Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bridge is a Spectator Sport

I got to watch 4 hands that decided a team match last night, all controlled by 1 person on the team.

First hand, NV vs Vul, you hold 3 AKJT2 Q9753 Q2 and open 1H after a pass on your right. It goes 1S on your left, P by partner, 2H (good Spade raise) on your right. You decide to double this instead of bidding 3D, and it goes 2S on your left, P, 4S back to you. Guess it is time to introduce Diamonds, so you wander back in with 5D, which goes P, 5H by partner, double on your right, ending the auction. The opening lead is the A of Spades, and partner tables J542 984 T64 863. The defence is pretty nasty, but at then end, you are down to A of Hearts and the 975 of Diamonds, with only the 8 out (they screwed up taking a Diamond with the J) and 2 Hearts and 1 Diamond on board. You decide to try to cash the A of Hearts instead of starting with the 9 of Diamonds, and then find out Hearts were 4-1, allowing you to go for the full -1400 on the hand.

Second hand, All Vul, you hold J9742 Q73 K5 K63 and hear partner open 1C, RHO overcalling 1NT. You decide to double this, since your side should have half the deck, and it goes 2C on your left, double by partner, 2H on your right. In the spirit of the hand, you double this as well, ending the auction. You lead the 3rd best Club, and dummy tracks with T53 JT86 Q8742 8. Partner wins the A of Clubs and shifts to the K of Spades, which declarer wins with the A while you encourage with the 7. Declarer now plays the J of Clubs, ruffs it on board when you play low, and plays the J of Hearts off board. Partner wins this with the A of Hearts, and plays a second Spade, but declarer wins that with the Q, ruffs the Q of Clubs, and gives you a Heart, Diamond and a Spade, making 2 Hearts doubled for -670.

Third hand, all Vul, you hold AJ2 Q9753 A974 3 and open 1H in first seat. This goes 1S overcall on your left, 2C by partner, P back to you, so you bid 2D, your second suit. This goes P on your left, 4H by partner, double on your right. You pass, LHO passes after a long thought, and partner passes, ending the auction. The opening lead is the K of Spades, and partner lays down 873 AK842 QT8 A6. You decide to duck the opening lead, and the J of Clubs is returned. You win the A, cash the A of Hearts (all following) and can pretty much claim 5 now, by playing Diamonds into the danger hand, as long as 1 of the Diamond honors are onside. If both are on your left, then you will at least guarantee making 4 in all hands. Not our intrepid hero, he ruffed the Club back to his hand, clearing the Clubs, then cashed the Q of hearts to remain in hand, before leading a Diamond to the Q and K. A small Spade came back, and you can still make it by going A and out a Spade, end playing your LHO, but it is perhaps better to play low, letting the Q win, and then winning the A of Spades for a return. Now go to board with a Heart, take a losing Diamond finesse, and you have manufactured 4 losers out of 2, down 1 for -200, instead of making 5 for +990.

Fourth hand, you are not quite done yet. No one vul, you pick up AK87652 A KJ2 84 and hear it go 2H by partner, P to you. You bid 2S, partner raises to 3S, and you continue on to 4S. The opening lead is the 5 of Hearts and partner puts down QJ QJT974 T753 5, a perfecto match for a nice 4S. This looks like an easy hand, win the A of Hearts, give up a Club, win the probable Spade return, and ruff a Club, eventually giving up 2 Diamond tricks to make a nice 4S. So what can our intrepid hero do to this hand we ask. How about the Q of Hearts on the first trick, not covered and then won by the A, a small Spade to the J on board, and the J of Hearts, planning to pitch those Clubs away. Except that RHO pitches an encouraging Club on the J of Hearts, so when you play the Club on it, Rho wins the K of Hearts, and plays a Club to RHO, who plays another Spade on the table, and worse, ruffs the 10 of Hearts when you play it off board. Now when you play Diamonds out of your hand, you do lose the expected 2 Diamonds tricks for down 1, and a sum of 45 IMPS punted on 4 boards.

I did really watch this happen at the table last night. I will not disclose who was where for fear of being hunted down, but the person who sat in that chair was not feeling to happy after the match. Sometimes you are not playing well, but then that is the time to play down the middle, not try to be the hero of the match and make up for what you have done before. As Zia said, when you are playing in heat 3, do not try to do anything outside your abilities that day, play straight up, and hope partner is in heat 1 and can supply the magic. Because anything you try to do is not going to turn out great, rather it usually turns out as in these hands, a little not so great.

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