Friday, 29 February 2008

Thursday 28th February

Another poor evening, it was a Howell. It all started very well on board 1 where I am East:

I opened a spade, not playing a normal Jacoby 2NT partner has to bid 2C, I bid 2H and partner gets it exactly right by bidding 4H.

I considered this for a while, but there were too many negative possibilities to risk the 5 level and I would always be guessing if we are missing a keycard whether we have two top losers, so 4H it was. However everyone else is in spades of course and I make 12 to their 11 with a club discard on the 5th spade.

I made a bit of an error on this board to get us an above average (we are E/W):
North opens a Lucas 2S which promised 5-5.

I led the 8H won in dummy, the 7S runs to my 9 and it doesn’t occur to me to cash AD and give partner a ruff. I know Lucas is usually only a 4 card minor, but we were told it was 5 and it was obviously not clubs. I just continued with JH. This was taken in dummy and a diamond led, partner produces the King, whew! It’s a silly game that turns basic errors into plusses. The contract was 1 down as partner exits with a heart, ruffed and declarer plays another diamond. We made 2 diamonds, 2 spades a club and a ruff.

However we got a zero on the next board:

Adrianne opened 1S as West and I bid 2NT which is a balanced spade raise with 16+ points. Adrianne used RKCB and bid 6S. This not an impossible contract after say a heart lead, discard a club on a second heart and eventually lead a club to the 10 in dummy. However we got AC lead and continuation, Adrianne goes up with the King, ruff and another club to lose, 2 off, 0 match points. Only one other pair bid 6S and they made it.

We got a good score on board 11, again E/W

The N/S bidding goes: 1S – 2H – 2S – 3NT. I led QC, partner played the 2, but we play normal attitude on a Queen at NT. I guess partner will have spades, so try KS, this is ducked, but partner plays the 3, so I go back to JC. Declarer plays 3 rounds of spades and partner clears the clubs. Subsequently declarer mis-guesses diamonds, but expects me to have the clubs anyway. No luck, partner cashes 2 clubs and 2 down (2 spades, 3 clubs and a diamond).

I got a zero on this board, again I am East.

The bidding, starting with North is 1S – x – P – 2H – P – 2NT – 3D – P – P – 4C

I get the obvious spade lead and play a club to the 10 and Ace, so I now have an obvious 8 tricks. However at the end I manage to exit with a diamond and get a heart lead for 9. I’m the only one up at 4C, but 3NT is actually a great contract here and someone found that. Only a diamond lead ducked and continued followed by excellent defence by North can stop 9 tricks.
We got a joint bottom on board 21:

I opened a weak 2H (not really advisable), South doubled, her partner bid 3S and they eventually reach 6S. Only one other pair bid this. In fact without my opening it is easy to see why. What do you open with the South hand? If 1H, what do you rebid over 1S? Most people will have 4C as a splinter. A 2NT opening and a 4C cue after partner's spade transfermight be the best way to get there.

We did get one top before the end on board 22:

After Pass, Pass, Adrianne opens 1H, North overcalls 2D, passed round to Adrianne who doubles, I bid 2H, South bids 3D. I don’t think I would have passed this with Adrianne’s hand, but she did. This is probably right though, I am as likely to be maybe 3-2-4-4 as anything else and she doesn’t want to be forced in diamonds.

So 3D came round to me and I doubled. I wouldn’t automatically do this at Pairs, but I know North overcalls light even at the two level.
After a heart lead, Adrianne plays the AKQ forcing dummy to ruff, this ensures two trump tricks for me giving us 2 hearts, 2 diamonds a club and a spade for 2 off.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Wednesday 27th February

What a disaster. I can only once remember ever having a score in the 30’s percent, well I’ve managed it again. I suppose if you are going to play and bid badly it is best to get it over with on the one night and even better when you are both appalling.

We started with a complete a bottom after opponents are the only ones to bid 6H. I held

.........♠ Q J 8 7 6 4 2 ♥ --- ♦ Q 10 4 ♣ K Q 8

and thought I wouldn’t go for more than 800 in 6S, but does 6H make with the trump suit failing to break? I passed, 6H made, they are the only pair in it. 6S would have gone for 500, but it would still have been a bottom.

