Saturday, December 31, 2011

Interesting Jump Shift

Playing in a pick up game on BBO, I picked up the following hand with everyone Vul, at IMPS. T54 QT74 KJT K75, and heard it go P, 1C, P to me. I bid the normal 1H, and with the opps silent, pard now jumped to 3D.

I thought my hand was suddenly quite good, with all the values in the minors, where it looked like they were working. I thought 4C did not do justice (and might get passed), and 5C did not state my values, so I decided to make up a cue bid and bid 3S, 4SF. Over this, partner made a quite unexpected, but nice bid, 5H. Now it looked like my hand was really working, I expected partner to have some kind of good 1345 type hand, so it looked like everything was fitting well. I bid 6C ending the auction. The opening lead was the K of Spades, and this was the hand I saw partner playing.

Partner started immediately asking what 3S was and why I would make such an insane bid! At least he guessed the J of Hearts to hold it to down 1. For some reason, no one else found this auction and most stopped in 4H, making 4 or 5, depending on if they found the J of Hearts or not. We lost 9 IMPS on the board, which seemed fairly generous, but BBO results can be quite random at times.

Oh well, such are the fun parts of playing on BBO, at least it generates stories to tell :)

Happy New Year to All

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Playing High Stakes Poker at Bridge

I was playing some bridge on BBO in a pick up team game on Christmas Day after breakfast and opening some presents. Our partners at the other table showed they were into the Christmas Spirit, or that could be said Spirit's. Someone on this board was going to get a great result.

Here is the hand at our partners table

As can be seen, there are a lot of IMPS available both directions on this. The opening lead was the J of Hearts, and after thinking about this a min, W played low. N now proceeded to take all 13 tricks in 3N XX, for +2600. If W goes up with the A of Hearts and plays the Q of Spades, then the result is -2200, so a swing of 4800 on the play to the first 2 tricks.

This did not totally decide the match, there were lots of other fun swings, but this was the largest :)

Happy holidays to all

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crazy Opps

Playing MP’s in a local game, you run into some opps that decide high level tough decisions will work in their favour. You pick up AKJ8764  K4  A  AKJ with no one Vul, playing MP’s. Your RHO deals and Passes, and you open 2C. Your LHO bids 3H (Pre-Emptive), partner bids 4D, natural positive, and RHO bids 5H. What now?

There are several options and problems on this hand. First, a Pass should be forcing, since you are in a completely Game Forcing auction and partner showed values, but you do not have Diamonds. 5S is quite an underbid, but might be the last place you can make if partner only has Diamonds. 6D might be right, but your K Hearts will be led through, and it is MP’s, not IMPS, giving up on Spades is quite a position to take. Perhaps the best effort to get the strength of your hand across, is to Pass, and then over whatever partner bids, trot out a Spade bid, on the theory that a Pass and Pull is the strongest action you can take. But will partner bid 7 of something expecting you to have all the first round controls later? Don’t you just hate when the pre-emptors pick the right time to play with your auction.

At the table, the person holding this hand bid 5S, and their partner raised that to 6S. I really think that their partner should have bid 6H, looking for 7, which this hand would accept, since the other hand was Q9532  ---  KQJ8752  6.

I was the person that bid 5H, and I guess that 6H would have been more effective, since that makes it really difficult to get to 7S. I think over 5H, they should have gotten there at our table. Although the pass and pull strategy over 6H might get you to 7S, it is tough for the 4D hand to want to bid 7 as a guess at this point, and what do you do if partner bids 6S, which they might do on this hand? Finally, 6H only goes for sticks and wheels (-1100) if they decide to stop and double it, so we would get to find out who was able to get to the grand.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Slip of the Wrist

Playing in the A/X Swiss on the last day of the Seattle NABC, you pick up this nice assortment with All Vul. AQ63 Q854 6 AK62. You are actually playing an 11-15 HCP Roman 2D, so this hand, while at the top end, does qualify.

Partner bids 2N asking for your shortness, and you bid 3C, showing Diamond shortness. Partner now bids 4D over that, not something you have talked about. You bid 4H, and partner now bids 4N, RKC. You bid 5S, 2 with the Q, and partner signs off in 6H, which you pass. The opening lead is the 5 of Clubs (3rd and 5th) and you see this hand.

