Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Monday 30 December

Playing N/S with Adrianne finished in the middle with a Butler score of -3.  Our opponents tendded to do the right thing against us and we missed a couple of opportunities for better scores, especially from one game I misplayed.

Ken Rae is down visiting and was playing with Mike, our opponents on the first two boards.
Mike opened 1D and I overcalled 1H, Ken passed and Adrianne bid 2D.  I gave this some thought but eventually decided just to bid 2H. Adrianne would have liked to retry with 3H but can't after the hesitation.  In the aftermath Ken suggested 3D was a better bid with the South hand showing the extra values in the diamond shortage with is a good thing to remember.
Anyway the play is straightforward, 5D lead to Q and Ace, ruff a diamond, AK of hearts exit with club to Mike's Ace. Another diamond to my Jack, draw trump.  I made 4 diamond tricks, 5 hearts and a diamond ruff.

Alan didn't give opening 3D any thought with the East hand and Adrianne didn't try 1H with the South hand, so it was three passes to Myra who opened an Acol 2C.
Their bidding proceeded 2C - 2D - 2S - 3D - 3S - 4N - 5H - 6D
Nobody knew what 5H meant which is why you can't use Blackwood without a Keycard.  Myra decided that 5H must be 2 or 5 and so did Alan.
Adrianne led KC to the Ace, the trumps fell in two round and the spades are all good for 13 tricks.
Only four pairs found a slam, one in a fortuitous 6S. Although at unfavourable vulnerability opening 3D doesn't look wise, in this case it might get you to 7D.

Not playing Lucas Adrianne passed the South hand, Alistair opened 1S, I passed and Dave splintered 4H.  Alistair bid 4S and I led 6D.  Three pairs made 4S, two on the same lead but it must have been very poor defence. The diamond went to the 9 and King and Alistair tried Ace and King of trumps then a heart to J and K.  Adrianne returned QD to Ace and Alistair tried a club to Q and K, Adrianne playing the 3.  I cashed QS and returned a small club to Dummy's Ace.  Alistair ruffed a club but has no chance now and goes two off.
Interestingly we make 4H, just losing a spade, a diamond and a club.

Three N/S made game here, two in 3N one in 5C (neither contract makeable), we weren't even in the bidding!
Ian opened the East hand 1S, this at least allows him to show both majors. Adrianne passed and Izzy bid a very sensible 2S especially as they are playing 5 card majors.  I passed, Ian tried 3H but Izzy very promptly bid 3S and there they played.  With only a heart and two diamonds to lose that made ten tricks.
If Ian opens 1H and that is passed to me I'll bid 1N, Adrianne will bid 2N and I'll bid 3N.  An easy make on a heart lead.  However one Declarer got the JS lead but still make!  Did partner duck?  This is why many players play strong 10s, you can't go wrong on 10S lead.

Here is the hand I misplayed.  I opened 1S, David overcalled 1N and Adrianne bid 3S (good bid).  Willie passed and I decided to go for 4S as Adrianne's spades will be lying well and I fancied she might have something like a singleton diamond as she bid 3S rather than double.
David started with three rounds of diamonds. I cashed Ace of clubs and concentrating on that suit a spade to Q and Ace and ruffed a club.  I noted Willie's T and 9, but he is still likely to have J.  I played another spade to David's King and he exited with a spade to Dummy.  I ruffed another club, but no luck.  I have no options now, I played AH, heart ruff, KC throwing a heart but lost a club and a heart for one off.
I didn't stop to count the points earlier and realise that Willie is likely to have KH, but even easier I didn't count my tricks and realise that a cross ruff will get me home. Even worse, why not play King of clubs then ruff a club.  Now I'll know the situation and can cross ruff for ten tricks.
Here's to a good New Year and less stupidities at the table!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Monday 16 December

Playing N/S with Adrianne had a lot of ups and downs for a middling Butler score of 14.

Here are two of the downs:

 With 5-5 in Clubs and Spades we open 1S if we feel we can reverse with 3C.  So I opened 1S, Adrianne bid 1N and now I bid 3C.  This is game forcing so when Adrianne bid 3S this is stronger than 4S. Well it is probably rather fanciful that Adrianne would have both black Queens and a red Ace but I decided to try a 4C cue on the way.  Unfortunately partner raised to 5C and there I played.
David Young led AH and switched to a club. The lead enhances my prospects, why should one hand have both Aces? However I won in Dummy and tried QJ of spades to see what happens.  Now David Cree played the 7 then the 9. If spades are 3-3 I can come over to AC, cash a spade discarding a diamond then lead KD in the hope the person with the King doesn't have the third club and I can ruff a diamond. Well after a few moments I discounted that, why should the one hand have both Aces? I led a diamond to the King and David Y cashed the AQ for down one.

