Thursday, 24 April 2014

Wednesday 23 April

Playing N/S with Gerry we came 1st with 63%.  There wasn't much in the play of the hands but quite a few bidding problems.

Gerry opened South 2H Lucas. I bid 2N asking and Gerry replied 3C showing 6-8 points hearts and clubs.  Now we are vulnerable and should be 5-5, but being minimum I am confident of 5-5, probably singleton spade. So, I bid 6C.
Amazingly Gerry made 11 tricks and we got an average as people are in all sorts of contracts.
4S of course goes off on a trump lead, 3N is the making contract and not impossible to bid if you discount a slam. However if I give my partner 5 clubs to the Q, singleton spade and doubleton diamond (or other way round), you would want to be in 6C.
If you don't play Lucas I suppose the bidding goes 2C - 2D - 2S - 3H - 4S (though again 3N isn't impossible to find here).

Two bidding problems both followed a 3D pre-empt by me.
Our bidding went:
3D -  P - 3S - 4H - all pass

This goes the obvious one down whereas 4S always makes. I must confess I didn't give any thought to 4S.  Partner will bid 3S with a good hand, five spades and a doubleton diamond -- i.e. can stand 4D. I need three spades to support, if partner is forced in hearts early, and as West obviously has seven hearts and spades likely 2-4 at best, 4S just doesn't seem right despite my maximum diamond suit and singleton club. However partner had 6 spades, c'est la vie.

After West's pass I again open 3D and Gerry takes an age to eventually pass. A number of people bid 3N, this is fundamentally wrong.  On a good day you'll get away with it with a doubleton diamond, ideally you need doubleton honour or 3 small.  A singleton is a definite no-no unless you have the 9 tricks in your own hand.
Gerry was of course thinking of bidding 3H, unfortunately he has only one diamond and didn't like to force me into a 4D contract.
The problem of course is really how good are your pre-empts? I'm green against red and will own up to some very ropey bids in that situation. However 2nd to bid I think you should have a decent suit, it is 50-50 you are pre-empting partner, so even at favourable vulnerability you should agree to always have a decent suit in second seat. That way partner can bid 3H here as 4D shouldn't be bad.  Also you can go for 3N with a small doubleton.

Another big diamond suit and a shot in the dark that I was lucky with.
Gerry opened South 1C and Myra bid 2S, I bid 3D and Gerry 3N.  Round to me.
Well I reckoned everyone and their Granny will be in 6D, I have no way of knowing if Gerry has the correct two Aces for 7D (exclusion Blackwood anyone?).  I did my usual punt and bid 6N.  Myra led a heart, Gerry forewent the club finesse reckoning everyone else is in diamonds and we are getting a top so just took the 12 tricks.
Lucky partner din't just have QJxx in spades.

Our bidding went:
1N - x(a) - 3N - P
 P  - 4H - 4N - all Pass
Double was single suited hand and Ian made it very difficult with his 4H bid. Gerry again had a very difficult decision, eventually settling for 4N rather than double. Gerry reckons he would have led a spade against 4Hx so that would only have been 2 off, so right decision.
Ian led 8D which went to Jack and King, if it's singleton I'll settle for 9 on the heart finesse as I can't give Bob a diamond and let him play a spade through. I tried a second diamond and with them being 2-2 I claimed 12 on the heart finesse.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Monday 22 April

Playing N/S with Adrianne came second with a Butler score of 36.

I've noticed that when partner opens 2N and you have 10 or 11 with a 5 card suit you almost always make a slam.  Here I opened 2N, Adrianne had the requisite 10 points plus two 10s but 4333 shape.  However she tried for a slam anyway and despite me make a dreadful mess of the bidding (wrong reply to 5 card Stayman, wrong reply to Gerber), I bid 6N because I have the long suit.
Play was simple enough, QS lead, make sure you win in hand to keep the entry. KC, cash AK diamonds as an extra precaution from being stranded from QD, Ace and another club and you have 12 tricks.

We seemed to get into the wrong contract on this one, but it was actually the only making game.
Adrianne opened 1H, I bid 1S and Adrianne bid 2D. I would have been in a quandary if playing Match Points, not wanting to commit us to the minor over the major.  However in Butler it can't cost more than a point and I have to make a slam try, so I splintered 4C.  Adrianne with a poor minimum bid 5D.
You can only lose a club and a diamond so a safe 11 tricks.  Note that 4H goes off, AD, ruff, AC ruff. However nobody found that defence.
Half the field didn't bid game.  If South doesn't open (probably correct being Aceless) and opponents don't compete in clubs the bidding should probably go 1D by North - 1H - 2H - 4H (double fit worth extra).

I made a complete hash of this hand, very poor play in deed.
Our bidding went :
P   - 1C  - 1D  -  3C
3D - 5C - all Pass

AD lead, JD ruffed, AC to find 3-0 split.
I went over to AS and finessed JC then realised I had a problem.  If I cash another club I'll have a diamond loser unless spades are 3-3.  Without any further though I played KH, However Katie won AH and led KD, I have to ruff with the last top club and lose QC for 1 down.
Playing KH was never going to work unless opponents make a bad mistake. I should play a second spade to QS to have a look.  As here that's my 11 tricks, just draw the last trump.  Terrible play.

We finished with another good slam. Adrianne opened 1N, I transferred with 2D and Jim Forsyth doubled.  Adrianne bid 2H (promising three), Jim McMahon bid 3D and I bid 4D. Nothing Adrianne can say (well maybe 4S, but that's a big push), so she bid 4H.  However on the bidding Jim & Jim surely have AKQ diamonds, so where are Adrianne's points? AQ hearts, QJ clubs, KS? If not KS then must have QJ and slam is on finesse at worst.  However, you never know, she might have wasted values in diamonds, I just bid 5H (always my get out), but at least Adrianne won't bid slam without AQ of hearts.  6H she does bid, they cash a diamond and switch to a spade but the contract is lay down.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Thursday 17 April

Playing N/S with Gerry came first with 62%. Of course you always need luck to get a good score

We were certainly lucky against Steve and Mike.  Mike opened West 1S which was passed round to Gerry who was a bit too strong to just bid 2D which can just be protective, so he doubled.  Mike bid 2S, I bid 3H and Gerry 3N. Now I really want to bid 4H but that QS made me stop and think (always a bad idea) and I passed 3N.
Right enough JS lead and the Queen wins the first trick. Gerry played heart to the King, ducked. Now you need two entries to enjoy the hearts and hey presto, Gerry laid down the Ace to fell a singleton Queen followed by club to the 9, QH to the Ace and all Mike could do was cash AS for 11 tricks.
Of course if AS is led, 3N goes down, in fact two down. 4H will always make.  Nobody else was in game.

A  real piece of luck which was unnecessary.  We had had a few bad boards and I didn't feel our score was much better than say 52%, so was on the look out for good scores.
Gerry opened South 2C and I made a good start by forgetting the system and bid 2H (we play as double negative). Gerry bid 3C and I bid 4N, Gerry 5C showing 4 Keycards.
Now this is enough for me to bid 7C, there are 11 certain tricks giving Gerry AK to 6 clubs, AD and AH and me only getting 1 diamond ruff.  Gerry must have more than this, never mind the prospect of two diamond ruffs. However I thought surely a few people can bid 7C on this hand.  So, looking for a score, I bid 7N. Gerry could have opened his hand 2C without the QH and I would have needed some luck.  As it was I have 14 top tricks and a top. I was correct that others would find 7C, but one went down(?) and if I had just bid 7C it would only have cost us 2 match points.