Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Monday 28 December

Playing E/W with Adrianne in an aggregate tournament we didn't make any obvious mistakes and managed to come first.

This was despite missing a game that 6 out of 12 managed to bid.
I opened East 1S, David overcalled 2H and Adrianne bid 2S (we play normal Acol raises even after an overcall --- it is a 10 loser anyway). This was passed round to David who decided to compete further with 3C. Adrianne bid 3S and all passed.
It didn't really occur to me to bid 4S, Adrianne reckons to have point in diamonds which are of no use, however note that even if her hearts are xx we are still good for 4S.
I got a club lead and thought that's good, David reckons to have singleton AS and other David singleton club, I'm just making 9, unfortunately there was no club ruff and the game was stiff.
Should I have bid 4S? Why did Adrianne bid 3S? Has she got a singleton in one of David's suits?  Do I make 4S opposite:
Jxxx   Qxx   KJxxx  x  ?  Well no.  How about :
Axxx  xxx KQxxx  x   ?  Again, no. though AD instead of KQ, yes I can.  Still think it's difficult not to imagine wasted diamond points in Adrianne's hand.

This time we missed a slam which 2 pairs bid and one stopped in 5S.  Didn't occur to me to go higher.
Our opponents didn't come in and our bidding went 1C - 1S - 2S - 4S.
QS dropped, easy 12 tricks.  Should I have tried something over Adrianne's 2S? Well 3D would be a long suit trial bid, Adrianne would bid 4S but really I would be none the wiser because she bids 4S with a) a solid 14 points, b) a singleton diamond or c) reasonable opener and diamond honour.  We have no way of finding singleton heart and that all our points are in our suits.  Could Adrianne have bid 3S instead of 2S with singleton heart? I think 12 points and none in spades is a bit light for that. No, we'll never find 6S, anyway, if we had, there would have been Qxx in the South hand.

I am sure everyone at some point has suffered something like this.
Green against red partner open 1S, RHO overcalls 2H.  This is passed round to partner who with their void in hearts doubles and you with KQJx of hearts leave in. As you chalk up -670 you vow never to double a part score into game just because you expect it to be one down.
Repeat, you VOW, NEVER to do that again, I know because I've made that vow often.
Adrianne opened the West hand 2S (6?-10 points), Victor overcalled 3H, I doubled. Well I expect to make 4 tricks, Adrianne must have a spade trick, down one?!?
I led KC and couldn't believe dummy, has Adrianne just KQJ of spades and singleton heart?  If she has three clubs I am in big trouble. I could switch to Ace and another diamond, Victor will cash AK of hearts and lead up his second club but I can duck ensuring two spades for Adrianne, we can still get this off, I hope.
Adrianne plays 6C and Victor the 8.  If that is genuine ---- I follow with AC and 4C from Adrianne.  Xmas has come, I play 2C for Adrianne to ruff, she obediently returns a diamond to my Ace and I play a 4th club. Adrianne has the magical 9H, Xmas and my birthday in one.  I now have two heart tricks and with a spade to come that is 3 off, +500 from panic to joy in two minutes. Remember now, NEVER at teams/aggregate double expecting one off.  You'll never catch me doing that, I've been caught out before.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Thursday 5 November

Playing N/S came first with 67%.  Some gifts of course but managed to do the right thing mostly and found some luck as below..

Here was a bit of luck. Elizabeth opened a multi 2D and I overcalled 2S.  Sheila bid 3H and this was passed round to me. Now at teams I pass of course but hate to have our contract stolen at Pairs. Partner surely has some points and therefore at most 2 spades. He has at most 3 hearts.  So worse case scenario 2-3-4-4 and if I double he chooses 4C. A good rule in bidding states : 'You shouldn't bid games/slams in the hope Partner has the perfect hand', the Macdonald Corollary states 'Don't not bid in the expectation Partner has the worst hand'.
So I doubled.
Gerry bid 4C (oh no, I hope he doesn't just have 4).  11 tricks later we had a top as Gerry managed to set up a long spade to give 6 clubs, a heart ruff, 2 diamonds and 2 spades.

The Strange Case of the Missing Diamond
We all make mistakes, some stupid, sometimes we are still suffering from jet-lag having returned from San Fransisco the week before.

Ivan East, opened a weak NT and, after Stayman, Helen passed 2H. This prevented me coming in as Helen could be expected to be 4-5 in the majors and so, luckily, I don't get to push them into 4H.

As we can see 10 tricks are stiff, however, Gerry led JH and I ducked to Ivan's Queen.  Ivan decided to take an immediate diamond finesse and ran the Queen to my King.

So I gave this a little thought and reckoned partner can have at most QC or, twice as likely, one of the top spade honours.  I can see a chance of keeping this to 9 tricks, I returned a diamond.

Ivan played a trump from table, I jumped up with AH and under-led my AS, the 9 in fact (possible diamond preference?).  Ivan covered the 9 with the 10 (The dog that didn't bark in the night, Ivan didn't take the Ace, so he doesn't have it). Gerry won the King and returned a club.
To rub salt in the wound Helen remarked, 'oh, no diamond ruff then'.

What do you open the North hand? 3C is out of the question, no top honour and an AK outside, that is not a pre-empt.
I hate to pass, I opened 1C.
So 1C - 1S - 2C - 3N.  What now?
Gerry could have a great 17 count, equally a 12 count and some hope of a great club suit opposite. The failure to bid hearts made a heart lead look certain, so even with an excellent hand 3N might have no chance.  I bid 4C and Gerry bid 5C.