This time with 5-5 in spades and clubs, Adrianne isn't strong enough to reverse so opens 1C.  Our bidding proceeded in 10 seconds flat as : 1C - 1D - 1S - 4N - 5S - 7S
I didn't give it a moment's thought, but maybe I should have looked for an outside King to make it more secure.
Anyway this is one Granny that falls right off the bus.
Phil led JH which removes an entry to Dummy.  Unless diamonds break or the Queen falls, ruffing them good would require two club ruffs to make 13 and also spades to be 2-2 and that will be the only entry to Dummy to make the diamonds.
How about ruffing clubs? Well win AH, AC, club ruff small, AK diamonds throwing a heart, heart ruff club ruff, but no good, you would have to ruff high and can't ruff the 5th club.  Complete cross ruff?  Again it is that 4-0 spade break and 5-2 club break which scuppers you.  Adrianne tried for some luck with the diamonds and tried ruffing clubs but had to lose the last spade to Maurice's 4th spade and made 12 tricks.
What was particularly galling was that of seven pairs who bid 6S only two made it.  If I had just bid 6S we would have been +13 instead of -5

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Monday 28 October

Playing N/S with Adrianne came second with A Butler score of 24. Not a lot in the hands, two that were of interest to me would have got great Match Points scores but didn't mean much in Imps.

I opened 1S and Mary overcalled 2H.  Adrianne bid 2S, Moira thought a bit and passed.  I decided my hand was quite strong now and worth a trial bid though I chose 3D. Adrianne promptly bid 3S and there I played.
Mary led AH and continued small to Moira's King which I ruffed.  I led a spade to Mary's Ace and another small heart came, ruffed by 9 and King. I played a spade to the Q and then a diamond to 10 and Q.  Mary led QH. Now on the bidding and play, Moira is going to see her diamonds as more relevant than her clubs, she let a small club go.  I ruffed, AK of clubs and a club ruff, diamond to the Ace and my 4th club is good for a diamond discard.  I lost a heart, a spade and a diamond.

David opened East 1H and Adrianne bid a Michael's 2H, Katie passed and I bid 3S passed out.
David is stuck for a lead and made the only logical choice of a trump.  The trump lead dispels any ideas I might have of club ruffs as winning KS, cashing AC, I have no entry to Dummy and the opponents get in and lead another trump. I am compelled therefore to play on diamonds.
So, I lead 7D and seeing a singleton, what can Katie do but go up with the Ace?  David's Jack falls.  Katie plays a heart to Q and Ace, David returns J to my King.  I lead a diamond and as expected the King appears, ruff, spade back to King, ruff a diamond, cash QS to clear all the trumps.  Now club to Ace and enjoy all my remaining diamonds.  Should have lost a heart at the end, but David hung onto KC, 11 tricks.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Thursday 24 October

Playing in a Howell with Gerry, came 2nd with 63%.

Sitting N/S got a top against Michele and Joan. I love my hand with a big major two-suiter and hear Michele open 1D. OK we're probably not making slam now but the diamond bid makes me like my hand more.  This is now worth a reverse if I'm opener, so I'm not using Michaels, I just bid 1H. Joan bids 1N.  This comes back round to me and, as planned,  I bid 2S. Joan bids 3C, Gerry 3S and I bid 4S. Michele is looking at 3 fairly certain tricks and Joan has maybe a heart and possibly something else, so she doubles.
QD lead to Ace, diamond to my King, AH, heart ruff, spade to K and Ace. Likely Michele has KQ for the double, I just need to ruff another heart.  Michele over-ruffs, diamond through but I ruff with the 10, spade to Jack, club ruff, draw last trump and claim all my hearts for 11 tricks.  I was right to love this hand.

I seem to play a lot of contracts these days with 5-0 trump breaks.  Again I'm North, John opens a Lucas 2H, Gerry doubles and Steve bids 4H.  I bid 4S to end the auction.
John leads KH which holds and follows with a heart to Steve's Ace and I ruff. Likely spades are 4-1 but I still see a straightforward 10 tricks, maybe 11. I cash AS and get the news, now is John 553 or 544? I reckon I need AD for a later entry and have to lose a ruff to Steve anyway, so play a small diamond.  John takes King and exits with 7C to my King in Dummy.  Now I lead a diamond and Steve follows, so John is 544, I need to finesse a club and let Steve ruff so I play a spade to hand and club to the 10.  Steve ruffs and has only hearts and spades left.  A heart gives away a ruff and discard so naturally he exits with a trump.  I drew the last trumps, diamond to Ace, winning diamond and AC for 10 tricks.
However, I should always go down.  When I finesse the club for Steve to ruff he should exit with a heart because I have:

           9                  KQ
          -                    -
         A9                 Q
         J9                  A5              Steve has 107 of trumps and J93 of hearts

If I ruff the heart in hand, I can't get to Dummy because Steve will ruff any minor and if I discard a club and ruff in Dummy, Steve has an extra trump, either way down 1.  It's difficult to spot when a ruff and discard is the right play.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

St Mungo vs Kenmure

A very narrow 9-7 victory.  Gerry & I played E/W against Michele Alexander and Bobby Moore.

Every E/W managed to play this in hearts against a 5-0 break and although one pair are in 6H, the other three all made game.
Bobby had come in with a club overcall so Michele led TC which I won in Dummy and led a heart to the King. So, two trump losers, I have to avoid 2 diamond losers.  Give Bobby 13 cards and he'll overcall, so I have no real indication where the KD is.  What to do? I decided that was a doubleton club and I should strip Michele of her exit card.  So KC, 9H, but Michele ducked.  I played a heart to J and Ace and realised I haven't played this correctly. I'm fine if Michele has KD, but if she gets in and removes my last trumps, plays a diamond which I run and Bobby has the King, he'll have clubs to cash.  I left myself with no option but to play a diamond from Dummy and got away with it when Bobby had the King.

