Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Monday 14th July

There were four hands in the slam region for N/S last night. One pair bid them all and made three of them. We bid two and made one. Here are the four hands:

Board 3:

Adrianne as South opened 1S, West bid 2D and I bid 3S which we play as a genuine Acol raise. Adrianne bid 6S. This is not a bad punt, the Losing Trick Count says there are 12 tricks, if I don’t have any significant points in diamonds, then I will have AS, KH and a club honour, also QC might be with East. However West leads the AD and Adrianne had to lose 2 clubs. Our slam pair made this one, must have got Ace of clubs lead. We were the only two pairs to bid it.

Board 8:
Two pairs bid 6S on this one, our slam pair made it, the other pair didn’t. Adrianne and I quickly settled in 4S after 1NT – 2C – 2S – 4S. I had no problem making 12 as I got a trump lead and so played for the drop. Playing aggregate, I drew 3 rounds of trumps, knocked out AD and took the heart finesse for 12. In slam (or MPs) you really want to ruff two clubs to avoid the heart finesse, but this could be a problem depending on the lead. Not a slam I would want to be in

Board 11:

Nearly everyone is in 6 here. Both 6H and 6NT making:
Our bidding went 2NT – 3D – 3H – 4NT – 5D – 6NT. This was a mix up, we play 4C asking over NT openings, my 4NT is quantative, hoping that if my partner was looking at three good hearts she would bid 6H, or a maximum with 2 hearts bid 6NT. Over the unexpected 5D, I don’t know if she has 3 hearts or not, so just punted 6NT. Whatever you are in there is just one heart loser.
Our slam pair were in 6H as were most people.

Board 22:

The final slam isn’t a slam at all and this is the one our slam pair failed in. They were the only ones in it, however I had encouraged for one.

Our bidding went 1C – 1S – 2D(!?) – 3C – 3NT – 4C – 5C
The 2D is an error, the rebid should be 2NT. Over the reverse I set the suit and over 3NT my 4C is a slam try. 5C is no picnic, but Adrianne brought it home.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Thursday 3rd July

Board 5

............... ♠ 5
............... ♥ 10 8 7 5 4 2
............... ♦ K 2
............... ♣ Q 7 6 3
♠ A Q 9 4................. ♠ K J 7
♥ A....................... ♥ 9 6
♦ J 6 3.................... ♦ Q 9 7 5 4
♣ A K 8 5 2............... ♣ J 10 4
............... ♠ 10 8 6 3 2
............... ♥ K Q J 3
............... ♦ A 10 8
............... ♣ 9
After two passes Adrianne opened the South hand 1S, West bid 1NT and I bid 2H which is weakish with heart length, to play. East thought passing would not get a good score and bid 2NT, Adrianne bid 3H and West bid 3NT to end the bidding.

I led a heart and West cashed his 7 tricks for two down. However East was right as letting us play in hearts would be a bad score as we make 10 tricks., but we’ll never bid the game, but should I have doubled? I think so.

Board 8: Our bidding went (with no interference) 1D – 1H – 1S – 1NT – 2H – P

............... ♠ 9 4 3 2
............... ♥ A K 4

............... ♦ A K 6 3 2
............... ♣ 6

♠ J 10 7................. ♠ K Q 6
♥ Q 3.................... ♥ 10 8 7 6
♦ 10 8 4.................. ♦ J 9
♣ A K 10 7 5............. ♣ Q 9 3 2
............... ♠ A 8 5
............... ♥ J 9 5 2

............... ♦ Q 7 5
............... ♣ J 8 4
This is a very difficult contract to devise a good play for. This is what Adrianne did.
West led AC and continued a club which Adrianne ruffed. She now played a diamond to the Queen, ruffed her last club and then two top diamonds, East ruffing the second one. A heart came back to dummy’s Ace and Adrianne led another diamond on which East discarded a club and Adrianne discarded a spade, West wins with QH. West played his last club, East discarded a spade and Adrianne ruffed. Adrianne played Ace and another spade end playing East to make the last two hearts for 9 tricks.

