Friday, 30 November 2012

Thursday 29 November

Playing N/S with Gerry we came first with 61%.

 We overstretched to 4S after Joyce opened 1D as East, Gerry bid 1S, Vi 2D and I bid 3S, Gerry 4S.
Vi led 2D to K and A, Gerry crossed to AH and led a spade to 9 and J. Vi cashed QD and played a heart to Gerry's K, a spade cleared the suit and Joyce played a third heart for Gerry to ruff.  Gerry crossed to 10S and led QC, Joyce covered and Gerry took the Ace.
Now you don't cover until you have to, Joyce should only have had a doubleton (or singleton) King or else she would wait to cover the Jack. So Gerry reasoned it is 2-1 odds Vi has the 10 and he finessed 8C, one off.
We're the only ones to bid 4S, good reasoning turned a top into a bottom.

Got a good/lucky top against Len and Avril. Gerry opened 1H, passed round to Avril who bid 2C.  Gerry bid 2H, Len 3C, I bid 3H.  Back to Len with 4C.
Now Gerry bid 2H on his own vulnerable, certainly six, hopefully good ones like AK. Now we could have 6 hearts and two club ruffs right away.  Surely we have good chances of two more tricks. However one off doubled will be a bottom.  Should I even double 4C? When in doubt I'm a bidder, so 4H which was doubled on principle by Len.
A heart wasn't led so Gerry got the two club ruffs as well as picking up six hearts giving 11 tricks. Nobody else in 4H, mind you 4Cx would have been a big score as well.

Steve Bailey playing with John McIntyre played this hand really well against us. Playing 3N by East Gerry led 3H and Steve won the Q in Dummy. He now needs to keep me off lead and played 10S, I covered and he took the K.
He now cashed 4 diamonds and I have to decide what discard to make.  I can't let a spade go and want to keep my hearts. I toyed with 2C which asks for a club, but decided to be 'sensible' and let 9C go which Steve inquired about. Gerry let a heart go. He now led a spade from Dummy, inserting the 9, so Gerry won Q. Gerry played a club, but Steve put on the Queen. A third spade to Ace, Gerry discards a club. Steve now plays A and another club end playing Gerry to get his KH and a top score for 10 tricks.  Should I discard 2C? Steve would surely go up with Ace and hope to bring the spades home.  Well played anyway.

Two hands later Steve was trying was the brilliancy prize but unfortunately it backfired.
John opened 1D and although I am strong, I can't see any other practical bid than 4H.  Luckily Steve can't risk 4S as if it is doubled, not knowing his partner has 7,  he can't stand 5D either!  So 4H it was.
Steve led KD which was allowed to hold.  He is desperate for a ruff / trump promotion, which black Ace might his partner hold?  He tries ---- 2C and that's 10 tricks for me with a spade ruff.
Was it reckless? Well he needs to seek an entry, but maybe a spade might have been a better two way bet i.e. partner might have AS or AQ clubs might be over the K.

Only two pairs managed to find 3N on these N/S cards.  Maybe that's because it goes down!
Anyway John opened 1S and I decided my best bid was double (Gerry isn't likely to have the values to suddenly jump to 3H never mind 4H). Steve passes and Gerry is stuck but chooses 2C.  I now bid 2S, Gerry 2N and I bid 3N, Gerry should have something with both opponents silent.
Hearts doesn't sound like the lead when I had a take out double of 1S.  John made the more obvious lead of a small spade.  Gerry won in Dummy, immediately played a club to K and A and that was 9 tricks as you must get another spade or a heart.

We must have been cruising with a high sixties percentage until the last two boards against David and Katie.  I embarrassed myself by some wild bidding with 5-1-6-1 shape and 5 points (4 off). Then on the last board David and Katie missed their 5-5 heart fit to play in 1N.  This cannot be defeated (although I gave a misjudged signal to allow it to make overtricks), but others are in 4H going off.  So two duck eggs to finish, but we scraped home first.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Monday 26 November

Playing N/S with Adrianne we came 1st with a Butler score of 55.

What a great hand to pick up against Katie and Winnie.  I opened our strongest bid, 2D, Adrianne bid a negative 2H and Katie 3D. This is good news, surely a long suit with some top honours, so anything Adrianne has will be working. I bid 4D, Adrianne 5C and I bid 6C.  This is an easy bid, what is the worst Adrianne can have, 3334 and pointless? Well a heart can go on a spade and you still make if clubs 2-2. Distributions like 3424 is impossible, Adrianne would have bid 4H.
Nothing to the play on AD lead and 13 tricks rolled in.  Can you bid the Grand? The best I can do over 5C is 5D, Adrianne might take that as being consistent with me being 5-5 in the majors and bid 5S, but I now bid 6C so she can see it as a grand slam try. Still, bidding 7C is a leap of faith.

