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Anita and I drove ninety miles to Montrose, Colorado last Saturday to play in the morning and afternoon stratified open pairs. There were some hands worth discussing, but instead of cluttering up the site with a lot of you hold problems, I will set forth some of the triumphs, and crashes with comments, and pose some problems along the way.. 

On board 3 of the second session I picked up one of the best hands I have held in a long time.

South
AQ6
AK
AKQ10532
A
  A one loser hand with 26 high card points.

I dealt and opened two clubs. The opponents were vulnerable and silent.  Anita bid two diamonds which we play as game forcing. I bid three diamonds, she bid three spades and I bid four no trump. She bid five clubs showing one key card.  We had discussed that the key card ask was in  the last suit bid before the key card ask, and since I was looking at both the ace and king of diamonds, I was pretty sure she was showing the king of spades. I bid seven no trump hoping for a few diamond cards in her hand.  She held

North
KJ43
53
987
KQJ9
and we had 17 tricks.  Probably slightly over average, but a feel good hand anyway.

On board 20, both vul, I held

South
85
A98643
108765
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
?
Probably inspired by reading to many "you hold" problems, I decided that it would be a good idea to get in the bidding. We play that two no trump here shows a distributional two suited hand in the unbid suits and less high card points than double. Maybe I should have more than one face card, but I bid two no trump anyway.  It went three spades on my left, pass by partner and four spades on my right ended the bidding.  We now go to partner and an opening lead problem.  
North
1072
75
Q32
AQ953

What is your opening lead?  When we discussed the hand she said that what she was thinking was which of my suits to lead. She felt that a heart stood out. Maybe she would be able to score a heart ruff. She therefore lead the seven of hearts.   I think this brings up a point that is often overlooked in opening leads and otherwise. You too often focus on what partner holds, not on what he doesn't hold.  Here she thought about the fact that I had ten or eleven red cards but didn't take the next step and focus on the fact that I only had two or three black cards. If you think about that, the lead of the Ace of clubs stands out.  If partner has one or none in the club department, you can give him a ruff.  When I show out on the Ace of clubs, she can give me a ruff, and I can cash the heart ace. Holding them to four is one better than deep finesse, aka deep throat, says we can do, and should have been a good result.  (NB: I had to drive home right away and didn't see the scores.)  

Board 14 was instructional, if not profitable. Here is the board with me South.

West
J974
Q6
AJ632
K4
North
A1063
J1083
Q
QJ32
East
852
A742
K9
A976
South
KQ
K95
108754
1085
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
1
P
2
P
P
?
D

Typical match point nonsense.  East, apparently not Eli Culbertson,  with the best hand at the table decided to pass.  I passed, and west opened a typical third hand one diamond. Anita, who likes to get into people's faces, decided that her distribution called for a double. East contented himself with one heart. I still passed.  West decided that he had a rebidable suit, and bid two diamonds.  It was passed around to me.  What do you do?  You have five diamonds, though not any of the big ones.  Your partner has doubled, and surely has a better hand than RHO who has passed, and showed no enthusiasm when his partner opened the bidding and rebid. I looked at my two kings and a queen and decided that I would double.  It wouldn't be game if they made it. Why should that matter, when it surely would be close to a zero, but you cling to straws.

The title of this piece had to do with what happened next . The jack of hearts was led, and the dummy had two aces and a king; about  what I thought was my partners hand. The heart was ducked to my king. I cashed the king queen of Spades and shifted to a club.  Partner had to have the king for her double, but declarer had to have it for his bidding.  Well he had it, and he played a diamond to the king, scooping up the queen.  I covered the nine of diamonds, but he won the jack, cashed the ace of diamonds and the queen of hearts, went to the dummy with the ace of clubs, cashed the ace of hearts, and had the choice of two suits to elope with the three of diamonds.  Deep finesse says you can make two diamonds, and I believe it. Partner made a takeout double, I took five tricks in my hand, and they still made it.  Who needs to drive ninety miles for this. 