Talk about lucky, I can only lose 1 club and 1 diamond.

If I had passed 3N Partner would have started a blog entitled
The Strange Case of the Missing Opening Points
And no jet-lag to excuse it.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Wednesday 4 November

Playing a Howell with Gerry we came top with an amazing 69.5%.  Could have done better, there are always mistakes.  However obviously we got some gifts and just did consistently well on the majority.

This was the first board we played and got a top maybe via a little luck. Playing N/S.
Gerry opened 1D and Cathy bid 1S.  I doubled, Gerry bid 2H, Cathy bid 2S.  So what is going on, Cathy plays weak jump overcalls? Not sure, I doubled again.  Gerry bid 3C.
Well Gerry's hand is clear now, Cathy could have all the missing points and some sort of intermediate jump, what do I bid?
First of all I rule out 6NT, then 6H, this is far preferable to clubs at Pairs, however I fancy Cathy bid again because she is not looking at many hearts. A 4-1 (or even 5-0) heart break could make the slam too difficult.  The 9 card club fit looks superior and it might be that a reverse Dummy is the play.  So I bid 6C.
Cathy led a heart so nothing in the play.  Two pairs bid 6H and went 1 down.  Double Dummy this can make but it is a difficult contract. Ideally you would want to knock out AC before getting the hearts right, but you wouldn't want to lose a club ruff.
Cathy of course had made an error with 1S.  If she had bid 2S we would have been in 6H, but Gerry would have made it.

Another top for finding a better contract, though we pussy footed around to get there.
N/S again.
West passed and I opened 1C, Gerry 1H, I bid 1S.  Gerry bid 4th suit 2D and I bid 2N.  Gerry now bid 3S.  Yeas I can only have 4 spades but with doubleton diamond and as I will most probably have only Kx or Ax in diamonds offering the Moysian is a good idea.
Well if Gerry doesn't have anything in diamonds, I don't fancy 3N, however I gave him another choice by bidding 4C.
Gerry opted for the 4S, 5C is unlikely to make if there are 2 spade losers, you could however still make 4S with 2 spade losers if they break.
Anyway QD lead to my Ace and I played small spade. Mary took QS and played another diamond overtaken by Moira who played a third. The ruff and discard is no use to me, in fact it is a nuisance.  I discarded a club and ruffed in Dummy. I now ran JS which held and this is where that diamond ruff proves its nuisance value, I have no trump to play from Dummy (yes I can see I can play AH and heart ruff, play AS and crash both spades, but I don't know that) . I played A then K of clubs.  Moira ruffed with the King and I was home. I felt if AK of clubs held up then I would try to get back to hand with a heart and hope for 3-3, If the defender with a small spade had singleton club then that is OK, I can with the return, get back to hand and claim.  If a defender has two spades, they will possibly be singleton club and they can ruff if they like, as before I'll make the rest.
Of course 3N was a straightforward contract, but 4S scored more!

This was an interesting hand.  We were E/W and Gerry opened East 1C.  Maureen overcalled 1S and I doubled. Victor made a good bid of 4S.  Gerry thought about this and passed.  At Pairs I double here (not at aggregate), certainly not clear after a hesitation but I doubled.
How am I supposed to know what Gerry is thinking? 5C because he has a 10 count and 7 clubs? 5H because he has 4 hearts, 6 clubs and a very basic opener?  I don't see I am using any UI and I always think it damages the opponents not to do what you would normally do, 4Sx could easily be making.  Anyway nobody complained.
I led AC and gulped at the sight of Dummy, however I was rescued by Gerry dropping the KC.  I switched smartly to JH, AH, ruff. Gerry cashed QC, then AD and a third club.  I ruffed with the 9S and Maureen over-ruffed in Dummy.  She played KH, ruffed by Gerry, over-ruffed, ruffed a diamond.  Maureen made an error now and ruffed a high heart to ruff another diamond and went two down instead of 1 down.
5 of a minor makes our way if you guess the diamonds after AD drops the 10 from North.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Wednesday 30 September

Playing N/S with Gerry, came first with 65%.

We're not shy about bidding but I don't like opening weak 4441 hands as you often have to lie about your shape (i.e. your rebid is likely to promise 5 in your first suit).  However when the singleton is diamonds it can be good to get into the bidding and find a 4-4 major fit.  This is what happened here as Gerry chose to open South and it was third in hand anyway.

  P   -   P   -   1C   -   1D
  X  -  2D  -   2H   -   P
 3H  -   P   -  4H  all pass.

Morag should have bid more than 2D, I can consider bidding 4H instead of 3H, double fits are worth extra especially if partner is 4-5 hearts and clubs, however it was a third in hand opening, Morag and Susan won't bid without the values and anyway, Gerry isn't shy about bidding games.
How right I was, Gerry loves his singleton diamond and bids 4H.
Susan led QS taken by Ace, heart to K and A and Susan plays QD.  Now Morag just has to overtake this (she knows from the bidding Gerry is singleton) and play a spade for a ruff and 1 down.  However she probably isn't thinking that maybe seeing the lead as from QJx.  Anyway Morag lets QD hold, another diamond ruffed, trumps drawn and Gerry negotiated the clubs for 1 loser, game made.