On board 21 I am in the obvious 4H. This contract has an obvious 4 losers but can defenders ever take their tricks?

............... ♠ K
............... ♥ K Q 7 6 2
............... ♦ J 10 9
............... ♣ Q J 7 5
♠ 9 7 5 3 2................. ♠ J 10 8 6
♥ 4......................... ♥ A 9 3
♦ A 5 3...................... ♦ K 7 6
♣ K10 6 2....................♣ 9 8 3
............... ♠ A Q 4
............... ♥ J 10 8 5
............... ♦ Q 8 4 2
............... ♣ A 4

I got the 8C lead and took the Ace. I played a spade to the King and then a small heart to dummy. Well at some point we have all put up an Ace and crashed our partner’s singleton King, West just isn’t going to rise with the Ace, dummy’s Jack wins and two diamonds go on the AQ spades. But sometimes we have to ask ourselves, why did Declarer play a spade to the King before playing a trump? And if partner gives count on the spade perhaps we will have the answer.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Monday 30th June

Made a nice 9 tricks on this No Trump hand:
The lead was a heart, won by the 10 in dummy. I played KS, ducked, followed by 10S taken by Ace (better to duck twice), East showing out. Another heart was played to dummy's Ace. I now led a small diamond to my Queen, East playing the 10D. I know from the carding that East started with 6 hearts, has been shown to have 1 spade and it looks like doubleton, possibly singleton diamond. It looks like I can end play west in either spades or diamonds. I exit with 7S to West's 8. West plays JC ducked all round followed by another club to my Ace. I cashed KH and decided to end play in spades so I cashed QS and exited with 6S to get a diamond into my AJ for 9 tricks (3 diamonds, 3 hearts, 2 spades and a club).
Just one thing --- I was only in 2NT. Adrianne opened 1C and our bidding went 1C - 1S - 2C - 2NT - P.
I would not have opened Adrianne's hand 1C, 1NT is surely better, bidding that suit twice --ugh! However we will still bein 2NT after 1NT - 2H - 2S - 2NT - P
On hand 22 we ended up in an impossible 4S after 1S - 2S - 3D - 4S:
Adrianne does well to make 8 tricks, but at Match Points we shouldn't have been there. South has a 7 loser hand and I have the expected 9 losers for my raise to 2. South should pass 2S. Then over the trial bid I could still settle for 3S, maximum points but stiff QJ of clubs probably not worth anything.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Thursday 26th June

3NT proved a very difficult contract for me, all were easy double dummy but I just didn't have the insight. Here are three typical examples.

Board 3 (N/S)

After two passes the bidding went 1C – 1D – 1NT – 3NT, East led a spade to the Jack and I immediately took the Ace, not wanting a heart switch. I played AD, 10D, not covered which I ran, West discards a club (looked like a signal for hearts). I cashed AC and led my last diamond to the King.

Now double dummy I have 9 tricks by giving up a diamond (and ducking a spade continuation), however I feel sure that if East gets in I will be losing 5 hearts. So I tried the JC and West shows out discarding a spade, so I took my King. Now seeing the distribution as likely to be 5-5-1-2 in the west hand and assuming the AH is there, I decided to cash KS and exit with a spade to West, end playing that hand to ensure my KH and down 1 which I hoped would beat everyone else down 2. However although I got my King, the Ace had been onside all the time. Average score.

Board 9 (E/W)
South opens 1H, Adrianne doubles, North passes and I bid 2NT. Adrianne takes a very rosy view and bids 3NT. A small heart is led and I don’t fancy my chances much, however if I win that heart, bring home 5 diamond tricks, exit with KS to South’s supposed Ace and South gives me another heart, 9 tricks are there, although defenders can easily scupper this. Anyway I win the heart, finesse the diamond and down 3.

Double dummy of course I should win the heart, lead a spade to the King, cash 5 diamonds from the top (unblocking my Jack), cross to Ace clubs and lead another spade, whatever South does I make 9.

