Saturday, October 30, 2010


Had a few interesting hands from the District 2 NAP finals this last weekend. On the first, we were playing 2 local experts that shall remain nameless for obvious reasons. With everyone Vul, I picked up 2 K8752 653 J432 and heard the auction go P P to me. Even I don’t open this bad of a hand, even in 3rd seat. LHO opened 2C strong in 4th seat, partner bid 3D, and RHO doubled, showing scattered values, all of a sudden everyone had come alive.

Now I psych about once every 2-3 years or so, and since I had not done it in quite a while, and wanted in on the fun on this hand, I really wanted to bid 2S. The problem was, that is such an obvious ploy, especially when you run back to 3D, that I did not think it could work against these 2. I really considered the double bluff, bidding 2H, the suit I had, thinking I was most likely to get doubled there, and then could run to 3D, causing more confusion. But I did not like the options if LHO bid 2S over my 2H instead of doubling, I would then be wishing I had bid 3D direct, so I finally settled on 2S. This went the expected double on my left, pass, pass back to me, so I dutifully ran back to 3D, which went around to a double on my right. LHO passed, and that became the final contract.

The opening lead was a Club to the K and partners Q, and partner played really well on the Heart return, dumping the 10 and Q on the first 2 rounds of that suit, as RHO won the A and gave his partner a ruff. They cashed a Spade, then partner ruffed the Club return and claimed, since he had unblocked the Hearts to take the marked hook and pitch the Club losers. +670 looked very out of place with all the -1430’s for 6S making their way. I mostly blame South for this, I do not thing Pass is correct over 3D on this hand with a pronounced 2 suiter, how do you expect to get back in this. The South hand was AKQT5 9 Q AKT985.

Next hand was against a very aggressive pair in the 2nd session. I picked up AJ72 J5 QT92 KT2 in third seat and had the auction go P P to me. We play a 12-14 HCP NT, and I do not like to shade it. I decided to let the spot cards, and 3rd seat status sway me, since did not want to give free ride to my LHO. Partner bid 2C, mostly Stayman, and passed my 2S response, ending the auction.

The opening lead was a small Spade, and dummy tracked with KT3 KQT7 J8764 5. The opening lead ran around to my J, and I returned the J of Hearts, holding the first trick. LHO had hitched slightly on the J of Hearts return, and since I wanted that side in, I led my second Heart. Sure enough, LHO won the A to return a 2nd Spade. I wanted to lead Diamonds off board, hoping to throw LHO in yet again, so I won the K on board, and led a little Diamond off board, throwing the 10 when RHO won the A of Diamonds. I was expecting a Club now, and had not totally decided what to do in that suit, when RHO surprised me with the Q of Spades return, on which everyone followed. I led a second Diamond out of my hand, and LHO won the K, while RHO showed out. They took their A of Clubs, but my +140 looked very lonely again against all of the pass-outs or +110 for 3D.

 We partially got the good score for bidding, partly for a slightly soft defence, but those are the kind of things you need a few of for a good score.

 The last hand, I picked up NV vs Vul, K6532 K853 --- 7632. The opponents bidding went 1D on my left, 2N, 6N, double by partner. I had been planning on an aggressive lead against this, probably a Spade, until the double by partner. Now knowing that Diamonds was not a source of tricks, I did not want to give away too much by underleading a K, so I led the 7 of Clubs. Dummy tracked with a flat 19 count, with AKQJ of Clubs in the mix and no major suit A’s. So when the smoke cleared, I scored both of my K’s, and partner got a Diamonds trick for +500 and a good score. The reason I was writing the hand up was the nice double by partner to talk me out of a major suit lead, the reason he did it. His hand on this auction was xx xxx QJ87xx x and he had figured a normal major suit lead would give declarer too much of a tempo. By asking for a Diamond lead, since he probably had that suit well stopped, it would give us the best chance of beating this hand and moving their good score to our side.

RH played one of the best pair of sessions I have seen him play, and with a little luck, we would up going to Louisville in the Spring. Should be fun.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Path to Dummy

Playing MP’s at a local club this week, you pick up the following hand with everyone Vul, 763 AKJT A T8732 and hear the auction go 1D in first seat on your left, P, P back to you. As a partnership, we play aggressive overcalls, so partners pass should mean the lack of a biddable major, but at MP’s, passing is not really an option here, the major question is what to do. I was not sure this was our hand, so I decided that I did not want to make a nebulous TO double, have the opps buy the hand in 2 or 3 Diamonds, and have partner lead a little Spade from some random holding for a 0 on the board, so decided to overcall 1H. This had the advantage of getting partner off to what I thought would be the best lead if we wound up defending.

This went 2D on my left (interesting, less values perhaps than expected), 3D by partner, P on my right. I decided that I liked my hand if partner had Hearts and some values, since the probability was that I would be leading Black suits through the opener to partners supposed values, I had the red suits fairly well covered. And the 2D bid on my left improved the chances that partner would not have too much wastage in Diamonds, so I leaped to 4H, which ended the auction.

The opening lead was the K of Diamonds, and partner put down a very nice collection, perhaps too nice. A4 Q753 985 AKJ9. I won the A of Diamonds perforce, cashed the A of Hearts, both following, and led a Club towards dummy. LHO sportingly produced the Q, so I won the A and ruffed a Diamond high. It looked like I was probably a lock for 12 tricks now, the question was could I come to all 13? I cashed a second Heart in my hand, both following, and now made a mistake in the play. My plan was to go to dummy, ruff the last diamond, then see if the Club lived to get back and pull the last trump, finally pitching the Spade on the 5th Club from my hand.

This is fine, but I played the Spade to the A for the ruff first, then tried the Club to see if I could get 13 tricks, which actually worked. But I should try the Club first, after pulling the 2nd trump, since even if it gets ruffed, I still have the timing to take 12 tricks, and the knowledge that I could not get all 13. The problem with doing the Spade first is that I have opened up the Spade suit, and if the Club then gets ruffed, the opps have the ability to cash a Spade winner and hold me to 11 tricks, for what should be a bad score.

Turns out that 3 of the 11 pairs made all 13 tricks, while most of the others made 12. There were only 2 that managed to hold themselves to 11 tricks somehow, for a very bad score.

As for bidding to 6 on this hand, I am not sure how possible that is, especially when LHO bids a 2nd time. It requires partner to have an absolute perfecto super max for passing 1D, with the Q of Clubs appearing, and having a 3rd Diamond, without anyone bidding Spades on this auction. I think that is kind of a lot to ask for, and I certainly feel admiration for anyone that can honestly say they can bid this slam with some confidence.