Join Bridge Winners
Duke of Yarborough (Part 1)
(Page of 6)

The title refers to Colin Ward's character from Punkydoodle Corner (which some of you may recognize). Last Friday at the weekly club game, I sat South and picked up a total of 204 HCP over 27 boards, coming to an average of 7.56 HCP.

Unfortunately there were not so many play problems of note in this first half. However, I hope you will enjoy the bidding challenges.

Although unfamiliar to the BW audience, you and everyone at the club plays Acol, that is weak NT and 4-card majors. Partner is a competent player.You play standard carding; the opponents do whatever they like. No one has a convention card.

Bd 1. 3 HCP. 3rd seat none Vul.

A new player who is visiting the club for the first time, from a nearby town, is sitting West.

South
10742
Q843
75
J96
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
2NT
P
?

2 is a transfer to hearts.

2NT shows both minors. Your choice?

West
KQ8
KJ1062
82
AK4
North
93
7
KQJ103
Q10532
East
AJ65
A95
A964
87
South
10742
Q843
75
J96
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
2NT
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

Well I wasn't doubled yet, and so I decided to pass and try to let the opponents make a mistake. I felt a little bad for LHO declaring all of 3, but not too bad -- my lack of warm fuzziness is well known. We managed to take two tricks on defense, so not being in game made little difference for the opponents.

Bd 4. 3 HCP. 4th seat all Vul.

South
J102
10762
65
Q985
W
N
E
S
1NT
X
P
?

Defending against the weak NT, folks around here will double on a good 14 HCP. Your poison? Stick with it.

I looked up briefly at my opponents, and decided to pass. LHO duly pulled to 2, passed back around to you. You play a forcing pass through 2 (you alert partner's pass; no one enquires). Double is takeout (cards in the passout seat). What's your call?

Yes your partner might be holdinga really big hand, but I wouldn't bet on it. The key is to believe RHO's pass of the initial double.

West
864
AJ5
AJ873
K10
North
A973
KQ93
KQ2
J7
East
KQ5
84
1094
A6432
South
J102
10762
65
Q985
W
N
E
S
1NT
X
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

I think I was "forced" to pass (the forcing pass) because I didn't have anywhere close to the values to pass the initial double. Defending 2 X would not have been a success, although I suppose if partner corrects to 2, that has some play.

On the very next board, I picked up QJ10 1084 10432 962 and saw my partner open 1NT [12-14] at unfavorable vulnerability. He was duly doubled, but the remaining opponent (this time, righty) pulled again. One table scored up -1400.

Bd 6. 1 HCP. 2nd seat favorable.

West
A982
52
AKQ5
1086
North
J107
AJ6
73
AK954
East
KQ54
KQ93
J42
Q3
South
63
10874
10986
J72
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0

Against the unfathomable 1NT - 3NT auction, I led the 10. 4 looks to be a fine contract, although North may try to muddy the waters by dropping the J or 10. In 3NT however, declarer cashed some diamonds and led a heart up. Partner rose ace and led a club - low - Jack. I took a trick! Down 2.

One approach, in this type of "have 8 tricks; need 9" contract, isto try to sneak a trick immediately (in this example, rise diamond ace and play a heart). This seems to work against me, when I am dozing. The other approach is to cash your 8-top tricks, which may execute a legitimate (or pseudo-) guard squeeze.

With Qx opposite 10xx, I think declarer was right to just play for the jack onside, instead of rising queen. Then again, how could I possibly have three-plus HCP when I might have only been dealt one!

Bd7. 3 HCP. Dealer all Vul.

Do you open the bidding with --- 103 QJ109762 10753? Well you have multiple opportunities on this deal to exhibit your bravery (or cowardice).

South
103
QJ109762
10753
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
2
P
2
P
4
?

I was not sure 2 would have been interpreted as natural over 2 (I sure hope so) and so got to make my decision at the five level. The best call that a friend came up with is a Lebensohl-relay to 3, and then 3 to play, hopefully pre-empting the opponents out of their spade fit.

Passing 2 was a loser, for the hand was:

West
KQ765
Q742
K8
86
North
8432
K865
A54
KQ
East
AJ109
AJ9
3
AJ942
South
103
QJ109762
10753
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1N
2
P
2
P
4
5
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

At the club, it is irrelevant that 4 is relatively straightforward: playing to set up clubs by high ruffs, and taking a heart finesse (leading the queen would result in an overtrick when the 103 doubleton is crushed). I escaped for -1 (ace-cashing defense) but still a deserved bad board.

Bd 8. 12 HCP. 4th seat none Vul.

Somewhat out of form, I picked up an opening hand.

North
AQJ4
K63
A94
K97
South
9832
A1052
Q6
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

  • 1 was 4+
  • 2NT was 4+ limit+ values
  • 3NT was undiscussed, presumably extras with no shortness.

Partner intended 3NT to be forcing, you learn later, but you judged your hand as good for a matchpoint 3NT. You assumed 3NT was descriptive of a 4333-type strong notrump. It's a coincidence that partner had what you expected.

Including this deal, you managed to only declare 5/27 boards -- this in the context of a club game where you (well partner mostly) are usually a successful hand-hog.

Anyhow you receive the 6 lead. What's your plan?

North
AQJ4
K63
A94
K97
South
9832
A1052
Q6
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

You have two spades, two hearts, a diamond, and three clubs. If spades are 1-4, then you may indeed be better off in notrumps than in spades if something good happens in hearts. You have also managed to protect the diamond suit (part of why you chose to be declarer). You can try a heart to your 10, and if hearts fail to be 3-3, you can resort to the diamond finesse. You can also try to cash some clubs and endplay RHO in spades, although that seems risky.

That was not the hand.

See, at the club, it'salways fourth-best -- and the rule-of-11 works.

West
K1076
84
J103
J1053
North
AQJ4
K63
A94
K97
East
5
QJ97
K8752
842
South
9832
A1052
Q6
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The J held! I led a heart to my 10, which also held!

Eventually I was pleased that 3NT was indeed better than 4.

To be continued ...

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