Monday, February 21, 2011

Do You Take a 2nd Call?

Playing IMPS in a pick-up teams game on BBO, you enter the last board down some to a tough team, and pick up this hand with no one vul, 7 --- KJ9543 AJ8763. It goes 1S on your right, so you overcall 2N (anyone for 4N and get it over?). This now goes 4S on your left, P, P back to you. So do you or don't you?

At our table, this hand decided to bid 4N, figuring he had to have a good place to play it. This now went 5H on his left, P by partner, 6S on his right, oops. So not what, do you try 6N, or let them play on their bad splits.

This hand now passed, and on the A of Clubs lead, dummy put down J932 AQJT976 T 4, might have been worth some kind of Heart call over 2N, but whatever. The A of Clubs holds, and when you lead a Diamond and partner follows, declarer claims with the A of Diamonds, solid Spades, and the K of Hearts.

Fun hand, turns out any major suit slam from the solid Spade side makes, and Hearts also makes since there is no ruff. At the other table, the 2 hands bid to 7 Clubs, and got their Diamond ruff for +800 after a Spade lead, and A and out a Diamond.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How Abuse Works on BBO

Played in a pickup team game on BBO today and got lucky to have a super nice, very competent partner to play with. Unfortunately, the same can not be said about the person playing to my left, his partner was incredibly abusive and resulting every board, with what he had done wrong.

On the first board, the opps got to 3D in a competitive auction. My partner found a truly inspired lead of a trump, and when the smoke cleared, declarer was down 2. Turns out any lead but a Diamond sets up at least 1 trick for declarer, and gives him time to work on a ruff in dummy. With the trump lead, declarer was left to set up suits himself, and with most suits being frozen, his breaking them meant we got the extra trick, and were able to exit trumps each time. As soon as the hand was over, my RHO piped up with a truly supportive comment, with any kind of reasonable play, 3D should make. This was total fantasy, on a trump lead and continuation from us, looking at all 4 hands, you might hold it to down 1, but are never making it, but since there was a lead of one of our suits at the other table and it made, 3D had to be makeable, so it was his partners poor play.

On the second board, my LHO had to lead from AK8642 of Spades after a 1C-1H-1N auction. He selected the A of Spades, then shifted to a Heart. When the smoke cleared, I had made 9 tricks and his partner started in on him, “you must lead a small Spade from that holding”, right on this hand since his partner had JT tight. A small Spade lead turns out to hold me to 1, so it cost a couple of overtricks, but that was not our hero's point.

On the third board, my RHO arrived in 3H after showing 55 in the majors. So now he could shine. Except that he managed to short ruff his hand, lost control, and wound up down 2, not much was mentioned about that hand. The 4th hand, my partner played very well in 3S on a competitive auction to make 4, picking off a J and Q from the non-openers hand to wrap up the overtrick. Since my LHO had been the person on lead the whole hand, nothing much was said. 5th Board, RHO overcalled 2S over a strong NT on his right, buying the contract, and making 4 when his partner layed down a very nice dummy for him. 6th Board, my RHO opened 1S light in 3rd seat, and I overcalled 1N, buying the contract. LHO led his stiff Q of Spades, which I won, and eventually made 7 tricks when RHO ducked the K of Spades later.

The 7th hand, RHO held K862 AK853 KT 95 and opened 1H with all vul. His partner bid 3H, limit, and it went 5D on his right. He decided to double this, and with the Clubs wrong, my partner had to go for -800, for a 4 IMP loss. Then the true fun started.

My RHO heard this auction, 1H-1S-2S-4S with his side silent. He held K7 T962 AQ86 T63 and decided to lead the 10 of Clubs. His partner, holding AJ2, won the A on the first trick and returned a Club, assuming his partner would ruff this or the next one, since he had a later entry in the K of Hearts behind dummy. This proved to be fatal, and my partner wound up with an overtrick. This is where the fun started, he started accusing his partner of not knowing bridge, being an idiot, and generally making life nasty for his partner. He had wanted him to read that the 10 of Clubs was a top of nothing lead from length, and that he should have known to switch when in with the A of Clubs. When in actuality, it was the lead of the 10 of Clubs that gave away the entire suit and the contract.

