Thursday, 8 March 2018

Wednesday 7 March

Playing N/S with Gerry came 2nd with 60%.  Were leading going into the last set until I doubled a making contract for a bottom and we both could have found a good switch against a NT contract on the last and both failed.

We were the only ones to bid slam on board 4.  After a NT bid we play Gerber 4C for Aces and 4NT quantitative. When Gerry bid 4NT after a transfer I realised we'd never discussed this, is it now RKCB?  I'm in-between anyway with 13 points but with great controls could bid the slam directly, however 4333 is a bit of a disadvantage.  Not knowing for sure what 4NT is I decided to answer RKCB and bid 5S.  Gerry did mean it as quantitative, but just bid 6S anyway!  On a diamond lead I need the club finesse which makes it a good enough slam though it fails here.  However Liz led a trump and 12 tricks were automatic.  Now the question is, should I have bid 6NT with my 4333?  If I had been sure what the 4NT was, then I would have bid 6N.  On a diamond lead (much more likely now) I would have gone three down.

This was board 18 and I led 10H.  Declarer took two rounds of trumps and led a spade to the Queen which Gerry calmly ducked.  Declarer now led 10C off the table, covered by Jack and King to my Ace.  I returned a club and declarer ruffed.
Stuck in Dummy he had to lead a diamond off table to his Queen and my King.  Now I thought that was strange, why did he not go back to hand with AS and lead QD?  Did Gerry have AS?
I led a spade, declarer went up with King, Gerry's Ace wins and a spade back to my Jack for one down.
Ducking like that can be very effective, often causing declarer to misplay as he thinks he has two spade tricks in the bag for one loser.

On board 22 I landed in 3NT.  This has no chance on TC lead, but West reasonably led TD to Queen and Ace.  East returned a small club to Dummy's Queen.  The double marks East with a spade holding and of course most if not all the points.  At trick three I led a spade off the table to 10 and my Jack and then a spade back to the 8 and Queen.  Back came a club won in hand perforce and a third spade to 9 and Ace.  Back came the inevitable club.
East is now marked with three spades and from the carding, five clubs.  For the double three or four diamonds and two or one hearts seem most likely.  If four diamonds I'll probably finesse QH or should I play to drop singleton KH?  Anyway the problem didn't arise, I cashed my spade and got a diamond discard from West, Queen and Jack of diamonds set up my fourth for the eighth trick and AH made nine.

What do you open the West hand?  3S is not a good bid, very anaemic suit and good clubs outside.  There's more to be said for a weak 2S, however our opponents played Acol Twos, so west chose 1S.  I used a bit of imagination and overcalled 1NT and East has a very good double.  Of course West should have bid 2S now but passed. 
KS was led and I was feeling some trepidation as I saw five diamonds going down in Dummy, why not take me out of this? As I saw the rest of the table I realised Gerry was expecting me to make this!
I ducked the KS and won the 10S continuation with the Jack discarding a heart from Dummy.  I led KD, immediately taken by East with the Ace and JC hit the table. West has now shown 8 points, the remaining points, AQ clubs and KH must be with West. Just have to hope West is doubleton AQ or AQx, so I ducked.  Another club to the Queen and the Ace is cashed for five tricks to the defence.  West exited with a spade to my Ace and I cashed the diamonds for 6 tricks to me.  I now led QH from table and West showed out having discarded his heart.  So up with my Ace for 7 tricks and a top.

On board 24 with my solid 11 points (in fact I've often opened this hand 1NT), I didn't expect any problems making 3N opposite a strong NT.  As it happens nearly everyone made 7 tricks.  Gerry though got his 9 playing for the actual layout.
My spade bid unfortunately stops the easier spade lead and West led 6C.  As I said Gerry made game by playing for the spade finesse and running 10D from Dummy.  It can't be beaten.  An interesting question is though, should you take AC at trick one?  I've usually found it better to hold up until third round especially on the lead of a 6 which is more likely from five.  However if you expect to lose the lead to West early on, it could be better to take the Ace immediately because West can't continue clubs without giving you a second trick.  Just another of these problem decisions to perplex us, but then that's what makes the game interesting.

No comments: