Friday, 29 June 2012

Thursday 28 June

Playing N/S with John came second with 55%.

Catherine Gerrard playing with Stewart Pinkerton bid the E/W hands to 3NT after 1N - 2C - 2S - 2N - 3N

John led KH to Ace and Declarer with a lot to do started on diamonds.  I took the third round, John discouraging in spades.  So I know Catherine's exact holding in the reds and she has 8 black cards and (I assumed) 12 or 13 points in those suits.  I also know she has at most AJ of spades so I imagined her hand as something like AJxx  xx  J10x  AQJx, maybe even AKJx of clubs, I just couldn't see the club switch so continued a heart.  Catherine is home now, just giving me a spade. Very bad score.

Got a good score on this hand against David and Katie just because of an innocent enough lead.
Our bidding simply went 1H - 1S - 2H
David led 5C to Katie's K and I ducked. Katie is stuck now. Play another club, I win Ace and ruff a club for 9 tricks. Katie does best to switch to a heart to David's Ace, but David naturally thinks there are some clubs to cash and continues a club to my Jack and so I got 9 tricks that way, 4 hearts, 2 clubs, 2 spades and a diamond.
Charles and Vi went through a convoluted bidding sequence to arrive at 6H.  On the way Vi showed something good in diamonds, Charles had clubs.
So, I didn't fancy a minor suit lead and nor did I like the singleton heart as my partner could have a useful holding, so I plumped for the spade and led the 4. 
Vi played the Jack, John the King and Vi wins the Ace. This is fairly straightforward now, losing finesse in hearts, win spade return in hand, draw trumps, cash AC and over to 10S.  Disaster of a lead.  It can make because of John's club holding and my lack of trumps allowing three diamond discards after two rounds of trumps, but I made it so easy.
Mike Alexander and Stewart Duguid were the only other pair to bid this and they also got a spade lead.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Wednesday 27 June

Playing N/S with Gerry came 3rd with 56%.  Shot ourselves in the foot a few times, played in a 3-1 fit on one board and the trumps didn't even split!
 Two interesting boards against David & Catherine.  Gerry opens 1S as South (the hand satisfies the rule of 20, but just 'looks' like an opening hand to me). I bid 2C and Catherine 2D.  Gerry bids 3C and David competes with 3D.  I bid 3S and Gerry with a nice double fit now bids game.
Diamond lead taken with dummy's Ace, spade to the Ace and a spade ducked to Catherine's King.  Heart switch taken by Ace, draw last trump, diamond ruff back and finesse the club. Gerry got everything spot on for 11 tricks and a joint top.
On the next board David opened West 1C and the bidding went:
1C - P - 1N - 2S
3D - 4S - 5C - x

I gave this some thought, it might be 650 vs 500 but with 2 defensive tricks I have to leave it in.
Anyway double dummy you can get 1100, we got 800.  6S makes our way, but nobody is going to bid that however a number of N/S were doubled in 5S and even 4S and with the overtricks got big scores. So our 800 was just above aveerage.

Got a complete 0 against Helen & Colin.  Colin did well to bid slam after 1H by Helen, 2S by me, 3D by Colin, 4H Helen, 6H.
Now my QH might win a finesse and though that is doubtful I am hopeful that partner's holding will turn into a trump trick.  Anyway with KD right for declarer, my spade winner could disappear. So leading AS seemed to be the right thing to do.  Wrong! 13 tricks in the back as Helen ruffs, drops my QH and gets rid of the other 2 spades on the clubs.
Five pairs in 6H, 2 Norths led QH, three of us led AS.  Only Helen made 13.