This was costly for our team.  Michele passed and Gerry opened 1D, Bobby bid 2D (majors) and I doubled (we don't have an agreement on that).  Michele bid 2H and Gerry 3D, I launched into 4N and received a 5H (2 Keycards) reply.  Now I don't trust Bobby to have AH for his bid so decided to protect my KH and bid 6N.
Michele was astute enough to know that I have KH and led QC, but there are 12 tricks on top.
Unfortunately at our other E/W table they wrong sided the contract and went down on a heart lead.

We have a solid 5D on this board but just didn't get into the bidding.
Michele opened South 4S, what can Gerry do? Well he did the only sensible thing and passed. Bobby thought for a while and passed, I have an automatic pass.
We got our five tricks for two off.  Even over a 3S opener from South it is difficult to see how Gerry can say anything sensible, then when West passes, North will always bid 4S to keep me out from protecting.
Issy and Gerry managed to find 5D for their team.

This was a big hand, only one pair played in hearts, unfortunately for our team it was at the 6 level.  Two pairs played it in 4S, crucially by South.  At our table Bobby opened 4H, Michele bid 4N and passed the 5S response.  SO Bobby as North was declarer in 5S.
I led AC, Gerry played the 8 and Bobby the 3.  I wasn't sure about the club layout but suspected Bobby had the 2 (e.g. if Gerry had H82 he would play the 2).  Anyway I didn't give that much thought, it was the singleton JH on the table.  As long as that was there there was possible access to many tricks in Declarer's hand.  I switched to the 8H and Declarer's hand was dead.  Bobby won the Jack, led a spade to the 10 and tried to cash another heart but I ruffed. He had to lose a second club and two diamonds for two off.
Too difficult for West to find that defence at the two tables defending 4S by South, but perhaps East should overtake KC and switch to the heart.
Bullied out a game here. After two passes I opened 1D, Michele bid 1S and Gerry passed. Bobby bid 3S and although well aware this can be very weak (doesn't even have a 4th spade!), I am worried about coming in.  The obvious bid is double but Gerry possibly 3424 or even 3433 is likely to bid 4H.  I could just be turning 100 points into -100, I can't really expect to make 5 of a minor and 4H doesn't look good when Gerry couldn't negative double. So I chickened out and passed. We got 50 (double dummy could have got better), but 5C is on.  Luckily nobody else found it.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Monday 21 October

Playing N/S with Adrianne came 5th with a Butler score of 18. As usual could have done better on a couple of hands.

I did get a good score here. Robert opened 1C and I overcalled 1S.  Jack passed and Adrianne bid 2S so I punted 4S.
Robert led 6D so looks a straightforward one off. However I won AD and cashed two top trumps ending in Dummy.  Now I led 3H, what should Robert do? Play low and you have AJ over the queen rather than hitting air with your Ace.  So low it was, my King won and voila only three losers, a diamond and two clubs as the rest get ruffed.
You don't like pausing when a card is led is led from Dummy, especially as you are giving away the position as well as possibly preventing partner leading that suit when they get in.  However sometimes you have to and Robert should pause here.  The first trick went 6, 5, 10, Ace. Jack has led from Qxx or Qxxxx(x).  Most likely the latter and why has a club not been led? Because he has the Ace? Now if Qxxxx, then Declarer has four diamonds, looks like six spades, so only two - one in hearts and clubs. You need to go up with the Ace.

Another good score simply by being in the better game.
Adrianne opened 1H, I bid 1S and Adrianne bid 2N. Nearly pulled out an 'automatic' 3S giving choice of game but paused, why would 4S be better? Ten tricks harder than nine, Adrianne probably has five hearts, not getting a heart lead anyway.  So I just bid 3N.
6C lead from Edna which went to 10 and Q. Surely Edna has AK of clubs, so Adrianne played a diamond to K and Ace.  Isobel avoids giving away a tenth trick in clubs by returning JD and Adrianne just cashes her nine.
Most played in 4S and all went down losing the diamond ruff.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Thursday 17 October

Playing N/S with Adrianne managed to come last with 43%.

E/W had most of the interesting boards, here are two slam hands against Michele and Joan.

This one they got wrong and we got one of our few tops.
Michele opened 1D, Joan 2C, Michele 2S and Joan a 4th suit bid of 2H.  Michele now bid 4D, Joan went to RKC and found two.  Joan bid 6C and it easily makes 13.
Michele has a difficult decision at each stage but the reverse is surely correct with a strong hand and four good spades, then should you bid 3N or show 7 good diamonds over the 3H? That isn't so easy, but you can't argue with 4D.  Joan then has a problem with the reply to 4N, did it include the KD? Obviously unsure Joan bid 6C.
Now I would prefer to think it out after 1D - 2C - 2S.  At this stage I trust my partner to have about 17 points, where are they? KQJ of diamonds, AK spades, it then comes down to has she 3 Jacks or QH and 2 Jacks or the AH? A simple 4N will get that and 7NT looks good especially if you just check with 5N for Kings..

