Wednesday, 21 February 2018

WD Pairs Semi-final 20 February

Top 14 pairs to qualify for final, Gerry and I comfortably qualified in 13th place!

Playing N/S mostly in a Hesitation Mitchell.

Playing Lucas Twos Gerry opened the South hand 2S.  Now that is supposed to be 5-5 vulnerable(it never is).  So I thought better to play in minor even if 4-4 and bid 3C which is where I was left.
2D was led to my Ace and I looked at ruffing diamonds using spade entries (they looked to be 4-4) but that looked to be two down.  I'll need to make spades and I tried KS first.Seeing the 4 and the 2 made me feel they would divide.  I then switched to a trump taken by Ace.  A spade came back, ruffed by West, a heart to Ace, spade ruff.  No matter, I lost 4 clubs and a heart for one down as I was always destined to be.  2S was a better contract.

I opened 1S, Gerry bid 3D (good spade raise), Bob came in 3H and I bid 4C.  Cathy contributed 4H and Gerry 4S.  Wasn't sure if that was good or bad, afterwards Gerry reckoned it shows a basic hand, pass would promise more interest.  A Queen and two Jacks outside certainly was disappointing..  Cathy led a heart to my Ace, spade to dummy and ruff a heart.  I now exited with a diamond, Cathy took Queen, played Ace and another for me to ruff. Minuscule chance of end play gone, I played a spade to dummy and Cathy's diamond discard made me hope that suit was 4-4.  Were hearts 7-3 or 6-4? Good chance of doubleton King of Clubs with Bob.  Normally though you play a club to hand and try to just cover whatever West plays.  However my 5, 6 and 3 mitigated against that, but decided to just duck a club anyway.  Played 5C, Bob played 4 and I played 10, oh no, didn't notice 4, could have played small to keep 10.  Oh well, Cathy won Jack and now I have no option but to hope for doubleton King with Bob.  Cathy returns club, low in Dummy and King appears, 10 tricks.
However, if I had noticed Bob's 4 and ducked the first club, Cathy wins the 7 and returns small club, what would I have played?  I think I would have got it right, but saved myself a guess.

This was a very awkward 1NT contract by me.  It should go down automatically on a heart lead, 5 hearts, set up a diamond and make AS.  However Jim led 6S.  I found that difficult to read, maybe 10 6 4 3? It looked like I wanted a double diamond finesse and if I played low from Dummy I could be denied a spade entry, so I put up the Queen to Peter's Ace.  The 7H came back, even more perplexing than the 6S lead.  Can't be 4th highest but if there is an honour is that KJ7?  Why didn't Jim lead hearts?  I haven't a clue but luckily the opponents haven't either, the 7 went to T and J and Jim came back a club!. Four club tricks induced a spade discard from Peter and so I made 4 clubs, 3 spades and a diamond.  My double finesse in diamonds never came into it.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Thursday 15 February

Playing at Maccabi in a Howell with Gerry we came 1st with 70%.  Had some luck obviously, none more so than on board 13.

Davina opened the South hand 1H and I have the perfect hand to double then bid my suit which shows a strong jump overcall.  Mary passed my double (1NT?) and Gerry jumped to 2S, must have really liked those intermediates.  Davina passed and I bid 6S, hoping it might just be on a club finesse which should be on as North can't have much.
Davina led KC and Gerry took the Ace, cashed two spades and played 10C to Davina's Q.  She got off lead with QH to Gerry's Ace and he crossed to Dummy with a trump to play JC, discarding a diamond.  Davina's 9C fell so 8C from Dummy discarding another diamond and that was 12 tricks.
Obviously nobody else was in slam.

I covered myself in ignominy on this hand. Playing weak, South opened 1NT, North bid 2C and Gerry 2S.  South bid 2NT, North 3C and continuing their mix up, South bid 3NT.
I led 6S (lowest from three of partner's suit) and Gerry took the Ace, declarer played the 2.  Gerry now played the 10S to Declarer's Jack.  Three rounds of clubs followed, Gerry taking the third and he played 9S to Declarer's King.  A small heart was led towards Dummy's Queen and I stopped to think for a moment.  Declarer seems to have four spades KQJ2 and KQ3 of clubs.  He cannot therefore have AH as that would be 15 points.  Must have KD.  Now Gerry has five spades and four clubs so could have singleton AH, so I must play low.  Oooooooops!  Queen wins, Declarer made five clubs, two spades and three hearts (I had discarded two hearts on the earlier clubs), 10 tricks.

Gerry opened East a Lucas 2H and I just bid 3NT.  North led the obvious QH to my Ace.
Lacking entries I led clubs from hand and started with KC to South's Ace. A spade came through to Jack and King and North continued a high heart.  Looks like they'll be 5-2 so no point in ducking and I took the King to play a club ducked to my Jack and continued a club which South should duck but he took the Queen.  No matter, I would have had to finesse 10D if he had ducked. Now a spade came back to my Ace and I had 10 tricks.  That was a good score, no doubt other tables didn't like leading away from KJT of clubs.  However if you don't and even if you successfully finesse 10D to lead a club you will find entries very difficult in both directions.  In fact South can scupper you by simply rising with AC and returning a diamond.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Wednesday 14 February

Playing with Adrianne in a Howell at St Andrew came in the middle with 51%.

Bob opened South 1S, Ian bid 1NT, Bob 2C and Ian 2H.  Bob showed his points with 2NT and Ian passed.
My singleton diamond looked like the only logical choice of lead and that worked well, Ian running it to his 10.  Now he runs JS (the 7S would have guaranteed 8 tricks, but that is Double Dummy) to Adrianne's Q and she returns JH.
Ian comes back to hand by overtaking QD and plays a spade to the 10 to get the bad news.  He now tried a club to the 9 but we have 6 tricks now for down 1.  They were making 3NT at the other tables.  A black suit lead would certainly have given Declarer a much easier ride.