On the next hand, my RHO showed the other side of his sportsmanship. My partner wound up in 3N, and with AT8 of Spades opposite KQ752, ducked a Spade early to make sure of the 4 tricks in the suit he needed. This proved to be fortunate, since Spades were 4-1 on the hand. When my partner next got in, he played the 8 of Spades before the A, an obvious misclick, and tried to get an undo before the next player had played a card. This was of course refused. He asked again, and my LHO stated he had no objection, but it was again refused. So my partner played on. Fortunately, my RHO did not really understand bridge either, he had started with the lead of the J of Clubs from JT842 and when his partner dropped the Q under dummy's K from K5, he promptly returned the 8 of Clubs the next time he was in, losing to the 9 as his partner showed out. So now, in the fullness of time, my partner was able to strip him of exits, throw him in with a little Club and claim 3N on the forced Club return anyways. He did not even prosper on the nice sportsmanship play.

The final hand. My LHO holds 92 A JT2 Q987652 and all Vul hears the auction go 2H on his left, 2S by his partner, 5H on his right. The opening lead is the 8 of Diamonds, and the dummy tracks with K865 T8765 AKQ9 ---. The A of Diamonds wins the first trick, declarer following with the 4, and a small Heart is led off board. This hand won the A perforce, and after some thought, returned a Spade. Declarer soon claimed, and my RHO started screaming at his partner, calling him every name he could think of, telling him not to pollute IMPS games by joining them anymore. It turns out that he had led a singleton Diamond this time, and had 2 Hearts, since declarer was 55 in the reds for the 2H bid. And a Diamond return would have beaten 5H. This may be the only possible holding to beat this contract, but it is not necessary to berate your partner that much for not playing it.

During the round, when the abuse was the worst, I had sent my LHO a couple of private messages telling him to ignore the idiot and just try to have fun. He had responded that was all he was trying to do. I sent a message to the abusive one after the end, telling him that kind of abuse on partner was not called for, and tone it down. Got back a lot of swearing, and a couple of derogatory names, so added this guy to my enemies list, and a big note for him, saying do not play in any game he is part of again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Am I Crazy

Had a hand over the weekend that generated a lot of discussion / controversy. Actually, several people called me a little crazy over it. Playing IMPS in a reasonable strength team game, you pick up K6 QT6 KJ76 KJ98 NV vs Vul in 1st seat. Since you are playing 12-14 NT’s, this is an easy 1NT opener, which goes Pass on your left, 2C by partner, Pass on your right. You bid 2D, Pass on your left, and 2H by partner, which is not forward going, rather pass or correct for a major at the 2 level. You are planning to Pass this, when it goes Double on your right. You pass, and after some thought, LHO bids 2NT, which is Passed back to you.

I doubled. My thoughts ran along the lines of RHO has a borderline hand with both minors, since he did not act directly over 2C, but wants to compete now. This hand will not play well for the opps in anything if I have the minors so well placed over RHO. I like the fact I will be getting a Heart lead, and even if partner is virtually broke, the majors should not run. No one ran from 2N doubled, although I think my partner thought about it, and there we were.

The opening lead was the 5 of Hearts and this dummy tracked, Q742 A2 AT5 AQT4, more Spades and perhaps a little better hand than expected, but not that far off. Declarer ducked the Heart and my Q held the trick, so tentatively that gives partner the K. The next question is what Heart to return. I made an error here, since I never want to be in my hand, I returned the 6 of Hearts instead of the 10. If partner has the 9, I want to unblock, and if not, it likely doesn’t matter. So I should unblock for all the cases where it matters.

Declarer now played a Spade off board, winning the J in hand, and pinpointing pretty much the whole Spade suit, and led a Club to the 10 and my J. I returned the 10 of Hearts on which declarer played low and partner dropped the 9, sigh. So I exited with the K of Spades, declarer winning with the A. Declarer now tried a Club to the Q and my K.

I decided to play partner for 2 cards, and played on Diamonds myself, rather than exit a safe Club and delay the play. When partner had the Q of Diamonds, we were soon scoring up +500 on the board for down 2.