Unfortunately they got their act together on the next board.
Their bidding went
1S - 2D - 2H - 4S - 4N - 5H - 6S

Adrianne led QC to Michele's King, QS ducked, spae to Ace and a third spade to my King, Adrianne asking for a heart. I did my duty but Michele can count her 12 tricks and goes up with the Ace, draws last trump and AQ and another diamond puts in her dummy for three heart discards.
Michele's 18 count with her partner showing a delayed game raise obviously makes slam likely.  However it is Joan's diamond bid that should make everyone go for 6S however only Michele and Joan and Ian and Cathy managed it.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Monday 14 October

Playing N/S with Adrianne came 1st with a Butler 58 Imps.  Didn't miss anything and some of our opponents were very kind.

This was a very lucky 3NT which most people made. Played by South QD is the natural lead and Declarer must duck. Adrianne got the 5D lead from Stephanie and if Avril just puts in the 10 I suspect Adrianne would have found the duck too difficult and would have gone down.  However Avril perfectly reasonably went up with the Ace and Adrianne won the 3rd round.
Prospects don't look good but you have to try AK of clubs looking for the Queen, no luck. Obviously you are going down now, except ..... K, Q of spades, JS overtake and the 10 falls, cash 4th spade and lead a heart, Avril splits her honours and is allowed to hold.  With no minors left she has to play another heart and 9 tricks made.

This was an interesting hand that would have got a good MP score.
After two passes I opened 1S, Isobel found a 2D overcall and Adrianne found a 2S bid.  Easy to bid 4S.
Isobel led QC, I won Ace, ruffed a club, spade to Ace noting the Jack.
Thought I had better play QD now so that I have discarded a heart before I broach them.  Isobel wins but then takes away any heart guess by exiting with a heart to Edna's Ace.  Edna continued a heart to my King, I ruffed a club, cashed KD discarding my last heart.  I now ran TS and had 11 tricks.
If Isobel had say continued a club I would have ruffed, discarded a heart then led JH. Difficult for Edna to duck now though if she had ducked smoothly I would have run the Jack.  I would then be 1 down because I can't get into Dummy to run 10S. If Isobel hadn't overcalled then I would have played to KH.  Funny old game.

Adrianne is too intelligent to pay much heed to what I say about anything.  I do keep saying don't go to the 5 level with 3 card support.  Every time she does we get a good score. Still I probably should never have made my bid and should Adrianne have made either of hers?
Against John and Rob our bidding went:

  P  - 1S - x(?) - 3S
 4C(?) - 4S - 5C - passed round to John who doubled.

John led AS, I ruffed, played a diamond to John's Jack.  Rob overtook and played another spade.  I ruffed, played another diamond and John tried 4H. Well I'm only 1 off now as I can ruff a diamond and dispose of the other on Dummy's 4th heart.  I just lost two diamonds and a club. Could have been very much worse.  John and Rob wold have no problem making 4S.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Wednesday 10 October

Playing N/S with Gerry we came 2nd with 60%.

Cathy had a difficult bid and I sweated over my lead on Board 1.
I opened 1C, Joan passed and Gerry bid 1S. What do you bid with Cathy's hand? A possible spade lead makes it more attractive, but what if North with AK of clubs tries a club first, can you get into Dummy?  Anyway even on a spade lead what about the other spade loser, will you be able to ruff it? Will Joan have any diamonds?
I must say I would like to bid 6D, I'm an optimist but tend to be like the one who jumps from a multi-storey and thinks 'so far so good' before going 1 off and missing game. Anyway Cathy probably did the sensible thing and bid 5D. Now what do I lead? I am a great believer in making an obvious sequence lead like K from KQJ and never mind anything else, but a singleton in partner's suit? I eventually plumped for KC and no matter, there's 13 tricks on any lead.

So far, so good.

Down to Earth with a bump two boards later.  Gerry opened 1H and I didn't actually think of a Jacoby 2N, I'm going to be in slam and just bid 1S.  Gerry bid 2S, I went through 4N and found one Keycard, no Q of trumps. Now I had been thinking of the chances of 7 when Gerry denied that Q and without thinking bid 6S.  I should of course have bid 6H offering Gerry the alternative. So 6S by N it is.
Heart lead (thank you Joan, how about a trump? Oh yes I told you your partner has the Queen!). Cathy ruffs, JC, Joan ruffs, heart ruff, club ruff, 3 down.  I'm not a happy bunny. 

6H by Gerry would have gone 1 off as Cathy will always lead JC and there is a spade to lose.
However Cathy should have doubled (Lightener) for a heart lead and I would bid 6N now.  Joan has to lead a diamond to defeat this, any other lead I just duck a spade for 12 tricks. However what else can she lead? Even if the QD is ducked, I can't see a squeeze for 12 as on the 5th heart and the third club Joan is discarding after me.

A successful slam for once.  Gerry opened 1H reckoning with this distribution the hand won't be passed out. Two suiters like this are difficult to bid after a 2C opening.
So 1H was passed round to Michele who bid 2D, Gerry bid 3S (yes, not 2S) and I certainly got the message.  Mike raised to 4D, I bid 4S and Gerry just went for 6S knowing I'm fairly certain to have heart shortage and hoping he has no major losers.  How right he was.
Diamond to Ace, AK trumps, AK and a heart ruff, club ruff, heart ruff, just a diamond to lose.
He was the only player to bid the slam.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Thursday 4 October

Playing with Gerry came second with 58%. Had some luck, some bad luck.

