning tool.

Topic Movie
Play Problems 1-6 View   
Play Problems 7-12 View   
Play Problems 13-18 View   
Play Problems 19-24 View   

The Bridge World magazine is aimed at expert and world class players. They have a Learn Bridge section on their web site. Kia has turned their defense problems into movies. Note that even top players would consider these problems difficult. But the double dummy feature gives you a fighting chance to be able to come up with the solution.

Topic Movie
Defense Problems 1-6 View   
Defense Problems 7-12 View   
Defense Problems 13-18 View   
Defense Problems 19-25 View   

Declarer Play Lessons

I taught a series of monthly lessons on declarer play based on Marty Bergen's two excellent books on the subject. As a special service for my students, I have made arrangments with Marty Bergen to allow you to order these books from my web site. As part of this offer, Marty has agreed to autograph each book with a personal message of your choice, provide you with a free copy of his softcover book Bergen's Best Bridge Quizzes. and provide free shipping to US customers. Click here to order the books.
Topic Book Chapters Movies
Squeezes Chaper 16 (original) View    Download
End Plays Chapter 5 (original)
Chapter 8 (sequel)
View    Download
Counting Winners in Suit Contracts Chapter 11 (original)
Chapter 13 (sequel)
View    Download
Drawing Trumps Chapter 9 (original)
Chapter 1 (sequel)
View    Download
Managing Entries Chapter 14 (original)
Chapter 5 (sequel)
View    Download
Finesses Chapters 3,4 (original)
Chapter 6,7 (sequel)
View    Download
Counting Defenders Howard's Tutorial
Chaper 2 (original)
View    Download

Fundamentals of Constructive Bidding

I put together a 5 lesson series on the Fundamentals of Constructive Bidding (bidding when the opponents do not interfere).

The purpose of these lessons is for students to learn the concepts behind constructive bidding. I have found that, although many students understand the (often complicated) rules about bidding, they do not understand the reasoning behind these rules. By learning the fundamentals rather than just the rules, a student will be able to more intuitively and comfortably bid, without being confused by the many (sometimes conflicting) rules that may or may not apply. Note that these lessons will not teach any particular system. It will simply teach the fundamentals upon which most bidding systems are built. A student should therefore be able to more comfortably play any of the popular systems.

I wrote a pdf tutorial for each lesson.. Kia has also put together a movie that will allow students to practice the tutorial material. There are links below to download both the Tutorials and the Movies.

Here is the lesson schedule.

Topic Tutorial Movie
Introduction to Constructive Bidding Tutorial View    Download
Auctions Starting with 1NT Tutorial View    Download   Chat Log
Auctions Starting with 1 of a Major (Part 1) Tutorial View    Download
Auctions Starting with 1 of a Major (Part 2) Tutorial View    Download   Chat Log
Auctions Starting with 1 of a Minor Tutorial View    Download   Chat Log

Basic Defense Lessons

I have developed a series of lessons on Basic Defensive Techniques. This is an 8 week series that will occur periodically in the BIL as part of the Bridge 101 lesson series. Below are the topics I cover, and a set of tutorials and movies for each topic.

Topic Tutorial Movie
Opening Leads
Blackwood On Leading Partner's Suit
Blackwood On When To Lead Trump
Tutorial View    Download
View    Download
View    Download
Defensive Carding
Second Hand Play
Tutorial View    Download
Defensive Signals Tutorial View    Download
Counting Tutorial View    Download
Example Hands 1   View    Download
Example Hands 2   View    Download
Example Hands 3   View    Download
Example Hands 4   View    Download

I offered a 4 week series of lessons on slam bidding. The material for the lessons came from Marty Bergen's excellent new book on slam bidding, Slam Bidding Made Easier I was one of the editors of the book, and I highly recommend it.