 Missed a good score here against Charles and Barry. Charles opened 1H and our bidding went:
1H - 2C - 2S - 3C
3S - 4C - 4H - passed out.

Adrianne led a small club, that let Charles dispose of a diamond and he lost the obvious heart, spade and diamond making 10 for 620. A spade lead could have beaten it but it will never be found on the bidding.
What's worse is we make 5C, you are only going to lose a spade and a club, so a 1220 point swing, ouch!
Who said the 5 level was for the opponents?

We did get our score back on the set, Adrianne being the only one in game.
Aces are undervalued in the points count yet you often hear players say 'I only had 3 Aces'. Anyway Adrianne upgraded her hand and opened 1S, I bid 2C and she rebid 2NT showing 15 points. Eminently a more sensible rebid than 2S. I now bid 3S and Adrianne bid game.
KD was led, taken by Ace making this hand even more straightforward as the KS and QC are both onside though Adrianne played safely for her contract getting the heart ruff and used the diamond to remove the need for the club finesses and lost KS, a heart and QD for 10 tricks. With the lack of intermediates I would probably have opened the South hand 1N and played there, must remember my own mantra, Aces are undervalued.

 Another good score by Adrianne against Bob and Cathy.
Bob opened 1C, Cathy bid 1S and Adrianne came in 2H.  Bob passed and I could have bid 2S or 3C to show a good heart raise but felt Adrianne must have six hearts and some decent cards outside, (i.e. a diamond honour), so I bid 4H.
Bob led KC and Adrianne won Ace and ruffed a club low. She now played a spade from Dummy, Cathy took the Ace and followed with QS which Adrianne won with the King.  She now led a diamond and Bob took the Ace. A trump came back won perforce in Dummy, Adrianne cashed KD and ruffed a diamond with the 9H, ruffed a club, ruffed a spade with JH cashed QH and made 10 tricks. Double dummy it is easy to set up diamonds but that needs 3-3 break, getting the two club ruffs and leading towards your Kings requires hearts 2-2.

I've been trying to follow the maxim that the 5 level level belongs to the opponents as I've always tended to bid too much.  We've already got one wrong in this set though (board 10 above).  Here's another.
Cliff opened East 1S, Len made the natural 3S raise and I bid 4H.  Clifford went to 4S and back to me. I'd love to bid 5H, maybe even try 5C, but according to the bidding Adrianne is pointless, maybe I have four cashing tricks.  I pass.
Well I did have four tricks, 100 to us but Adrianne had a singleton spade and QC to four. I can't fail in 5H.  Wrong again.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Monday 19 November

Playing N/S with Adrianne came first with a Butler score of 40. Didn't do a lot to earn that, just didn't make mistakes and bid all we could.

 This was an interesting hand early on.  Adrianne opened 1D and Phoebe doubled.  I bid 1H and Robina didn't feel she had the values to come in.  Adrianne bid 4H and that was passed out.
Thus would have been very tricky on spade leads, but I wasn't tested. Robina led a diamond to Ace and Phoebe returned a diamond which I ruffed with the 10.  I played Ace and a small heart.  Phoebe tried QC, I won Ace, drew last trump and claimed all my diamonds.
If opponents find their spade fit, Adrianne will bid 5D which Phoebe would be more inclined to double, but 5Sx -1 is the place to be. Two E/W got to play in 4S but the common score wad 5Dx for 550

Against Jack and Ian I opened 1C, Jack 1S and Adrianne doubled.  I bid 1N, Jack 2S and Adrianne 3N.
Jack led 6S to the 9 and 10. That gives me 6 tricks in the majors.  Playing on clubs sets up two more tricks and if Ian has AD he won't have any spades left when I play that suit.  If Ian has AC, playing on diamonds should set up 10 tricks barring a singleton Ace in Jack's hand but, even so, Ian will be out of spades when I play a club. However if I play the suit that Ian does have the Ace, I will go off.
On the bidding I reckoned Jack has both Aces! Playing on diamonds must be best therefore and if Ian has Ace I might still bring diamonds home.  So, after all that I led a diamond to Q and Ace, spades were cleared. I led 10D, Jack showed out and I was down 2. Four made 3N, six went off and a couple defended 2S.