One unlucky one left me red faced.

Joan and Barry are playing 15-17 NT, Joan forgets and opens West 1N, after a transfer to hearts Barry raises to 3N and Gerry leads 10D.
Joan won the Q, then K, A and another heart, Gerry won, won a diamond and Joan took the third diamond.
Of course 3N makes now by getting the clubs right, but you don't finesse into the hand with two diamond winners.
So Joan finessed 10C to my Queen and I counted : AQ of diamonds, KH is 9 points.  I am sure Declarer has KJ of clubs, 13 points.  Only K and J of spades to come, well Gerry can't have K as that only leaves 14 for Joan.  Cashing AS seems to give declarer 10 tricks. If she only has 4 clubs then we could maybe keep it to 9, so I exited with a club. Oh oh, 9 tricks to Joan. Gerry pointed out he played KD then JD, both cards point to spades as he can play any diamond each time. A small spade from me would have given us 4 spade tricks, 1 club, 1 heart and 3 diamonds, 5 off!!!!
I must say Joan was perfectly calm throughout, looked in complete control and gave nothing away.  A good lesson for us all when you are in a poor / wrong contract.

Gerry got us a top playing this hand in 3N.   He opened 2C and I gave a 'double' negative of 2H which is really 0 -3 but a flat hand, no major, two Jacks and a Queen didn't inspire me. Gerry bid 3N and Gerald led 9D (?).
Gerry won the Ace and cashed AH dropping the Q.  AKQ of clubs, diamond to Q, cash JC discarding 6S, finesse TH, give Issy a heart and he had 12 tricks.
A more natural KS lead would have fared no better, winning AS and cashing AKQ of clubs and AH, Gerry would just lead a spade now and have two heart discards and a finesse of TH for 12 tricks.
Nobody else made 12, including 3 pairs in a slam.

Another joint top from Gerry making 11 tricks. After a multi showing a 19/20 NT, I used Puppet to find 4-4 spade fit, as we bid the major we don't have, Gerry is declarer in 4S.
Marilyn led a heart to Gerry's King. AS showed the bad break and now JD, covered by K and taken by AD. Club finesse and Gerry exited with a heart. Steve returned a spade taken in hand. Gerry played a club to K and Ace and now 10D to Steve's Queen and another spade back, this time taken in dummy. QH is cashed and a club thrown.  Now 9D stands up and a high cross ruff gives 11 tricks.
Many just managed 10 tricks, trying to ruff a club is an obvious way to lose a third trick.  Anyone who avoided that pitfall did really well.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Wednesday 2 October

Playing N/S with Adrianne came third with 54%. We actually scored well on most boards but my brain wasn't quite in gear and I made a few dreadful mistakes, but we won't look at them!

Board 1 was very strange.  I opened a weak 2S and Adrianne raised to 4S, passed out. Nat led a club and I won the Ace, ruffed a club, spade to Ace, ruffed a club, Ace and diamond ruff, ruffed a club for 10 tricks.
With clubs and diamonds breaking it is actually straightforward to make 11 tricks.
What is strange is E/W have 24 points, a nine card heart fit and a spade singleton, usually enough for game.  In fact N/S can take the first 7 tricks against a heart contract via 3 Aces and 4 trump tricks on a minor suit cross ruff.  That is in fact what happened to a number of E/Ws with 5H -5 and 4H -4 being a common score.  Nobody found the double though so 4S making is the place to be.

I opened 1C, Bob doubled and Adrianne bid 1H.  Dave passed and I bid 1N and Adrianne 3N.
I got off to a good start when Bob led 6D and Dummy's Jack held the trick.  I played a club to the Ace, AH, TH overtaken by the Jack.
Now the question is, does Bob have singleton club? I led JC but wasn't tested when Dave's Q appeared. That's 10 tricks in the bag.  With club doubleton I can feel secure Bob has AS for his double so led to KS for 11 tricks and a joint top.

This is a very simple board where Adrianne and I have a useful understanding.  Over a 1C opening we bid 2C with 6-7(8) and 4 clubs, but 1N with 8-10.
So our bidding went 1C - 2C. I still gave 2N a little thought for a better Match Point score but she won't have 4 spades and I might have 4 losers there never mind anywhere else.  So 2C it was and it is difficult to do anything other than make 9 tricks.
Most people were in NT, usually 2N and going off.

BTW over 1D we bid 1N (6-9) when clubs is our only suit. It is the only logical bid and lets you settle in 2C when suitable. I am amazed to see people bid 1C - 1N or 1D - 1N and not realise that their partner can only have clubs.

We got a top against our Canadian visitors Irene and Alison where everyone else was making 10 tricks in hearts. Alison opened 1H (5 card majors), Irene bid 2H and Alison has no problem bidding 4H.
I led QD, covered by the King, Ace and ruffed. I think that was the mistake, let QD run round and be ruffed is better.
Having covered Alison is in more danger from forces.  Play a spade now, forced in diamonds, later lose a heart, forced in diamonds and a defender has more trumps than you.
Anyway if you tackle trumps instead of looking for a spade ruff with your 4 clubs, 4 hearts and AS you have 9 tricks and a 75% chance of making via one of the major Kings onside. So Alison played a club to the Queen, ran JH and I ducked.  Another heart which I took and she was sunk. Note if the QD hadn't been covered she could have played a spade right away.  If I win, the QS is good and although more diamonds cause problems you get home. If it loses Adrianne can't play back a diamond and she can get her spade ruff without being forced.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Wednesday 18 September

Fantastic performance by Scotland's Seniors in Bali, lying second after seven wins on the trot.

