Friday, 31 January 2014

Thursday 30 January

Playing in a Howell type movement with Gerry we finished first with an amazing 77%.  Obviously some gifts and a lot of luck to obtain that score.

Board 1 was an example of how things can just go well for you on the night. As East I opened 1N and after a transfer to hearts and raise to 3N by Gerry, I declared 4H.
John led JS, looked like shortage, so I took KS in Dummy and Ian notably followed with the 4. I took four rounds of trumps ending in Dummy and led 9S.  Ian followed with the 2 so the spade layout was clear.  I ran the 9, finessed the 10 and cashed AS throwing a diamond.  I conceded AC for 12 tricks and a top.

Again I am East and our bidding went 1S - 2D - 2H - 2S - 4S.
Marilyn found the best lead of a trump which I took in Dummy with the Jack and led 10H.  Steve played small as did I, Marilyn won QH and exited with a trump.
I figure some other pairs won't get a spade lead and have an easy 10 tricks, maybe 11 if clubs split.  I am looking at 9 or 10 tricks, so as we are playing match points I won in hand and finessed QD.  Great, AD throw a heart, diamond ruff, all follow.  Now I have
9            A4               ruffing a heart will only lead to 10
-            K4               tricks.  I reckon I can afford to try the
84          -                  clubs.  So I play KC then QC and
                                                                   QJ87        K52              Steve took the Ace returning a spade.
I ruffed a diamond, went over to Dummy and all were good for 11 tricks.

This is how luck really goes with you. Victor opened 2H and as East I doubled, round to Gerry who bid a Lebensohl style 2N. I complied with 3C and Phil bid 3H.  Gerry now shows his max and heart stop by bidding 3N and this was passed out.
Victor led KH and Gerry coolly ducked. Victor continued hearts, Gerry took the Ace, ran five clubs, finessed a spade, ten tricks.
Of course Victor should have stopped to think for a moment before blindly continuing hearts when he has no entry, Phil must have values somewhere, but even so he could have chosen a club.  Fortune favours the brave.

Here we are N/S and after East passes, Gerry opens a cheeky Lucas 2S.  Les bids 3C and I bid 4S passed out.
Les led KC taken by Ace, Gerry played a spade to his Ace and finessed 10H to Shirish.  A diamond return garnered two tricks to the defence but Les failed to play a third and exited with a club.  Gerry ruffed, drew trumps and a heart showed up the suit for 10 tricks.

We were the only pair to bid slam on this last board.  I was North and made an error failing to open a Lucas 2S.  SO it was two passes to Gerry who opened 1D and Les doubled. I bid 1S and Shirish doubled (presumably showing the other two suits)..  Gerry reversed with 2H, Les passes and I bid 5D.  Gerry raised to 6D.
Les led a club taken by Ace and Gerry led a diamond and went up with the Ace.  That was it, just give up AS and 12 tricks.

If I had opened 2S, Gerry would have bid 2N asking, I bid 3D (min with diamonds) and Gerry reckons he bids 6D anyway.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Monday 27 January

Playing N/S with Gerry came third with a Butler score of 25.

An excellent 6D for N/S on this hand but only one pair played there.  At other tables the bidding might have been similar to ours:   2C - 2N - 6N

2N is surely a lot more than sensible than 3D with the South hand and you should avoid a 2D -ve when you have an Ace and a King.  Anyway about half the field are in 6N and Gerry was the only one to make.
Robert led 7S which Gerry took with the Queen in Dummy and immediately tried a club to the Queen for his 12th trick. That didn't work, Robert played a club back to the bare Ace in Dummy and Gerry ran the diamonds ending in hand.  The discards were fairly revealing as Robert let one heart go, a couple of spades and eventually a club. Jack had let a couple of hearts go and a club.  Now Gerry led a heart and Robert split his honours, it seemed clearer now as he won in Dummy, returned to a spade and finessed the heart for 12.

I was in 4H like many people but I got a fairly easy ride as Phil led 5D which went to the Q and K.  Worried about that being singleton it seemed obvious to play Ace and another heart then any ruff would be by a winning trump. That ensured I could only lose two heart tricks.
Phil exited with his second diamond but all I have to is draw trumps to safely make 10 tricks (no interest in a club ruff for 11).  So I win diamond in hand, exit with heart, Phil wins and plays QS, I win in hand, draw last trump and run my diamonds and two remaining black winners for 10 tricks.

