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Las Vegas NABC, Day 7, Regional KOs
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I've been here for a week now, and the days are starting to become a blur.  Yesterday we started day 2 of our bracket 2 regional KO. 

In the semifinals, we had a decent first round, but were down by 13 at the half. This was in part because I forgot the cardinal rule of IMPs: if there's only one way to make a hand, play for that layout.  I was in what looked to be a hopeless 3NT contract, and I played to minimize my losses, rather than imagining how I could make it, and went down. At the other table, they played for the only layout on which it would make, and make it did. Despite that board I felt like we were all playing well.  We came back strong in the second half, winning handily to advance to the finals.

In the final match, on the first board, I made the first unforced error I've made the entire tournament. I failed to see dummy's card (dummy was last to play) and didn't cover declarer's card, allowing declarer to make their part-score contract, rather than being down 1.  It turned out not to be a costly mistake, and we still gained an IMP on the board. I felt bad, but moved along. We had three big gains, all on the bidding. We bid to two excellent 3NT games not bid at the other table, making, and bid an excellent slam, not bid at the other table. At the half we were ahead by 24.  Still, it hadn't been a very exciting match thus far.  This was soon to change.

Our opponents switched seats for luck, and we sat down against a new pair for the final half.  It started out routinely, with me preempting a distributional 4-count 2, and we ended up in 3 down 1 after Kevin asked about the quality of my hand (crap-crap). We gained 10 IMPs, because our opponents had a minor-suit game. At our table, my LHO never bid, but our teammates overcalled the 2 opener and were able to get to their game.  The next board passed out. Then things started to get interesting.

Kevin and I bid to a 4 game, with my LHO coming in with 4 at the last minute. I cracked it, and it made, for -590 and a loss of 9 IMPs. On the very next board, I picked up the following hand, red vs. white. I opened the bidding 1 after my RHO passed.

South
K7
AQ5432
A103
J9
W
N
E
S
P
1

The auction escalated quickly:

South
K7
AQ5432
A103
J9
W
N
E
S
P
1
2
2
5
X
P
6
P
P
6
P
P
X
P
P
P

Although I'm a little shaky on forcing pass situations, I believe my double denied control of spades. Kevin pulled to 6, not being worried about spades at all.  Kevin's last pass indicated either a spade void or the A. I didn't think we would make 7, so I doubled, ending the auction with our opponents in 6-X. I led the A, and dummy came down:

West
AJ10852
875
A874
South
K7
AQ5432
A103
J9

Declarer ruffed the opening lead in dummy, partner playing a low heart, and declarer playing the K from hand. Declarer now played a low diamond from dummy to his K and my A, and I exited a club, which was won with the A on the board. Declarer played the A from the board, partner showing out, and when I got in with the K, we were able to take three more tricks for down 4.
 
All four hands are shown below:
 
West
AJ10852
875
A874
North
J109876
K62
KQ106
East
Q9643
K
QJ94
532
South
K7
AQ5432
A103
J9
D
 
At the other table, our teammates also declared 6-X, arrived at on different bidding:
 
W
N
E
S
P
1
4
6
6
X
P
P
P
 
From the auction, our teammate was able to guess the trump situation, and took the spade finesse for only down 3.  Win 7.
 
 
The next board was unfortunate. In first seat, I picked up a distributional weak two in hearts, with really lousy heart spots. I decided to open it 2. LHO doubled and it all passed out, for down 4 and -1100. I realized at the time that their side was cold for a slam. At the other table, my seat didn't preempt, LHO opened 2 and had an excellent auction to get to slam. Unfortunately, they ended up in the wrong slam (a heart slam, as it turns out), which didn't make. I blame myself.  Lose 15.
 
 
Later in the match, my partner Kevin picked up the following hand in fourth seat, white vs. red:
 
North
AKJ9654
2
2
9732
 
LHO opened the bidding 1, and Kevin heard me overcall 2.  RHO doubled.  Your bid?
North
AKJ9654
2
2
9732
W
N
E
S
1
2
X
5
X
P
P
P
 
Based on the opponents' double, Kevin realized that I had either a void or singleton in spades. He blasted to 5, which promptly got doubled and passed out. On the lead of the 10, dummy came down.  All four hands are below:
 
West
Q1073
103
QJ1085
J5
North
AKJ9654
2
2
9732
East
82
AKQ964
K976
8
South
J875
A32
AKQ1064
W
N
E
S
1
2
X
5
X
P
P
P
D
5X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
 
The play wasn't interesting, even if the hands were. We had a double black-suit fit, and they had a double red-suit fit. I played it to make, although with the expected 7-4-2-0 spade split, I could have made six. +550 and win 4.  The other side was in 4 making.
 
It was only fitting that on the very last hand, both vul, in second seat I picked up:
 
South
103
AKQJ1097432
10
 
Seriously?  Did anyone shuffle these at the other table?
 
Pass to you.  Your bid.
South
103
AKQJ1097432
10
W
N
E
S
P
5
P
P
P
 
Worried about the opponents finding a major-suit fit, and given the auctions of previous rounds (understanding that each hand is an independent event and this should have nothing to do with anything), I decided to make sure we were in game, and opened 5. But it was a silly move. Opening 2 wasn't the right thing to do, even though I had game in my hand, because I didn't have enough defense. But I would have shown my hand better had I opened 1 and then jumped to five in the next round of bidding. On a club lead, I made 6, partner holding the A and the A.  
 
The full deal is shown below:
 
West
K7642
J10
6
AK954
North
AJ98
AQ982
8753
East
Q5
K76543
85
Q62
South
103
AKQJ1097432
10
D
 
 
At the other table they missed slam, so the board turned out to be a push.
 
 
After the last half was over, we had no idea how we stood because it was such a wild round. It was indeed a see-saw, and we wound up losing 1 IMP for the half, thus winning the match handily. We were all super excited to win, because it meant that we would each get a T-shirt, the winners' prize at this tourney. It's almost impossible to win a T-shirt when you're playing in National events, so everyone was really happy.
 
On my way back to my room, I peeked in on the mini-Spingold scores. My mixed-BAM teammates Michael Fleisher and Mindy Foos had been in a close battle with their opponents in their match in the under-5000 Spingold. They prevailed, winning by 5 IMPs, advancing to day 4. Although I was really happy for them, it meant that plans for today were uncertain. Mixed BAM, anyone?
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