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USBF Invitational 1: My adventures on BBO part 2
(Page of 5)

South
6
Q9753
Q76
AK92
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
?

Playing the last hand of the first set in the USBF invitational, I have to decide which way to go. We are having a great set: we took the push to the 5 level on a competitive deal and were allowed to make it; we opened a 10-count because we thought we had 12 (it happens, sorry guys) and your opponents then misguessed the play in 3NT; and we surely were on the good side of most of the other hands. No time for heroics. We play 2-way new minor forcing here. First question: going high with 2 GF, or going low with 2 invitational. If I start with 2, it's not possible to show this exact hand, and that favors a 2 bid. However, although I surely would have opened 1, I don't think this hand is good enough to force to game. So I decided to bid 2.

South
6
Q9753
Q76
AK92
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
X
P
P
P

My 2 bid forced partner to bid 2 and I continue with 2 to show an invitational hand with 5. Our agreements after this start are pretty good. Partner always passes with a minimum and no fit, bids 2NT with a maximum and no fit, 3 or 4 with a fit and medium or good hand and 3NT with a maximum and 4333 hand. If partner bids 2NT you can show this hand after all by bidding a NF 3. He bids 3NT and you have an easy conversion to 4. This is greeted by a fast double by superstar Zach Grossack on my left.

North
AJ75
A42
K95
Q85
South
6
Q9753
Q76
AK92
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
X
P
P
P

Lead: 4

Bridge is a weird game, you are in a normal contract and although you have a fit, aces and kings, and hardly any wasted values, it is still not a great contract.

How to play this hand? I think the normal play is to win the ace and play a heart to the queen, this is how I would start without a double. What to think about the double? Sometimes there is a ZIA on your left and he could double on a stiff heart hoping you misplay the hand. I am now in my very late "thirties" (playing bridge for 45 years) and I have decided a long time ago just to play as if everything were normal. With Zach Grossack being the doubler, it crossed my mind though.

The IMP scale works in my favor here, I don't have to make it. If everything is foul they will surely go down at the other table, maybe even a couple. If I can scramble 8 or 9 tricks this will only lose a couple of IMPs at worst. I am not going to throw the match on this board.

I win the ace, ruff a spade, play a diamond to the king, ruff another spade, cash the ace of clubs, play a club to the queen, and ruff the last spade. This all comes off peacefully.

This is what is left:

North
A42
95
8
South
Q9
Q7
K9
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
X
P
P
P

It's going pretty well. I try the king of clubs, ruffed by West, who cashes the diamond ace and plays a diamond to my queen. The rest is easy, fourth club, ruffed by West, and underruffed by North. West is end-played and has to lead away from his king of hearts for a very satisfying +590.

West
10843
K1086
A42
J6
North
AJ75
A42
K95
Q85
East
KQ92
J
J1083
10743
South
6
Q9753
Q76
AK92
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3N
P
4
X
P
P
P
D
4X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

I have not much sympathy for this double. In a knockout match, being down near the end, I have some sympathy but in a round-robin match it looks clearly against the odds.

We win this match by a lot. It turns out the real ZIA played at the other table but he was dummy in the same contract, undoubled. Without a clue from the double, declarer went down 1 so we won 12 IMPs. On to the next round.

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