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Hits and Misses
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Having played 90 boards of 140 board round robin and 120 boards of 128 board K/O, there was quite a lot of stuff for post mortem. Following contains some more or less interesting situations; some of them I got right and some of them wrong. In many of the cases right or wrong is simply based on the actual result; variance makes some good choices bad and some bad choices good.

This is the first hand of the round robin:

West
A1096532
4
743
KJ
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
4
P
5
P
?

Based on partnership experience, partner has shown a good hand with K singleton, because based on the same partnership experience, I would have jumped to 4 over 2NT with most/all my strength in spades.

The most likely scenario is that there is one spade loser and the defense can bare another with the opening lead. Then it's all about getting the discards in time and survive with one trump loser. I estimated that the slam is close to 50%; our partnership philosophy is to prefer 480 to -50 so I passed.

Opening lead was J and dummy displayed:

West
A1096532
4
743
KJ
East
K
AK103
AQ5
AQ1073
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
3
P
3N
P
4
P
5
P
P
P

I went up with the A and South dropped the K. I could have made 6 by playing South to have 4-4-1-4; however, I played two top trumps and South made two trump tricks with QJxx.

The slam was little bit over 50% from my hand and would have been a great deal better from partner's hand. The other table had gone down in 6 and we sort of luckboxed 11 IMP.

Two boards later I got another high or low decision:

West
AQ10
K76
105
AJ763
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
?

Partner's maximum is about 10 hcp. On a good day he might have A and KQ giving us 8 top tricks after lead. We are vulnerable and if there is 8, then there is often 9. However, the best case scenario is to have 8 and the obvious finesse for the 9th seems to be wrong. I decided to go low and passed. Partner produced the following for a 6 IMP swing to us:

West
AQ10
K76
105
AJ763
East
952
Q
A984
Q10854
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P

The next hand (from match 5) is a declarer problem my partner had (rotated). What would be your plan after West leads the J?

North
Q1082
A3
K1083
AQ3
South
AJ976
1074
QJ4
104
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

My partner had the following thoughts: J seems to be from a doubleton marking East with six hearts. In addition, vulnerable East is likely to have the K. If I take a losing finesse and a club comes through, there are four losers. However, if I can set up diamonds in time, I can discard a club. So he played Q to the A and continued with the Q. The full hand was:

West
K43
J8
A9752
J74
North
Q1082
A3
K1083
AQ3
East
5
KQ9652
6
K9852
South
AJ976
1074
QJ4
104
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The following lead problem is also from match 5. What would you lead from:

South
93
K9
Q854
Q8764
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

Partner is unlikely to double 4 for lead irrespective of his hand. However, partner could have doubled 4 but did not. I pictured a hand where West had top black cards and East had the diamond control. It seemed like a good idea to hope for K from partner and I decided to attack with the 5. Disaster!

West
AQJ76
J76
AJ106
4
North
K852
83
732
J932
East
74
AQ10542
K9
AK10
South
93
K9
Q854
Q8764
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

However, at the other table my former team mate was facing a similar auction and drew the similar conclusions to also lead 5 for a flat board.

From match 6 the following lead problem seemed like some kind of a déjà vu.

West
Q543
K42
104
Q1074
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

Partner did not double 4. Diamonds are probably running so maybe partner could contribute K. I decided to lead 4 and was happy to see partner to produce the K (instead of T) when 8 was played from dummy's J98. The full hand:

West
Q543
K42
104
Q1074
North
J98
J63
AKJ72
AJ
East
K762
108
865
9852
South
A10
AQ975
Q93
K63
W
N
E
S
 
P
1N
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The following hand is a bidding problem from the early stages of the K/O.

South
KJ532
K
3
KQ10864
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
P
P
?

Partner could have bid with maximum (we play "strong" 12-14 NT, so partner's maximum is not balanced). My choices are:

  • Pass (not reasonable, as we might make a slam and they might make 2)
  • Double (risky: they might make if partner passes for penalties; what should I do if partner bids 3?)
  • 2 (looks insane with this hand, but partner might make a move and at least we would be at 2 level)
  • 3 (this would be forcing to game facing a potential 9 count)

Note that partner's most likely hand is 9-11 balanced/quasibalanced with a doubleton/singleton spade. We also open 1 with 44 in the red suits, so a likely scenario is that partner is 2-4-5-2 or 1-4-5-3.

Against the most probable hands, we are unlikely to make a game. I decided to bid 2 with the intent to somehow scramble 8 tricks or more with the option that partner makes a move. This was a real disaster:

North
7654
AQJ62
A752
South
KJ532
K
3
KQ10864
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
P
P
2
P
P
P

I managed to scramble 7 tricks. At the other table the opponents bid up to 5X for 950.

I still don't know what would be the percentage action with my hand in the auction context. By bidding 3 we would (most likely) locate the proper trump suit; however, we might get way too high. Maybe I should have bid 3 and then over partner's potential 3 gamble 3NT and run to 4 if opponents start showing red cards?

However, a typical hand for partner is xx Qxxx AQxxx Jx.

In the middle of the K/O, I got the following bidding problem:

South
AKJ43
A93
9854
5
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
4
X
P
P
XX
P
4NT
P
5
P
5
P
6
P
?

We are happy to splinter with a good minimum hand containing void so partner can be pretty weak.

However, even Qxxx KQxxx - Axxx makes grand a reasonable contract. Based on this I decided to bid 7. Partner produced:

North
Q9865
KJ8764
A6
South
AKJ43
A93
9854
5
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
4
X
P
P
XX
P
4NT
P
5
P
5
P
6
P
7
P
P
P

I drew trumps, ruffed a club and a two diamonds. When West showed up with 2 spades, all pointed to the direction that East had 3 hearts. I led 3 from hand towards dummy's KJ8 and decided to finesse on the way back in case West follows with the T. I was happy to see Q instead of T.

Our opponents helped us a lot in the bidding and we were able to see that grand might be a good bet with our maximum of 26 hcp (and in reality 22). East clearly indicated the X as a suggestion to bid on and West should have bid 5 over my pass. We would have been on a much more shaky ground after that and EW might have been able to play in 7X (or 7X). As a side note, we gained 17 IMPs on the hand because at the other table NS missed their 22 hcp slam. I had bet 26 IMPs against 4 that the hearts run in grand!.

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