Playing N/S with Gerry we were also lying second with 55%.  However after a poor start we were pleased with that. Don't want to dwell on the poor ones but Ronnie ensured we couldn't make a 3N by coming in with a 2D overcall.  Now I had Qx and Gerry Kxx, I cue bid 3D to make Gerry the Declarer and the diamond lead scuppered the contract.  Played by me a diamond lead gives us two tricks and time to set up clubs for the contract.  On the next I opened 3N with 7 clubs and Gerry had a potential trick in each of the other suits but Ronnie and Elizabeth defended perfectly to put it two off.  These gambling (or in my case gambolling) 3NTs would actually be better by transfer. Playing a Benji or Multi option for a 20-22 2NT you could then have 2N is a 3C pre-empt, 3C for 3D etc. and 3S is a gambling 3N and you right side the contract.
Anyway things picked up against Louis and Harold.

Like most pairs E/W are in 3N after 1C - 2C - 2N - 3N and Gerry as South is on lead.  Figuring that his hand can't do any damage with only one entry he decided against a spade lead and tried to help my hand with a 7H lead.
Louis won in hand and immediately played a club to Gerry who continued with 8H this time taken in Dummy.  Another club won by me and I cleared the hearts.  With AD to come I make the 4th heart and Louis can only make 9 tricks, everyone else after a spade lead made 10.
It matters not if Louis tries diamonds first, I still get the 4th heart set up for when I'm in with AC.

Things went reasonably well after that and we had a good finish

I opened 1N and Ian 2D (alerted).  Gerry bid 2S and Bob 3H.  Back to Bob who bid 4H and Gerry ventured 4S.  Ian quite rightly doubled this.
Bob led a diamond to Q and K, Gerry played a spade to 10 and K.  Ian tried a heart, ruffed, spade to Q and Ace, diamond ruff but that was it, Gerry wins any return, draws last trump and has lots of diamond and club winners.
Double Dummy if Ian returns a club when in with the first spade, then when in with the second spade there is a diamond ruff and club ruff.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Monday 17 September

Playing N/S with Adrianne came in a poor 10th of 15 with a Butler score of -8. Most hands were fairly nondescript, we didn't do much wrong but didn't get many good scores.

Got off to a bad start with the first two boards of the night against Phoebe and Robina.
Our bidding went:
1S -  x - 2C - P
2D - P - 2H - P
3C - P - 4N - P
5H - P - 6C - passed out

Adrianne has a tricky bid over the fourth suit. I prefer to bid 2S rather than create a picture of 5143 shape, however I'm not so keen to bid 2S here and end up in 4S opposite 2 small. Primarily she has to deny a heart stop and make the bid that best describes her hand.  On balance 3C is probably best.
However I am tempted by the thought of a singleton heart opposite and can't resist going for 6C.
Phoebe made the obvious heart lead and double dummy I can make this.  Duck AH, win heart continuation and ruff a heart. AD, QD covered and ruffed (else discard a spade). Over to AS, cash 10D discard spade then run JC.  Defender can make that harder by returning a club at trick two which you have to run to Dummy.  Or even a spade, but you are still home as above.
Needless to say I didn't do any of that, I just tried a diamond finesse at trick two.

This is a big 'swingy' hand that we got wrong.  West could open 2S or multi if you allow it missing a top honour.  North could open 2H playing Lucas.  Neither of these applied at our table, it simply went:

P - 1H - 1S - 2H
4S - passed out.

5H (or 5D) can't be beaten, 4S can. Unfortunately we got neither of these results.  Adrianne led KD, I played the 2 for a club.  She duly switched to the 7 and I didn't suspect this was a singleton, I ducked.   So we didn't even keep it to 10 tricks. A club lead defeats the contract.
Fit jumps don't seem to be around as much these days, we certainly never played them but isn't that South hand just perfect for a fit-jump to 3D?

Along with half the field we managed to bid slam against Alan and Myra.
Adrianne opened 1H, I bid 1S, Adrianne 1N.  I bid 4C for Aces, Adrianne showing the AS and I bid 6S.  Alan led a diamond won in hand.  AS with Alan's 10 popping up, then I ran the 9 to the bare Queen. Two discards on the KQ hearts gave me 12 tricks.
Straightforward enough, however a number of people made 13 tricks.  That was poor, if East's 10 is singleton and you go up with the King of Spades on the second round, West will have Q8 left and will get two trump tricks.  Silly to risk your slam for one measly point.

The Scottish team are off to a good start in the d'Orsi trophy in Bali winning their first two matches:


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Monday 9 September

Playing E/W with Adrianne finished in the middle but with a reasonable Butler score of 16.

