Playing in our regular Sat Aft team game, had a couple of really wild and interesting hands come up. First a question, what is the most tricks you have gone down in a freely bid contract without being doubled? I may be trying for the record here with my partner from this week, cause the answer this week is 8 tricks (!).
My partner held Jxxxxxx T9xx x x with no one vul and heard me open 1D in first seat, pass on his right. He now bid 2S (WJS) and it went 3N (after some thought) on his left, P, P back to him. Not being satisfied with the status quo, and thinking if they did not try for Hearts (where might they try this?), I must have them, he fearlessly ventured out with 4H (!). This went slow pass on his left (!), P by partner, and another slow pass on his right (!). The opening lead was the A of Spades, and partner (me) put this gem down, x K KQxxx KT98xx, not the world's greatest opener, and not a happy camper on this auction, but no double, not too much trouble :) After the opps pulled trump, I think they made a mistake letting 1 card score on dummy to go with the long Heart in declarers hand. Turns out the 3N bidder had a balanced 21 count with AT of Spades and Ax of Hearts, while his partner had QJxxxx of Hearts. She did not double since she thought the run out to Spades would be cheap, but she had KQx of Spades opposite a partner that jumped to 3N, and 6 good cards in declarers second suit. 4S was not cheap, more like Sticks and Wheels (1100) non-vul. So -400 looked now like an odd push opposite the expected 3N from the other table, except the other table also got into the bidding our way with the distribution, not sure what the whole auction was, but they apparently pulled 4 of a major doubled to 5D doubled, that then went for the whole 1700.
And as for why I passed 4H in our auction, when a disaster is unfolding, and you are not yet doubled, you NEVER pull before you hear a double. Sometimes wierd and wonderful things like this happens.
Next we have this hand, again with no one vul, you hold Kxxx Axx Axx xxx and Pass in 2nd seat after a Pass on your Right. It now goes 3D on your Left, 4D by partner, Pass on your Right. First, what should 4D be on this auction, the normal interpretation is a distributional TO of the pre-empt that did not want a TO double to be left in, usually more distribution or less HCP/Defence. So the question is, do you have enough to try for a slam. You have length and 2 good cards in partners supposed majors, and an outside A to control the pre-empt suit.
My answer is that yes, if partner has anything close to his 4D bid, I think you have enough to try for the slam. But the next question is how, you need to be able to show good support, with a control in Diamonds, and let partner know he needs good control of Clubs to go on. I think the first option of 5S should ask about Diamond control and Spades, not about Clubs. So that leaves the direct leap to 6S or a 5D cue-bid. Personally, I think the 6S bid is putting too much stain on partner, who could be punished for getting you to a game after a pre-empt, when you may have 0 play for a slam, so I think the 5D cue bid is about right, and hope partner works it out.
It actually turns out anything over 4S will get you to a slam on this hand, partner held AQxxxx KT9xx --- AQ, so 6S is an easy make, giving up 1 Heart trick. I also think this is the kind of hand that the 4D bid should show, a distributional good TO, without an incredible amount of defence or willingness to defend 3D doubled if left in.
Last hand is more of a decision I had based on the game being played. NV vs Vul, I held KJ AK4 AQ AKJTxx and decided to open 2C in first seat (just too much stuff for anything else). This went 2S on left, double by partner, P back to me. We do not play together regular, so I was not sure what the double is, although the standard in our area is it shows values and is not for penalty, so I hoped this was what it showed. In addition, I know the my LHO is a very aggressive bidder that will be in with any reason, so 2S does not have to show any kind of a good hand. For this reason, and since it is a fun, not serious game, I decided to go for it all and jumped to 6N (!), ending the auction. The opening lead was the J of Hearts, and although partner stated his hand was based on what I had hoped it was, it was not the dummy of my dreams. Qxx 9xxx KTxx xx, not that many values, and certainly not much usefull, and worst, short Clubs.
I won the Heart in my hand as RHO contributed a middle Heart (normal signals) and layed down the A of Clubs, nothing exciting happening, before playing the K of Spades. I had wanted to find out what was happening on the hand a little, and needed Spades as options for transportation and tricks. LHO won the A of Spades as RHO followed low, and now played another Spade, RHO again following as I won my J. I would have much preferred LHO to play another Heart, as that left more options open, but I was now forced to win the Spade in hand, since the bad Diamond position left me with no other place to put the loser Heart.
I now had to decide how to play the Club suit, since I was down to the single entry to board. Options are to bang down the K of Clubs and hope the Q appears, or use my entry to go to board, pitch the Heart loser on the Q of Spades, and hook the Club. I kind of thought the 2nd option was better, since RHO had more positions for the Club Q in his hand, but that also meant going down a LOT more, even though that is not that big of a consideration at IMPS. The other consideration that comes in is when I can not make the hand due to a 4-1 break in Clubs. I still think the percentage line is to go to board, hook the Club, and hope for the best. But I decided against that at the table and banged down the K of Clubs, perhaps due to table feel or whatever, still not sure. Turns out it did not matter towards making the hand, LHO pitched a Spade on the K of Clubs. At least I was able to salvage down 1 on the hand as I gave up a Club. Turns out this was worth 2 IMPS on the board, as they went down 2 in something at the other table, I assume 6N as well on a Spade lead and used the Diamond entry to take the Club hook, and now lost the Club, Diamond, and A of Spades.