Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What to Bid

Playing IMPS in a practice match, you pick up Ax Ax xxx AKJTxx Vul vs Not and hear it go 2H* on your left, P P to you. 2H is a weak 2 suiter with Hearts and another unknown 5 card suit.

I think the main options on this hand are Double, 3C, and 2 or 3NT. I could not bid 4C since that was leaping Michaels and would show a strong 2 suiter in Spades and Clubs. The first 2 bids I rejected since Double I just thought would get me into trouble in Spades. If partner bid any number of Spades, I would have to bypass 3N to bid Clubs, or decide if I was going to bid over 4S, knowing my hand is going to be a disappointment to partner. And 3C would be passed out on many hands where I could make game. The Clubs missing rated to be on me right, since I assumed that the second suit for the 2H bidder was most likely Spades or Diamonds. 2C might very well be right, and probably would be if we were best suited for 5 or even 6 Clubs, but that is about the only time it would be right, and a lot of hands where we can make 5C are going to be passed out in 3C.

This left the 2N and 3N choices. I had a source of tricks and stoppers in 2/3 of the remaining suits, including the primary known suit, so lots of upside on the hand. But the 3 little Diamonds are a large worry, since it was just as likely for the 2H opener to have either of those 2 suits. If Spades, I had little worry, since partner would rate to have Diamonds now. If it was Diamonds, I might not have a stopper in that suit at all. The big questions is what does justice to your hand. You are worth 7 1/2 playing tricks, the A of Diamonds or a stopper and 1 other card will give you at least some play for 9 tricks. So does 2N cover it, or do you have to bid 3N?

The plus for 2N is that partner can show a suit over it, but will you be able to judge where to play the hand when it goes 2H P P 2N P 3S P ?, you have essentially delayed your decision between 3N and 4C for 1 round. The big advantage here is that bidding 4C after 2N describes your hand, it just takes you past 3N :)

The plus for 3N is it makes for a blind lead that may allow you to make a hand you are not entitled to. The down side, it may be a hopeless wrong contract.

At the table I finally decided on 3N. Partner put down not the hoped for dummy with KJxxx KQx x xxxx after the opening Diamond lead. The opps quickly cashed 5 Diamonds winners and exited a Heart. This looked pretty bleak since it appeared 6C was odds on (not sure how you get there) whereas 3N was down 1 on the opening lead. Except when a Club was led from dummy, RHO showed out, LHO was 0553, meaning 6C had 2 losers. Of course this also meant I was down 1 more trick, but that was mostly OK. I thought the only makeable contract was now 5C, kind of hard to get to.

Turns out the other table got to 4S, and made it. Not sure how that worked, and did not ask. Seems like there are only 8, maybe 9 tricks there, with the foul splits. But that is a discussion for another day. And I still think I would bid 3N given another chance, although that 2N-4C auction would sure work well on this hand :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

High Level Shenanigans

Playing IMPS at the local club game, you pick up K75 KQ K82 A9842 with all vulnerable. Partner open 1S, you bid 2C GF, and partner now jumps to 4D, supposedly a splinter in support of Clubs, which RHO doubles.

Since you do note really have any first round controls, even though your hand is awfully good, you pass to see what partner will do here. Partner bids 4H and RHO passes, what now?

At the table, the person holding this hand bid 4N, Key Card in Clubs, over which partner bid 7C (a lot) and RHO now wandered in with 7D. This was doubled, although pass seems like a very workable alternative with all the stuff in the majors, and when dummy put down xxxx xx Qxxx xxx, declarer went for 1400 with his x xxxxx AJxxxx x hand to pick up 2 Imps when they played in 6S at the other table.

The discussion after centered around how to get to 7S in an intelligent manner on this auction once the opps decide to save in 7D. 7C is obviously the first choice of where to play the grand, but you were not allowed to play there. How do you find out partner has the very good Spades required to play in 7S, with the probably bad split.

Giving it to a local expert, he said he would have bid 4S over 4H. This almost has to be forcing, since you passed the double of 4D and then bid it over another cue bid. It turns out partner also would have bid 7C over that bid, but now it is a lot easier for you to pass over 7D and a LOT easier for partner to bid 7S.
Partners hand was AQJT4 AJ97 void KQJT, and with Spades no worse than 4-1, both black grands will make.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Interesting 3N

Playing IMPS at our local game, I picked up this hand, AK74 AK3 95 AQT6, all vul. I opened 2N and partner bid 3C, Puppet Stayman, I bid 3D showing a 4 card major and partner bid 3N, ending the auction.

The opening lead was the 2 of Spades and this dummy hit, J6 754 AQ843 852. The opps were playing attitude leads, so I hopefully put up the J of Spades, but RHO played the Q, attitude huh? :) Since I did not want a Heart shift, and had a bunch of work to do, I won the A at trick 1 and led the 9 of Diamonds, planning to duck it. LHO put the 10 on this, but the original plan was still in force so I played low from dummy, the only possible way to set the Diamonds up. RHO overtook the Diamond with the J (?) to play the 9 of Spades, not a card I liked to see. Now was as good a time as any to try to cut some of their communications so I ducked this, and LHO overtook it with the 10 (interesting spots) and returned a small Spade (?). I pitched a Heart from board and RHO played the 8 of Spades, so I won the King. I now had an unexpected 3rd Spade, and might not need the Diamonds if something good happened in Clubs. Plus it was starting to look like LHO had made a very strange lead in Spades.

Wanting to find out about the Clubs, I led the 10 of Clubs out of my hand. I had the timing to save the Diamond decision now, and wanted to have some options if that suit did not pan out. LHO went into a serious tank over the 10 of Clubs, but finally played low, and RHO won the K. So I was pretty sure that LHO had the J and a few Clubs, made even more certain when RHO led the 6 of Spades (!) to my good 7, and LHO pitched a Heart. Why had he led a 3 card Spade suit, looked like he was probably 3334 or something like that, which gave me hope on this hand, even if the Diamond K was offside now.

I cashed the A and Q of Clubs from my hand, and sure enough the J did not appear, and RHO pitched a Heart, from his presumed 4 card holding. It certainly looked like I was right about the hand, which left LHO with 2 Hearts, 2 Diamond, and the J of Clubs, and RHO with 3 Hearts and 2 Diamonds. At this point, it didn't matter who had the K of Diamonds, easy matter to play 3 rounds of Hearts and claim when RHO was forced to win the 3rd Heart.

Turns out this was an easy hand with any kind of technique (duck an initial Diamond) since KTx were onside in LHO's hand and the K of Clubs was onside. But I thought it was still a neat technical hand for counting and extrapolating the opps hands to make it this way. And next time, the K of Diamonds will be in RHO's hand and this was the only way to make it