The next two boards were average, then our Nemesis arrived. Previously these two ladies had taken umbrage after recognising themselves as being described as “not the strongest pair in the club”. At the end of these three boards we were told we had been outclassed, so I’ll refer to them as the Classy Broads.

It was all our fault on the first one, partner found a small slam missing two Aces, not helped by a bid I made. Zero --- outclassed.

On the second board our opponents with 24 points between and good intermediates failed to find their 5-3 spade fit and settled in 2H making 9, much better than all those silly bidders who are in 4S going off.

On the third our pair had no problem bidding a straightforward 6H and making 13 tricks. A number of pairs didn’t seem able to manage that. Obviously not as classy as these two.

The next set is too embarrassing to mention but complete zeros of our own making.

On the first hand of the next set we garnered 3 match points out of 18 on this:
Partner opened 1NT and I raised to game. The 5C was led to the 9 and Queen. Now slipping a heart through sets up 8 tricks, but partner knows he is off as soon as East gains the lead and quite reasonably runs the 6 diamond tricks to apply some pressure. However defenders keep all they have to and we are two down. Four Souths made this contract, one made 11 tricks, missing three Aces !!! One was in a sensible 3D and two were one off.

We made a good score on this hand by being one of the few to bid 6H:
Partner opened 2C (16-18 natural), I bid 2D a game force, partner bids 2S, I asked if he had a singleton and he shows a singleton diamond. I now know he hasn't 6 clubs (or he opens 1C, so must be 4 - 3 - 1 - 5), I just bid a straight 6H. I received the AD lead which makes things easy, but this always makes with a diamond ruff (two are possible, which you need on a spade lead), a discard on a club and another discard on a long club.

However the very next board is another bottom:

Partner opens 1NT which is passed out for the obvious 2 down, the same result is recorded at only one other table. Mostly it is 2D or 3D by West, some 3C by North. Most N/S will be playing weak NT, I don’t see any obvious transfer to the 3 level with my hand, though I understand that some will, but 1 match point seems a bit hard here, but sums up our night.

Our opponents did well bidding 3NT on this hand:

East opened 1C, partner bids 2C (diamonds + a major), West bids 3C, I pass and East bids 3NT. Partner, of course, makes the natural lead of KD which blocks the suit and that’s 10 tricks for an excellent score to E/W. Most E/W score 130 in clubs. Amazingly the only N/S pair to locate the excellent spade contract get a bottom! They were in 5Sx –3. I would have thought 4S has every chance of making, only a cash of the two top hearts and then club forces to promote the 10S can beat it. If they lead the AC and you can pitch a heart on the 3rd Diamond, then exit with a heart and you must make 10.

On board 19 everyone is in 3NT by South and West has to lead from:

.....♠ 5 ♥ K Q J 5 ♦ Q J 4 3 2 ♣ Q 6 3

We got a small diamond which is won by the 10 in dummy (declarer has AKx) giving us 11 tricks and 13 of the 18 match points. The KH lead also gives 11 tricks as declarer wins the Ace and can lead twice towards dummy’s original 109xx. So 13 match points seems very generous, perhaps declarers were too lazy to try the 10D from dummy.

Anyway our opponents got their score back on the next hand by bidding a slam that few did.

On the last 6 boards we got 2 complete tops, 2 joint bottoms, one complete bottom and 1 average.
This top was because of partner’s error.

The 1D opener was passed round to me and I bid 1NT, partner used Stayman and then bid 3NT (he thought I was strong instead of protective).
A diamond was led to my 10, I knocked out Ace clubs and got a spade through to my K and East’s Ace. East follows with JS to my Queen, I finess a diamond, play a heart to my Queen which is ducked(?). I continue hearts and declarer wins the Ace, cashes 10S and I claim. 3 diamonds, 1 heart, 3 clubs and 2 spades.

