Friday, June 27, 2014

Jennbridge: Precision at Work

By Bob Klein
I really enjoy playing Precision.  I think its best feature is that we can get into many auctions light since all bids other than 1 Club are limited, which has really good preemptive value.  But it also has a really powerful structure that we can use when we start with a strong 1 Club.  Here is an example of the asking bids at their best. I was playing with Dave Neuman recently at the San Francisco sectional open pairs.  I was dealer and was looking at

♠ Qx
 A
 Qxxx
♣ AKQJxx

I opened 1 Club, which showed a big hand, usually 16 points or more.  After LHO passed, Dave responded 2 Clubs, which showed a game force with at least 5 diamonds.  Nice!  I answered 2 Diamonds, which asked him how good his diamonds were.  He rebid 3 Clubs, which showed 5 with 2 of the top 3 honors.  (The replies are in steps:  no honor, 5 to one honor, 5 to 2 honors, 6+ to 1 honor, 6+ to 2 honors, with no-trump not counted as a step.  So 3 Clubs was the third step.)

Now I could see 12 tricks unless the opponents had the AK of spades.  I now was able to bid 3 Spades, which asked him what he had in Spades.  The replies, again in steps not including no-trump, are no control, queen or doubleton, king or singleton, ace or void.  Dave bid 4 Spades, the fourth step.  So I knew he had the ace of spades, or possibly a void.  I decided that with this auction, if the opponents had 11 spades including the ace and king, someone would have either bid them or doubled one of our spade bids.  So I counted 13 tricks and just bid 7 NoTrump.  (I could have been more precise and made another asking bid of 5 Spades, which would have asked him if his control was the ace or a void, and settled for 7 Diamonds if he had a void, but since Dave was still learning the system, I didn't want to risk a disaster in case he misinterpreted the bid.)  Dave had

♠ AJxx
 xxx
 AKxxx
♣ x


All the splits were normal and 7 NT made easily.  This board was played 26 times, and we got all 25 matchpoints, so we were the only pair to get to 7 NT.  This hand helped us to finish second in the event.

Good luck!



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jennbridge: A Good Bidding Sequence

Our expert opponents graciously complimented us on this bidding sequence at the recent San Francisco regional. (Bd. 4,  session 1, Thursday stratified open pairs)

Q J 9 2
K Q 5 2
K Q 9 6 3

Sitting North and playing with Mary Omodt as my partner, RHO passed and my first decision was what  to open. As I expected spades to be bid by either my partner or the opponents, I thought that the bidding would be likely to proceed more smoothly by opening 1, then rebidding clubs. According, I opened 1

Partner responded 2, an inverted minor bid, showing a limit raise or better in diamonds.  RHO now came to life with a bid of 2.  Although I only had 13 HCP, once we had found a fit and the opponents bid spades, my hand kept improving.  I now was pleased to bid 3 which I hoped would convey some useful information to partner.

LHO bid 3 and partner now made a key bid:  4

Wow. This hand may be going somewhere as I held a powerful, though aceless, 4-loser hand. Accordingly, I made what I expected to be a very descriptive bid:  4.  Partner now had the information she needed to jump to 6.

Board 4
West Deals
Both Vul
Q J 9 2
K Q 5 2
K Q 9 6 3
Q J 10 5 4 3
8 5 3
3
7 5 4

N
W
E
S

A K 8 2
10 6 4
J 8 6 4
8 2

9 7 6
A K 7
A 10 9 7
A J 10

The bidding :         P, 1D, P, 2D*, 
                               2S, 3C, 3S, 4H,
                               P, 4S, P, 6D

I ruffed the spade lead and took all of the tricks.  Plus 1390 was worth 17 out of 20 matchpoints.

See you at the table!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jennbridge: A Bidding Question

By Bob Klein.
Playing matchpoints in a club game, you hold, in first seat with both vulnerable:

♠Txxxxx
Axxx
Qxx
♣void

You deal and pass.  LHO opens 2, weak.  Your partner, a very good player, overcalls 2♠.  Now, while you are thinking about how many spades to bid, RHO comes in with 4♣! What is your call?


It looks like your choices are to raise spades or cue bid.  Since you are a passed hand, partner cannot expect too much from you.  On the other hand, your hand has the loser count of a good opening bid! (Only 2 losers in spades due to the massive trump fit, 2 losers in hearts and 2 1/2 in diamonds--6 1/2 losers.)

With the 11-card or longer fit opposite partner who has come into the auction vulnerable, I decided that this hand had too much slam potential to bid only 4♠.  Since the opponents had bid 2 suits, I couldn't make a slam invite by jumping to 5♠, since that bid asks partner to go to slam if he has a control in the opponents' suit.  So I had to do something else.  I considered bidding 4, but finally decided that the best choice was to bid 5♣. This would clearly show a big spade fit and club control with interest in a possible slam. Given the 4♣ bid and my original pass, I hoped that partner would interpret this as showing a void.

