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.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Monday 20 August

Playing N/S with Adrianne came second with a Butler score of 42.

Picked up 5 points here as some E/W were allowed to make 3N. I just don't see how. Barry opened 1C, Lester 1D, Barry 2N and Lester 3N.
I led 4H to 5, 9 and J.  Barry played AD, finessed J and cashed K followed by 4th diamond to my Q, Adrianne and Barry both discarding 2 clubs.
All you have to do now is keep declarer out of Dummy.  As long as Adrianne has another heart I can do that by a) not playing a heart and b) if Declarer plays a small one, rise with Ace, if he plays KH, duck.
I now played JS which was allowed to win followed by 10S to Q and King again ducked.  Adrianne does best to play another spade but no matter she plays a club to Barry's Queen.  Barry tries the small heart but I take Ace and play another and he has to give Adrianne a club for our 5th trick.

This time we gained 10 points because others couldn't find game or played in the wrong one.
I made finding game easy by opening North 1C, Irene overcalled 2S, Adrianne bid 3H, Phyllis passed and I bid 3N. 4H looks tempting with doubleton honour and singleton diamond and indeed it an excellent contract if partner has six hearts, but what if they have five? Do you really want to see say JS led as you put down dummy, partner forced to ruff the second spade and now playing in a 4-2 fit when you know hearts aren't going to break? 3N on the other hand has the prospect of a double stop if partner has just the singleton 10 or maybe West has a blocking honour.  Partner has almost certainly got a diamond stop.  Anyway QS led to the Ace, JC to Ace, Irene continued spades and I had 12 tricks.  Even on a diamond I am still home.
More interesting is if Irene overcalls my 1C with an unusual 2N.  Adrianne bids 3H, Phyllis can bid 4D.  I think I will bid 4H now.  A diamond lead followed by a heart switch is a little more likely now than a spade. Even on a spade lead, I think my partner is more likely to have AC on this bidding and could maybe cope with a 4-2 heart break.
If I don't open and East opens 2S, Adrianne bids 3H I would have bid 3N as in the first scenario.

Two keycards and Q of trumps missing but nearly everyone found 6H. I made it easy to bid by 1H - 2C - 3H.  Our 3H rebid is to do with trick taking potential, not points.  Adrianne just bid 6H.
Davina avoided the AS lead and led 10D.  I won in Dummy and led 9H, Barbara played the 6.  I sensed it was just 50-50 which card to play but like most people I let the 9 run and made 12.
Looking at it later there are 8 layouts of 3 cards:
AQ6  --  void, AQ  --  6, A6  --  Q, Q6  -- A and their mirror images.
However the 9 is the better chance.  In the four cases of singleton or void on your right you make half the time automatically and go down half the time whatever you play. When there is singleton or void on your left, you automatically make when West has AQ and in the other 3 a 6 appears and in two of them you make by playing the 9.

Another game which most people missed.  Against Bob and Cathy I opened 1S, Adrianne bid 2S and so I went to game. The bidding seemed straightforward to us.
Cathy led 5H to Bob's Ace followed by King and a diamond switch. I took the Ace and played a small spade. No point in thinking about club ruffs or spade finesses, just make your game. Cathy won the King and tried another diamond to my King.  AS, JS and claim.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Monday 13 August

Playing N/S with Adrianne came first with a Butler score of 82.

Got off to a great start against Nat and Peter.

Peter opened West 1S, Nat 1N - 2N - 3N.  Adrianne led 3C to my King. Pondered whether a small heart was necessary now but discounted that and returned 10C.  Nat finessed 10D and led QS.  Adrianne crucially did not cover (Declarer can only have 2 spades on the bidding), JS followed, not covered and Nat cashed his diamonds. Ending in Dummy he exited with a small heart, I cashed Q and A and a club through gave us 5 tricks.
Most people made 9 or 10, I can only imagine South covered QS.  Do not cover unless it can promote a trick, if Declarer has doubleton you are guaranteed a trick with the King, if Declarer has three spades what can you promote?