 Got a good score for once against Raymond and Alec who bid to 6H.  On the face of it, not the worst slam.  3-2 splits in hearts and clubs and a spade finesse, 3-3 spades would forego the need for clubs to split.  Not impossible but on the lie of the cards nobody is going to make this.  Raymond went 3 down giving us 100%, a few others did bid 6 but only went 1 or 2 down..
The really interesting thing is 6H makes.  On a diamond lead, KH then the 9 and play South for his holding and you have 1 heart loser. Play the spades by Ace then Jack, pinning the 10.  This gives 4 spade tricks and a club discard, 12 tricks.
Against Mary and Moira I had a bidding problem.  Mary opened East 1S, Gerry bid 1NT and Moira bid 2C.
I have 8 opposite the strong NT, two 10s and the doubleton QJ are working.  To bring hearts in 2H is to play and 3H is forcing.  I didn't like either of those options.  Doubling 2C could give us 200 but if Moira has 6 clubs and no spades negating many of our points then that could make.  In the end 2NT looked the best bid which is what I did, passsed out. Moira ducked JH when it was played so Gerry got 3 clubs, 3 hearts and two spades for a good score.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Monday 25 June

Playing N/S with Adrianne came second with a Butler score of 32.
Two interesting boards against Charles & Vi.

Our bidding here went:
1C - P - 1H - 1S
3C - 3S - P - 4S
5C - x - passed out
The defence didn't find their heart ruff and I lost the obvious spade, heart and club for 1 down.
Double dummy 4S can't make but I am never leading KD and when Adrianne wins AS she is not under leading AD.  So with 2 diamonds and a spade to lose would Vi have made 4S?
On the bidding ruffing out KH looks unlikely however I'll lead AC, no doubt a trump is led and Adrianne will return a black card. After trumps are drawn, if Vi plays a diamond now and finds Adrianne with the Ace, then I must surely have KH and AH and a ruff will bring 4S home. Two pairs played 4S and both went down.

Here Adrianne opened 1NT, Vi doubled (2 suits), I redouble to show a minor, Charles bids 2H, passed round to me and I bid 3D.  Charles works out it is the majors so bids 3S and Adrianne wary of pushing them into game, avoids a 4D bid and it is passed out.
4S is unbeatable with just a heart, diamond and club to lose (I neglected to give partner AH, so Charles made 11).
Only 1 pair managed to bid 4S (Davna & Barbara) but two N/S pairs found 3NT which is stiff. Nine top winners on a spade lead, a heart lead to K and A with a heart return makes 10, on a diamond lead, run JH. On a very unlikely club it still makes but double dummy knowing it is doubleton. Well done Bob & Cathy and Peter & Willie.  Not often there is a major game one way and 3NT the other way.

Only three pairs bid slam on this hand.  Our bidding against Victor and Willie went without interference:

 1H - 2D - 3C - 3S - 4H - 5H - 6H

Adrianne won't bid 3C without a good hand. If she bids 3N over my 3S though I'll pass but 4H is a good bid.  Now I know she has 6 hearts she can easily have a singleton spade.  Even with 6 hearts to AKQ and AQxx clubs with doubleton spade, West can't lead a spade from KJ or whatever.  Anyway rather than bid RKC I employed my favourite gadget, the buck passing bid of 5H. Having a good partner she knew what to do (with two small spades she will surely pass) and 6H is easy.

Got out of this second last board unbloodied.  Against Steve and Mike much to my surprise, Steve opened 1D.  Adrianne conservatively bid 2S, passed back to Steve who doubled and Mike left it in.
JH was led to the King and Steve returned a trump.  Adrianne cashed AK spades, gave up a diamond and made 7 for -100.
More interesting if East opens 1C on this hand, even with a 3S overcall West can see 5C depending on the hearts. Anyway lots of good scores E/W way either 5C for 600, 4H for 650 or 5Dx for 500. Two pairs played it in 4S our way --- undoubled.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Thursday 21st June

Playing in a Howell with John had a dreadful score of 43%. Only some of it our fault!

Against Brian and Paul John passed as East, I opened 1NT and through 2C (doubled by Paul), John raised me to 2N and I bid game.  Brian duly led 8C.
Paul took the Ace and switched to KH. I froze now, no idea what was best. Clearly Paul sees Brian with heart length, also he can't see himself setting up clubs.  I should get this right and go 1 off (win AH, Ace and another diamond guaranteeing 8 tricks), but you just can't give up the chance to make your contract. Instead I won played a spade to Brian's Ace, JH back then over to a spade to finesse the diamond and 3 off.
Brilliant defence by Paul, everyone made 3N, but played by East on a club lead.

 This was our first hand of the night and sort of set the tone. Against Ian and John L, Ian as North opened 1N and John overcalled 2S, this went round to Ian who bid 3C and I competed with 3S passed out.  John L led 8D to Ace, small diamond to be ruffed, club to King, diamond ruff, club to Ace, diamond ruff, 2 down, the dreaded -200.  The same fate was suffered elsewhere but the pair who were in 4S made 10.  What can you say?

The very next board I am in 4S.  Ian leads a small diamond, John L ruffs.  I take the club return with my Ace and play a heart to the Ace and ruff a heart.  Now AS and John's Jack falls. Now I usually play restricted choice and would finesse here but John was void in diamonds, there are a lot more spaces in his hand for the QS, so I played to the King. No luck, I cashed KH throwing a club, and although Ian gets end played to lead a diamond, I still have to lose one along with a club QS and the ruff.
One pair made 4S on  a heart lead and another 3N on a very favourable diamond lead.

A complete bottom against David and Katie.  I unfortunately opened 1C as South ( 1D will work so much better here), but that is the correct opening.  Anyway David overcalled 1S and Katie raised to 2S which is where it is played.  Actually I would have doubled with the North hand, playing negative double at one level only promises 6+.
John led 6C and I haven't a clue on the suit's layout.  Most likely is 962 but could be K86.  Anyway I took the Ace, David played the 10 and switched to KD as the diamond trick might shortly disappear.  David won the Ace and carefully took one round of trumps with AS, led back QC and overtook with KC.  He now led 8C, what is John to do? Ruff with the 10S and the diamond goes. However, surely I am beating that 8C, David must be intending to ruff and so we keep our diamond trick.  So John signals his heart and David discards the diamond on his winning 8C!, another round of trumps and 10 tricks made. Very canny play by David.
 Against Issy and Gerald I got one of my very few good scores by bidding the wrong contract.  Issy as West opened a skinny 1D and John upgraded his hand to 1N, Gerald bids 2H.  My first instinct is to bid 2N but surely John can't have much in diamonds and hopefully 3 decent spades, so 2S it was, passed out.
Issy led QH and dummy was disappointing as NT on a heart lead would have played very well, spades could be a disaster especially if that is a singleton heart.  Anyway trick one went QKA2. Gerry decides to return a club to QKA and I played a spade to Gerry's Jack.  Another club to my Jack and another spade to Issy's King. I expect to get a dreaded diamond now, but no, another club.  I ruff, another spade and claim the rest.  I lost 3 spades and a heart for 9 tricks, top score.

Finally against Issy and Gerry I made a terrible error of judgement. With no interference our bidding went:

1C - 1S - 2C - 3D - 3H (doubled by Issy) - 3N

Long pause by me.  John presumably is 5-5 for the jump, 2 -1 in the other suits and only 1 heart stop.  If he has a singleton AC then great, but what if he hasn't?   I chickened out and bid 4S.  This has no chance and John does very well to make 9, setting up the diamonds.  3N doesn't make, but often it will.  Heart lead to Ace and another, over to a spade, cash 2 clubs and the other spade, exit with KD and you have 9 tricks after giving East the QD. To defeat it, East has to take the second club and return a spade or diamond, declarer can't cash that second club now or East will get another club when in with QD.
Three pairs played 3NT by North on a heart lead, only one made it so well defended those two (Len and Katie).

