Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Get Lucky and Survive in the KO's

Playing in the first round of the KO's, we were in a round robin of 5 teams looking to eliminate 1. So we of course started off the first half of the round robin with a loss and a tie against the first 2 teams, placing ourselves in the position of needing a win in the 2nd half against the other 2 teams.

Playing the first set, you pick up AK82 AQT5 873 A4 if first seat Vul vs Not, and decide to slightly violate system by opening 1C (playing a weak NT system). This goes 2C (Michaels) on your left, and 3D by partner. You play unusual vs unusual style bids, so 2S would have shown a forcing hand in Diamonds, but also play fit jumps in competitive situations, so this should qualify as that. It now goes 3H freely on your right (!), which you double, P on your left, and 4D by partner. You finally decide to take a hopeful plus and bid 5D. The opening lead is a small Spade and partner holds x x AQJTxxx QTxx, giving you chances for a slam on a Diamond hook. After winning the Spade,partner takes the Diamond hook, which loses, and eventually gives up a Club on the hand, when there are no squeezes. The K of Hearts was onside, the 2C bid was on Jxxxx in each major. So it looks like the winning play for the Diamond slam is almost impossible to find, 3 rounds of Spades ruffing, Heart hook, cash the A, ruff a Heart, A and out a Diamond, endplaying LHO in Clubs. So you are happy that the slight underbidding that kept you out of the slam worked.

At the other table, this hand opened a strong NT, and with no opposition bidding, they got to 6D on a Spade lead to the Q and A. Declarer could not work out the complete hand, so took a Diamond hook at trick 2 losing to the K, and another Spade came back. Declarer won that, ruffed the 8 of Spades, keeping the 2 hidden, hooked the Heart, cashed the A, and ruffed a Heart, then ran all the Diamonds. The opps signalled wrong on the hand, and declarer took the last 2 tricks with the A of Clubs and 2 of Spades for our side.

Turns out we thought we had won the other match at our table, and probably lost this one due to our opps staying out of the slam. Wrong, we lost the match we thought we could win, and won this match to advance to the next round. This got us jump started, although we eventually lost in the final on a close match.

The hand that decided the match we thought we had won you hold KJTxxx Ax --- JTxxx Not Vul vs Vul. The auction goes 3D on your left, Double by partner, 5D on your right, what do you call?

At our table, this hand bid 6S, and when there is no Club ruff on the go, and partner lays down AQxx Kxxxx --- KQxx, it is not hard to make it. (The ruff and sluff on the opening lead does not give anything away, and since Clubs were 2-2, there was no way to beat it) At the other table, our partner with that hand finally decided to bid only 5S, and thought it was good on the Club lead, until no ruff emerged. We had won small pickups on several other boards, and the opps had missed a hard to get to but making slam at our table, but when our partners missed both the slams, our small pickups could not handle that 1 hand.

That is a problem with these short matches in this kind of format, 1 bad thing happens and you only have 5 boards to recover, do 1 bad thing in more than 1 match, and it gets interesting :)

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