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.

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