Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Trouble with Pre-Empts

Playing IMPS at our weekly game, you pick up the following hand that would go well in a Master Solver's problem. Vul vs Not at IMPS, you hold A75 QJT7 J53 A83 and hear it go 3D on your left, Double by partner, 5D on your right, so now what?

I would love to make some kind of invitational bid, but partner is not going to interpret 5H as forward going, I think this is all up to you. Are you going on to slam, or are you bidding 5H. I do not think too much else other than perhaps Double enter the picture.

 On the plus side for the 6 level, partner made a Vul Double at the 3 level, so should have a decent hand, and there is a good possibility that partner is void in Diamonds, the opps have shown a lot of them. On the minus side, any tenaces that you need to pick up through partners hand are not likely to be working, and partner may have stretched a little for the double, since he is short if not void in Diamonds.

I think it is around 50-50 whether you go on, and partnership style probably plays a lot to do with it, along with perhaps state of the match. In a grinding match, you want to take your probable plus and go for 5H or Double, in a swingy match, or if you feel you are down, lean a little more towards the 6 level.

At the table, I opted for 6H, which was not a success when partner put down the wrong good hand, KQxx Kxxx x KQJx. I like the TO double, but RHO put the pressure on when she bid 5D with a balanced hand and the KQ tight of Diamonds. But that is what Bridge is all about, pressure, and it worked this time. Have to see about next time :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Diamond Madness

Helping some friends practice for the CNTC Playdowns at the end of the month, had 2 very interesting slam hands come up involving Diamonds as the central theme. You are playing IMPS on both hands.

On the first, you pick up 4 AQ74 KJ87 T853 with everyone Vul and Pass in first seat. The opps are silent throughout and you bid a forcing NT over partners 3rd seat 1S opener. Partner now makes your hand better by jump shifting to 3D. So how do you plan to catch up in the auction now?

This hand bid 3H, planning on a delayed raise in Diamonds, but partner KO’d that idea by bidding 4H. This hand now bid 5D, and over partners 6C cue-bid, settled in 6D, the final contract. In the discussion afterward, it mainly centered around should this hand start with a Diamond raise to 4D, or show where the values are to start, and if so, how to catch up, since 5D can be a lot weaker hand. My suggestion that the person holding this hand liked, was to start with 3H, but then over 4H, show the strength and primary Diamond support by jumping to 6D, not 5D. After all, your hand has gotten awfully good on this auction, with partner virtually guaranteeing short Clubs.

This would have made it relatively easy for the other hand to raise to 7D on AKQ75 KT3 AQT64 ---. Since hearing that partner has a good hand with Diamonds and cards in Hearts is exactly what it needs.

The next hand, with everyone Vul, you pick up A943 K7 KQT8752 --- and hear it go Pass on your left, 1S by partner, Pass on your right. You make a 2/1 2D bid, and it goes 3C on your left, 4C by partner, 5C on your right, what now?

At the table, my partner bid 6C with this hand, showing the first round control and seeing where partner was going. I bid 6D, confirming that my 4C cue-bid was for Diamonds, and partner decided that I pretty well had to have the required cards on this hand to carry on to 7. Not sure if the interference propelled us to the grand, since there was a pretty good chance we were going there anyways on this hand when I showed a good hand in support of Diamonds.

This was not a play problem as I put down KQJ75 AT94 A43 T. I also liked the fact that partner played the grand in Diamonds instead of Spades. We have at least a 10 card Diamond fit, so the chances of a ruff on the opening lead are higher in Diamonds than in Spades, our probable 9 card fit.