Board 19 (E/W)
The bidding was passed round to me and I opened 2NT. Adrianne went through Baron and we finished in 3NT (though Adrianne had seriously considered 4H). I got the obvious diamond lead and dummy’s Jack held the trick.

Now double dummy I have 9 tricks by leading QS (it does not matter whether it is covered or not). I must get 4 spades and 4 hearts to go with the diamond. However I was just hoping for a 5-5 diamond split and going 1 off (two 3-3 breaks in the majors and KS onside didn't seem likely). I played on clubs and of course ended up -2. Two East’s managed to make this contract, obviously I accept defeat too easily.

Board 17 (E/W) was a good distributional hand which worked well for us despite me making completely the wrong bid.
North opened 1D, I passed and South bid 1H. Adrianne bids 4S passed round to South who bids 5D, North decides to change this to 5H. Now Adrianne will happily double this and we should manage 3 off (4 off on a diamond lead), but I'm not in this game for the easy life! I bid 5S (Harry will be birling in his grave --- I can hear his refrain "the 5 level is for the opponents") which North doubles.

North leads AD on which South drops the Queen. North tries AC and then decides to continue with KD! Our opponents were still arguing as we moved onto the next table. I never found out what the QD was for, his partner couldn’t understand why he didn’t just show count.

One day I'll learn Harry's lesson and pass at the 5 level.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Monday 17th June

We found a 4 Hearts on board 4 which most people missed.

1C – 1D – P – 1H – P – 2H – P - 4H

Thereby missing a superior 4S, however the contract has no problem making a safe 10 tricks. East should have bid 2C even if playing a prepared club, but Adrianne would still try 2H. If East opens 1NT, this would be passed round to Adrianne who should bid an Astro 2D and then we shall be in 4S ( I say 'should', we guarantee 5S with 2D Astro, but this would be an exception).

Everyone finds a slam on board 20, but most were in spades.

I decided to open 1S and Adrianne replied 2H. Well that is enough for me to take a dive at a slam. I rebid 3S, Adrianne bid 4S (3NT more logical?), then I bid 6H which I thought paints the best picture of my hand. Adrianne passes. This makes 13 by ruffing the spade loser. I have no idea how you can bid 7H, you would need some sort of exclusion RKC asking in hearts and then ask for QH and get the bonus of KC.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Thursday 12th June

An interesting board 5 where the entire field is in 4S -1 and I made 10.

I opened 1NT and Adrianne quickly transferred me into 4S. South led AC and luckily for me didn't play a diamond next, but continued a club. So I discarded a diamond and played a third club discarding another diamond. North ruffed this and cashed AD. North now played 7S.

Well South started with 7 clubs and didn't lead a singleton. If she is 7 - 2 - 2 - 2 I don't think North is playing from K7 of spades, K to 3 is possible, but I reckoned that this defender would be less likely to do that. I decided to go for gold and rose with the Ace. Contract made.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Thursday 8th May

Playing Match points I opened 1NT on hand 4:
The next hand bid an Astro 2D and Adrianne used Lebensohl to make me declarer in 6C. Certainly this is a punt as we could easily have two losers off the top, but there are plenty tricks in the South hand. Anyway, East did not oblige with a spade lead and I was 1 off. Others just settled for 3NT or 5C. However it is unlucky that there was no play for the contract. We have 10 points in diamonds, but only 3 tricks plus I am a complete minimum.

On the next hand Adrianne gets a top being the only one to make 12 tricks:

We had a simple 1S-1NT-3S-4S auction.
Adrianne got a club lead, took two trumps and finessed 10D. Back to hand and finessed QD to discard the heart loser on AD. She will make 12 on any lead by playing the diamonds thus and then leading to the clubs.

I managed a top on board 13.