Another top against Morag and Susan as they went down in 3N while everyone else makes 10.  However it is difficult to say that Morag did anything definitely wrong in the play.  In fact I think it would have been going down at most tables except for our bidding and subsequent lead.
I expect it just went 1N - 3N via a heart transfer at the other tables and a small diamond was led.  With hearts breaking a heart, a diamond and a club are all that are lost.
At our table Morag opens 1D and ends in 3N.  Gerry led 9S taken in hand, A, K and another heart and Gerry plays another spade to Dummy.  Two hearts cashed and now a club, ducked, I took the second club and simply end play Dummy with a spade.  Dummy just has Kxx in diamonds left and Gerry has AQ diamonds and a spade for 1 down.

How to get a bottom, I'm good at this. Playing in the obvious 4S it is well nigh impossible not to make 10 tricks, however at Pairs I am of course looking for more.
Mike led QC which I won with Dummy's Ace. This looks to be a great start if lead is the natural one from QJ9(x).  I played spade to Ace and Katy dropped 10S. Now that really tells you nothing but does make QT more likely, however singelton is a little more likely as well making the finesse essential.  Like I said, the 10 doesn't really tells you anything, you can play it from a variety of holdings. I decided to not play the finesse, cashed KS, back to AH with the intention of finessing 10C, cashing King for a diamond discard and with luck clubs might be 3-3 and another diamond discard.
Oh boy, losing finesse in clubs, two diamonds cashed and QS to come for 1 down
The perspicacious among you will have seen of course that 12 tricks are available.AC, A, J, K of spades, KC, ruff a club, heart to Q, ruff a club, heart to Jack cash a club throwing a diamond, claim all but a diamond. Only an idiot could go down on this hand.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Monday 29 September

Playing N/S in an aggregate tournament came second.

There were two hands in the same set where 6C can be made.  Out of 16 tables only two were bid, possibly in the wrong one!

On this one Adrianne opened South 1S and neither opponent came in so our bidding went 1S - 2C - 2H - 3D - 3N - ?

Adrianne is most likely 5-4-3-1 with Ace or King of diamonds.  Can I make slam?  Well not opposite KQJxx  KQxx Kxx x.  Unfortunately we have no way in clubs to find if her hand is Aces or not.  After some thought I just decided to punt this, running an 8 card suit can always give defenders problems anyway.  So I bid 6C.

I ruffed the spade lead, ran 6 clubs when nothing really happened until West let a diamond go on the 6th one.  So I bit the bullet, diamond to Ace, small one back and the 9 from West, I put in the 10 and that was it, 12 tricks made.

Shouldn't have bid it, Adrianne had the perfect hand and the diamonds lay well. Only one other joined me and they got the diamonds right as well.

Nobody found 6C on this one.  Our bidding went

1D  -  1S  -  2C  -  2S
 P   -   P   -  3S   -  P
4D  -  P   -  5C  all pass

Can Adrianne bid 6C? The 3S bid helps, I can have at most two Jacks in the black suits.  Give me KQJxx(x) in diamonds then I'll hopefully have 4 points in hearts, KJx(x), that would make it 50-50.  However if West has 3 small hearts are they ever going to lead a heart?  Never, it will be a spade and 12 tricks will be cold with one proviso am I void in clubs, will the clubs run?

I think this hand is a better punt at 6C than mine above.

A Lightener double of a slam usually points to partner being void in a suit.  You look for length in your hand where partner might be void. If in doubt you lead Dummy's first bid suit. At aggregate / teams Adrianne and I apply that principle to doubling freely bid games.

Here David opened East 1C, Willy bid 1H, David 1S, Willy 2S, raised to 4S.  Round to me and I doubled.  I want Dummy's first bid suit led and I 'know' Adrianne has 5 spades from the bidding.

Adrianne might think of leading a club for a minute, but a) that is dangerous and if in any doubt, lead Dummy's first bid suit.  b) a moment's thought tells you partner is void in spades!

So 3H was duly led and I cashed AK.  I then failed to fully capitalise by leading JD, I'm afraid I continued 8H, ruffed and over-ruffed. Adrianne doesn't realise her partner's useless and went for the extra trick by exiting with KD so we only put it 2 off.
Good double, rubbish defence.
It is surprising how often this comes up.  Especially when you have say AQ in the suit first bid by Dummy.  Of course sometimes the game makes but at aggregate that doesn't cost too much and it is a great bonus if you defeat a game which might make on another lead.
Can also be used in a competitive auction when you don't want partner to lead your suit.  You need judgement though, if it appears obvious that opponents are sacrificing then the double doesn't ask for a different lead.  If they are bidding expecting to make then double would ask you to find partner's void or lead Dummy's first bid suit.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

League Match 22 September

Playing against Civic Gerry and I played N/S against David and Martin.  Our team won comfortably everyone recording a good score.

We did not get off to a very good start as I found a hand very difficult to bid.

This was our first or second board and Gerry opened 1H, I bid 1S and Gerry 2H. I bid 3D and Gerry 3NT, what now?
I bid 4D, Gerry 5D and I bid 5H. Now I see that as passable. I have shown a big hand, spades and diamonds with a doubleton heart honour.  However difficult for partner who must see this as likely forcing to slam and anyway his hand isn't bad for the minimum he's shown, quite good actually. Gerry asked me to pick a slam and I bid 6H.
West has an obvious club lead, so it actually turned on finding the QH but the finesse was the only logical way and so we went down.  Two other tables ended in 6S or 6H, only Ileen for Civic managed the sensible 4H.
Difficult not to get carried with the North hand after partner opens but after 3N some reflection should indicate that partner's clubs points aren't worth anything.