Most people went down, but I think you should make it most times by setting up the spades. Even though you can lose three trumps, that is all you should lose.

A big score for us here as after two passes Gerry decided to open 2D multi, I bid 2H, Gerry converted to 2S and round to David who doubled.  Gerry now bid 3D, Raymond passed (3H surely???) and I passed.  Undaunted David doubled again, Gerry bid 3S, back to David who bid 4H (good bid it will make even though a club, ruff and two diamonds defeat this, try cashing those tricks in defence).
This came round to me and I bid 4S, David doubled.
Raymond led JC won by Ace, spade to Q and K, AH, club ruffed, JS to Ace and it is all over 4Sx made.

(??? I wonder if Raymond did bid 3H here and I've forgotten)

E/W can make 4S on this board (on the bidding you can place North with AD and only lose a diamond, a club and a heart).
At my table there were three passes to me.  I have 14 points, so 26 between the other three figures to give partner 8 or 9 points. It seems pointless to bid anything other than 4H which is what I did.
Partner couldn't be much worse unfortunately, however after three rounds of spades I ruffed and led a club. Mary went in with the King and failed to find a diamond as she exited with a heart. Two rounds of trumps, another club to J and A and I had a heart entry to the club winner to pitch my losing diamond for one off.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Thursday 17 January

Playing N/S with Gerry came second with 53%.  Too many bottoms unfortunately but some interesting boards.

I am in 3N and Alex leads KC to Rod's Ace.  That's lucky, however I reckon hearts won't behave too well and need to make this contract without bringing them in. (Double dummy AH, JH overtake with Q will bring in the suit while retaining KD as entry).
Rod switched to a diamond to Q and King and I successfully finessed JH.  I now led a spade to J and Q and won the diamond return in hand.  I cashed AH dropping Alex's 10H which was a bit of a blow realising hearts could have been set up, but it gave me a complete count of the hand. I cashed three spades and could exit with a club end playing Alex to give me JC at the end for 9 tricks.

We were the only pair to find the slam on this board. Our bidding went:
1D - 1H - 1S - 3D - 3S - 4C - 6D

The AC was just what I wanted to hear and although void in partner's suit I reckoned slam was on.
Phoebe led JC, I took A, finessed diamond and drew last trump. AS and a ruff followed by KH gave me 13 tricks.

I opened the North hand 1N, there are many worse 12 pointers that get opened. John passed, Gerry bid 2C, Steve 2D and I bid 2H. John passed again and Gerry bid 4H.

Diamond lead to Ace and a spade back to Q, K and A. I drew trumps in three rounds ending in hand but John let a club go. I now ran JC to the Queen and Steve played a spade back and John won and led a third.
I ruffed and a club set up the suit for 10 tricks.  Very lucky, however a good contract, there are always chances in clubs, the KS could have been onside or if hearts had been 2-2 the diamonds and spades could have been eliminated to force the opponents to open up the clubs.

This hand was well defended and I thought I played it as well as I could, but only 30%.
I'm in 3N and Alistair finds 7D lead.  I was hopeful that was MUD and I had 4 diamond tricks but anyway I need to start on hearts.  So I won KD and led a heart to K and A.  Alistair returns TH which does not augur well and right enough Izzy discards 9C.  I ducked (always a good idea to give up losers in these situations and pressurise Izzy a bit).  As 8H is away, Alistair can continue the 9 and I won that.
I now led JC, covered and won Ace in Dummy.
Time to look at the spades and I was intending to play to the 9 but Izzy inserted the 10 which sort of gives away his holding so I thought I'll need an end play and took the Ace and surprisingly Alistair discards a club.  However I have a near complete count just does Izzy have a third club and only 3 diamonds.  If so I have 4 diamonds tricks and my contact, if he has 4 diamonds I am endplaying him with it to get QS. SO I cashed all my winners, exited with the 4th diamond and Izzy had to lead from KJ of spades towards Q7 in Dummy.
One other person got the diamond lead, they went down, at other tables it was a club lead that runs to the J or played by South who gets JS lead to the Q (and A9x over K10x for another 2 spades).

Gerry got us a good score on his 3N after Alistair had made a weak jump in diamonds over my 1C.
Izzy tellingly failed to lead a diamond and found a good lead in 8H (I had bid clubs twice).
Gerry won AH, AC spade to Q and KC to discover the lie. He now led a diamond and Alistair took Ace.  QH came back but Gerry just plays a spade and can only lose the Ace as he has a marked diamond finesse (as well as an extraneous QC).
If Alistair plays low on the diamond, Gerry has another entry in spades to repeat the finesse and with QH falling it will be the same result (he'll probably set up hearts first)
Nobody else managed 11.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Monday 13 January

Playing N/S with Adrianne finished in the middle with +12 Butler.