I couldn’t decide what to open, but plumped for 2NT. Luckily Adrianne responded and we found the heart fit and I played in 4H without any interference. I managed 11 tricks as the opponents didn’t take their spade and I got it away on a club that was ruffed. If you make a more sensible opening of 1C with my hand, then West obviously bids spades and then all sorts of things can happen as was reflected in the scores at the other tables, but no other N/S made game.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Monday 5th May

Playing aggregate with Adrianne, this was mostly a tale of slams. Our first bad one isn’t quite a slam, but we weren’t even in game:

Board 8:

West opens and the bidding proceeds: 1S – P – 1NT – x – 2D – 3C – 3D – 3H – P – 4C and this was passed out.
East inevitably leads her partner’s first suit and after J – Q – K – A spades, I have 13 tricks. The winners our way managed to bid 6C, why did we not even find game? Adrianne’s double followed by 3H would show 16+ points and a good heart suit (normally 6). I don't think that let's me find 5C, I think partner has to see that she hasn't shown this trump holding, but still, with everyone bidding, it is not that easy. However, why don't I just overcall the 1S opening with 3C? Adrianne will have no problem bidding on.

On board 16 Adrianne found a good slam which most people weren’t in.
The bidding went: P – 1D – 1S – x – 4S – 5C – P – 6D. Adrianne knows there must be 12 tricks, but has no idea if I have 2 small spades or not. I suppose the bidding suggests not.

On board 19 slam wasn’t too difficult to bid (actually there is a grand, but nobody finds that).

Our bidding went (with opponents silent): 1D – 1S – 4C – 6D

Perhaps at aggregate I should have bid 3H over the 1D opener, but no matter, even if my club suit isn’t so useful after partner’s splinter, there must be excellent prospects here. Adrianne left the diamonds in rather than go back to spades (obviously I have longer diamonds), there is always a worry of a diamond ruff, or with a bad spade break there might be a discard on hearts or a club finesse for a spade discard if we play in diamonds.

On board 21, 3 pairs find slam, but 2 go down. We are just in 4S:
We had no interference (though West surely has a take out double and East can jump to 4H). Anyway it went 1D – 1S – 2S – 4S. Now Adrianne has a 5 loser hand and knows we have a double fit. A jump to 4C would have been better. Anyway after QH lead, Adrianne wins the Ace, ruffs a heart and leads the JS from dummy, no matter what West does she can only lose 1 spade.

Finally on board 25 came our Nemesis. A 1640 point swing on a lead.
Our bidding went:

2H – P – P – x – P – 4D – 4H – 5D – 5H – 6D – x

Now things could have gone differently, perhaps Adrianne should bid 4H immediately? Should a pre-empter like me bid 5H because I have a diamond void? Anyway, Adrianne on lead fancies I will be short in spades and lay down AS. Slam made.
It just seemed luck that the wrong Ace was led, but as usual with a little afterthought, we reckoned why is partner bidding 5H – has he 3 small diamonds, even 2, definitely not, therefore he surely has a few spades. With West using a take out double over 2H, it is unlikely that East has any spades. Or is that just knowledge after the fact? Probably.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Monday 7th April

We stop in a simple 1NT on board 3 despite a good 15 opposite a good 9 and neither of us shy about bidding. Adrianne judged extremely well to make 9 tricks. West led a heart won in dummy. Adrianne ran the 10C, this is good play, diamonds are the obvious source of tricks for the defence and West didn't lead one, no point in rushing into hand for a spade finesse and then geting a diamond switch. So Adrianne cashed AC, cashed all the hearts, then the clubs and took AS. A top score, 2S -1 or 3NT -1 or -2 are the par scores.

Not so easy on the next board though. I opened a club, East overcalls a diamond, Adrainne bids a heart (this promises 5), so I naturally bid 4H (even I would find a 4D splinter looking for a slam a tad optimistic):Adrianne received the diamond lead and a switch to the 10S taken in hand. She plays a club to King and Ace, another spade to Ace in dummy and Adrianne thinks a spade ruff is coming and plays AH and a small heart, the third spade is played, but clubs cannot now be established. If a club is ruffed before AH then the contract makes. Only one other pair found 4H (3C -1 is the par contract) so we got an average.