Adrianne got a good score against Charles and Barry.  After two passes I opened 1C and Adrianne bid 2N which I raised to 3N.
Barry led JH taken by Queen.  Adrianne coolly led over to AS, played a club to Q cashed Ace and all her clubs.  Then AH, and sort of end played Barry with a spade to Jack and King who cashed his diamond and gave the rest to Adrianne.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Thursday 15 November

Playing with Gerry came 1st in a 5 table Howell.  Mostly we just played steadily and picked up scores from opponents' mistakes.

I didn't do so well on this hand.  Piotr passed as North and I opened 1S, Cezary bid 3C, Gerry asked and then felt obliged to double (I would have re-opened with a double anyway).  I tried 4C but we stopped abruptly in 4H.
Cezary led KC then switched to a diamond. I can come to 9 tricks easily enough, just lead a trump from hand, but I need 10. I tried AS, spade ruff, the Jack from North might be good news. I played a diamond back, uh oh.  Ruff, spade return. If I had just put in the 9 I could scrape 9 tricks, but I ruffed low, diamond back for the bare Queen to ruff, I scramble 8 tricks for a bottom.

Against Elizabeth & Steve, Steve opened 1N passed to me as North, I doubled and it was passed out.  Gerry led 6H which I found difficult to read.  I won KH and played 10C, Steve won the Jack and played on diamonds, Gerry taking the second diamond and exiting with a diamond. I unfortunately let a spade go. Steve now played on spades and I had to win the second one. So we have 7 tricks (AS, AKQH, A10D and AC, but I played A and another club! Seven tricks to Steve and a bottom. Playing 10C put me off, I should have played a small one. Gerry is more likely to lead one back after winning the diamond and if he doesn't I can then stop and think when in with AS.  Terrible defence, I could also have beaten it if I hadn't thrown a spade and held up to the 3rd round.

How often do you hold a 7-6 hand and not enter the bidding? I don't think I could have been quiet. Brian opened 1D and I overcalled 1S, Paul doubled, Gerry passed. Brian rebid 2N which Paul raised to game and Gerry passed.
Now what do I lead? A heart is out, not a diamond my spades are terrible, probably concede an extra trick by leading a spade.  Only one thing to do, JC, 3NT down 4.

How often do you hold an unbid 7 card suit and your partner leads it against NT?

 Pre-empts obviously cause bidding problems.
David opened 3H and I am a bit stuck, partner passes with lots of hands we can make game on. I should really have some more obvious trick sources in the minors but bid 3N.  Katie calmly passed and Gerry crossed his fingers that I had a lot of clubs or diamonds to run!
Katie led a small diamond to 10 and Q, I played on clubs but Katie isn't taking that until the third round. A high diamond back.  I played on hearts and David held off until the third round and they took the rest for 3 off and a good score for us. Two Norths are doubled in NT, one South is in 6C five off? Nobody found the obvious E/W spade game or even 4H which makes.

We scored above average on this board against Russell and Len but it was a problem for me.  I opened North 1N and Gerry with 4333 twelve count and good intermediaries bid a starightforward 3N.
Russell led a small heart which I won with the 7 and played two rounds of spades with the Ace still to come. I am in hand and although 9 tricks are assured I then think that people will be in 4S.  If they avoid the club lead, they have to get a second diamond. Should I try to sneak a diamond now?  The problem is how.  Ace and another, could make me look very silly and go down in a stiff contract.  Small then, but the 10 or the Q from dummy?  Then it loses and Len switches to clubs and I go down.  I just continued a spade and made my 9 tricks. Only one pair was in 4S making 10 for a top.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Monday 12 November

Playing N/S with Adrianne came joint first with a Butler score of 41.  We didn't do anything much, just steady play and were gifted two scores by two 3NTs going down when the opponents should have been in 4S.
This was one board where Adrianne made a good score for us. Phoebe opened 1S and Adrianne overcalled 3H.  Robina bid 4S and I went to 5H passed back to Robina who despite the adage about the five level belonging to the opponents quite reasonably bid 5S.
Adrianne found the perfect lead of TD which Declarer ducked and that was KD, KS and AH to us for 1 down.  A number of people managed to go off in 4S (diamond ruff if Declarer goes up with AD) so 5Hx wouldn't have been such a good score, but you make your own luck.

It is amazing how many people pass the South hand, personally I love three Aces, but when you add those intermediates this is a solid hand.
Anyway Adrianne opened 1N against Bobby and Ian which was passed out. A spade lead and holding up KC always defeats this, but this our lucky night. Bobby led 8H and Adrianne came to 8 tricks.

There was nothing else of note, we just did what we should have done on each hand and with a couple of gifts came to a good score.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Wednesday 7 November

Playing N/S with Gerry came joint first with 59%.