Martin opened West 1C and I Michaeled with 2C, 2D by David, 2H by Gerry passed round to David who bid 3N. Back to me and I'm not sure what to do. David will have a double heart stop but it might be AQ while it is actually Gerry who has the King.  Gerry should lead a spade and perhaps they can be set up while I have AC. I have no idea but am worried that there might also be say a 6 card diamond suit to run.  I decided green against red to take insurance and bid 4H, promptly doubled by David, leaving Gerry to worry about playing it!
A, then Q of diamonds, ruffed, KS to A and a third diamond ruffed. QS cashed then a heart ducked to David who returned a second heart, Gerry took the Ace, ruffed a diamond, ruffed a spade and all David could do is take the last heart. Gerry lost two hearts, a spade and a diamond for -100 rather than -600.

I opened North a Lucas 2H, Gerry bid 2N, Martin asked but passed.  I bid 3C (minimum) and Gerry bid 3H. Martin now bid 4S, passed out.
I find when people bid 4S like this they expect to make it.  I can see that trumps will split and he might well have a good side suit in diamonds. Nor is he worried about a heart lead.
I need diamond ruff(s) to beat this, so I led 2H!
Gerry, surprisingly to him, won KH, tried AD, small diamond for a ruff and AC for 1 down.
Yes a club lead could have defeated it as long as partner can find Ace and another diamond, but not certain. Anyway much more satisfying this way.

We were the only ones to bid and make 6D. At table two Civic bid 6H but went down on a club lead.  The other two stopped in 4H or 5D.
Our bidding went

1H - 2D - 3S - 4N - 5H - 6D

Martin led his singleton Heart which Gerry won with the Ace and AD, small diamond let him claim the rest.
David pointed out a club lead would beat it but Gerry asked who has KS? As David has it he said he always makes it.  AC, finesse QS, AS ditch the club.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Maccabi Bowl

Playing N/S with Gerry, Les & Shirish E/W came 5th of 17.  Feeling a bit miffed as Harry Smith came over at the end to check scores.  Gerry and I don't keep cards but I heard him agree with Les that Stirling had won by 5 imps.  The score had been us winning by 2 imps (11-9), this changed the score to 7-13 for Stirling and moved us from 3rd to 5th.  However as far as I can see we did win the match by 2!??

Anyway, over 28 boards we all did quite well, got a few good scores and could have done better on a few.

I lost us this match by a bad bid, though Myra made it difficult for me.
After two passes Myra opened West 1H.  So what is the best bid with my hand?
With AKJxxx   Ax   AQx   xx  I favour double and then bid spades on the next round, i.e showing a strong jump overcall.  I could have done this here but only have 5 spades.  I decided to overcall 1S.  Alan bid 2H, round to me.  Now what? Well with AKQxx  x  Axxx Axx, double would be perfect.  Unfortunately I chose that here, Gerry bid 3C and this went 1 down while spades will make 9 or 10.
Having chosen 1S the first time, I should just bid 2S the second time.

Made up for it against Cliff and Hugh.  I opened 1N, Cliff bid 2C (majors) and Gerry doubled, either clubs with reasonable points or enough for 2N, either way penalty orientated.
This was passed back to Cliff who bid 2S and Gerry bid 2N.  I don't have a particularly attractive 13 count but with knowledge of the East hand from the bidding decided to bid 3N.
Cliff led KH, I took Ace and led a club to K and A. Cliff led a small heart to Hugh's J and Hugh played QS which I won with the Ace.  I led a third heart, Cliff won, took AS and I claimed. I was relieved Cliff hadn't played a club before cashing a spade, but he didn't have one anyway.

This was a cruel hand.  Nearly all N/S made 3N as did our opponents when Shirish led JC.

Our bidding went 1D - 2C - 2D - 2N - 3N.
Can it go any other way?

Anyway I got the inevitable spade lead now which I won with the King. I decide to play for a singleton J on my right and led QD, no luck and I concede a diamond and 4 spades for 1 down.
I don't know why I played for singleton J like that, it has to be on my right, halving the odds.  Better to play for singleton King and lay down the Ace.  At least that didn't matter.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Festival Teams 25 August

Playing N/S with Gerry and partners Les and Shirish we came 2nd. We won 7 of our matches and lost one  -- by 19-1!
An interesting match against the winners Jim and Paul (Ian and Bob their N/S pair).

Gained a few imps when Paul opened 1H and I bid 2D.  Jim thought and passed.  Difficult to decide on a bid here, 2N even 3N possible, 3H even 4H? but pass is sure to get a re-opening double as partner can't have many diamonds and South can't have points to say anything.
Right enough Paul doubles, I had been wondering why I hadn't bid 3D, so might as well do so now.  Jim decides to double and I made the obvious 7 tricks for -500, better than -650. So 4 imps up.

The next board however is a disaster as we wound our way to 6H.  Great contract on a club, diamond or heart lead, one off on the inevitable spade lead.
-11 imps, so 7 down.

Third board of the match. We play multi and Lucas but don't open a weak two in a major without a top honour. So in theory I have a pass.  However we can Lucas 5-4 green vs red, especially with a good minor so I rated my hearts as 5 cards and opened 2H.  Jim passed, Gerry bid 4H and Paul couldn't find the 4S bid for their making contract and passed.
If our partners make 4S we have won the match, unfortunately they ended in 5S down 1, so we are doomed, or are we?
Jim led KD taken by Ace and I led a small heart. Now I have 5 hearts for my Lucas bid, Paul put up the Ace and crashed Jim's King. Paul took KS and played his second diamond to the Queen leaving Jim on lead. Can't lead a club, even a small diamond doesn't look right as a diamond can be set up to discard my 'second' spade.  So Jim led a spade to Paul's known Ace. Ruff in hand while discarding a club from Dummy, 10 tricks made. 8 imps we won the match by one!