Two early unmakeable No Trump contracts gained and lost for us.

On the first one Maureen opened 1H and Adrianne decided she probably has 8 sure tricks and punted an immediate 3N rather than see a 2D overcall passed out.
Miller led 6H, not a good choice because Maureen won the Ace, continued a heart to Adrianne's King and Miller's 3.  Looks like a doubleton and as per the bidding, Adrianne has all the top of hearts.  So when Adrianne runs her diamonds, Maureen's first two discards are her hearts then a club.
Adrianne exited with a club to Jack and King and I think Maureen came back with KS to Ace.  I can't remember exactly but Adrianne read the black cards correctly and end played Maureen for the 9th trick.

On the first board of the next set Adrianne opened a weak 2S round to Cathy who stretched to 2N.  Bob expecting a bit more checked for 4-4 hearts and bid 3N.
Adrianne led 4th best spade to Cathy's 9, KS ducked and JS taken by Ace. I threw three clubs.
Adrianne now led 10H.  Is my partner going to have AQ of diamonds? No, obvious to let this run to the King and hope Adrianne gets in with KC to lead another.
Some hope, Cathy wins KH, crosses to QC and cashed QS then runs the clubs for 5 clubs, 3 spades and a heart.

Hugh Kelsey said that 3N is the most common defeatable game to be allowed to make and he was certainly correct.  We should all bid more of them because defence is so difficult.

Another 3N, this time I opened 1D, Davina overcalled 1H and Adrianne doubled.  Back to me for 2D, Adrianne bid 2H and I bid 2N which she raised to 3N.  A decent contract this time.
Davina led KC then switched to QH which I took with K in Dummy. If diamonds don't break I only have 8 tricks so tried QC now and Davina ducked. Straightforward now playing out the diamonds, Barbara winning the 4th and I took the heart return and claimed 9 tricks, 5 diamonds, a club, two hearts and AS.
This would have been much harder on a heart lead, even a small one letting me win the 10 in Dummy, I would still struggle to make a 9th trick. However out of 17 times played only 5 are in 3N (though two went down).

I overextended myself here for a very bad score.
I opened 1S, Adrianne bid a reasonable 2S rather than 1N.
I jumped to a cue of 4C, if Adrianne can cue 4D, 6S must be a great contract.  Adrianne did cue, but 4H.  However her willingness to co-operate gave me a rush of blood to the head and I bid 6S anyway.
Mary led AD, I didn't try to drop an honour, it feels more like a red rag to people who've been conned that way before.  I followed with 7D but Mary continued and Moira duly ruffed.  Of course a club lead would have defeated the contract as well.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Monday 6 January

Playing N/S with Adrianne came first with 51 Butler points. Luckily got to slam on one hand and unluckily missed slam on another. Neither were bid well!

Against old (?!) Stewart and young Stewart we fumbled our way to 6S

I don't like any of our bids.  It went:

1S - 2H - 3C - 3S - 3N - 5S - 6S

I don't like 2H, 4C is better, then I cue 4D, Adrianne 4H and I find a keycard missing and end in 6S.
I don't like my 3C, 3N is better.  Nor do I like my eventual 3N, Adrianne's 3S is strong in this sequence so I should have tried something else.
Anyway Adrianne now realised that I have something good in diamonds, probably singleton heart and recovered it all with her 5S.  Nothing to the play, heart lead, win Ace, take trump finesse and romp home.

We could / should have done better against Bob and Peter.
Here the bidding went:
2N - 3H - 3S - 5S - pass.

Adrianne could have bid 4C (keycard) over the 3S and I bid 4H to show 3, then 4N we play for number of outside Kings  and 5H to show two.  I don't think we can have two club losers off the top so Adrianne can bid 6S now.  OR
I should consider the hands more after 5S.  I just thought minimum, doubleton spade, just pass.  However I know Adrianne has six spades headed either by QJ or A empty, surely the AD for the slam try, at worst slam will be on a club or diamond finesse and if she has QD rather than QH it will be a great contract. Again nothing to the play, heart lead, knock out AS, win heart continuation, draw trumps and the club loser goes on the 4th diamond.