Adrianne got us a top on board 11 by making 11 tricks:
Playing 4H a club is led. Adrianne immediately finesses a spade, cashes three top hearts ending in hand for another spade finesse, She now discards her club on AS, ruffs a spade and exits in diamonds. This sets up a diamond ruff in dummy and a fifth spade for 11 tricks. Only two other pairs can manage that.

I managed to overcall in this hand to get us a good score.

West opened a club and I bid 1H, East bid 2C, Adrianne doubled (raise to 3H), west bid 3C and I bid 3H to end the auction.
I received a club lead, took the spade finesse, ruffed a club, Ace and another diamond ruffed, ruffed a club, exited with 9H to King A spade comes back to Ace, exit with a heart, a spade is cashed, but my hand is high now for 10 tricks.
One other pair did the same, nobody else is even in hearts.

On board 18, I managed to get us a top with 11 tricks in hearts.

South opens 1D, I find a heart bid, Adrianne splinters and I bid 4H.
A spade was led which I took in dummy. Now I plan to just try the top two hearts, so obviously start with Ace in dummy as my top hearts are my only entries. Finding the 4 - love break I continue with JH covered by Queen and King. I now exit a club. East tries a small diamond now. I play low and West makes the error by putting up the King. West returns a heart and with a diamond finesse and 3-3 break I make 11.
Defenders make it easy, but I am always making 10 here through 3 spades, a diamond, a club and 5 hearts, even if West finds the correct 9D and returns QS, I still make 10 with a long diamond or a spade finesse. The par scores are either 5H -1 or -2 or 4H -1 or even -2

Finally on board 25 we got into a terrible fankle

I make the mistake of opening 1S on a weak 2S hand. Our bidding goes 1S - 2C - (2H) - 2S - 3D - 3S - passed out.

My 2S over the 2H overcall promises six. Adrianne's 3D is game forcing. I should really bid 4C. Partner has failed to bid 3NT with a game hand, she either has at most 1 spade or slam interest in spades. 4C would be the best bid by me. However, should Adrianne bid 3D? It is game forcing and she passes 3S, so obviously not, especially as that KJ hearts are looking like waste paper. 2NT is probably the best bid, a 12 count and protection for the heart holding. 3C is the other possibility, but you don't like to lose the chance of a game. Anyway, why didn't I open 2S?!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Thursday 3rd April

A lot of swingy hands last night. On board 3 we got a good score:

After 1S – 3C (hearts and clubs), I bid 4S, East bids 5H and Adrianne relieves me of any decision by bidding 5S. East naturally doubles this, but running the 9S brings home the contract for the loss of one heart and one trump.
We are the only ones in 5Sx, others defending or doubling 5H, but one pair is in 4Sx!? West obviously had great trust in their partner.

Hand 7 was a common or garden contract, but gave me the problem I love/hate match points for:

Playing E/W. the obvious sequence went 1D – 1NT – 2NT – P

I received a heart lead won by the Queen and on the heart return my 10 went to King and Ace. I now played the KC taken by North who cleared the hearts. Now I finesse the 10C, South showing out. Now the problem.
I have 8 obvious tricks via 2 hearts, 2 spades and 4 clubs. But I could make anything from 7 to 10 tricks here. If South gains the lead with Ace diamonds then 8 is the limit as he has 2 hearts to cash. Do I finesse the spade and if it loses, end up with 7 tricks? Well at least this is obvious, play a diamond to the King first, worry about the spade later. Luckily North has the Ace, so now I have 9 tricks, but North returns a spade and gives me 10 anyway. ( I think South’s discards on clubs would give away the spade position anyway).
I got a bottom on hand 14 and there was nothing I could realistically do about it, we were just up against two good players.
After Pass-Pass, Adrianne opens 1H (I prefer 1NT here), North passes of course and I bid 1NT, this goes round to North who doubles. I didn’t enquire, though suspect North must have hearts. I could have tried 2D, but with a nice 9 count 1NTx will suit me. Anyway it is passed out after the double is explained as an opening hand with hearts.
South finds the best lead of course of a spade. I take the Ace immediately (no point in holding up – I have 7 tricks on a diamond finesse and if it fails South gets in for the spades anyway). Well diamond finesse does fail and N/S get 4 spades, a diamond and 3 hearts for 2 off doubled. Can’t complain about bottoms from opponent’s good bidding and play – but nearly a top if North had the QD.