As a service for my students, I have made special arrangements with Marty Bergen to sell the book online from my web site. If you buy it from me, Marty will personally autograph it for you with a personal message of your choosing. Additionally, you will receive a discount if you buy both the book and the workbook. Finally, shipping in the US is free. If you are planning to buy the book anyway, I would appreciate it if you would buy it from me, as I do get a commission for each book sold through my site. For additional details, click here.

Kia made a BBO movie of each of my lessons. Besides the material I presented, he also offered his own interpretation of the material as well as a very large number of practice hands. If you read the book and go through all of Kia's movies, I will guarantee that your overall bidding will greatly improve, not just your slam bidding. Here is a summary of the lesson topics and the corresponding book chapters and movies:

Topic Book Chapters Movie
Starting Points (prior to the auction) Chapters 1-4 View    Download
Dummy Points
Declarer (Bergen) Points
Chapters 5-7 View    Download
Control Bids
Chapters 8, 16, 17 View    Download
Jacoby 2NT
5NT Pick A Slam
Chapters 9, 14, 15 View    Download

The 2 Over 1 System is preferred by most experts. Fortunately, it is very similar to Standard American, with only a few relatvely small modifications, so it should be easy for most players to learn.

Click on the links below to download the associated tutorials.

  Part 1 - Game Forcing Auctions
  Part 2 - Auctions Not Forcing to Game
  2 Over 1 Tutorial Movie By Kia    View    Download

Since the vast majority of players open 1NT with 15-17, that is what I usually teach. However, Ava and I have always played the weak NT. We feel it gives us a significant bidding advantage.

Playing the weak NT is not simply a matter of changing your 1NT opening range from 15-17 HCP to 12-14 HCP. It represents a significant systemic change, with different implications for many auctions. I have prepared a series of 3 lessons to explain the weak NT system.

  Part 1 - Auctions Starting with the Weak NT  Movie   
  Part 2 - Auctions When Opener Holds a Strong NT Movie   
  Part 3 - When The Opponents Interfere Movie   
  Zip File With All 3 Parts

Every two months Marty Bergen produces an audio visual lesson. Using software developed by me, you can listen and watch as Marty explains and shows the secrets used by the top players to bid and play. Periodically, Kia will be creating a non-audio movie with an example hand from one of the lessons. This will give you a taste of the many pearls that Bergen presents in his lessons. For more information on obtaining the audio lessons (including free samples from each lesson), click here.

Bergen Voice Lesson Samplers
Active Vs. Passive Defense? View  
Drawing Trump: All, Some, or None? (Hands 1 and 2) View Download
Effective Overcalls (Hand 25) View Download
Everything You Need To Know About 2C Auctions View  
Forcing or Not (from a Bergen lesson pdf) View  
Good Splits And Bad Splits (Hand 2) View  
How To Compete After Your RHO Doubles (Hand 1) View Download
How To Make 1NT (Hand 1) View  
How To Make Your Slams (Hand 1) View  
How To Survive An Enemy Preempt (Hand 5) View Download
Infinitely Bettter and Easier Than New Minor Forcing View  
Joy Of Endplays (Hand 1) View  
Make The Most of Your Entries (Hand 6) View Download
Make The Most of Your Preempts (Hand 5) View Download
Plan Your Defense (Hand 1) View  
Responders Rebid (Hand 8) View  
Timing Is Everything - Declarer (Hand 2) View Download
Timing Is Everything - Defense (Hand 1) View  
To Finesse Or Not To Finesse (Hand 3) View Download
Trump - Your Most Important Suit (Hand 1) View  
What You Need To Know About Sacrificing (Hands 1 and 2) View  
What You Must Know About Jacoby 2NT (Hand 3) View Download

During my mentoring sessions, I play with 3 of my students, commenting on whatever hands happen to come up. One of my students, Kia (bbo nickname nome), produces a BBO bridge movie consisting of the hands annotated with my comments. This involves a great deal of effort, and Kia has generously agreed to share his work by allowing me to post the movies on my web site. Click here to see mentoring session movies from more than 3 months ago.

