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Philadelphia Nationals, Micro Spingold, Day 3

Today we played round 3 of the Micro Spingold. We played against the team that inherited the #1 seed by beating them yesterday. At least one of them finished 2nd in the GNT flight C finals earlier in the week; all of them were excellent players and very nice (and I'd say that even if they weren't reading this post!).

At one table, our oppoents played Precision with a strong NT. At the other table, the oppoents played 2-over-1 with a weak NT. So there were swings in the match due mainly to system differences -- contracts that made from one side but not the other, and that sort of thing. I think we probably were on the short end of the system win-loss record, but I may just be focusing too much on the losses to be objective!

Regardless, we were behind from round 1, and kept losing ground little by little every quarter. There were a number of extremely tricky boards that required careful declaring and precision defense. Our oppoents made very few mistakes, and ultimately they prevailed. Although I'm sad to lose, we lost to the better team, and it was definitely the best match we played all week. I wish them luck and hope they make it all the way to the end!

I will share one board that was good for our side, because it was so unusual. I held the following hand as dealer, both vulnerable:

North
973
52
K1098765
J

Against Precision pairs, I like to get into the auction as much as possible to mess up the bidding, but with a scant 3 points, red on red, I decided not to. For a moment, I was regretting it, as they had a very complicated auction to get them to a 7NT slam, declared from the "weaker" side (is there really a weak side in a 7NT contract?).

During the bidding, the dummyhad shown a diamond suit. They had also shown that the closed hand held six (!) controls. So it was somewhat apparent that the only thing they were missing was the K. I was glad I'd been silent, as it might have given the declarer more of a clue as to how to play the hand.

I was on lead, and I decided to lead as passively as possible. So I led the 5. Dummy came down as follows (as much as I can remember):

North
973
52
K1098765
J
East
AQ
K1064
AQJ43
Q7

It looked like my lead wasn't going to give anything away. Phew! Declarer got back to his hand after a trick or two, and then played the 2. So my partner was void. I played low, and he finessed the Q which held. Now he had to figure out clubs. The Q brought out the J from my hand, but again, he had no idea it was stiff. As it turned out, my partner had five clubs, so I believe that if the hand could be viewed double dummy, it might have been makeable. But transportation was tricky and at that point he may not have realized how badly everything was splitting. He played it out, and my partner won the last trick with the T.

At the other table, our partners had a bidding misunderstanding and ended up in a small slam, which made. So we gained 17 IMPs on that board, one of the few big gains we got all day.

Independent of today's result, I'm still pretty happy that we made it to day 3! And we got to play some great bridge today. Tomorrow, we'll try to find another pair for a compact KO or mixed BAM, as our teammates have decided to take the day off!

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