However we did well on another swingy board 16

The bidding went 1S - 2NT - 3S - 4H - 4S, passed out. This is 2 off ( a spade, 2 diamonds, a heart and a club) when 6 of a minor makes N/S. Only one N/S bid the slam, unlucky for them they went to 7!
Another swingy board was 18 which I certainly got wrong (we are N/S):

The bidding went: 1C – 3D – P – 3S – 4H(?) – P – P – 5D – P – P – 5H. I stupidly double (where are 3 tricks coming from?) Of course there is no defence. As it happens we are getting a bottom anyway because no one else found the heart fit.

Finally this was not our hand. Our opponents like everyone else bid it to 4H. Is it not possible to reach a slam?

I would open the South hand 2C, partner bids 2D, I bid 2H and partner should say 4D. I think I can see 6H now. Bidding 7 is a bit more difficult.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Wednesday 26th March

Playing with Harry there's never a dull moment. He got really poor hands as South, so maybe that explains the problem he gave me on board 6:

Looking at a maximum 2NT opening, I was surprised to see partner reach for a stop card. Could he be bidding 3S? Could this be the once in 10 years use of the Grand Slam Force of 5NT? No, he pulls out 3C. Well if he has 7 to the KQ there are 13 top tricks, how many spade losers though? I couldn't think what to do, so I temporised with 3H. Harry bids 4H. So 7 clubs and 3 hearts, even money there's only one spade loser at most. I still couldn't decide what to do, will there even be a spade lead? Then I thought, why not play it in 4H, we'll beat everyone in 5C with any luck, so I passed!

Of course Harry hasn't anything like what I expected. After AS and a heart switch, I played a spade to the King and finessed a club. I had 11 tricks now.

Now of course everyone else passes the South hand and the bidding goes 2NT - 3NT, off on a spade lead. However I only got a second top, someone made 12 in No Trump!?

Hand 11 was an interesting problem and though I got a top, it was really an error.

Harry opens 4H, obviously we have masses of tricks, most 4H openers have values outside, so hoping for a club stop I bid 6S. I got a trump lead and running 6 spades makes life difficult for the defenders who make an error as West comes down to a doubleton KQ club while retaining 3 hearts to the Queen and guarding the KD. I now play AC, AH, KH dumping two diamonds and exit with JC picking up the last two tricks with the last trump and the 9C.

Nobody esle bid a slam, but 6S was an error. I realised I should have bid 6H. This protects a possible KC in the South hand and my spades are solid for the discards needed. You just don't immediately think of raising when you are void.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Monday 24th March

Playing aggregate we had some good scores from our opponents not bidding and some bad from me bidding or playing wrongly.

On hand 4 Adrianne (West) opened 1C, North bid 3S. Using the Bob Hamman maxim (if 3NT is a possible contract then bid it), I chose 3NT, Adrianne not unreasonably tried 6NT.

I received a spade lead which I ducked hoping there might be some sort of squeeze on South. Really I could only cash everything I could as an early diamond finesse might leave me 6 down vulnerable. However North came throwing spades, so eventually I do finesse a diamond, and a heart but lose a diamond for 1 down. Deep Finesse says you make 12, but I can only see that happening if you win the first spade, play QD to KD and Ace, come back to a club and lead a diamond forcing the 10 from South. Now concede a diamond to the Curse and take a heart finesse for 12 tricks. Not a play I will ever find. Few tried the slam -- though one made it by West – (spade lead gives it away?).

Hand 5 was my mistake at the 5 level. Recently with Harry I seem to keep getting the 5 level wrong by bidding on. Harry’s saying is – 'the 5 level belongs to the opponents'. So its his fault!