On the next board two passes to Peter who bid 3C. This left me with 3NT as the only sensible bid and there I played.
Nat duly led 5C, I won with the King and ran 9S. I followed with another spade and Nat held off the Ace.  I claimed my 9 tricks.
It must be right to hold up AS, you win the 3rd spade, play another club expecting Declarer to have had AK. You then hope partner has AH stopping entry to the spades until clubs are set up. Defenders can never find their four diamonds.
Most people in game have played in a major, presumably no 3C bid, but both hearts and spades are doomed.

Only three pairs found 6C on this board, ourselves, the Glens and Miller and Maureen.  Obviously the diamond overcall will make things very difficult but I would suggest:
1C - 2D - 3D - P
4D -  x  -  6C
3D is game forcing and mostly asking for a stop. Of course you know partner can't bid 3N, but it is the only way to find out more.  North's only sensible bid now is 4D,  'You say we make game, well I can play in any of the other suits'. South knows where 10 diamond cards are, so knows this is shortage and can bid 6C.
That is not what happened at our table against Ian and Bobby:
1C - P - 1D - 2H
2S - P - 6C
Typical Bobby 2H red against green. Over the 2H I double or bid NT with 15+. A basic hand with 5 clubs and 4 of another suit I pass unless I can bid as here.  With 6 clubs I bid 3C. We don't take 4441 into account.  Adrianne figures me for about 13 points 4225.  As I can't have more than 8 points in clubs and surely no more than QH, I must have A or K of diamonds so she can confidently bid 6C.

We don't have a weak two for a minor so Adrianne passed and Bob opened 1C.  I overcalled 1H, Cathy passed and Adrianne bid 2D, Bob 3C.
Being a passed hand we have a clear understanding that a) this will be a good suit and b) you will have a doubleton heart and of course some values.
So I expect 6 diamonds to KQ and hope for Kx hearts (if small doubleton, Adrianne will have KS or at least QJ.  If hearts can be set up she can make 11 tricks.  So I bid 5D.
Bob made the attacking lead of 4S, Adrianne won the Ace, diamond to King, K, A of hearts, ruffed a heart, drew trumps and two discards gave her 12 tricks.
It is such an advantage to have clear understandings with a regular partner, especially when she plays so well.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Thursday 9 August

Playing N/S with Gerry came first with 65%. As usual had a few gifts but also, crucially, managed to avoid errors which always leads to a good score.

Got a top on this interesting board.  Ian and Cathy have a 2H gadget to show this type of East hand weak with both majors.  So Ian opened 2H and Gerry bid 3C, Cathy raised to 3H and I am too good for an immediate 5C, so bid 4H.  Ian raised the stakes to 5H and Gerry bid 6C.  Back to Ian who certainly knows there is no defence and gambles on 6H which Gerry, after a little thought, doubles.
Now normally it could be a bit risky leading the singleton spade into Declarer's second suit, but Gerry knows my 4H bid is shortage and I MUST have AS at least to be looking for a slam.  So JS to my King, AS, spade ruff and our 3 other Aces for -5 and 1100.  However if Ian had passed my 4H, Gerry could have used RKCB and we would have been in 7C.

 Here Gerry opened 1D, Ronnie doubled, I bid 2C, Gerry 2N and I bid 3N.
Ronnie led JC which Gerry ran to his Queen.  He then played hearts, Ronnie taking the second and returning 10C to Dummy's King. Gerry took the rest of the hearts, Ronnie discarding a spade.  Now came two diamond winners ending in Dummy but Ronnie had to let two clubs go to hold on to three spades. Gerry exited with a club and Ronnie had to lead from QJx of spades giving Gerry 3 spade tricks and 10 overall for a joint top.

Managed to bid slam here which was inevitable after I opened 1S.  Some people open 1C with a weak 5-5 as you can never bid the suit if you open 1S.  There is certainly a lot to be said for that but I always prefer a good 5 card major and my spades are certainly the most important feature of my hand.
So we simply bid 1S - 2D - 2S - 4N - 5C (1) - 6S

Charles led a trump, I drew three rounds ending in Dummy and there is nothing to this hand but playing clubs for one loser.  The only way I see to do that is Ace and another.  Alex couldn't even give me a guess by playing low and I claimed as QH went on the second top diamond.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wednesday 31 July

Playing N/S with Gerry scored a winning 69% in the Sim Pairs.  Didn't do much wrong, a few things well and got a few gifts.

Got a top against Sheila and Pat. Gerry opened South 1H and Pat overcalled 1S.  My instinct says bid 1N here, you might lose the first 5 spade tricks but would 2H be better if you are in a 4-3 fit and forced to ruff a spade early? However, partner is quite likely to have 5 hearts and I chose 2H.
Well that right sited the contract as Pat led KS to Gerry's Ace.  Gerry immediately played trumps, Pat winning the third round and she opened up clubs to ensure two tricks there. When Gerry played diamonds Sheila failed to cover and just lost a spade, a heart and a club for 10 tricks.

After 1D - 1H - 2N - 3C (checkback) I mistakenly pulled out 3D, by the time I noticed Gerry was putting down 3N but luckily it didn't matter.
Alec led 3S and I won the 8 in dummy. Raymond won the second round of diamonds and as he thought about his switch I decided that as I had 11 tricks there was no point in ducking a club, I would rise with the Ace and run the diamonds.  However he played a heart.  I had to win this in hand (otherwise I am cut off from dummy).  Now I run the diamonds and Alec has to come down to QT7 and KQ of clubs.  I cashed AS and played a heart.  Alec is lost, he can't let a spade go or my KJ win, he comes down to singleton club and my AT of clubs win the last two for 12 tricks.

I'm not keen on opening basic 4441 hands, but decided to open this.  Normally with this shape I open 1D but over partner's expected 1S, 2C would promise 5 diamonds. That's just plain silly with this suit, so I opened 1C. Jennifer overcalled 1S, Gerry 2C and John 2S.  This was passed round to Gerry who bid 3C and John bid 3S (better to do that the first time).  Now I am guilty of playing my opponents here and bid 4C.  Against experienced players that would automatically be doubled but John & Jennifer passed it out.  Still, I had to avoid -200.
Jennifer led KS and another and I ruffed with the 8.  I need to avoid a diamond loser so rather than cross to AD for a likely to lose finesse, I played A and QC. Jennifer now played a diamond to my A and I finessed QH. Now, luckily for me, Jennifer returned 10H which I ducked. I won the third heart, cashed the 4th throwing my diamond and went 1 off, much better than -140 for 3S. Bad bid though, I try not to 'play the opponents', you get into bad habits, I should have lost 200 on this board. (Actually  if another diamond is played I have to play for diamonds breaking and get rid of a heart loser).

We had a great deal of fortune on this board which is a very tricky 4H. First of all Gerry opened 1D instead of 1H, so I got to play it. (Bob would have led a club and Gerry must go down). Ian led JC which I ran to the Queen.  I immediately finessed a diamond, played two rounds of hearts and finessed another diamond, so had my 10 tricks.  I cannot get to hand another twice to try anything with spades, just drew the last trumps and played to KS, so 10 tricks exactly.
Now what if Ian leads say a passive trump.  Deep Finesse says you make 10, I don't see how in normal play.  I would probably have won in hand, finessed a diamond, played A and another club.  Ian exits with a club, ruff, heart to hand, finesse a diamond, what now?  I'll be left playing for AS onside. Two pieces of good fortune, Gerry's 1D opener and Ian's club lead.

Gerry managed to garner 12 tricks on this hand. I didn't open so the bidding went 1D - 1H - 2N - 3C* - 3N.
Margaret led 2S and Gerry won the 10 in dummy.  He then ran 10D, spade to Ace, ran his diamonds, finessed JH, gave up KS for 12 tricks.