Our final match was against John Di Mambro and Ronald (partnering Sheila and Maida).
Ronnie opened 1H and I ventured 3C leading to an inevitable 5C, down 4, -800 against 680 so 3 imps down.

Ronnie opened 1S and I doubled. John bid 2S and Gerry bid 3D.  3S from Ronnie and I am wondering what is going on.  Has Ronnie really got an opening bid? I'm not sure what to do so temporised with 4S.  Gerry bid 5D obviously, back to me and I gave this some thought, probably shouldn't have thought, there must be play for 6D.  I thought for too long, I reckon if I'm this unsure then I shouldn't bid slam, I let their bidding put me off and passed.
Gerry had no problem just losing a diamond.
3NT at the other table making 10, so flat but you suspect you have a bad score.

John opened 1C, Gerry doubled and Ronnie bid 1H.  I should really pass but Gerry rates to have 4 spades and I can't resist 1S.  2C from John and 4S from Gerry.  This is a good shot, if I have few point then I will have 5 spades, with 4 spades I should have my points (such a trusting partner).
Anyway John cashes two clubs and I can see they are 5-3. He now switches to 8H and I can't imagine that being singleton (no chance if it is).  So I ducked that to the King and Ronnie has a long pause, this gives me hope, I think he can see this making!  Anyway he eventually exits with a heart and I took the Queen.  AK and a diamond ruff to set up the suit and I have a complete count, spades are 3-3, miracle!
Draw trumps, end in Dummy, cash the winners.
1Nx by East minus 1 at the other table for 11 imps and an 8 imp victory.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Thursday 6 August

Playing N/S with Gerry came second with 56%.

Board 1 got us off to quite a good start. Gerry played in 4S after

1D - 1S - 1N - 2C (checkback) - 2S - 4S

Sandra led a small heart and Dummy's Queen held.  Gerry crossed to AS and played a diamond to the Ten and Ace. Gloria returned a heart and Gerry cashed KD discarding a club then ruffed a diamond felling the Queen. He crossed to KS and led TD discarding another a club. That gave him 11 tricks just losing the diamond and the trump.  Very neatly played.
Of course the contract goes down on a club lead but who'll find that lead from KJ2? Strong NoTrumpers will pay 4S by North, now East could find a club lead, just your luck.

In a round about way we managed to settle in 3NT.  As it happens 4S makes with the 3-3 break and that makes 3N straightforward as well for 10 tricks, though that's not how I played it.

Gerry had bid diamonds so Robina favoured a heart lead into my Jack.  Going by the pips clubs were a better bet to provide 9 tricks rather than relying an odds against spade break.  So I played Ace then 9C which Phoebe took with the Q and returned a heart to the Ace.  I crossed to AS and forced out KC, Phoebe returned another heart which  took with the King leaving Robina with QH.
I cashed my clubs giving me 7 tricks.  I had AD and could have led to Q hoping KD was onside, however it is better to exit with a heart which leaves Robina on play. Robina plays a small diamond, now if I go up with Q and it wins I have 10 tricks.  However if Q loses to K and a diamond comes back with the J offside, I am down. If however I play a small diamond I am guaranteed 9 tricks. So I played small, the 10 won and I had AD for 9.

How to misdefend.  This was classic bad defence by me. Phoebe (West) is in 4S.  I didn't fancy any lead and seriously considered each suit (8S lead doesn't cost if West has KS).  However I decided on 2C.  Phoebe went up with the Q in Dummy and lead a spade to J and my Q.
What to do now? I know from Gerry's 3C at trick one that Phoebe has 5 spades and 3 clubs.  If she has 3 hearts then my club is going on the 4th heart.  If she has doubleton heart, then if Gerry has KD he will get it eventually anyway.  I decided to continue clubs hoping Gerry has JC and we have a club trick set up while I have AS.
So I continued clubs, what a disaster! Phoebe won the Jack, gave me AS, no use leading a diamond now, four round of hearts got rid of the diamond loser and 11 tricks made.
I don't mind not finding a diamond lead but should have thought out my second lead when in with QS.  However what about the initial lead.  I did not want to lead 2C and 8S would have been better.

However the best lead is AS and that didn't cross my mind.  Why is it best, well a) you still have 2 spade tricks when the K is on your right and b) you see Dummy and a diamond switch will look best now.  There is a third reason which works when KS is on your left.  If declarer has JTxxx   opposite K9x they will run JS and you will only make 1 spade trick but lead AS then switch and I bet they won't play you for AQx and will cash KS when they get in!

7D, 6H, 6S and 6N all make on this hand.  I went down in 6N.
Gerry opened 1C, I bid 1S, Gerry 2C and I bid 6N.
Issy led 10C and things didn't look good.  How can I make 12 tricks?  If I can find QD ( and I hate having a two way finesse, bound to guess wrong), I then need diamonds and spades to break. Not likely. I would have played that way on a heart lead but the club lead intrigued me as it went 10, 3, 2 and Ace. Has Isssy led from 1098?  It certainly looks that way.  I crossed to KH, played KC and Mike dropped JC and Issy the 8. Surely that is it, I played a third club and that was one down.
I also didn't like trying diamonds first as I reckoned we are all in 6 of something and it looks odds against making so ensuring 1 down rather than 2 down is a good score.  Would I have got the diamonds right?  Well I'm in hand with AC, I tend to favour playing from the hand I find myself in and would have finessed the Jack.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Wednesday 15 July

Playing with Gerry came second with 59%.

