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Philadelphia Nationals, Micro Spingold, Day 1

Today we started the under-1500 Spingold. Again, I'm playing with my regular partner Randy Ryals, and teaming with Kevin Schoenfeld and Doug Burke, who are both from our area. Last year Randy & I played with another pair in the under-5000 Spingold, and although I felt we were competitive, we lost our first match so the event was a short one. This year, I washoping we could at least make it past day 1, and hopefully place in the event.

We were assigned the 9th seed, and wound up playing one of the lower seeds.At the end of the first quarter, the match was close. Randy and I failed to bid a slam they made at the other table. We also bid an unmakeable slam -- oops! But to compensate, we stayed out of an umakeable game, and stole a contract from the opponents. Our partners bid a grand slam while our opponents were only in six. In all fairness, our teammates had a bidding misunderstanding, but it did work out. We were ahead by 7 at the quarter.

In the next quarter, we started to pick up some momentum. We set a number of contracts that our teammates made, and our teammates were in games that our opponents missed. We won the second quarter by 41, so we were feeling pretty good about our chances at the half.

In the third quarter, our opponents exercised their seating rights, and swapped seats. We won that quarter by 50. We lost the final quarter by 13, but won the match by over 80 IMPs. So we advance to day 2, a first for me!

One of the most interesting boards in this match was a very sketchy game we found ourselves in. We backed into the game, because my hand was so minimal. In fact, at one point during the auction I passed. But the opponents reopened the bidding, and my hand started to look much better as the bidding progressed.

South
KJ853
J10
109843
4
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
2
P
P
3
3
P
4
P
P
P

As the bidding proceeded, I started to get a picture of my partner's hand. First, he didn't rate to have too many diamonds. I figured him for a singleton or void. By bidding 2 over the 2 overcall, he was showing four spades, since we play support doubles. So we had a nine-card fit. My righty was silent, so finesses rated to be on, with most of the strength over the bidder at the left. And I only had a singleton club, so I was limited to at most one loser there.

The four hands were as shown.

West
A
Q53
AQJ52
Q1092
North
Q964
AK964
3
AJ8
East
1032
872
K9
K7654
South
KJ875
J10
108764
3
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
2
P
P
3
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

I got the lead of the A, which was followed by another diamond, which I ruffed in dummy. The first spade flushed out the stiff A, and then the picture was clear. I ruffed the expected diamond return with the Q, righty pitching a club. I played the A, and ruffed a low club to get back to my hand. I then played the J, which was covered by the queen and won by the A in dummy. I then played the 9, and finished pulling trump, and claimed, using the good hearts to pitch the remaining diamonds. At the other table, they stopped in a partscore. It's understandable why Lefty, with his minor-suit 15 count, continued to bid, but unfortunately for him it allowed us to get to a very makeable game!

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