Join Bridge Winners
Anatomy of a 97% game
(Page of 10)

Fellow Bridgewinner Jim Munday scorched the field with a 97% game in the 2nd round of the practice individual. His total was 96.88% but I hope no one minds if I round up a little.  

Before I go over the hands, let's take a quiz. What is your call on the following: 

 

Numbered by board: 

1. Dealer, w/w Jxx AJ AJT8 KQJx. 

3. Dealer, w/r K92 AT984 82 A52

4. Partner is in 2nd seat (r/r) and opens 1. RHO passes and you hold: AKQ2 A2 863 AQ62. 

5. 3rd seat, r/w: AQ92 7 AQ76 AT93

6. 2nd seat, w/r: AK972 8 QT9x A94. You open 1 in 2nd, pass, 2 by partner, pass. You pass (would you?) and LHO balances with 3. Partner takes the push to 3. Are you satisfied? 

7. Dealer, r/r: J42 K3 KQJT76 K6

Hand 1

Looks like a completely normal 1N opening even to the uber-aggro. Our protagonist opened 2N, got raised to 3 and bought: 

North
A10
987x
Q9x
xxxx
South
Jxx
AJ
AJ108
KQJx

It's a weird layout. LHO has Kxxx, KTxxx, xx, xx, so 3N on the combined 23 was frigid. Note: When he knocked out the A, East shifted to a spade which gave him 10. 

+430 was unsurprisingly a 100% board. 

Hand 2

North
KJ874
Q32
J8
KQ6
South
Q62
A5
AK965
J72
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
?

Fairly normal upgrade into 1N and normal preference to 4. The lead was the 3 from A9x T64 32 T98xx. LHO won the spade from Axx, continued diamonds. Jim ruffed a diamond and was able to pitch two hearts off the established diamonds. After knocking out the A, he made 11. 

In a national field, I would expect this board to be around 70%. In an Instant Tournament, I'd expect closer to 80%. Today it was 100%. The traveler looked like:

 

 +650 - 1 (100%)

+630 - 1 (91.67%)

+600 - 1 (83.33%)

-100  - 3 (4 by North) (66.67%)

-200  - 1 (3 by North) (25%)

-200 - 2 (4 by North) (25%)

-200 - 2 (3N by South) (25%)

3N is in jeopardy on a heart lead from KJ987 (you cannot see the other movies in this format BTW). Spades plays worse from the North side as East can get a club ruff by starting with Ax. 

Hand 3

What was your opening call? Many I am sure would pass, but 1 looks totally normal in today's game. 

Our hero tried 1N: 

North
Q75
K7
K3
K97643
South
K92
A10984
82
A52
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
3NT
?

LHO's one suiter was ATx xx AJTxxx JT and led a normal J. With clubs 2-2, 9 tricks came home. No one else bid game - 6(!) of the club partials scored 11 tricks which you would think would be a great score, but not today. 

After three boards, Jim is rolling a 300. Can he keep it up?  

Hand 4

Jim bid a diversionary 2, which looks like a good choice. There was a time when GIB would overrule your signoff (presumably 6N) and put you in a hopeless grand, but that seems to have been hard-coded out of existence. This time the bid didn't matter: 

North
J8
K8543
AK92
K5
South
AKQ2
A2
863
AQ62
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
6NT
?

LHO was 4=3=3=3 so ducking either red suit early leads to 12 tricks. Jim ducked diamond and tried for a red suit squeeze along the way. 

This time, he 'only' scored 75%. The perfect game was not to be. Poor Jim. 

Hand 5

If you opened 1 or 1, your imagination is lacking!. Since 2N worked so well on Board 1, Jim tried it again!

Partner Stayman'd and invited with 4N. Showing a rare moment of discretion, Jim declined the invite. Here is the whole hand: 

West
K76
QJ10843
3
J42
North
85
AK95
J108
K876
East
J1043
62
K9542
Q5
South
AQ92
7
AQ76
A1093
W
N
E
S
P
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
4NT
?
D

West led a heart. He won in dummy and played J, holding, then T covered. 

Now he tried A, T. West COVERED (I mean, what does it matter - declarer is marked with the Q right?) and the clubs crashed. 

He double hooked spades (East didn't cover), and took 3 + 2 + 3's + 4. Note he only took three diamonds - I cannot tell if Jim forgot about marked finesse or went for style points by squeezing East out of his diamond 'guard'. 

+690 was 100%

Maybe he should have accepted the invite!

Hand 6

Apparently Jim was out of 1N openings because he chose a prosaic 1. Personally with a nice side suit and 6 losers, I would make a game try at IMPs and don't hate it at MPs but he floated it. However, when partner called the 3 bet, he rammed it into game: 

North
J1084
J1075
8
QJ86
South
AK972
8
Q1092
A94
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
P
3
3
P
4
?

LHO was: x Q9xxx AKxx Kxx. A high diamond was led, followed by a trump shift, winning on the board. He tried a high heart, but RHO won and played the Q. Now, ruff a diamond, Q. LHO chose to win and the hand was over. if LHO smartly ducks, he cannot make. 

+420 was 100%. 

Hand 7

The caddy returned with a new bidding box and he returned to his old form and opened 1N.

Things got pretty wild: 

West
K86
10
A984
AQ873
North
A109
Q965
3
J10942
East
Q753
AJ8742
52
5
South
J42
K3
KQJ1076
K6
D

W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
2
2
X
2
P
2NT
3
X
3
P
P
X
?

I have no idea why East doesn't saw off 2 here. It might not have been such a happy ending. 

+500 was 100%

Hand 8

West
653
72
7532
K1072
North
QJ107
A84
984
A83
East
9
J109653
QJ106
J6
South
AK842
KQ
AK
Q954
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
6NT
?
D

A fairly normal auction to a good matchpoint slam. Barring some endplays, 6N has approximately the same chances as 6. I like the 3N call with over half his points in short suits. 

The lead was the Q (played by North remember). He unblocked hearts and played two spades (East shedding a / West playing 3-6 in order)and led a club toward the board. When East didn't hop, he inserted the 9, opting for the intrafinesse instead of the club up. When West played a club back, the hand was over, but some nice card reading by Jim. 

Why did he get the club right? My personal theory is that GIB plays UD Suit preference, and the 6 might be a clue. Or, he might have thought GIB would have hopped from any King holding. 

+990 was 100%

Conclusion: 

There was serious operating going on here with opening 2N on 1 and 5 and opening 1N on 3. Opening 1N on 2 and 7 don't feel quite as egregious. The 2 call on 4 isn't quite risk-free but its close. The rest was a combination of good judgment, sound card play and card reading. The number of gifts he received was countless, and he had the benefit of few comparisons on some fairly routine boards. But this was hardly down-the-middle bridge and looks extremely high variance to me.  

Out of 1,302 players, Jim leads the even with an 86.57% average. The top 5:

2. Leftfoot  - 77.08% 

3. Benellis58 - 73.82%

4. fwxc - 73.27%

5. Jlall - 72.98%

and your humble correspondent is in 6th with 72.36%. 

Final words: While the "over 75%" estimates on my Winning Score poll might have the last laugh, remember that we have only played 16 boards. Jim will not end up with 86% today and in the big event, we play 4 sessions of 24. so I am sticking with my 72% estimate. 

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