Join Bridge Winners
Segment from Hell - the Prelude
(Page of 10)

The semi final of  our national teams championships was played this year in four groups. The groups were seeded; four teams in each groups playing full round robin with two teams from each advancing to the final. Each match was 32 boards in two segments of 16 boards.

We won our first match comfortably (being 12 down after the first half but winning the second half 75-1) and were leading the second match by 13 after the first half. The second half starts with a lead problem:

North
QJ92
762
A972
Q6
W
N
E
S
1
2
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
P
P

Your opponents play together for the first time and the only firm understanding they have is that 2 shows a 55 hand with spades and another ( or ). You know that your partner would have doubled with with 8 or more hcp in this kind of auction (as the partnership principle of hitting Meckwell specials when neither of them is at the wheel). By some miracle, the opponents are at least close to a normal game strength zone.

What would you lead?

The full hand:

West
73
A
KQ653
K8742
North
QJ92
762
A972
Q6
East
K10854
KJ1095
AJ10
South
A6
Q843
J1084
953
W
N
E
S
1
2
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0

A low diamond or the Q are the only leads to beat this. Not so surprisingly a heart was lead. Declarer won in hand, took the finesse and set up the hearts for 9 tricks. Teammates were in 4 going one down. 

The next hand at our table was dull. Opponents bid to their par 4 in a competitive auction for 130. Teammates beat 5 by two for 200.

Then a bidding problem:

South
KJ9643
A4
QJ53
4
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
?

Your options are the mundane 2 showing 6+ spades or 2 with the intent to bid the hand as 12-14 6-4 (12-14 is the maximum range).

High road or low road?

The full hand:

West
82
109
9764
AKQ108
North
AQ5
QJ652
108
962
East
107
K873
AK2
J753
South
KJ9643
A4
QJ53
4
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The nonvulnerable game is little bit less than 50%; it's a coinflip and this time we lost. The opponents did bid 4.

The next hand was an easy 4 going one down with trumps 4-0 and a key finesse failing. It was a flat board. However, 3NT is a miracle make and you never know...

The next hand gave me a chance to blow 11 IMPs and I took it:

South
Q95
A7
J943
KQ64
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

East has denied 5 card minors and 4 card majors. He might have 3 hearts but typically this auction shows 3=2=4=4 shape. 

What would you lead?

The full hand:

West
J10
Q10542
KQ
10985
North
87432
986
A75
J3
East
AK6
KJ3
10862
A72
South
Q95
A7
J943
KQ64
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
?
D

I did not want to start from my flimsy minors straight towards declarer's 4 card suit so I selected a low spade giving directly away the 9th trick. Teammates were in 4 down one.

A bidding problem followed for another 11 IMP decision:

South
K2
874
AQ754
K107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
?

Partner has shown a slam try in hearts with 4+ clubs and has denied a club control. Your options are 4 promising a good hand and controls in both black suits, in-tempo 4 showing just doubt about your hand quality, or a slow 4 (practically) barring partner.

Is this minimum hand good (enough) in context?

NS hands:

North
A5
AKQJ9
KJ
J954
South
K2
874
AQ754
K107
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
P
P

I managed to process in my head in time that my trumps are lousy and my club control is only 2nd round control so I was able to bid 4 in tempo. Partner felt that there was no 5 level safety so we missed this excellent slam.

The next hand saw our opponents to bid 7 with 16 top tricks in 7, 7 and 7NT. Our teammates won the bidding contest with their 7NT but no IMPs. Partner was on lead and I had void but that was in trumps; next time the swing might be more than 10 total points.

On the next hand my LHO opened strong 2 again and landed on 3NT with 9 tricks available. Our teammates missed this nonvulnerable game.

The next hand was a bidding problem:

South
K1082
AJ4
A65
943
W
N
E
S
P
P
?

Would you pass or open 1 as the system call promising 12-18 and 4+ spades? Note that your partner has at most 8 hcp!

If you cannot stomach your system openings, you should change the system.

North
QJ9
Q95
J32
8652
South
K1082
AJ4
A65
943
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
2
2
P
P
P

This went two down for -100 to earn an IMP against 140 by teammates (from 2).