I misdefend on the next board, our opponents bid sensibly on the next, both joint bottoms for us.
Our second top of the night was on this hand where I get pushed into 4S:

East’s partner had bid hearts and so she led the Ace and continued. I win, cash Ace & King of trumps and run the clubs. Very lucky as the defender with 4 clubs has the last trump, so I got rid of the heart and a diamond to make the contract.
The zero came from the next hand doubling 5C and failing to cash a trick for 1 off.
If we had put it one off we would have got a top, but I think ending bottom of the North/Souths was the right result for us. Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Monday 25th February, Match points

There were certainly some interesting hands last night. We started with three great scores. On board 1 we got a joint top as there were only 2 pairs in 4S making 11, some were in 3NT, most were in a not unreasonable 6S.

Our simple sequence was 1H – 1S – 3NT – 4S. My rebid doesn’t leave my partner any room for enquiry and she decided her spade quality wasn’t good enough to try any higher.

On board 10 we got a top due to my total misjudgement of the hands!

The bidding goes 1D – P – 1H – 2C – 2S – 3C – 3S

Now partner won’t have bid on buttons, but I decide to pass and wait and see if they bid 4S ( which I think is making) and then bid 5C! How wrong can you be, 4S has no chance, 5C is an excellent contract. Anyway East does bid 4S and I now bid 5C, however East decides to bid 5S, promptly doubled by Adrianne and we made 800.

Another top came on board 14.

Adrianne opened a game forcing Benji 2D, I bid a –ve 2H, 2S – 3C – 3S. Lacking an Ace, I now bid 5S as my only reasonable slam try and Adrianne bid 6S.

West with 14 points decides to double and after KD lead to the Ace, a small club to West’s Ace and 12 tricks made with a diamond ruff and a heart discard on KC.

I don’t really like the 2D opening, however if you do open that, I think the rebid should be 4S. Anyway, we didn’t need the double as nobody else makes a slam, one went off (presumably a very unlikely heart lead), the rest are in game.

I got us a bad score on board 19.

Adrianne opens 1NT, West passes and I seriously think about passing. We play 2S is a transfer to clubs and that could make it easier for East to come in with a double of that suit. However I decide to make the bid everyone else will be making and the 2S is passed to partner who bids 3C.

However West now finds a 3S bid (which I should pass for now) but I bid 4C, East bids 4S, Adrianne doubles and I bid 5C duly doubled. The opponents find their heart ruff and we are 3 down.

Adrianne’s spade holding guarantees 2 tricks plus her 2 Aces. The real error by me was bidding 4C, I should pass to see what happens and now if partner doubles I know it is all on her own hand and I can pass.

Board 22 was an interesting hand.

Adrianne opened 1S and our bidding went 1S – 2D – 4H – 6D. The real problem was that 3H or 4C are splinters, so I thought maybe 4H was a void, or was it a heart suit -- don’t think so. Being a bit stuck I just decide to bid 6D and hope. Partner passes and we make an easy 13. However I could have just bid 5D.

I would have bid 4C with the South hand, 7D can be bid now:

1S – 2D – 4C – 4H – 5C – 5NT – 7D

There was one last slam on board 26.

Partner opens 4H, west bids 5C and I bid 6H. A spade is led and declarer draws trumps and eventually tries a losing diamond finesse to make 12 tricks. Why did East not bid 7C? This is only two off. The scores suggest 3 pairs bid 7C, one left two play and two other pairs are in 7H, unlucky.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Thursday 22nd February

West district Sim Pairs.

Had a number of tops and bottoms and a just above average score. In reality there didn't seem to be all that much in the hands. The most interesting thing was Charles Outred's very conservative bidding in the commentary. Any time I play against Charles & Vi they bid (and usually make) games on very limited values!

We got a poor start overbidding to a 4S game (though everyone did) and instead of just playing for nine tricks, I took a finesse opposite a singleton to lose another one.

Our first good score was on hand 5 where I was in 3H on a diamond lead.

The defence let me get a trick from JD and later I manage to end play East with the KS for a rough and discard and 9 tricks.

Got a bad score on board 12:

What else can you do as North but open 4S? Partner is stymied and our defenders after AD find the club switch and cash all their tricks plus a spade to come for -3. Everyone else made 8 tricks , you can see that after 3 rounds of diamonds, West would want to cash Ace of Clubs as otherwise the trick disappears on the threatened run of the hearts. No luck for me.