 She took the offensive: "I had ten points and good distribution so I pushed a little". She was driving and I needed a ride home, so I didn't mention that two of those points weren't exactly working, or maybe were working as part of the distribution, so it was closer to an eight point double. I volunteered that I should have passed it out, and we probably were getting a bad board anyway because they stayed low with their 22 high card points.  I knew there was no bus service and what a 90 mile taxi ride would cost.  Part of being a good partner is taking the blame in these situations, especially when you are the passenger.

We actually did scratch at night, and this was one reason. Board 21

West
KJ954
43
106
10875
North
AQ2
AK10
AQ973
K6
East
87
QJ752
KJ4
A94
South
1063
986
852
QJ32
W
N
E
S
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
?
D

Anita opened two clubs, and I bid two hearts, which we play as negative, less than four points and no controls. Over two no trump, I figured I had a maximum for my previous bidding, and if she had the ace king of clubs, I could contribute two tricks.  So if she had 22, and I had 3, we were in the zone.

Deep throat  says NS can make two no trump.  Anita played it well to make five, so I think that probably was a good result. I was dozing while she did it, but I think it involved a heart lead, them going to bed with the ace of clubs, leading diamonds out of her hand and then cashing a lot of them  and a spade finesse.  She kept putting her LHO in with little diamonds, and he kept breaking new suits.  It is a good idea when defending against a strong  two club opener who rebids two no trump, not to keep breaking new suits.

Here is a bidding problem: On board 13 you hold

South
AKQ2
K983
KQ9
K2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
?
I was sitting there, waiting to open two no trump, when partner opened one club.  I bid one heart, and she bid two hearts.  What do you bid now? There are a lot of bids available. I choose a bid I learned on Bridge Winners from Stevo.  I bid two no trump, to find out more about my partners hand. She bid three hearts showing four hearts and a minimum opener.  Now what?  Do you sign off? Partner is not going to co operate in any slam tries, she has done her all in opening the bidding. I decided to move forward and bid four no trump.  She bid five spades showing two controls and the queen of hearts.  I now have to decide between six hearts and six no trump.  I have a brilliant idea.  Since I have all the information, let partner decide and take the blame. I bid five no trump.  Maybe she will pass.  No such luck, she bids six hearts.

Here is the layout

North
J10
AQ65
A4
109873
South
AKQ2
K983
KQ9
K2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
4NT
P
5
P
5NT
P
6
P
P
P

The opening lead was the ten of hearts. It doesn't look too bad, but then it doesn't look too good either.  Am I better off than the people in six no trump. We are both going to have to play up to our king of clubs, but if they are wrong, it will cost them more in most cases, unless hearts are four one, in which case, I am back to playing no trump.   I ask about leads, and am told standard.  I win the queen of hearts, and play the ace.  The opening leader produces the jack.  Standard Rusinow  it appears.  I mention to Brigitta that this LHO doesn't deserve to have the ace of clubs, and it turns out he doesn't so I make six. I am interested to know if this is a good board, or if everyone is in six no trump. If anyone has a link to the results, please post it.  

 

Well, it wasn't a total lost day.  We were fifth over all in the morning and here are a couple of hands of interest from the morning.  On board 29 I held

South
63
QJ6
AKJ108532

Anita opened a spade and I bid three clubs which we play as ten or eleven points and a six card suit.  I had a few more clubs than that, and maybe it wasn't too good a bid, but I didn't know if I should bid two over one with a void in partner's suit and only eleven points. Anita told me that I should bid two clubs, because I wanted to be in game, and that game was five clubs. You don't only have to force to game in partner;s suit or notrump. Somehow, I hadn't thought of it in that way.  Makes sense.  Maybe I should just have bid five clubs.  Anyway I bid three clubs which could have been passed, so it wasn't such a good bid. What would you bid?

Over thee clubs, she bid three hearts and I bid four clubs. She bid four diamonds, and I bid five clubs. She bid five spades and I bid six clubs. Got there in a real scientific way, just kept bidding clubs every chance I got. Anyway six clubs was the final contract.