Myra opened 3C and Adrianne doubled, Alan passed and I bid 4H, round to Alan who bid 5C.  This went back to Adrianne who decided to bid 5H.  Definitely not recommended, the five level belongs to the opponents unless you have a big fit, not 3 card support.
Anyway Myra led KC and followed with another which I ruffed.  Heart to the Q, ducked, JH taken by Ace.  Now even with QS falling and a marked heart finesse I am still going to lose a diamond for one off.  However Alan plays a third club which on the face of it is quite clever as if I ruff in hand there is no gain and if I ruff in Dummy I cannot finesse the heart and Alan will make a second trump trick.
Anyway, I discarded a spade and ruffed in Dummy, now AK of spades and Myra's Queen falls.  I have a count of Alan's hand now : 4423, so I cashed AD, KD, J10 of spades throwing my last two diamonds and we all have two cards left and the lead is in Dummy.  So with K9 of hearts over the 10 6 I got my trump finesse and 11 tricks.  Who says the 5 level belongs to the opponents?

Two eventful boards against Steve and Marcin again 5 level contracts. Two big scores which cancelled out because of mistakes.
Marcin opened 1S, Steve 1N and I bid 2D.  Marcin bid 2H, Adrianne 3D and Steve 4H.  This went round to Adrianne who bid 5D, doubled by Steve and Marcin decided to bid 5H.
Adrianne led KC and Marcin took the Ace, when I got in with AS I could play a club for Adrianne to cash two tricks and down one.
Marcin had been worried I might have been singleton club, but he would still have been down.  All he has to do is hope I am doubleton club, hold up AC and he makes the contract.

Now my turn for the error.  Adrianne opened the West hand 1H, I bid 1S and she raised to 2S.  I cue bid 4C, Adrianne 4D and I bid 5S.  Adrianne is a bit embarrassed about her hand now and passed.
Marcin led QD.  I am always losing a club and a spade so have to get rid of two diamond losers.  Ace and another club does work here for one of them but is the wrong thing to do.  If QC loses to King then Ace and another spade means you lose a diamond. So you have to ruff two diamonds. I won AD, heart to Ace and cashed KD, ruffed a diamond with 5S, over-ruffed, Ace and another spade and I am two down.
If I don't cash KD but just ruff with 5S, ruff a heart, ruff a diamond with JS then I'm home. I hadn't fully thought it out, though I can reasonably expect the third diamond ruff to hold it must be safer not to cash KD. However it was in the back of my mind that not long ago in a similar situation I didn't cash my winner and ruffed my losers, then when I went out to Ace of trump my winner was ruffed. This was less likely to happen here I think with QD lead likely to be from a holding in the suit.

Now what do you think are your chances in 3D? No, not by North silly, by East!
I passed initially and Adrianne opened 1N, Robina bid 2D alerted by Phoebe whom I asked for an explanation and she said an unspecified six card suit.
We play Lebensohl and any double by me is penalty, so I have no bid and if I pass, Phoebe presumably bids 2H and Robina 3D.  Again I have no bid. So I bid 3D over the 2D.  I know this is probably too difficult for partner but playing Lebensohl it is forcing.  Adrianne passed (after considerable thought). The telling point for her is I am a passed hand.  So 3D by East.
Phoebe led JC to Ace, diamond back to my Jack, AH, JH covered and won by King.  TH, 9H throwing spades, KC, QC, Robina ruffs per force with only diamonds left. Now a small one to Phoebe's 10 and my Queen ensures she gets 3 trumps to go with her two Aces for 1 down.  Missed our 4S, but a much more interesting contract!.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Thursday 5 Septemebr

Playing in a Howell with Adrianne came joint second in a close tournament with 58%.

Got a joint bottom playing in 4H after I opened East 1D, Adrianne bid 1H and I stretched to 4H.
Ian led JD which Adrianne fancied to be a singleton, so won in Dummy (dropping 7 from hand) and played A and another heart. Ian exited with a club to Paul's Ace. Paul decided Ian was likely to have a third heart and returned a diamond. However all Adrianne could do was carefully preserve 2D while cashing the suit, dropping a spade on the 5th. She then came over to hand with a trump and tried KS but down 1.
The singleton diamond lead always defeats the contract as you either always get a ruff (assuming South is smart enough to go up with the AC) or the KH.
What is more interesting is the fact that N/S are stiff for 4S or 5C by North. After 1D - 1H by the opposition, I play 1N with the North hand, a mini 'unusual' NT. That would surely get South to bid 4S knowing there can only be three red losers and two black Kings are all that are needed for game.  Looks like nobody else played that convention.

I ended in 3N after opening East 1N, Adrianne bid 2C and after my 2D bid 2N.  The 5 card suit made me bid game.
Alex led 8H which has me thinking.  Is it a doubleton? Is it 98x(x)? No matter I played small, Rod the 6 and I won the Queen.  I returned a diamond to the Jack and Rod took the Ace (better to duck). Anyway Rod led back a diamond, I wasn't expecting that but now I have to decide on the heart situation because I can't discard a back card from dummy. Has Alex led from say 98x and Rod wants the heart through? Worse still a doubleton. However I can't make 9 if I discard a black card so I won QD and let a heart go. I now played 9S to Rod's A and I'm safe now. Just knock out Alex's KS and I have 9 tricks.