We got an above average on this strange board:

Our East opened 2C, his partner bid 2D and he bid 7S, as did most people, few found the 7NT. I would have thought the best thing to do with the East hand at Pairs is open 4NT (whether this is Blackwood or specific Ace asking doesn't matter). You find partner with Ace of Diamonds and bid 7NT.

I got us a bottom on this hand:

After 1H - 1S - 1NT came round to me, I bid 2C. The defenders got the magic 200 and we got 0 match points.

I did get a top on this hand:

I am in 4S and pick up both major Queens for 12 tricks. Another pair managed 12 tricks as well, however --- I was doubled!

This was quickly followed by another top on board 26 where we are the only ones in 2D.

Partner opened 1NT, West doubled and I redouble for a minor, partner bids 2C, I correct to 2D and this is passed out.

A club lead and continuation after KD would have been a problem, cutting me off from dummy before drawing trumps. However my defenders cashed 4 major winners before I got in with a spade ruff, played Ace and another diamond and now I am home.
No other N/S had a plus score, most losing out to E/W part scores.

We unfortunately followed this with a bad defence for a complete 0. It was more difficult for us as the opponents played in their 5 - 2 fit rather than their 5 - 3. Well that's our story.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Monday Aggregate 18th February

Back in the club this week and two big hands in the first four we played which we managed to get right. This was hand 2:

Partner opens 1NT and I of course transfer to hearts, then bid 3D, partner bids 3H and not having a clue what to do, I bid 4D. Partner decides K to 3 in hearts and the QD must be cards I am looking for and bids 6H. Well done Adrianne, however when dummy went down she was not impressed (in fact, anything I produce fails to impress) . A QS lead ruffed, diamond to Queen and ace, heart switch, KD and diamond ruff and that's 12 tricks for 1430. well it impressed me.

On the 4th hand I decide I have a strong 2 in spades and open a Benji 2C:

Partner responds 2S! 4NT gets 0 or 3, which must be 3 as we don't give positives over 2C unless we have a good hand, so I bid 7S which is an easy make. Although partner isn't impressed with my idea of 8 top tricks.
We should find 7S after a 1S opening, partner replies 4H splinter and I use RKC as before.

With 2 part scores we are +4000 after 4 boards which can't be bad in an aggregate tournament.

However on board 5 we were only in 2NT by North:

The hearts are 3-3 and a club is the natural lead, so 9 tricks on top and most people bid it.

On board 11 we could have defeated 4S

I led 8H and declarer wins in hand and leads a spade to the 10. Partner lets this hold. A spade back leaves AS outstanding and declarer plays on clubs from dummy for 10 tricks.
If partner takes the first spade (which she would automatically if KS had been inserted), then her obvious switch is the 10C, I win the King, return a club to the Ace and can now get a club ruff. Some put it off and I presume it must have gone like that unless someone finds an inspired KC lead.

Board 17 gave us a bonus. I opened a weak 2H, passed round to West who doubled. Poor East has nowhere to go and decides to pass (I would have bid 2S and hope that we can stop in 3S undoubled).
Now it looks as if I can lose 6 tricks, but 2H always makes, East can only lead once and a spade lead will let me set up a spade winner for a club discard, so I lose 3 diamonds and 2 spades. On a club lead, I play low from dummy, now I have a club to discard a spade and only lose 3 diamonds, a club and a spade.

We didn't finish so well, partner went down in a 3NT which can make and I went down on board 22 in 4S.