North opens 1H, I overcall 1S, South makes a system 2NT bid, partner bids 3S, North 4H, me 4S. South bids 5H which comes round to me and double. Oh oh, -850 instead of –300 for 5S doubled, South might even bid 6H for a plus score.

On board 9 I stupidly misplayed the hand:

In 4S, I received the KD lead and as you can see, all I have to do is pick up the spades for 10 tricks. So which spade do I lead from hand? The 4 of course. If I just play the 8S to the King, run the 7S then finesse again and cash Ace, I have 10 tricks. So lazy playing the 4S.

On board 16 it was the opponents who got the 5 level right.

Adrianne opened and the bidding went: 1D – 1S – 2H – 4S – 5H – 5S – x.
Now following Harry’s advice you should double with the North hand, but of course 5S was just right here. A lot of E/W were making 850 or even 990 for 4Hx, we just got 100.

Hand 19 was a really strange one.

Adrianne opened 2S and North came in with 3D. I just chose a simple 4S, but South bid 5D. When this comes round to me I just ignored Harry and bid 5S hoping there weren’t three losers off the top, North doubles this (listening to Harry?) and 12 tricks roll in. 1050 to us.

Can 6S be bid even without intervention? I suppose over 2S you could play 4H as a splinter and with this hand partner could cue 5D.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Thursday 20th March

Hand 7 was well played by Adrianne after a friendly lead. Adrianne actually makes a mistake and opens 1S as West, I raise to 2S – 2NT – 4S.
North is a bit stuck for a lead, could have led a trump, but chose 10H which goes to Jack, Queen and King. Adrianne plays KS to the Ace, a club from South to the Ace, club ruff, followed by a Diamond. Adrianne takes the Ace, clears the trumps ending in dummy and runs the 8H. Taking the rest of the heart tricks she can throw a diamond from dummy and claim 10 tricks. The only one to make 4S.

Board 17 was very interesting.
South opened 1S(?), Adrianne bid 2S Michaels, North doubled and I bid 3H. South passes, Adrianne bids 4H, North bids 4S and I stupidly bid 5C (instead of doubling 4S), Adrianne bids 5D, North doubles and I bid 5H.
Now Deep Finesse says you only make 10 tricks (so you do on a club lead), but after the double I got a diamond lead. I won Ace, ruffed a diamond, finessed QH, ruffed a diamond, club to Ace and cashed AH. Now if my KC stands up I am home, just play a third club which South might as well ruff while the spade is discarded from dummy and the only other trick I lose is a diamond. No luck, the KC is ruffed and AS cashed.
However I immediately saw that I can make this on a diamond lead. Win the Ace and exit dummy with a small heart. The defence can take that trick in either hand and cash a spade, but that is all they can get as I can now pick up the trumps (using a diamond ruff as entry) and make all my clubs.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Monday Aggregate 10th March

How not to bid a slam:

Not playing checkback, I open 1S, partner bids 2H. Now I am too strong for 4H, so I try 3C. Partner bids 4S. Now 3C is game forcing, Adrianne should bid 3S with a stronger hand and 4S with 10-12. However, I just ‘know’ partner is showing a good hand, so I try 4NT, partner replies 5S (2 with!???). Now I forget that this sequence has promised 5 spades and bid 6S instead of 6H!
Only about 3 bidding errors to get us to an unbeatable slam played by North. Of course 6H by Adrianne goes off on a diamond lead.

We had a disaster on hand 12:
West opens 1NT passed (inexplicably – surely a diamond transfer is compulsory here) round to Adrianne who bids 2H. With 12 points I would bid 2NT, this looked a very good 13 to me, so I tried 3NT. East now bids 4D, passed back to me and I double. Now we do have an understanding at aggregate that partner should pull this if she doesn’t have the expected values for her bid, but Adrianne didn’t fancy being doubled in 4H and passed.