I was the only one in 4S who made this.  David opened East a multi and Katie bid the obligatory 2H. You can never be certain East doesn't have spades but I have to bid 2S. Adrianne stretches to 4S.
David led a top heart and I took the Ace and played AK of diamonds discarding a heart. I now led a small spade.  If spades are 2-2 it matters not what you play. A 3-1 break is more likely with 6 hearts in the East hand, so putting in the Jack is best when Katie holds KQx however Katie smoothly played the 8 and as some people will split their honours, I reckoned the situation slightly favoured either 2-2 or the singleton honour in David's hand so I rose with the Ace.  I can only lose a spade a heart and a club now.

Embarrassing disaster!  John opened South 1N, Iain bid 2C, John 2H, Iain 3C and John bid 3N(?). Adrianne led 7S and I had a long hard look at it before playing KS and switching to KD! This held, I played 5D to Adrianne's Ace.  Adrianne is thinking John is holding up AS and my play is consistent with KQ(J)x(x) of diamonds, so she returns a diamond.  John claims the rest.
I just thought John would have spades covered (QJx) for his bid along with AC obviously and maybe just Qxx of diamonds. But then would Adrianne not just least a diamond?
We are unfortunate that John-Iain don't play minor suit transfers as then I can double the 2S and we will be playing in spades (4S makes). Also it is generally recommended nowadays that you lead QS from from QJxxx or King from KQxxx.  That would have saved me my embarrassment.

We were the only ones to find the slam here. I opened East 1C and Phillip overcalled 1D, Adrianne bid 1S and Victor bid 2D.
Adrianne guarantees 5 spades and (as usual) I decide to overbid a little, 3S. Adrianne now produces 4D which takes me by surprise. Well she isn't looking at a good holding in hearts or clubs, however surely something in clubs for a slam try as well as excellent spades.  I bid 5S (how good are your trumps?), Adrianne bid 6S.
Diamond lead ruffed, two rounds of spades, AC, QH, club finesse (can she see through these cards?) and 13 tricks.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Festival Pairs

Playing N/S with Gerry came second with 65.7%, just pipped by Cathy and Ian  with 66.2% (2 match points more).

 A top score in 4H. Robina led 9D to Q and K.  I played AK of hearts, so Robina is singleton, lead is more likely to be from 109x(x) than doubleton.  First of all I eliminated clubs then played JD then 2D but Robina showed out, so AD and diamond ruf leaving 3 spades and 2 trumps in each hand. I led small and Robina correctly put in the 9 (else I will duck to Phoebe guaranteeing 11 tricks).  I put up the King which held, led back a spade and Phoebe is end played to give away a ruff and discard, so actually made 12.
If Robina rises with AS, she has to return a spade and give me a guess for who has the Queen.  Luckily I wasn't tested.
 A big swingy hand on the next.  Our bidding went:
1D - 1S - 2C - 3S
4H - 4S -  x  -  P
5D -  P  - 5H - P
 P  -  P -   P  -  x -   passed out.
Gerry went for the 'higher scoring' hearts, though I make 12 in diamonds! 5H can go off on a diamond lead, but who would lead their singleton into Declarer's main suit and with only a singleton trump? So 5Hx made for the loss of a heart and a diamond.  5Sx would be a good save, in fact with a small club to the 10, just 1 off.

We played 13, 14 and 15 against Ian and Cathy who beat us by 2 MPs and these three boards were our undoing.
On 13 I am in 4S like most people. I got 6D lead from Ian, I took Ace and played AS then QJ of spades. I then played AH and another. After some thought Ian ruffed, cashed KD and played another.  I ruffed, led a club, Ian took Ace and I made 10. Quite lucky I thought, however below average as many got a singleton heart lead. Knowing it was singleton this would make them place Ace and another spade, now they must make 11 tricks.

On the next board we got a joint bottom due to my timidity.  Ian opened 1D, Cathy bid 1S and I passed.  Ian bid 2D, passed to me and I bid 2H, passed to Cathy who bid 3D, passed out.
Can'y expect Gerry to 'punish me' for protecting and bid 3H, however if I had bid 2H over Cathy's 1S, Gerry will certainly go to 3H and at least get us an average if they go to 4D or a joint top if we are left in 3H.

Nothing we could do about this and I don't really understand how we got a bottom.
After two passes like me, everyone and their granny will open 3D. Surely, even your granny's mother would double with Ian's hand, surely your Granny's great grandmother would bid 4H with Cathy's hand.  At least that is what happened at our table.
Well East can see that just AQxx  in hearts makes a slam possible.  Ian bid 4N, Cathy's 5H promised the two red Aces, though missing QH and Ian bid 6H.  Why didn't everyone else?  Just a trump to lose, straightforward 12 tricks.

Gerry got a nice top here.  After two passes he opened 1S and Bob bid 2H.  I chose 2N rather than 3C and Paul passed.  Gerry bid 3D and I converted to 3S.
Bob led KH to Ace and Gerry ducked a diamond to Paul. Paul thought now, obviously wondering if A and another trump was right or is a force better? He decided on the latter and played a heart, Gerry ruffed, AD, ruffed a diamond, ruffed a heart, ruffed a diamond with QS. He led the fourth heart and Paul ruffed, Gerry overruffed. Gerry now gave Paul his spades but he had to lead 8C at the end and Gerry red it correctly putting in the 10 and made two clubs tricks for +140.