East opened 3H, partner doubled and I bid 4S. AH was led and I thought I got off lightly when East switched to a diamond instead of giving their partner a ruff (!). I won in dummy, played a small spade to the 10, J and Q, very surprised to see the 10 although still wondering if I had lost to a singleton or doubleton QS. A diamond is returned which I won in hand. I cashed a top spade to get the surprise and now think East is void in clubs. I cash QH (mistake) and lead a diamond to ruff in dummy and East discards a club!. However I realise I have not thought this through and after ruffing the diamond I can cash KH but have no way back to hand as I cannot overtake 9S. I went one off.
This was just woolly thinking throughout, but I placed East with 7 hearts and some sort of spade shortage at the start, however, after seeing that 10S I really should have rethought the whole hand. When the spade finesse loses and a dimaond comes back, I just need to count my tricks and play for the diamond ruff immediately and then draw trumps for 10 tricks.
We ended up +6270 for 2nd place (just 30 above 3rd place). The winners were +8340, we were never getting close to that. I'm just glad I didn't have the E/W cards all night.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Thursday 7th February

Won again, seem to be on a roll. Like last night we got off to great start which I think helps psychologically. The first board though was thanks to our opponents who had a bidding mix up and end up in an unmakeable 6NT, 3 off.
There weren't many hands of note, we just managed to avoid mistakes and pick up some good scores from our opponent's errors. One hand we got a second top on was this.

It was a Howell Movement and we were E/W here:

North bid diamonds up to the 4 level and we ended in 4S which on the good lie of the cards I made 11 tricks. We were the only ones in this contract. Of the three who were in 5D by North, only one was doubled for -500.

We followed that with another 4S that only a few are in. Then on this board we are just in 2S when most are in 4S:

Now west didn't find a heart lead or when in with A clubs, East doesn't cash the AH because he is defending 2S, not 4S, so Adrianne makes 10 tricks, everyone in game is of course off.

Adrianne got a joint top on the very next board in 3S:

The opponents were bidding hearts so Adrianne got a lucky lead of Ace and another, she enters dummy with a club, finesses the QS, cashes the Ace and plays on clubs. East ruffs before a diamond can go but 9 tricks made. Some E/W played in hearts which makes 10 and some N/S went off in 3 or 4 spades.

The last board which got us a complete top was one of my 'flights of fancy':

Playing East I opened 1H and Adrianne splintered with 4C. Now I have no problem bidding 6, but try 4D for now, Adrianne bids 4H and I bid 5C. Now Adrianne bids 6H. Well surely she sees that I am looking for spade control(s) and holds something good there, so I bite the bullet and bid 7H.

I wish I could report on my masterful play after a trump lead, but I got a spade lead and when the 10S is overtaken by the Queen, the hand is lay down.

How would I have played it on a trump lead? Cashing the top black suit winners and cross ruffing only gives 12 tricks. Trying to drop the QS in 3 rounds and when that fails finesse the club for down 1 is what I would probably have done (I prefer normal finesse to ruffing finesse).

Cashing AC then leading the Queen to test the reaction of South and if that fails, finesse a spade is another way (I would have taken the finesse the correct way), but I don't like playing for a hesitation from a defender, it strikes me as too much gamesmanship. I have seen players do soemthing similar, get a slight pause then a low card and when they run the Queen and lose to the king are calling director before the card is turned over! Not the way to play bridge.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Wednesday 6th February

Good result at last, even won the Jackpot, despite a few poor scores one following a stupid bid by me. However I should have known from the start that it was going to a good night after board 1.

We don't open poor 12 counts, but 3rd in hand Harry opens and in our system my 11 points commits us to game and we duly end in 3NT. Now as soon as I see dummy I know that eveyone else is in 2NT. Anyway a heart lead won in dummy and a small diamond to the Queen and King. This is followed by another heart (defender will never find the 3 club tricks at this point). Now I played a spade to the Ace and the 9 spades from the defender with 5 hearts made me sure the spades were 4-2. Well 8 tricks will get me a bottom, might as well go 3 down, so with fingers crossed I finessed the 10 Spades, the diamonds broke and 9 tricks made.

The next few hands went well, then the first poor score of the evening:

Again, we don't open the North hand with a poor 12, so 3rd in hand Harry opens 1H, the next hand bids 3C and I bid 3NT. Harry is on the spot now, can't introduce the spades, decides to pass. I make 9 tricks (deep finesse says you can make 10, but pigs can fly), however there's 10 tricks in hearts or spades which everyone else can reach after the North hand opens.

However we get a good score on a later board in similar circumstances when everyone is in hearts going more off than our 3NT.