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Wednesday 20 June

Playing E/W with Gerry managed to come first with 63%.  Gerry managed to play most of our hands, in fact I only played two hands all night which probably explains the good score.
Two interesting ones against Raymond and Alec.
 On the first, Raymond opens the South hand 1H, Alec bids 1S and Raymond bids 2D.  Well what do you do with 6 running spades and a 14 count opposite an opening hand?  Alec bid a non-forcing 3S and Raymond couldn't pass fast enough.
Gerry finds the best lead of a club, taken in dummy.  Alec tries a heart but the King goes to the Ace and Gerry plays another club to the King.  Alec draws trump and exits with a club.  I win the queen and play a heart for our 5th trick and 1 down.  Will this be a bad score? Although South won't open you would expect at other tables something like:
1S - 2H - 3S - 3N - (4S) Against 3N what does West lead? A diamond or a club and that is 9 tricks, and JH will also concede the game despite even if East leads diamonds through twice.  So it could be a good score, but many Norrths will bid 4S and then our score is poor.  As it happens most are in 2S making, two in 4S one off and just one in 3NT. We got 17 out of 22.
Not so good in the next one:
After 3 passes Raymond opened the South hand 3NT.  Alec with 3 small spades passed.  I am not particulalry suspicious obviously we can all have a 10 count and this is feasible, though 4th in hand Raymond could easily have something outside.
Anyway it is surely best to lay down an Ace against a gambolling 3NT and that is what I did.  AD, dropping Raymond's King.  I have to try a spade now, Raymond wins his Ace and claims 10 tricks. Only a QH lead could have defeated this.
Only 3 out of 22 this time, nearly all Souths are in 2C or 3C.
How does Alec do it? Stays out of game in the previous hand, leaves 3NT in with nothing in spades.

A poorish score on this board against Joan and Cathy.
Cathy passed as South and I opened 1S.  Joan came in 2D and Gerry doubled with his 4 hearts.  Not to be put off, Cathy bids 4H.  I don't want to go in to a long pause and make life difficult for partner, but with the stop bid I can briefly think and decide that partner knows I have a heart shortage and certainly 5 spades so I pass.  Gerry doubles and I unfortunately lead QS.  Away goes Cathy's diamond loser.  Now a spade ruff, Gerry showing something in clubs.  Cathy now leads 9C from hand.  I don't want to take the Ace as I have no trump to lead so this goes to Gerry's Queen.  However rather than Ace and another Gerry plays a small heart.  Cathy wins and leads 3C which takes my Ace and is ruffed.  Cathy just loses 2 hearts and 2 clubs.  If Gerry had played Ace and another hearts Cathy could still make 9 and win the brilliancy prize by playing 3C to my Ace and losing 3 clubs and 1 heart.  Not the best defence, but of course 4S makes, bit of a disaster really.

I followed this up with a poor defence against Joan's 3NT for another bad score.  I won't tell you about all our tops because they were all on the hands played by Gerry.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Wednesday 13 June

Playing N/S with Gerry just managed a slightly above average 52%.  It was a night of bad breaks, West had 8 voids in 32 boards, everyone had around 10 singletons.  Whenever there was a contract that could go off on a bad break we were in it.

Against Russell and Len I opened 1S, Gerry bid a game raise through 2NT and I went to 6S.  Russell took some time to lead and eventually led JD.  I suspect this is from QJx rather than a doubleton, but the extra diamond isn't actually any use to me.  I just want to eliminate the red suits, two rounds of trumps and finesse a club.  Which is exactly what I did except the trumps don't break and the club finesse is wrong.  Three pairs made 6S on a spade lead, so well done Russell for avoiding that lead.  Of course even on that lead you have to make sure you eliminate the reds before finessing a club or you could lose 2 clubs.

Gerry got our score back on the next board by being the only one in 3NT instead of the unmakeable 4H.  Russell opened 2D multi, Gerry doubled, Len bid 2H (or was it 2S?) and I passed.  This came round to gerry who was not shy in venturing 3NT. len led a spade won in hand, Gerry played a small heart and Len won and continued a spade.  Hearts didn't break so Gerry cashed 9 tricks.   With an obvious AK of diamonds and 2 hearts to come those who bid 4H were off from the start.

Did I say the distributions were dreadful? Every trump suit failed to break. So on this hand against Colin and Helen the bidding went:
P  - 1D - 1N - 2D
x  - 3D - P  -  P
x  - P   - 3H
I would normally assume that double after partner bids a NT is penalty, but when Helen bid 3D I was thinking it was just take out, however I passed and Gerry doubled again. Good score if I leave that in, but I'm now thinking he's maybe 4-4-0-5, so I bid 3H.
Anyway diamond lead to K and A, ruff 4D in dummy, cash AH.  Helen's 10 appears.Now there are only 17 points missing, Helen has about 12 with presumably 5 diamonds, surely she has singleton heart for her 3D bid.  Restricted choice also says with J10 she could have played either making a singleton more likely. So, silly me, I cross to AC and finesse 9H, down 1.  The only trump suit that was breaking and I played it for 4-1.