Not the best start against Paul and Nat. I opened 1S and Gerry bid a game raise 2N.  I bid 3S showing 16+ and we soon ended in 6S.  Nat led 3S won in Dummy. Obviously the hearts decide the contract and with eight of the suit Ace and another will often show up an honour with East and remove any guess, but the double finesse is always 75%.  However if spades are 2-2 I can eliminate the minors before running QH and guarantee my contract. So I played AQ clubs and a spade to hand, but they didn't break.  I cashed KC to throw the diamond, drew the last trump with QS and ran QH. Nat exits with a diamond and I lead another heart for Paul to show out and 1 down.
Six pairs were in it, two made it though one got a heart lead.

Another slam against Joan and Cathy. I opened 1H and it didn't take Gerry long to put me in six. Joan led a trump, on another lead I might well have played for 2 minor ruffs via a diamond finesse which would have given me a 50% chance of 13. However this trump lead precludes that as a losing diamond finesse would allow another trump to be drawn.  So I obviously worked on setting up spades.  I was allowed to win with 8H and played Ace and a spade ruff.  The ladies played up the way and gave me every hope of a 3-3 split and I can afford an over-ruff for 12 tricks. However with both minor Aces still there it costs nothing to go over to KH, this I failed to do.  I crossed to AC, was over-ruffed and made 12. Silly

 Got a zero against Ivan and Helen. Gerry opened 1H, Helen 1S and I bid 2C. Ivan passed, Gerry bid 2D, Helen passed and I bid 4H. Ivan now came in 4S which I doubled.
KH lead to Helen's Ace, trumps drawn and AJ clubs cashed.  Now Helen had carefully preserved small trumps, crossed to dummy in spades, cashed winning club to discard a heart, ruffed 4th club, crossed in spades to cash 5th club and discard a diamond.  Eleven tricks.  A number of people were doubled but only made 10.

 Different No Trump ranges have their advantages and disadvantages.  Sandra and Gloria play 14-16 so Sandra opened 1N, I overcalled 2H and Gloria is stymied.  2N is a stretch anyway so can't be done with doubleton heart, double is wrong as would trying to play in 3C. She passed.  I made my obvious 7 tricks for one down.
However 3N making was the common result. Heart lead, play a diamond and there's your 9 tricks
Gerry stole a top against Gerald and Phil. Gerald opened 1S and Gerry doubled.  Phil eventually decided to pass and I bid 2H.  Gerry stretched to 2N, I tried 3C looking for 3 card heart support and Gerry bid 3N.
A small spade lead to Dummy's Jack and 10D was covered by Queen and Ace, Jack of diamond exit.
Gerald played a spade to Phil's Ace and a spade back to Gerry's King. He now runs four diamond winners putting Gerald under a lot of pressure as he has to keep 2 hearts. It was possible for the defenders to get another 3 tricks if they played their cards correctly, but difficult and Gerry got his 9 tricks.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Monday 5 November

Terrible set, playing N/S with Adrianne -21 Butler score and down near the bottom of the rankings. One board was typical where I just didn't pay attention.  There had been a few discards from a spade suit in dummy and when Declarer led a spade I could not remember which small spades had started there. Adrianne played the 4S, if she has the 3 I have to duck, if the 3 had been in dummy, declarer is singleton and I have to take.  I got it wrong, vulnerable game made.

This board was bad luck, or good judgement by Louise and Sylvia:

After two passes I opened 1H and Sylvia doubled.  This went round to Louise who had to pass.
Sylvia led AKQ of diamonds, Louise threw a club. Now AKQ of clubs, Louise threw a spade and I ruffed. I played AK of hearts then spades and ended two down for -500.  Most E/W were in 5C and I imagine that East bid 2NT over 1H (certainly unusual with 22 points!)
I nominate this for worst played hand of the year. I opened 2N and Adrianne raised to game.
Michelle led 7S. Now it won't be from KT97 as the ten is normal.  I played 3S, Ian the 9 and I won the Queen.
We are playing Butler, aggregate really, just make sure of your game and a small heart by me to the Jack will surely garner 9 tricks. Oh no, smartypants assumes Ian has KS, likely singleton as Michelle probably led from T7xx, there are 2 club tricks however I play them, why not small to the Jack, if Michelle has it she will duck and I'll finesse JH, if Ian wins he might well return a heart. So small club it was, Ian wins King and returns a small spade round to Michelle's King (I couldn't even manage to take Ace and block the suit). Now the 2S comes back to my Ace. How cunning Michelle! I can still recover if I play QD, but obsessed with running that JH I try a small diamond to K and Ian's Ace, Ian cashes the last spade and exits with a diamond.  Wrong again I let it run to Michelle's Jack.  Michelle exits with a club and I am stuck in hand with a diamond winner and hearts.  Eventually playing AK but Michelle had kept her four and had to win the last trick.  Two down, any idiot can make 10.  Brilliant lead by Michelle, totally threw me though that is no excuse, all I have to do is concentrate on 9 tricks, not trying to be smart.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Thursday 1st November

Playing N/S with Gerry we won our way in a Play with the Experts format.
There were many hands where 12 tricks made though most weren't biddable.

