Playing with a new person from Canada in a pick up game last night, I got reminded that the term ‘Expert’ is vastly overused on BBO. This lady describes herself as Advanced on her Bio, but she was far more of a pleasure to play with and way mode advanced than a lot of Experts I have played with, I hope I get the chance to have another game with her.
The board that most impressed me was a tough contract I placed her in, that she handled very well. (I only overbid a little, honest) I held the following hand, with no one vul, AT86 AJ953 AQ95 --- and heard partner open 1D in first seat, a definite good start. I bid 1H and partner bid 1N, so I reversed into 2S, trying to create a forcing auction, and partner jumped to 3N, I assumed showing a min, with at least some wastage in Clubs, and probably somewhere around a 2254 or 3244 type hand. I persisted with 4D, and partner bid 4S, which I hoped and assumed was encouraging, so ended the auction with a jump to 6D. The 4S bid and lack of any Club bids were the encouraging things partner had done. Now all my advanced level partner (I had looked previously) had to do was make the contract I had dumped her in.
The opening lead was a small Diamond, and she held QJx Kx KT8x QTxx, a min, but some nice cards in our 3 suits, and the non-Club lead actually helps the timing now. She let the Diamond ride to the 8 in her hand and set about on the side suits immediately, not pulling trump as I feared she might. The Q of Spades lost to the K on her right, and a Diamond came back to the J and boards A. She now played a Heart to the K and back to the A (I assumed to ruff 1-2 Hearts, rather than try to guess the Q), and the Q dropped on her right. Ruff a Heart high, pull the last trump, and claim. I thought her timing on a tough hand was excellent and congratulated her on her timing and line of play on the hand. At the other table, the auction started the same, except after 2S, the other hand bid 2N, my hand bid 3D, and the other hand jumped to 6D (!). This caused my hand to start thinking, and he went on to 7D, down 1.
The next hand, partner held KQTx QJxx Jx Axx and over 1D – 1H by the opponents, came in with a 1S bid, that bought the hand. The opening lead was the 10 of Hearts and dummy came down with 98x xxx A10xxx Jx. The AK of Hearts were cashed on her right, and a third Heart ruffed by LHO. LHO cashed the A of Spades, and switched to the K of Clubs. She allowed this to hold, won the Q of Clubs with the A, and ruffed a Club on board. Now when she played a Spade to her K, LHO showed out, leaving her with these cards, QT Q Jx --opposite 9 – Atxx -- with the lead in her hand, for a fun ending. She played the J of Diamonds letting it ride, losing to the Q, but now when a Club came back, she lost control of the hand and went down 1. I told her after, if she cashed the Q of Hearts, A of Diamonds, and exited a Diamond, she must win the last 2 tricks to make the hand exactly, sort of a trump coupe aided by the opps.
Another point that I hound on, but it is important, you can get a pretty good inferential count on this hand at this point. You know that RHO has 4 Hearts and 4 Spades, and RHO opened 1D with 9 cards in the minors. If LHO has 2 Diamonds, then RHO opened 1D with 4 Diamonds and 5 Good Clubs, not impossible, but more probable that Clubs are 4-4, making RHO either 4414 or possibly 4405. In either case, you need to get your A of Diamonds before it is not available.