Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Bit of a Pushy Game

When you are playing with an exhuberant partner, many interesting things can happen, especially if you are not shy yourself. This hand came up last night at our IMPS League, playing against a young but good team. I held 653  K86432  6  K97 with everyone vul. Partner opened 1D in first seat and RHO bid 2C. I decided that I wasn't missing much unless partner bid again, and I didn't like coming in with a bad suit and effective 3 count.

This went P on my left, and partner re-opened with a double. This can quite often be a strong NT, since we play a weak NT system. RHO passed, and I decided I now liked my hand, so jumped to 4H, ending the auction. The opening lead was the A of Clubs, and a somewhat dissapointing dummy came down.

Partner was certainly feeling as energetic as I was on this board, but we are here and at least the Club lead was helpful. If the A of Spades is onside, there is not that much to worry about with this aggresive game. Just not sure it is when the A and another Club get led, and LHO could not take a call.

First order of business is to win the second Club, and play a Heart to the A and another to the K. RHO started with the stiff J, and pitched a Club on the 2nd Heart. Now, ruff a Club to board to eliminate that suit as LHO sheds a Spade, then off board with a small Diamond, since I do not have the spot cards to lead up to it. RHO wins the J of Diamonds, then thinks for a minute and returns the A of Diamonds. I ruff this and play a Spade to the K and RHO's A, then win the J of Spades return on board. Play the Q of Diamonds, ruff the K when it appears, Heart to board for a Spade pitch on the 10 of Diamonds, and claim 10 tricks.

As I told RHO later, he probably needs to count out my hand and realize that the J of Spades out when in with the J of Diamonds destroys my communication, and can not really cost. Anyways, they did not find this bid at the other table, so that became a 10 IMP pickup, instead of a 6 IMP loss. Partner said after the hand he thought I must be waiting with a penalty pass for a reopening double, so wanted to oblige me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Routine 24 Imp Swing

Had a truly wild hand this week in a practice match on BBO. Our opps at our table did really well to score the max possible on the hand, or so we thought. Turns out our partners at the other table had us totally covered, even if we got a magic plus score, we were not going to cover their score :)

Here is the hand from our table

My partner was a bit exuberant with the S hand, yes, E overcalled 1D not 1H, we assume it was a mis-click, but he did not ask for an undo. The negative double deserved to have me jump in Hearts, but the opps did. It served to get us to Spades.

When E pulled the double of 4S (which was going to be hard to make but had some chances if guess most things right) to 5H, and his partner re-doubled, the play was not very exciting. We were quickly minus 1200 on the board, and did not figure this could be good. Little did we know.

Here is the other table however :)

The auction needs a little explanation, 2D was multi, usually a weak 2 in a major, 3C showed an overcall in Clubs, limited, and E thought the opps could make anything they wanted, so he jumped to 6H, which he thought was pass or correct. We were still losing a bunch of IMPS on this, but when it came back to him Doubled, he thought partner had decided it was to play, not pass or correct, so he decided to make his own correction, assuming partner would now put him in their suit. W decided he had made his choice, and he had the Q of Spades, so since it sounded like partner was walking the dog, he sat the Double, as did E. The hand did not play well in 6S Doubled. I think they can hold it to 2 tricks, but holding it to 3 worked out well.

The +1200 at one table and +2900 at the other works out to 24 IMPS, not a record, but a healthy portion of one. We managed to win on the other boards, but that proved a little difficult to overcome.

At least everyone had a good laugh.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More Fun Slam Hands

Had 2 more interesting slam hands this week. The first occurred at our weekly IMPS League match. I picked up the following hand with everyone VUL, QT97 --- AJ975 Q964 and heard partner open 1D, with RHO overcalling 1H. I wanted to get the Spades in along with the Diamond support, so I made a slightly offshape Fit Jump with 2S. This went Double on my left (alerted as showing a Heart Honour), and 4C by partner. We play most jumps like this as splinters, so that certainly improved my hand. However, even with the announced double fit and lack of quick losers, my hand was still pretty min. RHO doubled 4C, and I cue-bid 4H anyways, since nothing I had heard so far was too bad. LHO doubled this again, and partner bid 4S. RHO passed, and I attempted to sign off in 5D. LHO (who should have probably done this earlier), not bid 5H, and partner bid 5S over that. RHO passed, and with partner bidding freely again, I thought slam should have some play. However, forgetting the golden rule that you need lots of trumps if you are planning a cross-ruff, I bid 6C to allow partner to take a choice. He chose 6S, ending the auction.

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

The opening lead was the K of Hearts and this dummy tracked.

AK73 943 KQT86 10

QT97 --- AJ975 Q964

The good news is I wasn’t down off the top, the bad news is I had a lot of work to do for that 12th trick. Even if I was able to ruff the 3 Hearts in my hand, I was not sure how I was going to get back to dummy to pull trumps, under the assumption that they were 3-2. Finally, deciding I needed some help from the opps on this, I led a Club towards the dummy at trick 2. LHO stepped up with the J of Clubs and obliged by leading a 2nd Heart back for me to ruff. Finally seeing some light, I ruffed this, played a Diamond to board as both followed, ruffed the last Heart, cashed the Q of Spades, ruffed a Club to board, and claimed as the Spades were 3-2.

They could not quite match this at the other table, so we won 12 IMPS. Would have been a lot easier if I had just bid 6D over 5S. That is pretty easy to make. My LHO was not thinking about my problem on defense though. If she just returns almost anything but a Heart after winning the J of Clubs, my timing is shot on the hand, and I am not sure there is much I can do at that point.

The next hand comes from the Sun Aft MP game at our local club. Playing with a regular partner, Vul vs NV opps, I picked up the following nice hand, AKJ42 --- AQ63 AK83, these Heart voids seem a common theme. My RHO started the proceedings with a 3H bid, and I bid 4H, not really wanting partner to pass 3H Doubled when I had no Heart to lead. LHO bid 5H, partner doubled, and P back to me. The Double here should show some values, but not enough to bid over 5H. We did not really play it as pure penalty. So I decided that we should play in a slam, and why should I guess wrong. I bid 5N, and partner converted this to 6D, ending the auction.

The opening lead was the A Hearts, and this is what partner saw.

AKJ42 --- AQ63 AK83

985 K95 KT52 J74

There is hope on the contract, and it looks like 6D is better than 6S, will just have to see if can be made and how it scores. The opening lead was ruffed and the AQ of Diamonds cashed. RHO played the 47 and LHO followed with the 9 before pitching a small Heart. So problems.

Talking about it after, we decided that the best line seemed to be to cash the AK of Spades now. Anytime they were 3-2, the hand was cold. And anytime the Q of Spades came down singleton or doubleton, the hand was cold or making 7. Also, on this line, you could afford to cash the K Hearts to pitch the Club losers, without having to worry.

Partner actually played the last 2 rounds of Diamonds then took the Spade hook, losing to the doubleton Q. Fortunately, that person led a Heart back, so the slam still make. It turns out it was always going to make, since the Q Clubs was also doubleton, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a scary moment or 2 when the Spade hook lost.