Got a top following a favourable lead on this board.  Most are in 4S and 12 tricks are always there with a 4th club following a ruff and a second heart.  A favourable heart lead would certainly help and some made 12.
I however opened 1NT and Gerry raised to 3N.  Barry led a diamond and Lester won the King returning a diamond to my Jack.  I crossed to AS and finessed JC then cashed AC, Barry dropping the Q (correct play if you started with three).  I tried KC but Lester has a winner. I now ran my spades and Lester has to find three discards bringing him down to KQ hearts and 10C.  I had 10H, AD and 7C in Dummy and AJ hearts and 9D in hand.  I crossed to AD and what could Lester throw?  He let QH go as keeping the club was essential but I crossed back to AJ of hearts making 12 tricks.
Not that I see this squeeze initially, just the beauty of, you have 11 tricks, you've lost one, run your long suit and watch the discards carefully seeing what happens

Another top here with a favourable layout.  I opened 1H, Gerry bid 1N and I bid 3D.  Gerry is a bit stuck now but has to bid 4D.  I fancied this might be 4 card support and therefore stronger than just bidding 5D.  I cued AS, Gerry bid 5C and I took 6D.
Issy led a spade which gave me a good start, just have to set up the hearts.  Normally you would just cash AH then ruff a heart, spade, ruff a heart to lessen the danger of an over-ruff.  However if I then run QD to Issy's K he might be able to play a 4th heart for Willie to ruff.  Whereas I can cash AK of hearts and ruff the 4th heart with QD for a safer line (assuming a 4-3 break).  So AK hearts (Willie dropped the Q, but I'm not having that), heart ruff. Back to a spade, planning to ruff a fourth heart with QD but in fact Issy shows out and discards, so small heart ruff. Run QD to Issy's King, spade back, ruff, draw trumps, claim.
Issy might have ruffed in with 8D forcing my Q, but no difference.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Friday 10 July

Directing at SBU Summer Congress I was asked to make up a team with Russell Frame.  We did well and came joint second.  Two interesting hands where I was perplexed on where all the hearts were.  The second one was a real blow as I got it wrong.  It was against the eventual winners Bob, Cathy, Peter & Willie and would have won the tournament for us.

The first one was a success.  I held

Russell passed and Derrick Peden opened 1H.  I doubled, Malcolm Copley passed, Russell bid 2D and Derrick passed.
So what is happening with all the hearts? In fact if Russell had bid 1S I would have suspected he had a 3 card suit and 5 hearts but 2D must be genuine.  However he still figures to have 5 hearts, 4 for certain.
I need to try something so I bid 2H, I expect Russell to bid 2N then I'll bid 3D surely showing something like the hand I have.  Russell bids 3NT, brilliant, let's play there.

This is the full hand, Derrick led a small heart to Russell's 10. Club to the Q.  He tries AK of diamonds, so no sure way back to hand and plays KC hoping for a stiff Ace.  However Derrick took the Ace and that was that.  A spade was tried, the King won and 11 tricks chalked up.

I must say I would have bid 1NT with Russell's hand however that gives me a problem.  Will we really have enough for 3NT?  I suppose West would bid 2N and then get there.

I opened 1C and Bob bid 3S.  Russell bid 4C and Cathy 4S.  I bid 5C, passed round to Cathy who thought for a while and passed.
Bob led QS.  Where are all the hearts here?

Now I see Russell's hand, 10 hearts are missing.  I imagine Bob to be 7420 / 7411 / 7321 sort of thing.  I took AS and cashed QC, so Bob is 7411 or 7321, surely Cathy would have bid hearts if she had 8 or more. With her pause I am hopeful that she might have AKx and Bob Qx or even AQxx and Bob singleton King. Either way I believe I can get her to crash Bob's honour. You are not going to duck here especially as I have not given anything away and she will be hopeful of a heart trick.

So I led a diamond from Dummy and Cathy took the Ace exiting with KS.  I ruffed and led another diamond but Cathy produces the Q and exits perforce with a heart.  I win and on the third diamond Bob shocks me by producing the King.  One down and unfortunately our other pair went to 5S going down.

Double dummy we can see this is an easy make.  Win AS, ruff a spade, club across, ruff a spade.  Heart to Ace, cross to a club, ruff a heart and now lead a diamond.  Cathy is end played to give a ruff and discard and Dummy's third diamond disappears.
I just couldn't place Bob with 3 diamonds and he was unlikely to have two honours in the suit.

A long time ago I was playing with Bobby Moore and in a similar sort of situation I failed to bid an 8 card suit and supported his weak two instead.  We missed a good sacrifice in my suit.  After it he asked me what is it you call an 8 card suit?  TRUMPS!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Monday 29 June

Playing N/S with Adrianne came first with a big Butler score of 61.

We were the only pair to bid slam on this hand.  Adrianne opened South 1C, I bid 1D and Davina came in 2S.  Adrianne now bid 4D. Well there goes 3N I thought, second thought why jump to 4 of a minor? She must be 6-4, maybe 6-5 in the minors.  All her points in the minors as well.  I decided not a big 6-5 as 4D is passable so something like x   xx  AKQx  AKxxxx.  Well that's what I hoped so I bid 6D.

