First hand is more of a funny-tragic story. I picked up perhaps the strongest hand I have had in a very long time, A653 AKQJ74 A AK, IMPS, Vul vs Not in last chair. Of course it went 4D on my left, P, P to me. I finally decided I did not want to start with a double, since I did not want partner to pass it and even if partner showed Spades, was not sure that would really play any better than Hearts. So decided to make the ‘practical’ bid of 6H. This went all Pass and the opening lead of a Club allowed me to see dummy in all it’s glory, 8742 --- 75 JT97642. I perforce won the opening lead in hand, and led out the AK of Hearts, it got even better when LHO pitched a Diamond on the K of Hearts. Such a nice hand to go down 3 Vul on a freely bid slam. Turns out you can make 6C if you get there, due to the spots in dummy, but it is a thoughtfull play problem, win any lead, cash 1 round of Clubs, run the top Hearts pitching Spades, ruff something to hand, ruff the last Diamond, ruff back to hand, and play the J of Clubs to RHO’s Qxx. It was a push board, since the auction at the other table was essentially duplicated, (Our partner opened 5D instead of 4D). And the person holding my hand at the other table felt the same way about the result.
The next hand is more of a philosophy question. You hold J4 A9753 AKQ KJ2 IMPS, No one VUL. The opening bid on your left is 2S, and this goes P, P to you. You start with a TO Double, and partner jumps to 3N, opps passing. 2N by partner would have been a Lebensohl treatment. Do you bid over 3N and if so, what?
At the table, the person holding this hand bid 4N, quantitative, and the 3N bidder accepted, bidding 6N to end the auction. The problem was, due to the poor Hearts, there is no chance for a 12th trick, and 6N went down 1. The other hand that accepted the invite is K4 J84 75 AQT953. Looking at the 6th Club and second round Spade stopper, it seemed a reasonable try by this hand, just has no play at all on A and back a Spade. The discussion after centered around inviting with the 18 HCP hand, is it strong enough with the wasted J of Spades, all the values in the short suits, and no good source of tricks. We thought the Club hand should accept, with its 7 probable tricks. So wondering what people thought of that?
Next hand is at MP’s, with you holding KQ75 AJ3 6 AKJT74, all Vul. You open 1C and partner responds 1H, you reverse with 2S, and partner bids 3S, showing values. Over your 4H, partner bids 5D, and over 6C, bids 6D. Now over your 6H bid, partner bids 7H, and you place the final contract in 7S. What do you think of the auction?
You Partner1C 1H
The opening lead is a Diamond, and partner puts this dummy down, A864 K975 AK94 8. So you have a parking place for your Heart loser, and just have to have the Clubs and Spades behave. Unfortunately Spades are 4-1, and even though you can pick up the Clubs with 1 ruff, you have a Spade loser for down 1. Since no one else got to the grand, this is a cold 0. Turns out both 7H and 7NT can make, since the Q of Clubs comes down doubleton, and the Qxx of Hearts is also onside, the only grand that fails is 7S, sigh.
Finally, we have AKT4 6 KJT743 97, None Vul at MP’s. You open 1D in first seat, and it goes 2H (weak) on your left, P, P back to you. This is one of those hands you can feel partner wants you to reopen with the double, but with a weak distributional hand, you decide to reopen with 2S. Partner has little sense of humour here, and 2 rounds later, you are waiting for the lead in 6S. The opening lead is a middle Club, and partner puts down J873 AJT75 A AK3. So now it is a play problem, but you do have lots of chances, what is your line of play?
Contract 6S, opening lead 6 Clubs, LHO preempted 2H on auction
J873 AJT75 A AK3
AKT4 6 KJT743 97
I think the best line is win the Club, cash the A Diamonds, play a Spade to the A to see if anything good happens, then ruff a Diamond. When this lives, you can decide if you are going to hook the 10 of Spades on the way back, which you probably should do since this is MP’s. If that wins and Spades are 3-2, it is now easy to ruff another Diamond with the J of Spades, and get back to hand with a ruff to pull the last trump and claim. If Spades are 4-1, then you need the Q of Diamonds coming down, and can not afford to ruff anything else. Unfortunately, partner lost site of the play, and forgot to cash the A Diamonds early, then when did not take the Spade hook, actually lost control of the hand and went 1 down, instead of making 7. This was also not a good score for us.