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SF Sectional, Bracketed Swiss
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The San Francisco Sectional was held a week ago. As part of my New Year's resolution to play less bridge, I skipped Saturday's pairs event in SF to hang out with hubby. We had a nice day, having lunch with a friend, running errands and visiting some other friends in the evening. We played a rousing game of King's Corner with our friends, which took us a little while to figure out, but once figured, was fun. (Let's just say that the instructions were less than clear. Fortunately, it was easy to find good instructions on the net.)

Sunday, I partnered with Fred Chasalow and Manuela Marani and Ove Johnsson, two excellent European players from our club, in a bracketed Swiss at the SF Sectional. Our partners play a forcing club system with four-card majors, so it was likely that auctions at one table wouldn't be duplicated at the other in any match. The team opted to play in whatever bracket we naturally ended up in, so we wound up in bracket 2.

Our first four matches were close ones: we won one by 3, lost another by 3, won another by 10, lost one by 3. At the end of four matches, we were a smidgeabove average, and it was time for lunch! Everyone in our bracket was fairly close on points, so as long as we kept playing decently we were in good shape.

In our first match after lunch, we had the most interesting hand of the day, which led to a surprising result. I picked up the following 6-count: J976 Q7 62 K9862. It was a nice hand in the context of the auction to follow. Both sides were vulnerable, with West the dealer. The bidding started P - 1NT (pard) - P - P, and now West bid 2, which was briefly announced by East as a transfer, and then taken back ("no, he has hearts"). Partner passed, and East now bid 2. I passed, awaiting further developments. West bid 3, partner passed, East passed.

I looked at my hand and thought about the bidding. I'm short in hearts, my RHO undoubtedly is too, so partner must have hearts. I'm long in spades and RHO has spades. I have a maximum for my pass and the opponents have a misfit. Partner is a 15-17 NT. Therefore, this is our hand. I doubled. Two passes, and now RHO removed to spades. I doubled, and everyone passed. We settled in a contract of 3-X by East, so I was on lead.

What's your lead?

Since LHO undoubtedly didn't have many spades, I decided to lead through the strength on the board. I led the Q, and dummy camedown:

West
8
AJ1096432
K10
107
South
J976
Q7
62
K9862

West's heart length was definitely unexpected from the way the auction unfolded! I was a little concerned, but still undaunted. East called for the A and pitched a diamond. So declarer was probably something like 5-0-5-3 or 5-0-4-4 (he could have been 6-0-3-4 as well, I suppose). He now played the 10 from the board which my partner won with the A. Partner switched to a low spade, declarer inserted the 10 and I won the J. I now switched to a low diamond. Partner had AQJxx sitting over dummy's K10, and wound up cashing 3 rounds of diamonds. He then played a fourth round, which declarer ruffed low, and I overruffed. I played the K and exited the 9, my partner ruffing. Partner now played another diamond. After ruffing high, declarer lost his way andI eventually got in and ran the clubs for down six, +1700. The full deal is as shown below:

West
8
AJ1096432
K10
107
North
K32
K85
AQJ53
A5
East
AQ1054
9874
QJ43
South
J976
Q7
62
K9862
D

At the other table, our teammates opened the West hand 4 (which is more what I would have expected). North doubled, and my hand bid 4. This was passed over to East, who then doubled. Down two, for +500. So both directions declared doubled spade contracts, and both went down. Ultimately we ended up winning 19 IMPs on that one board. It was a wild hand!

We won that match and our next two by reasonably large margins to win the bracket. We seemed to have our best results when Fred & I were defending and our teammates declaring.Too bad we can't arrange to do that predictably!

As an aside, I did pretty well on my resolution not to discuss hands at the table. I backslid a little bit in the second half, but then caught myself and reformed for the rest of the day. It'll be a work in progress for some time to come, to be sure.

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