September 2016
September 2016 Movie D
Another nice feature of Bergen Raises
Playing in a 5-2 fit is much better than playing in a 4-3 fit.
Howard favors aggressive bidding over not aggressive
Have your cake and eat it
Lose your losers early
These days with good shape, your takeout doubles are allowed to be a little lighter
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge
September 2016 Movie C
Bergen Raises after the double by the opponents
Choice of Roman Key Cards when minors are trump
Game Tries
In bridge it is often wrong to procrastinate
The whole secret is to count your winners ASAP
Hands with "aces and spaces" are not BAD
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge
September 2016 Movie B
Quick Trick points
Discarding fine prints
The Negative Double only promises the unbid major
A coached Play
Distribution is often more important than HCP
Some "good" contracts are not makeable
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge - From July 02, 2016
What card to lead against suit contracts - by Mike Lawrence
September 2016 Movie A
You always play the lowest of equal cards as 3rd hand
Proper defensive carding is crucial if you want to defend as best as you can
Even if you play 1430, you must play 0314 when clubs are trump
Don't make a redundant bid
A tough bidding situation
In IMPs, the game bonus is worth the risk
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge
August 2016
August 2016 Movie C
Defending when balanced and bidding when unbalanced, will improve your odds
High cards in your long suits are much more valuable than high cards in your short suits
Rule of 17 - Much Ado About Nothing
BROMAD is an acronym for "Bergen Raises of a Major After a Double
A Chicken Bridge Player Is Born
Howard's Competitive Guideline
August 2016 Movie B
It is usually right to bid 3 over 2 when both sides have an 8 card fit
Furthering the Pre-empt
With 9-card suits don't be timid
If you have good technique on defense it will matter a lot.
Howard is a 4th from longest and strongest advocate
A dream board for East/West
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge
August 2016 Movie A
A suit preference signal
When you know you have a misfit, stop ASAP
Defending is hard and requires a lot of visualization
Re-evaluate your hand after each bid
Fine prints in leading unsupported Ace
A good rule is to not ruff with a natural trump trick
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge
July 2016
July 2016 Movie E
Double and correct" to NT when too strong to overcall 1N
Leading unprotected aces (ace with no king) is often a bad idea
Leading King from King-Queen without the Jack (or at least the 10) often works out badly
Perfect defense is often hard to find
2/1 does not apply with interference
Criss Cross Style
Hands (four boards) of the Week from Vu-Bridge
July 2016 Movie D
Forcing out 2 honors with 1 honor is always good
It is always better to make your bids earlier rather than later
"I would not hate being in slam, but I don't hate not being in slam", says Howard
Leading unprotected aces (unless partner has bid the suit) are generally not a good idea
The correct lead from Q 10 9 x x is the 10
An extremely well played hand
Hands (four) of the Week from Vu-Bridge
July 2016 Movie C
The Law of Total Tricks
Top-Bottom and Top-Top, not the lingeries of course
A suit preference situation
Ask the Movie Maker when you need help making a contract--he is awesome
Always support partner if you can
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge--four boards
July 2016 Movie B
The Mea Culpa by the teacher
A strange little hand
The problem with these double dummy solvers
Advanced sacrifice
When to raise with 3-card support
Ogust is much better than feature, Says Howard
A Trump Coup
A fancy way to show the KQJ
July 2016 Movie A
Don't burn your entry to the board
The reward for making 3N outweighs the risk of going down a trick
Lead of Ace in NT asks to drop the Queen or give count if you don't
How experts count the hands
The problem with a splinter is it takes up a lot of bidding room
All about 2C open and responding to it
Larry Cohen Bridge Quizzes Responding to a Takeout Double (Part 3)
Hands of the Week from Vu-Bridge-four boards

Copyright´┐Ż 2007-2011 by Howard Schutzman.  All rights reserved.