K854  AKJT  A73  Q8

AQ63  Q854  6  AK62

Looks like a pretty nice Grand to be in, oh well. Not paying a lot of attention to the board, you win the Q of Clubs in dummy, and lead the A and K of Hearts out. Everyone follows to the first round, and RHO pitches a high Diamond on the 2nd. You cash the third Heart on Dummy, cross to the A of Clubs, and ruff a Club on dummy, while LHO sheds a small Spade. Now you cross to the A of Spades to pull the last trump and claim, except that LHO goes and ruffs the A of Spades with the last trump, and you realize too late that there is a real problem. You still have a Spade loser to go with the ruff, and you are going down in 6, when you were cold for 7 Spades if you ruffed Diamonds.

This happened to our opponent on Sunday, he had to apologize to his partner for the hand. When our partners bid 7H on the hand, and played for the 2 Diamond ruffs, we wound up getting to the 20 IMP area of the scale, something you do not see too often.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Some Seattle Hands

Have some interesting and sometimes amusing hands to report from Seattle and the Wonderful NABC’s there. It was my first time in Seattle, and the city, hospitality, and bridge were absolutely great.

My partners favorite hand did not really start out that way, in fact, it started out looking like the biggest disaster of the week. Playing IMPS, Vul vs Not, in the A/X Swiss on the final day, she picked up 63 875 8642 Q983 and decided to pass in first seat for some reason. Her LHO, one of the higher MP holders in the ACBL, opened 1D and of course I was in there with a Double, just what she wanted to hear. Her RHO came to the rescue with 1S, so she passed again and LHO went 1N. Not being done, I Doubled again, and over RHO’s Pass, she admitted to her Clubs with 2C. This now went P, P to a Double on her right, and that ended the auction. The opening lead was the K of Clubs, not something she wanted to see with her balanced nothing, until dummy came down with A42 AKT6 A3 AT54. Her LHO had made a good lead based on the auction and the expected trump holding in his partners hand, but his partner had made a very speculative Double based on expecting my hand to be far weaker. The hand now played out very well and partner made 4 for a nice +580. Since we are not shy on bidding, and partner had passed over the first Double, I think I need a really good hand to take the unilateral action of a second Double like I did. Perhaps not quite this nice, but pretty close.

The next hand was another high level blink first auction. Vul vs Not, I held Q98 KJ873 A62 J8 and heard the auction go Pass by me, 3N (65 in the minors) on my left, Double (Cards, not majors) by partner, and 5D on my right. We have a method of showing 1 or both majors of varying lengths over a 3N bid like this, so the Double was just values, but it still left me with a problem. I finally decided to bid 5H here, and that ended the auction.

The opening lead was the 6 of Diamonds, and this dummy came down, creating an interesting play problem, KT43  AQT  ---  AT9765. So of course the minors are now known to a card, but the majors are still up in the air. At least LHO did not lead a black card, which probably kills this before it starts. It looks like I need the AJ of Spades on my right, with the 5/6 card holding, and Hearts no worse than 4-1. And actually, the 4-1 is better than the 3-2, since that would leave LHO 0265, something I am not sure I can handle. So playing LHO for the 1165 hand, I ruffed the Diamond with the 10 of Hearts, cashed the A of Hearts, all following low, and led a little Spade off board, putting in the 9 when RHO played low. When LHO played a low Spade on this, the hand was counted out. I now ruffed a small Diamond with the Q of Hearts, and led another Spade off board, RHO winning with the A as LHO pitched a Diamond. RHO now led a Diamond to my A and I was in. RHO is known to be 5440, and has a Heart trick coming.

I now have to admit to a complete blind spot on the hand. I had done all the heavy lifting already and the hand had gotten easy, so I decided to outthink it. The easy play that I decided to miss at the table for some reason, is to cash the Q of Spades, play 3 rounds of Hearts, throwing RHO in with her Heart winner, then claim, as the A of Clubs and K of Spades take care of my Club loser. I decided to fixate on the Club suit, and that I had to sneak a Club by LHO for some reason, so I led a little Club right now, planning to play low if LHO did. This was of course punished with the Q of Clubs, like it should be, and I wound up 1 down on a hand that I had gotten right, sigh. Fortunately, we had done a lot right on this round, so it only cost 1 VP in the match, but it was extremely annoying to get an ending like that wrong by watching cows drift by in the air.