Harry got us a complete top on this board:

Playing a strong club, harry opens 1C, next hand passes for now, I decide to bid a -ve 1D and hope to bid both suits later, Harry bids 1H, now West can bid 2NT, I bid 4H. East hesitates and passes and West therefore passes. However I would have had no problem bidding 5H over 5 of a minor whether my partner doubles or not. Well Harry made 12 tricks, picking up the Q of trumps. The few others who were in hearts or spades just made 11. Most defended 5C or 5D doubled for 300.

The very next hand was another top because of our bidding methods.

Harry opens 1H and I bid a non-forcing 1S, Harry bids 2C and I bid a natural 2D which Harry passes. What a horrible hand to bid in Acol. Most people were in 2NT which made, but we got 130 in diamonds. However, I would have though 2H or 2S would be the Acol contract. I suppose what happened at most tables was the bidding went the same as us, but over 2D (4th suit) South bid 2NT. How you can bid 2D 4th suit, I have no idea!

I managed to get us a good score on the next board by underbidding for the first time ever.

We don't play weak twos, so after two passes 3rd in hand opens 1S, Harry overcalls 2H, West doubles for the minors and I pass to see what happens. East bids 2NT, Harry bids 3D which comes round to me and I manage to just bid 3H as I don't fancy the distribution in this hand. Harry duly made 9 (double dummy 10 are there and Harry nearly ran the 8H but eventually put in the Queen and wasn't able at that stage to pick up the JH. So he lost a club a spade and two hearts. Most people were in 4H off 1, some in spades going off. One pair in 3H did make 10.

A complete top in the very next hand:

After 3 passes the bidding went West 1S, East 2S, this came round to me and I bid 3D. Everyone is in 2S bar two Wests who are in 1NT. So I was the only Kamikaze there. I should have gone 1 off but the defender failed to overtake their partner's JC and I got rid of the club after a heart finesse and 3-3 break.

A few more better than average scores, mostly averages to finish and 65%, much better than my last few outings.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Monday Aggregate 4th February

Lucas Twos certainly enliven the bidding. The last pair of the evening consists of a lady who covets my tie which she thinks goes so well with her blouse and an ever genial male partner. The hands were:

'Blousy' (West) opens 2H, Mr. Geniality bids 2NT, then 3S shows a max with diamonds and so 4H is bid. I led a trump. When dummy went down the lady thought the bid was rather optimistic, the man considered it 'imaginitive'. Now that's what I call an imagination. We eventually found our diamond ruff for down 2.

How would I have bid this? Well if partner was East and opened 1NT, I would transfer to hearts and then with fingers crossed bid 2NT. Partner would convert to 3H and I would use my imagination and bid 4H!

The next and last board:

Only one third of the field found and made 4H on this, some went 1 off. I showed my long clubs in the bidding so when I won the Ace of clubs and switched to 8D it had singleton written all over it. If I hadn't bid and partner had led say a spade, then after winning the AH I switch to 8D it would have given declarer the chance to go off.

Anyway, it didn't make much difference to our score which was pretty awful. I failed to make a 3NT by trying to be clever (what a joke), 10 other declarers made 9 tricks. we failed to bid a game when a slam was on (although a few others did also, it all depends on the opening bid). That was that really that. There were though two very interesting distributional hands.

On this one after 1C - 1D came round to me I bid 1NT which shows at least 5-5 in the other two suits with limited points. Eventually our opponents managed to bid 6D which we doubled. As I got a club ruff this went 3 off. 4S is a comfortable make.

The other was this one:

I opened 1D and when this came round to West, he had a 2NT bid available. East made the interesting bid of 3S? but eventually they finished in 5C which was very easy on a KD lead (declarer just played 2 rounds of clubs and led the JD to my Queen, discarding a heart). Now 6C is obviously a good contract and deep finesse says it always makes 12, but it is difficult on a trump lead. As far as I can see you have to win the lead in dummy, ruff a diamond, cross ruff hearts and diamonds, ruff a 4th diamond, draw another trump, and go over to AS for 2 diamond winners.

One pair bid 6C (with a kiss) and made.