Davina led AS and Dummy was a little disappointing as I had to find QD and KC.
Davina switched to a heart, I took the Q and cashed AD finding the Queen.  Over to AH and led QC, Davina with an air of resignation covered with the King.  I won the Ace and with an air of relief drew the trumps and claimed.

Another big score when Adrianne opened 1D and Ernestine overcalled a strong 2H.  I bid 4S passed round to Ernestine who bid 5H (luckily not 5C as then Moreen would go to 6C, an excellent sacrifice).  Adrianne bid 5S and Ernestine doubled.
Moreen led a heart, Ernestine tried to cash a second and I ruffed. AK of trumps, win all the diamonds and 12 tricks made.

Took a big chance here, both vulnerable, but got away with it.

Adrianne opened 1D, Willie overcalled a spade and I passed (?). David raised to 4S and this was passed to me.  I bid 5H (?) and this was passed out! Phew, not doubled.

David amazingly found the only lead to defeat this, the 2C.  I went up with the Ace and Willie ruffed.  Oh well at least 4S was surely making.  Anyway instead of an immediate spade back for another ruff, Willie tried to cash AD. Yes!  I ruffed, laid down AH, oh yes!, drew the trump, back to hand with a diamond ruff, run 9C, finesse another club, get rid of a spade on the long club and made 11 tricks.

Need to buy a lottery ticket this week.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Men's Pairs

Playing with Gerry came a close second in the club's Men's Pairs with 61%.  Well done to the winners Alec and Raymond.

We were E/W and I opened 1D, Gerry bid 1S and I improvised with a 2H reverse as I can't splinter with an Ace.  Gerry bid 3C 4th suit and I bid 3S, Gerry bid 4S.
So I know we have a 9 card spade fit and I always upgrade my hand, especially with a singleton. I know partner isn't minimum after the 3C bid, though will have something in clubs.  I couldn't resist 4N and with two keycards I bid 6S, though thinking that a diamond finesse might be necessary.
Club lead, AD dropping the Q, diamond ruff dropping the King.  Gerry drew trumps and dumped 3 hearts on the diamonds making 13.
Fortune favours the reckless.

Ian opened 1H and I am stuck, so I just overcall 2D.  This was passed out.
Bob led JH, ducked to my Q.  I took AKQ of diamonds then my 4 club tricks, discarding my spade and Bob ruffed.
Spade back, ruff, give up AH and claim 11 tricks.
Martin Diamond made 3N against Michael and Derek on the JD lead.  Can see 8 tricks there but don't know how defence went wrong.
Difficult to know what is best to bid with the South hand.  However I think I could have doubled, partner can't have the values to bid more than 2S, then I can just bid 3N.  Over 1S I can bid 2N.

This is a straightforward slam to bid and everyone is in 6S.  However Alec opened 2N with the East cards, part of their tartan twos showing a weak 5-5 or better in the minors, though this is ultra weak.
However it gives me a great problem.  I decided on the simple 3S bid.  Gerry bid 4C, I bid 4D.  Now Raymond bids 5C (double dummy 8 off, probably 7 off). However Gerry saw a grand slam and bid 5NT.  Now I do have two of the top three honours but I don't have AD as he expects.  I just bid 6S ans so in our round about way we played in the par contract.

I played this in the standard 3N as South but got some help from Charles to make an overtrick.
Alan led 3H to Charles' Ace and Charles switched to a club.  Alan took the Queen and switched to 10S, covered by J, Q and Ace.
Playing a heart is the obvious card now for 9 tricks but doesn't get you tops in Match Points.  I ducked a diamond to Charles who returned a spade which I won with the 9.
I now cashed four clubs and Charles discarded a heart and a spade and another heart.  Now I played KH, keeping AKx of diamonds in dummy and 2 spades and Jx diamonds in my hand.  Charles has to discard from K spades and QTx of diamonds.  Either was fatal and I had 10 tricks.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Monday 25 May

Playing N/S with Adrianne came 5th with a Butler score of 9.

As usual with this scoring a big swing on one hand transforms your score.  As usual it was to our detriment.

Adrianne opened 1D, I bid 2C, Adrianne bid 2S, strong (ish), unbalanced.  I can't ask in diamonds now but even so, although we could be missing AH and KD or even AK hearts, we are just as likely to be making 12.  I just bid 6D.
Rod led AH, continued with another and Alex ruffed for 1 down.
-13 was our score instead of +12 for making it.  25 Butler points on one hand.
Two pairs though bid 6NT and deservedly got the big score. Adrianne could have rebid 3N over my 2C and that would have got us there, or I could have bid 1H over 1D and Adrianne rebids 2N making 6N by me easy to bid.  Alternatively I could have bid 3H 4th suit forcing. However when Adrianne then bids 3N I am not really any the wiser about 6N or 6D being superior.
I'm happy in our sequence I just blasted 6D.  A spade ruff might have been the 12th trick, or ruffing a club to set up 4 tricks might have been necessary. However bidding 1H might have been best.
C'est la vie.