The next hand was from the final day of the Mini-Blue Ribbons. Playing in Western Canada, it is easy to not have many MP’s, so we can sneak into these restricted events for quite a while. My partner picked up T3 A2 Q654 AKQ86 and bid 2C over a 1H bid on her right. This bought the auction, since LHO had been looking for a TO Double that he could pass. The opening lead was a Heart, cutting losses in that suit to 0 when I held QJxx in an entry less dummy, the defense slipped another couple of tricks, and partner wound up making 2C even though there were 5 to the JT behind her. This was against the eventual event winners, and at the time, we chalked it up as a good score, since 2C goes down all the time on any reasonable defense. When we looked after the round, it was one of the results that changed what we thought had been a good round into something below average, we scored 8 on a 25 top. Turns out that opener did reopen with a Double at most tables, and my hand ran to 2S. We had not looked at that, and how well 2S plays with the Club pitches (I had a Club Void and 6 little Spades), so most people were scoring +110 or +140 against our +90.

The last hand to report on is more because of an ethical dilemma I wound up with. All Vul, IMPS, I held 86 AK4 AK987 J63 and overcalled a 1C opener by RHO with 1D. This went Pass on my left, and partner bid 2D. We play transfers at the 2 level in a competitive auction, so this should show Hearts, which I alerted and explained to the opps. RHO now went 2H TO, and I Doubled this to show Hearts. This went around to partner who bid 3D, showing a relatively weak hand. It also worried me that she had forgotten the transfer, and made an automatic Diamond raise. When 3D was passed to me, I was not sure I could pass, so I wound up bidding 3H. When partner had forgotten the transfer, we were down 2 in 3H, where 3D would have made. Talking about it with 2 directors after, 1 said I should bid 3H, the other thought it was OK to Pass. I was not sure if my Double of 2H showed enough or not, and if I can Pass 3D or not? I was pretty sure that 3D was where we should play this, but it did not take that much from partner to have play for game in Hearts, xxx Qxxxx Qxxx x for example, and that is sub-min for the 2D bid, since it is above my suit.

A Tough Couple of Play Problems From Seattle

Have a couple of very nasty play problems from Seattle. Both are IMPS and both occurred on the 2nd day of the NA Swiss.

The first, everyone is Vul, You are South, the 2 hands are

4  ---  AQJ865  J98643

AKT53  J65  4  KQT7

The Auction:

N         E         S         W
-           1H       1S       2D(1)
DBL    4H       P         P
4N       P         5C       P
P         5H       P         P
6C       DBL    P         P        

1 – Constructive or better raise of Hearts

The opening lead is the 10 of Hearts, plan the play

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The second hand, No One VUL, You are South, the 2 hands are

KT73  AQT  ---  AT9842

Q98  KJ873  A62  J6

The Auction:

N         E         S         W
-           -           P         3N(1)
DBL(2) 5D     5H       P
P         P

1 – 65 in Minors, 5-8 HCP
2 – Values, not majors, more penalty oriented

The opening lead is the Q of Diamonds, plan the play

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Hand 1


Q87                             J962
T742                           AKQ983
KT973                         2
5                                  A2


This hand is fairly complex on a Heart lead, tapping dummy. There are 2 major lines, the first is to ruff out the Diamonds from board, and the 2nd is to come to hand, and start with the Diamond hook. A third variation on this is to plan to ruff 3 Hearts and 2 Spades on Dummy, but hand entries are a little thin for this.

The first line is clearly better, since it works anytime the Diamonds are no worse than 4-2, or if the Diamond K is on your right. It just happens to fail on this hand, since the 12th trick is hard to come to.

Declarer at the table took line 1, but got some help when the East hand tried to ruff the 2nd Diamond, and the hand became simple. If East pitches on the 2nd Diamond, it is hard to imagine where trick 12 can come from, due to the small Club in Easts hand.

Hand 2


6                                  AJ542
4                                  9652
QJ9854                       KT73
KQ753                         ---


This hand revolves around getting the majors in the 2 hands correct. The opening lead was friendly, as on a Black suit lead, the hand can not be made, it sets up a 3rd loser immediately. On the actual Diamond lead, you need to ruff on dummy, cash 1 Heart, then lead a Spade to the 9. When this holds, you can now ruff a 2nd small Diamond with the Q of Hearts, and lead a 2nd small Spade off board. This allows you to set up the K of Spades for the discard for the small Club. The last part that you have to watch for, is to protect the A of Clubs by giving up the Heart trick to East after winning you’re A of Diamonds.

On this hand, with AKQJT of Hearts, the best way to make the hand is to set up a Heart Loser.