Join Bridge Winners
Las Vegas NABC, Day 1
(Page of 4)

I took an early evening flight to Las Vegas on Wednesday evening, arriving around 10 PM.  It was nice and cool inside, and 100 degrees outside.  Yikes!  I went to check into my hotel, only to find out that I had made my reservations starting Thursday evening.  Not a good sign.  They were able to snag me a room for the night in the unrenovated part of the hotel (the "crappy" wing), with a move planned to my real room the next day.  The room number portended good things:

 

Thursday I was scheduled to play one practice session with Debbie Rosenberg, my partner for the Life Master Pairs.  After a short review of our card, we sat down to play.  Even though it was a side game, it was a fairly strong field, with a number of excellent and expert pairs using the session as a warmup for Friday as well.

Our session felt pretty solid.  We had some bad luck and some good luck.  I made my share of mistakes, but overall, I felt I played solidly. Debbie played her typically excellent game.  We had a decent finish, a smidge over 56%.  A few important things came up during the game that were good to come up in advance of the big event.

By far, my favorite board of the day was when I picked up the following hand:

South
J
QJ1075
KQ105
K64
W
N
E
S
?

Your bid?

Of course I had to open it.  It's a TWELVE count for goodness sakes!  The bidding quickly escalated:

South
J
QJ1075
KQ105
K64
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
5
X
P
P
P
 
Partner had given me a two-over-one response, and then my righty overcalled 2 even though we were in a two-over-one auction.  Then LHO had the audacity to go to 5!  No respect...   I was happy to pass my partner's double.
 
Your lead?

I had a tough choice.  It could be right to lead the Q.  It was likely that someone was short on diamonds given the bidding.  And my partner had bid diamonds, so I decided to lead the K.  Dummy came down:

West
875432
832
84
82
South
J
QJ1075
KQ105
K64
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
5
X
P
P
P
 
A yarborough, but a really impressive yarborough given the bidding.  Declarer played a low diamond from dummy, my partner played the discouraging 2, and declarer won the A in hand.  Declarer now led a low club towards the board.  What was going on?   I ducked, and partner won with the 10.   Debbie now played the K, declarer playing low from hand and me encouraging with the 7.  She continued with another heart, which declarer won in hand with the A.
 
Declarer now led the J towards dummy.
 
Your play?
West
875432
832
84
82
South
J
QJ1075
KQ105
K64
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
5
X
P
P
P
 
It appeared to me that Debbie had a doubleton heart.  It also looked like declarer was trying to establish clubs for a pitch.  If I let Debbie win the trick, I might never get my heart: if the clubs were splitting 5-3-3-2, then the heart might go away on a long club.  It was curious that declarer hadn't pulled any trump at this stage and that seemed like what he was trying to do.  I won the K, Debbie playing the Q.  I played my remaining high heart, Debbie tossing the A.  I exited a low club which she ruffed with the Q, and we were able to set them 3 for +800 and a total top.  I was very pleased at how well we had worked together to achieve the result.
 
All four hands are shown below:
 
West
875432
832
84
82
North
Q6
K6
J97632
AQ10
East
AK109
A94
A
J9753
South
J
QJ1075
KQ105
K64
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
5
X
P
P
P
D
5X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
 
I leave you with a tip for staying in Vegas.  If you're staying at the host hotel, everything here costs money, including the in-room coffee. Bring your own coffee (they use Keurig coffee makers with K-cups) and coffee cups (since they have none of those).  There's an Albertson's about two miles away that has a variety of things, including the coffee pods, so stock up and save yourself some money!