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My Speedball with Steve, Final Round
(Page of 6)

The conclusion of a 4 part series. The earlier editions can be found here:

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/my-speedball-with-steve-round-1/

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/my-speedball-with-steve-round-2/

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/my-speedball-with-steve-round-3/

Having crept into contention, we'd be at the mercy of our opponents in the final round as the cards lay, they would control our destiny.

Board 10 I picked up a hand that did not scream swing board and watched the auction unfold below. Seeing the opponents reach an odd looking contract, and pleased that they had directed a lead (fine by me!) i saw the following as Steve duly led a low .

North
KQ42
AJ83
A52
K4
East
A1095
972
10876
52
W
N
E
S
1
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
5
P
P
P

2N went unalerted. Anticipating being on lead vs 3N I inquired as to the range (privately) and got a table response of 16-18. For those not familiar with online play, private messages (as you might expect) are only seen by the individual in question. Table responses are visible to everyone. Self-alerting is normally used (which partner cannot see but opps can), but often ignored in my experience. I did not think this was deliberate, just amusing. Not much to the defense, I won A and hoped Steve had 2 tricks (or less likely we'd get a trick somehow). When he turned up with QJT8 (good partner!). We had a plus score. 6 is a reasonable spot but doomed on the layout. Again, a number of pairs reached slam (most in 6N) with a few being gifted the contract. 

We were fortunate to be in the right place, right time on a few boards, including this one, but you need those kind of breaks to finish high in the speedballs. The next board we'd have a little more opportunity to contribute to our result.

 

 

West
K9
AK95
KJ8
Q763
North
Q107642
108
65
KJ8
East
South
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
8
2
7
0
0
1
1

Board 11 presented me with a similar dilemma to an earlier board, what to do with a balanced 16 after a strong NT to my right. As before, I chose to pass initially. I was planning to double a 2 response to the transfer but gave up when it was a level higher. 

I started with a high , getting a discouraging card from Steve (standard carding, primarily attitude here) and had to decide what to do at trick 2. Take a moment and formulate your plan.

I think this is a tougher decision at MPs; Steve had at most a 3 count (with true 1N opener anyway) and i did not see a reasonable play for success unless Steve held the Q. To have a realistic chance I gave declarer the following hand: AJxx Qx  ATx ATxx. at trick 2 then I would win an eventual hook, cash red winners and exit hoping declarer would misguess given i'd show up with so much strength. 

That was not quite the layout, but Steve came through again with the necessary card (Q here) at trick 2. The play unfolded:

West
K9
AK95
KJ8
Q763
North
Q107642
108
65
KJ8
East
South
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
8
2
7
0
0
1
8
6
Q
A
3
1
1
A
3
8
10
3
2
1
5
6
K
4
1
3
1
Q
8
3
K
0
3
2
K
5
4
7
0
3
3
K
10
3
J
0
3
4
Q
J
9
2
0
3
5
8

Down 1. Steve threw a worrisome T out there at trick 3; while it should not have worked (indeed declarer shouldn't play at all), it was a no-cost play and sometimes one can put ghosts in declarer's mind. Again, a fortunate outcome but we'd made things as tough for declarer as we could and it paid off.

With 2 likely good results, it felt like we'd have a chance with another good swing. The final board didn't look like much to start but a number of IMPs quickly became up for grabs.

In a vacuum, the merits of the 4 bid are not readily apparent. In need of IMPs, and against opponents that seem to love delayed raises, I threw it out there and hoped for the best. 

I led a pedestrian 5 (3rd/low) and when play went Q, K, A i visualized a problem. Steve obviously has K and A (possibly A but then won't matter as much). Say declarer takes a finesse after drawing trump, i expect steve to win and cash A. Should i encourage? Mind you, this is a speedball so not much time for reflection. I only have 3 so discouraging is possible (suggesting a trick will cash). It was barely possible that declarer held J though so not 100% clear. I decided that i must have k on the auction (at least as the play went) so really my card should be count. Given the layout (after the finesse anyway), it turned out not to matter.

West
1065
653
K87653
8
North
Q2
AQJ92
Q9
KJ74
East
KJ9873
K1074
A2
Q
South
A4
8
J104
A1096532
W
N
E
S
3
P
P
3
P
4
5
X
P
P
P
D
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
Q
K
A
3
1
0
A
8
4
Q
3
2
0
8
3
J
K
2
2
1
A
4
8
9
2
2
2
2
10
K
Q
0
2
3
10
2
J
4
2
2
4
6

Down 2 after the misguess. Another fortunate result +300. Declarer should probably go the other way in as if wrong at least only down 1; aside from auction considerations.

As an aside, note that playing 4th best, Steve would know the J was cashing (some do switch carding agreements based on level and whether suit agreed) after the 5 lead. Of course nothing works all the time (if the 5 and 4 were switched, then he'd know i held only 3 playing 3/low).

 

Round and Event Summary

Going plus on board 10 defending 5 netted us a solid score of (+8.42)

Going plus defending 3 also was good but a partscore type swing of (+5.78)

Getting 300 against 5 was also a great score our way (+9.62)

We had the big round we needed (23.82) for a total of 46.4 IMPs.

While we had more than our share of good fortune, we certainly earned a few of the positive results.

As it happened, it was not quite enough. The winners posted a phenomenal +58.96 though we did manage to finish 2nd by a small margin. The BBO ACBL speedballs are indeed popular, there were nearly 200 pairs in this event.

Recap

The auction was for a great cause; thanks again to all those who contributed. The upcoming ACBL bulletin issue will have the Longest day recap from events held around the league; lots of creative stuff went on in clubs around the country.

Steve was kind of enough to spend some time before and after to discuss methods and review the boards. I hope all the others who made the winning bids for games/lessons have as much fun as i did.

 

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