Some people got a great score on this hand (6H!), others went down in 4H.  Nobody doubled 4S.
Alec opened East a multi 2D, Adrianne doubled, Raymond bid 2H.  What do you do with my hand?  5C is very tempting but what has Adrianne got for her double and which major does Alec have?
Raymond's 2H implies <4 4h.="" 6="" alec="" and="" badly.="" be="" bid="" break="" could="" don="" even="" has="" have="" he="" hearts="" it="" must="" nbsp="" not="" p="" spades="" t="" the="" too="" urely="" void="">This was passed round to Raymond who bid 4S.  Icouldn't resist bidding 5C, Adrianne converted to 5H and Raymond doubled.
I got a spade lead, took the Ace and discarded a diamond.  I think hearts are going to be 3-2 but even so I worry about the other distributions and can't see how I can set up a minor to make this.  I can't set up diamonds and draw trumps and take care of spade losers. I can't see how clubs can be set up either.  However with 2 Aces and a cross ruff for 8 trump tricks I am 1 down.  No point in risking anything when I am doubled.  So I ruffed a spade, ruffed a club, Cashed AD, ruffed a spade, ruffed a club and claimed another 4 on a high cross ruff for 10 tricks.
Ian Burn made 12 in 6H on the AC lead.  Now you can set up clubs! However should I have passed 4S and let Adrianne double?  I lead a club, ruff, AH I drop the Queen, small heart to my Jack, club ruff, AD and AS to come for 3 down ( 4 down if you can underlead AK hearts twice)
Another lost chance, 14 points of a difference.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Wednesday 6 May

Playing N/S with Gerry came 1st with 64%.  A few ups and downs as is our want but luckily more ups.

A very lucky early board where East opened 1S and Gerry bid 3H.  That came round to me and as Gerry was red against green I hoped for an excellent 6 card suit or a good 7 carder.  I bid 3N.

Club lead and that was 9 tricks.
Fortune definitely favoured the brave, looks like 1 off on a spade lead, however if I win third spade (West is unlikely to find the killing QC switch) and run the hearts, East discards three clubs and a spade.  I let 2 clubs and 2 diamonds go. I run the 10C to bare Ace, East cashes spade and I let diamond go. Exit with diamond and I have two minor winners.
East has to keep another spade and come down to singleton KD, very unlikely.  However I wasn't tested to see if I could manage it.

We overbid an earlier board against Fudge and Alan but came back with this one.  Charles passed and Gerry opened an inventive 1H.  Alan doubled, I bid 2H and Charles doubled.  I think Gerry now bid 3H (well it keeps them out of a diamond contract!) and Alan doubled, passed out.

Double Dummy this can be beaten but West unlikely to lead a heart. It was AS then a fortuitous club switch. Gerry won the QC and ruffed a spade, AC, ruff a spade, KD, AD, ruff. Ruff a third spade, which cannot be over-ruffed as Charles only has diamonds left.  Exit with club and a fourth club but all Gerry loses is a spade, club and two hearts.   3Hx made.

Playing 4 card majors and weak NT it is usually best to open North 1N which, after three passes is what I did.  (It also makes it harder for East to overcall spades).
Gerry bid Stayman and although the soft values in the minors might not be worth much, the spade suit looks great, so he raised to 3H.  I like 9 card fits, I often give myself 3 extra points, so raised 3H to 4H.
Again I wasn't tested as East led JH.  I won QH, crossed to QS, finessed a heart and cashed AH.  Another spade and defence could just take their three Aces.

Most people defended a spade contract going down.  Presumably two passes, 1D - 1S - 2C - 3S and there it might subside or North goes to 4D and E/W bid 4S.
Not at our table.
I opened 3C and Gerry raised to 5C, passed out.
Derek led 4S to David's K and David thought and thought.  I thought 'please don't lead a heart' as I counted my sure 11 tricks even if the diamond finesse fails.  Eventually David put down KH, Derek played the 2.
Now the diamond finesse must work or I am down, however what if hearts are 3-3, as it appears.  If I lead a heart from the table and David takes his supposed QH I have the extra chance of the JH and 4th heart coming good, I can discard a diamond on that 4th heart and so don't need a finesse.
That is what I went for, David and Derek cashed their two hearts for 1 down (a diamond went on that 4th heart).  I would actually have been two down if I had drawn trumps and finessed a diamond.  Brilliant heart switch and no, I'm never finding the doubleton QD for 12 tricks!

Got one back again on David and Derek shortly after. David opens 1S and I overcalled 2D ( I don't like using Unusual NT for powerhouses). Derek bid 4S, round to me.  Now Derek's bid could be quite weak with 4 or 5 spades (they play 5 card majors).  I feel I must bid 5C, well that's why I didn't use 2NT. Derek doubled expecting me to have some diamond losers and this was passed out.
Derek led a club to cut down on diamond ruffs but I took two rounds of trumps, AK of diamonds, 10D, covered, ruffed.  I exited with a spade to David who came back a heart.  I won AH and led 9D, covered and ruffed.  I just lose 1 heart and 1 spade.

Everyone is in 3N on this deal and almost everyone makes 11 tricks.
Gerry opened 1D, I bid 1H and Jennifer came in 2C.  2D from Gerry and I bid 3N.

Jennifer led KC, John played the 5 and I ducked.  Jennifer continued QC and John played the 2.  I asked about showing count and it looked like it was the doubleton it appeared.  You are not playing aggregate so no point in another duck for safety when you have the chance of the rest of the tricks.  So I took AC, ran QD, 10D and cashed all the diamonds.  John is squeezed, he can't come down to singleton KS (I checked by cashing AS) and had to let a heart go so I made 12 tricks.