Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ya Gotta be Flexible

Had a hand a couple of days ago that has bugged me since then, mainly because I mostly got the hand right, but when the crucial moment came, I did not change my original game plan to accomodate the extra chance I got, and thus turned a potential large swing my way into a small loss.

Playing IMPS, I picked up K32 KQ765 Q6 A54, ALL VUL and heard it go Pass, Pass to me. We play weak NT's and though I usually do not like to open 1N with a decent 5 card major, I decided to break my own rule and do it this time, primarily due to the values outside and the flatness of the hand. This went Double on my left (mainly penalties), Pass by partner (forcing a redouble if RHO passes, either to play or starting a 1 suited run-out) and Pass on my right. This is why I do not like to open 1N on these hands, I now have a guess coming, where is it right to play this hand. Anyways, right or wrong, I decided that since I broke rules once by opening 1N, let's go all out and I now bid 2H, rather than redouble like I was asked. Decided that 1N redoubled might be a silly place to play this, and if partner bid a suit that got doubled, A I had set him up to play a hand in what might be a silly place, and B I would not know if Hearts or his suit would be correct. At least this way, all partner had to do was watch me butcher the hand, not get beat up himself :)

This now went Double on my left (unsure what that was, had my own ideas), all Pass. The opening lead was the A of Diamonds (Even number, usually with the K) and this dummy hit. T65 JT8 J985 K86, probably better than I deserved. I played low on the Diamond, a discouraging Diamond came from RHO, and LHO shifted to a small Club, small, Q, A by me. So what is going on, LHO has to have almost everything left on the hand, so I have to assume that the double of 2H was TO and RHO converted it. Since this is largely unexplored, I did not ask the opps since I was not sure I would get a decent answer, and I might alert them to each other's problems by asking. (Maybe I should ask more, but some of the answers tend to stop me asking questions) So if RHO made a penalty pass with almost no values, I can tentatively assign hm 4-5 hearts and likely not much more than the Q of Clubs and 1 of the missing Spade honours, probably not the A. That leaves LHO with something like AQxx - AKTx JTxxx or something close to that, not what I want to see as this hand may not play too well.

Anyways, make sure the carnage is not too large, I exited with the Q of Diamonds to the K on my left, won the J of Clubs return with the K, and cashed the J of Diamonds pitching my loosing Club as all followed. Now I started a strip play (always good practice) by ruffing the Club to my hand, both following (there goes hand type 1, RHO had 3 Clubs, so what is going on) and decided to exit a Heart. LHO won the A of Hearts and now played the 10 of Diamonds, RHO pitching a Space.

My original plan had been to strip the minors, pull 2 trumps, and try to end play LHO in Spades, assuming he had short Hearts and the AQJ of Spades, a little far-fetched, but at least it got me to 8 tricks on this hand. The problem now was that did not make a lot of sense. Would RHO have really passed with 3433 and only the Q of Clubs?

The point of this whole hand came now. I was so stuck to my original plan that I didn't ping to the fact that I had actually succeeded in end-playing LHO. I ruffed the Diamond, played a Heart to Board on which LHO pitched a Spade as expected, and played a Spade, but RHO put up an intermediate Spade, and I wound up loosing the 3 Spade tricks for down 1. Flexibility and making the hand was simple, pitch a small Spade on the 10 of Diamonds, and LHO is forced into leading away from the A of Spades or giving me a ruff and sluff, same difference. That was just a very sloppy play that wound up sitting in the back of my head for a couple of days now until I wrote this. And those are the kind of hands that just haunt you, where you had done most things right, and were on the verge of a triumph, before falling into the mud on your face at the crucial moment.

I guess last point is the pass of 2H doubled. I do think that is too close when playing IMPS. Rho turned out to have Jxx 9xxx xxx Qxx. You are not beating this hand a lot, and 2S is not going to get doubled on this hand, especially after 2H. And if I had woken up in time, this hand is not that hard to make with any kind of reasonable technique. It turns out that LHO is going to be in a lot of trouble on this hand if you make any kind of attempt at keeping RHO off lead. But when you let the opponents off the hook with bad plays like I made here, you never learn lessons, either way.

Addendum: Thinking again about the hand I realized that on the actual defence I could have and think I should have, made it, RHO had the opportunity for a very nice defensive play that gives me no chance to make it. If RHO ruffs the 10 of Diamonds when it is played rather than pitching a Spade, I have no counter. Over ruffing lands me where I was on the actual hand when I ruffed it, and pitching a Spade allows RHO to return a Spade for the 2 Spade tricks required to beat me.

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