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.