This was a typical hand on the night. Gerry opened an off-centre 1N, I transferred to spades and Gerry bid 3S (minimum points, 4 spades). No idea whether this makes or not, but I bid 4S.
Bob Brown leads JH to King and Ace, Dave returned JD. Gerry tried to cash both diamonds letting go a club, but Dave over-ruffs, a club to Bob and another diamond ensures another trump trick for the defence. Two spades, two hearts and a club for 2 off.

Only ourselves to blame for this debacle. Against Margaret and Ann, Gerry opened 1H and Margaret bid a conservative 1S, I bid 4H, back to Margaret who bid 4S.  Now my hand says bid 5H, but do I know 4S is making, is it 5Hx down 2 and 4S -1? Anyway I passed, partner certainly knows I'm 5 hearts and limited strength.  Gerry doubles 4S.  I'm not happy about passing but we could easily have 2 trump tricks and 2 minor tricks, so 4Sx it is.  But that's not the worst of it.
I led a heart, ruffed, KS to my Ace, another heart ruffed, Margaret drew trumps and ran JC, seeing my 2C Gerry ducks.  Margaret plays another club and ..... rises with the Ace for 12 tricks!  We actually have to start with two rounds of diamonds to beat this then when I win AS I can give Gerry a ruff.  But why didn't I bid 5H?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Monday 11 June

Playing N/S with Adrianne we won with a great Butler score of 59.  However most of the hands were for E/W and our score was a lot more to do with opponents missing a slam or going down in a cold game than anything we did. So there are no brilliancies to report.
Here is a lucky board for us which left John Larkin kicking himself.
We don't rebid basic 5 card majors, so I opened 1NT, John passed and Adrianne bid a 2D transfer, Rob came in 3C and I bid 4H. John correctly worked out that Rob will be singleton heart and so probably has spade support.  Anyway if he can't stand it 5C could be on, so John bid 4S.
Adrianne led AH, I gave suit preference with a high heart so she switched to QD covered by King and Ace and I cashed JD and led a third. So we had 3 tricks, John ruffed the diamond and looking at 6 spades cashed King then Ace and so lost a trump. As I annoyingly pointed out to John, missing 18 points and Adrianne showed 6 points with her first 2 cards he should have got that right.

This board had some interest for E/W.  The Glens bid 1H - 1S - 3S - 4S.  Jennifer's 3S wasn't best 4C splinter or just 4S is surely better.
Anyway with just 3 losers 5C is a great sacrifice by us and two N/S pairs are in clubs but I cannot seee any logical way into the bidding.
I led 4H and if I was declarer would find that difficult to interpret. John had no problem though, he won Ace, took QS, AS and led QH.  Adrianne covered, so ruffed.  The hearts aren't coming now, but John switches to a club which I take and exit with a club ruffed in dummy.  JH cashed to throw a diamond and then a diamond led and Adrianne takes AK diamonds for his10 tricks. Double dummy Adrianne can exit with a heart, John can ruff and now has to go across to dummy with a trump to lead another diamond and what if Adrianne plays low?  I must confess I would probably have gone off in this hand on a non-heart lead.  Let's say North leads 3S.  I would immediately play AH, ruff a heart small, then berate myself for the rest of the night for not putting the 10 on.

Everybody missed a slam here.  Two pairs were extremely unfortunate to be in the right slam that didn't make.
Against Walter and Lydia I opened 1S and Walter overcalled 4C. Adrianne doubled.  Originally negative was only up to 3S but I think everyone now bids it to the 4 level as well.  I bid 4H and there I played.  Walter led AC and I saw a great dummy with a near certain 12 tricks as long as hearts are 4-1 at worst. However I soon found out they were 5 -0 and 11 tricks only.  6S is very straightforward presumably you cash AS then go over to dummy planning a finesse, just don't try to over in hearts! East could that make that difficult for you if after AC switch to a diamond to make it look like a possible singleton.