After the hand was over, my partner was surprised that I would double this contract, whereas I thought the double was odds on because of the auction and it’s implications. Giving the hand to several local experts, they all said they would pass and expressed surprise at the double. So not sure how far out in my reasoning I was, but seems I was not in the same mindspace as everyone else.

On another note, had a tough bidding decision to make later in the same game. With no one vul, I picked up this nice hand in 1st seat, AQ75 65 AQ AKT83. I opened 1C and with the opps silent throughout, partner responded 1H. I reversed into 2S and partner bid 3H, showing values since we play 2N as the start of a poor hand sequence. So now what?

I have extra values (some) for the reverse, but not particularly robust suits. I like my tenaces, and wanted to make sure NT was played from my side, but still wanted to show some interest in Hearts. I finally decided to bid 4D on the hand, and partner bid 5N over this. Completely forgetting the auction, I raised to 6N, thinking I would be playing it, after all, isn’t intent to bid something the same as bidding it? Unfortunately, neither opponent bought that argument at the table when I brought it up.

Anyways, we managed to now wrong side 6N, the best contract, but fortunately the K of Diamonds was onside when Hearts went 5-0, providing the 12th trick. My question was, should I bid 3N, does it give full value to my hand, even if it sets up the right side for the contract. 4N sounds like key card in Hearts, something I do not really want to do, so not sure what the best action is. Partners hand was always going to force to a slam, but that is not a requirement on all hands we want to get to slam on. Partner had KJ3 AKT743 42 Q7. My only suggestion to partner on the hand was to avoid bidding NT, the most likely contract, while making a forward going move, I thought 5D might be best for that, since it is unlikely to be a possible spot to play on this auction, but I have played in 2-2 or worse fits before.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Both Minors over a Weak NT

Had a hand that somewhat fell outside our discussions over 1N in a team game this week. We play 1N shows 12-14 HCP and may include a 5 card major or minor. So when partner opened 1N with no one vul and I held Q2 9 KQJ97 AJT98, I had to decide on an approach that made sense.

We play 3 of a major as a fragment with both minors, at least game interest, so a 3S bid is fairly close on my hand, but tends to imply only 5-4 in the minors, will have to talk to partner later if it can include this hand pattern. Part of the reason for having that is to be able to play in a 4-3 or 5-3 major suit game if it looks right from the 1N opener side, so doing it with only 2 may get me 4 of the major, something I would not be happy with.

We also play 4 suit transfers, so I felt the best way to start was to transfer into Clubs and then bid Diamonds, which is forcing for at least 1 round and should imply something like this in the minors, since I did not start with a fragment. So I started with 2S (Clubs) and partner bid 2N, denying honour third in Clubs. Wanting to continue on with the description, I now bid 3D, and partner bid 3S over that. In the discussions we had on these auctions, we agreed that a bid of a major over a minor and a forward going bid pinpointed values, to start towards notrump, but also perhaps leading to a minor game/slam, so partner is showing stuff in Spades, and basically denying much in Hearts. This actually makes my hand better.

I now bid 4H to show a control in Hearts, and deny a balanced hand since I bypassed 3N. Partner bid 4N over this. I really thought this had to be forward going in Diamonds, since partner could have just bid 5D. It should not show Heart cards, since with both majors, partner would have bid 3N over 3D. All of the news that I had gotten to this point had been good, so I decided to just jump to 6D on the hand, ending the auction. I was asked what the meaning of the auction was, and I actually explained my reasoning of the 4N bid. The opps, a good experienced pair, thought that 4N should be weak, but I do not agree with that assessment.

LHO led the 9 of Spades, and dummy tracked with what I had expected, almost a perfect hand, AK83 JT42 AT4 Q6. With the Spade lead, the slam became a laydown, pulling trump and pitching the Heart on the third Spade, before taking the Club hook for an overtrick. On a Heart lead, I need the Club to make. Turned out the Club was onside, so the contract was always making.

I realize that it might be pushy to go after the slam opposite a weak NT with my hand, but the bidding kept indicating good things from partner. The big question is, would partner bid 4N the same way without the Q of Clubs, in which case it is a very bad slam. She still has A AK for me, and a ruffing value in my second suit. Have not had a chance to ask that question yet, but it should be informative for future bidding. And we will have to decide if we want to or can add something in for a decent minor 2 suiter over a 1N opener.