Against Stephanie and Avril we reached 4S via 1H - 1S - 3S - 4D - 4S.  Only 12 points in the South hand but I would have been tempted to rebid 4D.  Partner would now surely bid 6S, however Gerry's 3S is much more sensible and on a good day it is what I would choose.
Steph led 3C which ran to the Ace. Avril returned 2H, I took Ace and 4S to Q, A and 6.  Restricted choice says I should finesse now which is what I did and made 12. Very lucky. If Avril just returns a club to dummy, I will probably lead a small spade to King and have a spade loser.

Gerry had a big defensive problem against Les and Shirish.   Shirish opened 1C and Gerry overcalled 1S passed back to East who now bid 2H, Les bid 3N.  After some though Shirish decided to pull this to 4C and Les bid 5C.
So Gerry was on lead and decided on AD to see dummy. Now we play reverse attitude on an Ace, JD and maybe 9 would indicate a spade void so I played the 8 and Shirish the King.  Not much help to Gerry, the last thing he wants to do is play AS, but if KD is singleton and JC is an entry then the spade trick could disappear.  After long though Gerry played AS and then exited with a diamond to the Queen. I followed with 6D and maybe my carding made Shirish think I had four because he played 2D to a small ruff and Gerry over-ruffed for one down.
You can of course make 5C double dummy by dropping the singleton KC and either South doesn't take AS or you have JC entry to cash a couple of spades. Also 3N is of course a good contract but so is 4S!

Both experts stopped in 4S, but most at the GBC bid 6S.
Bob and Paul bid it against us after a 1S - 2N - 3C (min with 5 spades) sequence.
I led an aggressive 2H which was not a success.  Bob ran it to the Q, cashed the spades, finessed and cleared the hearts and exited with a diamond to my King to give him a club discard and 12 tricks.
13 tricks is of course unbeatable but you would not like to be in this contract on a 7C lead, or a high red card for that matter.  I think the experts got it right.

Again against Bob and Paul this was just 1N by West passed out. I'm glad I didn't have that West hand playing with Adrianne.  Not using checkback we have to open 1S and that would have been passed out.
Anyway this is a tricky hand.  I led 3H and Gerry put in the 8 and Bob took the 9. He now led QD and I took the King rather than getting conned into putting it on air (though sometimes partner has singleton Ace). I now tried 5S to Q and Ace.  Bob played AD and Gerry followed with the 10.  Bob now read that correctly and finessed 8D giving him 7 tricks with AK of clubs. The expert in 1N only made 6 after the same lead and winning 9H he played AD then QD and North ducked.  There are only two diamond tricks now. So, I should have ducked that QD, I got conned into taking it!
 Stole a game against Jim and Nat. Nat opened 1H and I bid 2C.  Gerry bid 2N and I ventured a cheeky 3N.  Nat led 2S to Jack and King, Gerry played three  rounds of clubs and now Jim was on lead. A heart will defeat the contract as Gerry has to take the Ace, lead to AD to get into Dummy and Nat can keep 2 red Kings and 2 spade winners.  However after some thought Jim went for a spade return and after cashing three spades Nat is end played into leading a red card and nine tricks made.

A difficult decision for me here. Gerry opened 1S and Nat overcalled 3D.  I doubled, Jim redoubled and Gerry bid 3S, I bid 4S and Jim 5D.
Now most sensible people will just double 5D but I'm good at getting the five level wrong. So I gave this some thought.  Gerry is void diamond and 6 spades but maybe 7 because he could have bid a decent four card club suit after the double and redouble (he doesn't have four hearts). I'm not defending if he has seven spades and he probably only has 10 points. I decided on 5S and Jim doubled.
Nat led AD, ruffed, heart to the Q and Ace, Jim tried Ace and another club to Dummy's Queen, spade finesse and 11 tricks.  Hey, I got a five level decision correct!
Of course if Gerry opens 3S it will be passed out so great judgement to see that it was too good for a pre-empt.