South is in 3NT and Adrianne leads KS so Declarer has to run his tricks in hearts and clubs to make his contract.
After winning the second spade he crosses to AC and back to AH.  Now a club again and which card should he play?
It is a difficult concept to understand but once I play JC (or QC) it is twice as likely that my partner has the other honour.
So declarer should finesse the 8C.  Unfortunately for us Declarer didn't know the principle of restricted choice, rose with the KC and made 10 tricks.

Martin opened South 2S and Adrianne bid a Lebensohl 2NT.  Alyson passed and I bid 3C.  Adrianne bid 3H and now Alyson bid 4S, I bid 5H passed out.  Alyson led a spade and Adrianne could discard a club to make 11 tricks.
It didn't matter if the defence start with AK of clubs, one down would still have been a top for us as spades makes 10 tricks.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Scottish Mixed Swiss Teams 11th February

Playing with Adrianne, partnered by Allan & Claire Whiteford we ended with a very poor result.  For the first four rounds Adrianne and I had done very well.  We had an excellent card on match one which we won 17-3.  For the second match we didn't have much say as the cards were all E/W, unfortunately our partners made a mistaken call of a card from Dummy and went down in a game losing that match.  We won the third as we bid a slam which was missed at the other table.  In match four we lost as Abi bid a slam which was only found at one other table in the room.  So two wins and two defeats and no luck so far.  In round five Adrianne and I collapsed and we lost 20-0.  Not good.  We lost the last match as well to go down near the bottom.

This is the hand that lost the last match and is a problem for weak No Trump vs Strong.  At the other table playing strong North opened 1NT and South with decent intermediates just bid 3NT despite 4333.  This is not a good contract and I suppose sums up our luck on the day.  East leads a diamond for North to win but you must run 8 further tricks before West gets in to lead another diamond through.  As you can see the spade finesse works and the hearts are 3-3, about an 18% chance.
However, in principle, you want to be in this game at teams.
At our table I opened 1S, Adrianne bid 1NT and I passed, just not quite enough for 2NT I reckoned.  East bid 2D, Adrianne 2S and I passed.  Managed to make 10 tricks.

This had been the previous board and we reached 4H by a roundabout route.
Adrianne decided to open South 2S which was passed round to East who found a 3D bid.  This came back to me and I decided to double. Adrianne thought maybe she should own up to having the other major and bid 3H.  East bid 4D!  What to do?  Clearly Adrianne is void in diamonds and 6-4 in the majors.  Setting up spades shouldn't be a problem and 4H will make OK.  Will I make more from doubling?  Playing is always easier than defending so I chose 4H. No problem making 10 tricks for  flat board.

Here is a previous board that must have been a problem for strong NT as half the field didn't find slam.  At our table Adrianne opened 1C, I bid 1H and Adrianne made the only sensible rebid of 1NT.  I couldn't remember whether we played 4N quantative or Blackwood, so just bid 6H.  No problem in making that.

If you play strong NT though, how do you bid it?  1C - 1H - ? Both 2C and 3C are just plain wrong, but I suppose you have no option but to bid 2C and so 4H will be the likely outcome.  If it is available to you this is a case where a jump shift to 2H would be appropriate however these hands are so rare and it takes away bidding space from more normal openers that hardly anyone jump shifts anymore.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Wednesday 7th February

Didn't do very well playing E/W at St Andrew Club with an arrow switch on the last round came in the middle with 51%.

I opened West 1H and Ian overcalled 1S.  Presumably their Michaels isn't allowed here and if you overcall 2D you are unlikely ever to get spades into the picture.
So what should Gerry bid? 4H is wrong, we play that with weak hands.  We have Bergen raises available, but a limit raise does not describe this hand.  I suppose the options are 3S, 4D or 2C.  3S would be much better than 4D but Gerry chose to show his values first (never a bad idea in bidding) and bid 2C.  Bob bid 4S knowing their 10 card fit.
I don't think we are getting too many match points for defending but don't see any other option but to double.  Gerry now bid 5H leaving me perplexed.  He cannot have just three hearts, he would always leave the double in.  So why didn't he give me a limit raise?  I reckoned on good clubs and good heart support but decided I would be guessing too much and chickened out of 6H.  As it happens it depends on a finesse but the KC is onside and the slam would have been an easy make.

After two passes third in hand bids have a lot of leeway, so here am I with 7 clubs but 4 spades and just enough to open 1C.  However that gives the opponents too much room to find their better red suit fit, so I chose 3C.
North passed and Gerry thought seriously about 3NT.  If there are 7 club tricks he has two Aces and the hearts stopped.  However we have misused minor suit pre-empts third in hand too often.  Even vulnerable he cannot depend on me having 7 clubs never mind the AK and so he passed.  Pity. 
North led a diamond to my Ace, I played AS and ducked a spade to North's Jack.  North now played a club to Jack and King.  I ruffed a spade with the QC felling the King.  I ruffed a diamond back, drew trumps and conceded a heart for 11 tricks.

Gerry got us a good score on this hand.  I went with the flow and opened 1H.  Gerry bid 1S and I bid 2D.  Gerry now bid 2NT and I passed.  South made the obvious club lead to Q and Ace. North returned a club to Gerry's 10.  Gerry now unblocked AK of spades and exited with a small diamond to South's Q. Now defence is very difficult and everyone, like South here would  want to continue clubs to set up the fourth.  However that is a  mistake, that gets the defence one more trick.  If South had switched to a heart he would set up two tricks for the defence (why with 5 in dummy is Declarer not touching them?). So a club came back, Gerry ducked another diamond, South cashed his club and that was the end of the defence, two diamonds and a club.