The next hand was just another bad beat story. We bid to 3NT with all suits stopped, 4 side quick tricks and 8653 against AQJ74. LHO has two KJxx for blindish lead; he picked the one where partner had the Q instead of the one where we had the Q. The finesse was off and the vulnerable game went one down. These things happen but today the opponents missed this 24 hcp game to earn 6 IMPs.

The next hand was again a thin game with 24 hcp and two balanced hands (3-2-4-4 and 2-5-3-3). Nothing worked and it went two down for a flat board.

Then a bidding problem for 12 IMPs:

North
QJ
AKQ5
A7
AKQ95
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
?

You open with a strong 1 to hear a very negative 1. Now you can either bid 3 as natural FG or 3NT asking if partner has green cards in his bidding box. If you choose 3, partner will bid 3M with 5, 3NT with some goodies and 3 to give you one more go below 3NT. If partner raises clubs, he will have some shape and/or values.

North
QJ
AKQ5
A7
AKQ95
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
?

The chosen 3NT was not very successful as the defense took 5 spades when partner tabled 64 T8642 Q643 T7. This was flat as 5 went one down at the other table.

The next board was flat 6 one down with KT7654 against Q93 and AJ8 was behind the KTxxxx.

Another bidding problem:

North
32
J98762
Q6432
W
N
E
S
P
2NT
P
?

You are playing Muppet Stayman and can bid 5 as to play over any response. Is it pass or 3? Note that you have no call to show both minors in a weak hand.

You chose to bid 3 and get the 3 reply denying 5 card majors but promising at least on 4 card major.

North
32
J98762
Q6432
W
N
E
S
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
?

What now?

Partner was not greedy and I scored 130 in 3. Our teammates were doubled in 4 and they made it. The full hand:

West
A984
A109763
103
5
North
32
J98762
Q6432
East
QJ7
J842
Q4
A987
South
K1065
KQ5
AK5
KJ10
W
N
E
S
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

On the next hand the opponents stopped in 4 and teammates bid 6. This time there was only 11 tricks.

We got a small gift on the final board as the opponents started a double dummy defense to beat 3 but failed to follow it through by crashing there top trumps.

I had analyzed the boards about two weeks ago and was pondering should I use once again this forum as my emergency valve. We played this weekend the teams finals. Our second match put us against my LHO with his regular partner.That segment was the real thing. This prelude gave us -2.84 as the session butler score. The real segment from hell was close to -5.

So what were our biggest mistakes?

We failed to beat the 23 point 3NT for -73 in cross IMPs. I would lead a heart and I would probably never consider leading any of the cards that would beat the game. IMO, 73 for variance.

We missed the less than 50% nonvulnerable game for -60. This goes for variance, too.

We lost 41 for going down in a vulnerable game, which should go down; however two had made the game and four pairs had missed the game.

We lost 110 IMPs for my spade lead, which gave away the 9th trick. I don't know what I would lead the next time.

We lost 99 for missing a good slam. Blame goes to my judgment or to our methods; the slam bidding would be easier if I had shown my diamond suit as my partner might take a more aggressive approach to locate the club control with some assurance that we have the tricks if control all suits. However showing that suit with 3 might have complicated the auction as it might start, from my partner's perspective, to revolve around the spade stopper.

We lost 54 for their 16 trick grand slam. These things happen.

We lost 48 for their  9 top trick NT game. These things happen, too.

We lost 95 for going down in the vulnerable game on a finesse. Some had missed the game. Half of the games went down and half of the games made. The opening leader had two KJxx combinations. Our opponent selected the one where his partner had Qxxx instead of the one where his partner had xxx.

We lost 91 for going down in a thin nonvulnerable game. Once again there were three equal sized groups: those who missed, those who made and those who went down. Making requires a friendly lead or dropping Qx behind KJ9x when missing QTxxxx.

We lost 74 when opponents took 5 spades from the bashed 3NT. Here I think that 3 (with the huge 2-4-2-5 hand) would be better as there are lots of good things that might happen between 3 and 3NT.

2 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top