As happens we lose a defensive trick (partner signals for a spade rather than a club obviously and hoping she might have KJ, I led small to the King, Adrianne returns a heart hoping I can ruff, but declarer clears trumps and returns a spade to set up a club discard. Of course 4H can’t fail (2 spade discards on AD and the 4th club). Deep Finesse says it makes 9, but that needs West to underlead the AC so that East can get a ruff.
Hand 15 was interesting.

Adrianne opens 1S and I am stuck for the best reply, in these circumstances I usually go by the Losing Trick Count, so with 8 losers I bid 3S. The next hand comes in, not unreasonably 4H. This boosts Adrianne’s hand who now bids 4S (with 6 losers that what LTC says you do anyway). Making 4S vulnerable is our best score.

The next hand 16 is also interesting.

Our opponents do all the bidding which goes:

1D – 1H – 3D – 4C – 4H --- 300 points to us

The bids are not unreasonable up to the 4C, a punt of 3NT or a pass of 3D was called for, but I don’t like any of the bids either. I would prefer to bid the West hand as a strong NT. East should have bid 2C, the hand is better than 9 points.
Lesser hands with a long minor and a 4 card major should be bid 1 of the major. It is good to have an understanding with your partner though that in the sequence 1D – 1H – 1NT – 2C that you are not looking for preference, but want to play in clubs.

What is really interesting about the hand is, what if East bids 3NT? South leads a spade won in dummy and a club is played to the Jack. Exit with KC to Ace, spade to the Queen, exit with 10C to Queen, win spade in dummy, lead small heart to King and cash 9 tricks.

Now of course North should have counted these tricks and should rise with AH, cash the spade and lead a diamond to partner’s Ace. I was North, I wasn’t tested, but I am sure I would have been too dozy!

Finally I went off in 3NT on board 19:

Club lead, I continued 2nd club, diamond to Ace and cleared the clubs discarding a spade. East returns a spade to the 10 and King, West returns a spade to the Queen. Now I can make it double dummy at this point, but not unreasonably I exited with QD. East exits with a club. I try a heart to the Queen, no luck, West returns a heart to ensure I lose another for 1 down. Perfect defence.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Wednesday 6th March

Both of us were under the weather last night and it showed. However I seem to be on a run of opponents doing the right thing. Hand 11 was typical.

East opens 1H, West bids 2H and East declares in 4H, finds QD and makes 10. They were the ONLY pair in it. Many were in 1D, some in 2H or 3H, one North was in 2C. What is wrong with all those Wests? Whether East opens 1D or 1H, West has a simple raise.

I always open the major with a hand I am rebidding 2NT, but I don’t use checkback, I suppose the 1D openers had checkback available.

Board 20 is another typical example. Only two pairs play in 3S, one was of course against us. Unbeatable for 140.
West opens 1C, not great but people always open rubbish 12 counts, this hand is better than that. My hand is a 2H overcall in our system and East doubles. West bids 2S, this is passing out until my partner tries 3D. I decide 3H must be better and then East bids 3S. No point in me going to 4H vul for –200.

Did we get any good ones? Well twice with a big suit we played in 3NT which scored well:
Hand 1:
Playing a strong club I have to open 1D! There is a 1H overcall, partner makes a system bid of 2S and I bid 3NT hoping there aren’t a pile of diamond losers off the top. On a heart lead I made the obvious 11 tricks. Many were in 5C.

Hand 22:

Here partner bids a strong club, the bidding proceeds : 1C – 1S – 1NT – P – 3H – 3NT.

I expect 6 good hearts and an outside singleton with 16/17 points for the 3H bid. Partner coolly passed my 3NT. I made 12 after a spade lead and a club discard by East on the run of the hearts.

Our best board was probably our last, board 24:

West opens 1C, I overcall 1NT, East bids 2S (weak, as you double with any decent hand), partner bids 3H, West 3S and I bid 4H. This makes the obvious 11 tricks after a spade lead but many weren’t in it or defended spades. I would have thought there were many routes to 4H by N/S, even after a 1NT opener by West and even then if North is stuck for a bid, the 2H transfer by East brings South in.