North
AQJ763
AKQ2
A94
South
63
QJ6
AKJ108532
W
N
E
S
1
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

First bidding question:  Should North open two clubs or one spade . 21 high card points and four losers, so maybe technically not.   Yet, do you want to hear the bidding go one spade, all pass?  Second question.  If you open two clubs, how should the bidding go?  Two clubs. six clubs was one sequence I heard about. There was nothing to the play. I got a diamond lead, won the ace, and threw diamonds on the Ace of spades and the third heart which held up. I then came back to my hand with a diamond ruff and lost the queen of clubs which was fourth on my left.  Six clubs was a 14 out of 16 match points.

On board 27 there ware some interesting bidding options. The hands were:

West
J63
10754
62
10653
North
104
862
KQ107
J842
East
Q5
KQ3
AJ8543
K7
South
AK9872
AJ9
9
AQ9
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1N
2
3
P
4
P
4
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
4X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Over two diamonds I had a problem.  I was going to bid three clubs if there was no interference, so I did anyway.  Anita had to choose between three no trump with no heart stoppers and four clubs.  She chose four clubs and I bid four spades.  I got the six of diamonds lead and East won the ace.  He was sort of endplayed, so he hoped partner had led a stiff diamond.  I then have my choice of making it by either taking two heart pitches, thereby picking up the trump suit for one loser, or playing for a doubleton king of clubs and taking the club finesse after pitching one heart.  Since I couldn't go wrong, I will let you decide which is the better line.  Anyway I made fourwhich was s good result. Deep throat says I could only make three spades, but could make three no trump.  Go figure.

Another hand I liked in the morning was board nineteen against the pair who had won the event the night before.  

West
10843
J103
QJ97
K10
North
9652
A94
K84
A63
East
J7
KQ75
652
7542
South
AKQ
862
A103
QJ98
W
N
E
S
I
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0

Opening lead was the queen of diamonds. I won the king, preserving my end play against LHO. I came to the queen of spades and played the club queen.  LHO covered and I won the ace.  I now finessed on the way back, which I think is the right play, but lost to the ten.

LHO didn't want to break a new suit, so got out with a spade. I won and cashed my two clubs, lho throwing a diamond and a heart. Fooey, King ten doubleton on my left.  Deep throat saw that, why couldn't I.   I then played the king of spades, but RHO played the heart seven. I now lead a heart toward the board, and LHO played the ten.  I ducked and so did RHO.

Lho got out with a heart which I won on the board. I threw LHO in with the spade for the diamond end play, and she said nicely played just before she told her partner that he should have overtaken the heart to take her off the end play.  Part of being a good opponent is staying out of these discussions, so I didn't mention what you all see.  Deep throat says you can make four no trump, and I did and it didn't score too well, but I thought I gave it the best play I could which I guess is all that matters.

I will finish with an interesting bidding problem.  On board one in the morning I held

South
K10652
J643
87
A2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
?
What do you bid as north? I ruled our two hearts since that would be fourth suit which we play as game forcing.  That left two spades, two no trump, two diamonds, and pass.  I chose two no trump, which I would guess might score well in a poll, but on reflection I think the correct bid is two diamonds.  Over two no trump, partner bid three clubs and I bid three diamonds which ended it.  I think once we get to the three level, three diamonds is better than passing three clubs.  What do you think? I thought that in diamonds, you could ruff clubs, and partner could six five on this bidding.  Here are the hands.  Apparently my spade bid and our continued bidding  kept the opponents out of their eight card fit which they might have found if we stopped at two diamonds. Deep throat says they can make three spades, and  all we can make is one diamond, so Anita played it real well to make thee.
North
A105
KJ964
QJ1065
South
K10652
J643
87
A2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
P
P

 

Of course we also had senior moments, cards falling onto the table, making the wrong decision when the opponents opened with a pass when it wasn't their turn,  and a two way support double.  I held 

South
A86
K85
AQ9643
4
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
2
?
Partner held
North
K9
AJ974
J109872
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
2
P
P
?
The comedian on my right, perhaps tired of people opening two card diamond suits against him,  decided to come into the bidding on KJT52 of diamonds. I guess I should pass and hope for a reopening double but I think partner bids her six card club suit. Maybe you should always reopen with a double with extreme distribution and a void in the overcalled suit. Anyway I made a support double, kinda hoping partner would forget we were playing them.  Partner bid four hearts and made five, so a pretty boring hand to end a rather long report.

 

 

 

 

 

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