Join Bridge Winners
Spring NABCs, Day 1: Lebhar IMP Pairs
(Page of 4)

We flew into St. Louis yesterday on a nonstop from SFO. It was a quick and uneventful flight. We had a little snafu with our hotel when they couldn't find our reservation, but the hotel's helpful staff was able to rustle us up a room in spite of that. Thank you!

I slept pretty badly for some reason, but was able to get in a non-solid six hours sleep anyway. After a quick breakfast at a local coffee establishment, I met my partner Kevin Schoenfeld at the event venue and we entered the Lebhar IMP pairs event. Two other NABC events are running concurrently, the under 10,000 Swiss (which we're eligible to enter, but decided not to), and the Platinum Pairs, which we're not eligible to enter... yet! I'd never played in an IMP pairs event before, so I figured it would be challenging and I'd learn a lot. About 260 pairs entered the event, and half would qualify for day 2. So it was a large event despite the other concurrent events competing for players.

Our afternoon session felt really really good. I felt like we were playing well, and our opponents, perhaps because of the format, were doing silly things against us. We were good about getting in the bidding in competitive auctions, and overall pretty disciplined about not taking phantom sacrifices.

My favorite board of the afternoon was board 20. Both of us were vulnerable, and we were playing EW, West being the dealer. I had picked up a nice four count:

962 A97642 972 T

Partner opened the bidding with one diamond. RHO now bid 2 spades, which was alerted as five clubs and at least four spades, 10-14 HCP. I'd never encountered this bid before. I passed. LHO now bid 2N to inquire more about overcaller's hand. Partner passed. RHO now bid 3 hearts, which was alerted as extra distribution.

What do you do with my hand?

I doubled, figuring it would be helpful to partner in finding a lead, depending upon where they ended up. LHO now passed. Partner passed. RHO went into the tank for a while, and finally passed. Apparently they had never discussed this sequence (understandably), so they were both on shaky ground. Because I had doubled the artificial heart bid, LHO was now unsure whether NT would be a good place to land, so he punted the decision to his partner. Overcaller in turn probably thought his partner had a heart stack and they were on a misfit, so he passed.

I led a low heart to my partner's K. He returned a heart to my A, and just for good measure, I took the final heart off the board. The defense was pretty straightforward. When the smoke cleared they were down by three, for -800, against what turned out to be a cold +600 game in NT (that being said, I suspect many were in a part score instead).

All four hands are shown below:

West
A74
K5
A10854
J53
North
J10853
Q3
3
AKQ42
East
962
A97642
972
10
South
KQ
J108
KQJ6
9876
W
N
E
S
1
2
P
2NT
P
3
X
P
P
P
D
3X North
NS: 0 EW: 0

At the end of the session, we finished 2nd in our section with +27.91 IMPs (and a 56% game, which of course matters not), earning 1.39 Platinum! (21 more to go before I'm eligible to enter the Platinum pairs...) We were sitting in 36th, so we felt pretty good about our chances of making it to day 2.

After a quick dinner, I scrambled to get a prescription filled for a case of poison oak I contracted before I left. (Perhaps this is one of the reasons I slept poorly last night.) Fortunately I was able to get my doctor to phone in a scrip, and I picked up the prescription just before game time. I'm hoping I'll sleep better tonight!

The evening session got underway, and we started out with what felt like two bad boards. They were. But the next pair came and bid a 6 slam against us which didn't make (makable only if you can guess the Q, and they didn't). So it was starting to look up again. Overall the session was a bit rockier though. I was getting tired. We made some defensive errors, and missed a game which is hard to get to, but apparently many others did. Until the last round, all slams bid had failed, and we had not yet bid one.

On the penultimate board (board 5), I picked up the following hand as dealer, red versus white:

KQT87 K64 9 Q952

Tempted to preempt 2, I showed some discipline and passed. LHO passed, and partner opened the bidding 1 diamond. RHO now bid 3.

What do you do with my hand?

After some consideration, I bid 3. My spade suit was nice. I did have a stopper in clubs, so double might have been a better bid. LHO passed, and my partner went into the tank. I was starting to get worried. He now trotted out blackie (4NT), to which I responded 5C (1 or 4). Spades was implicitly our trump suit with this bidding. After another very long pause he bid six diamonds. Everyone passed.

He got the lead of the 7. Both hands are shown below:

North
KQ1087
K64
9
Q952
South
AJ3
A
KQ1087543
A

Plan the play.

He won the heart in hand with the A (of course, he had no choice!). He now played a low spade to the K. He played the 9 and RHO went up with the A, partner playing low and LHO playing the J. East now exited a heart which partner ruffed high in hand, just in case. (You could see that both people were thinking that West had led a stiff... it also explains why East went up with the A.) At this point, Kevin could claim, for +1370. (The board was worth +4.63 IMPs... apparently six spades was worth more, but I can certainly see why Kevin would think diamonds was a safer contract.) All four hands are shown below:

West
64
8752
J
KJ10864
North
KQ1087
K64
9
Q952
East
952
QJ1093
A62
73
South
AJ3
A
KQ1087543
A
D

We gained another 8 IMPs or so for the evening session, in spite of our errors and miscues. (Percentage-wise, we were slightly below 50%, I think.) Ultimately we ended up with +34.10 IMPs (unless there are scoring corrections), which puts us in 53rd place, solidly qualifying us for day 2 tomorrow! This is the first time I have qualified for day 2in an NABC+ pairs event.(If you recally, at last fall's Nationals, we barely missed qualifying for day 2 of the Womens' LM pairs when we tied for the last spot and lost the board-a-match tiebreaker by 1.)

All in all I'm pretty excited about how we did today, and looking forward to tomorrow! (Apologies for any typos or errors... I'll fix 'em in the morning, but now I have to go to bed!)

6 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top