My bid worked like a charm.  Partner, holding:

♠AKJxx
Kx
AJx
♣xxx

bid 6♠, which was an excellent contract.  It happened to make seven because of the particular lie of the diamond spots.  My RHO led the stiff ten.  My diamonds were actually Q87 opposite AJ4 so the suit came in for no losers.  The first trick went ten, queen, king ace so there was a marked finesse of the nine.  The ten had to be a singleton since his RHO surely had 6 diamonds for a vulnerable weak two bid. Nobody else bid the slam so we got a cold top.

RHO could have made my life much more difficult if he had bid 5♣ instead of 4, holding:

♠x
Jxx
T
♣AKJT9xxx.

I wouldn't have the cuebid available so I would have just settled for 5♠, which partner surely would have passed.

Good luck!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jennbridge: Cincinnati Bridge

Once I got to the bridge club it was great.  Navigating the sub-zero temperatures to get there was another story, however. Once there, I told stories about the 70 degree weather last week in Santa Rosa...sigh...   I started my bridge career at the Cincinnati bridge club about 25 years ago and it was good to see old friends.

Playing teams with partner Joe Fisher as well as Norm Coombs and Larry Klein, we picked up some Imps on this hand.  I dealt and opened 1.  (Had we been playing Flannery, I would have opened 2!)

♠A10xx
AQxxx
Jx
♣xx 

Partner bid 2NT, Jacoby.  I jumped to 4 showing a minimum with no singletons or voids.  Partner, undaunted, bid 4NT, RKC.  I responded 5, 2 keycards plus the trump queen, and he rolled into 6.

A diamond was led and he laid down a nice 5-loser hand.  (deduct a loser for the 5th trump)

♠Kx
Kxxxx
A109
♣AKx

♠A10xx
AQxxx
Jx
♣xx 

There was nothing to the play--draw trumps, ruff 2 spades and lose a diamond.   We won 13 Imps on that one.

Another amusing hand found me playing and making 1 for plus 80 while our teammates bid and made 5 for a 12 Imp gain.

Going back Saturday for more.  The temperature is expected to be in the balmy 40's!

See you at the table!



















































Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jennbridge: Putting on the Pressure

As we all know, it pays to make life difficult for the opponents! In a recent regional team game, white against red, partner passed and RHO opened 3.  I studied my hand:

♠10xx
Void
QJ10xx
♣AQ10xx

My first thought was that I "knew" what was going to happen.  I was relatively sure that LHO would raise to 4 and they were favorites to score up a vulnerable game.  What could I do with my minor-suited hand?  How could I both announce my minors and jam the auction?

What about an overcall of 4NT?  Wouldn't that inject surprise, take up bidding space, and describe my hand all at once?  Partner was an experienced player and familiar partner--surely he would read it.  If things went awry I could always scramble, bidding the minors later...

4NT!  Pass by LHO, 5♣ by partner, pass, pass, PASS!  Wow--this auction has a good sound.  At least we're not in trouble.

Partner's hand was suitable:

♠10xx
Void
QJ10xx
♣AQ10xx

♠Kxx
xxxx
Kx
♣KJxx

A spade was led, and in the course of time the opponents took two spades and a diamond for down one.  Sure enough, when we compared scores, our teammates announced "plus 620" and we replied "minus 50!" We love those 11 imp gains.

Keep up the pressure!

See you at the table.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Jennbridge: Squeezing in Monterey

It's always better than I remember: the weather, the seafood and the beauty of Monterey Bay.  Throw in some good competitive bridge and you have a winning combination!

Margie Michelin and I had a nice 58% game to make it to the barometer finals.  Here's a fun hand from the first session. Bd. 7, both Vul.

2
J 6 4
A K Q 10 9 7 2
6 5

Partner opened 1, RHO overcalled 1 and I bid 2. The bidding became rather long and tortuous after that, but we eventually landed in the nice contract of 5.

8 6 5 4
A 9 8 7
8
A K 8 3

2
J 6 4
A K Q 10 9 7 2
6 5

A diamond was led and I studied the hand. Clearly I had a spade loser--could I avoid losing two hearts? Like most players, I usually can't visualize the whole hand at trick one, but this much I know: Once I start running my long suit, the hand will generally come into focus.

It was possible that LHO needed to guard both clubs and hearts and that she could be squeezed.  To prepare for this possibility, I rectified the count by ducking a heart early in the hand:  I led a heart which lost to the 10 in RHO's hand. A spade was cashed and I won the next spade.

Sure enough, LHO started getting uncomfortable making discards on the run of the diamonds On the penultimate diamond she pitched the Q and on the last diamond she discarded the K!  She wasn't able to guard both clubs and hearts and I scored up my game. 

Hand rotated--I sat North.

Board 7
South Deals
Both Vul
2
J 6 4
A K Q 10 9 7 2
6 5
A K Q 10 9 7
10 5 3
5 3
Q 2
N
WE
S
J 3
K Q 2
J 6 4
J 10 9 7 4
8 6 5 4
A 9 8 7
8
A K 8 3

Making 5 was worth 36.5 matchpoints out of 38. 

See you at the table!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jennbridge: Hands from Phoenix

The fall nationals in Phoenix were a great success. Good weather, good playing site, good partners and good bridge.

A fun fall event is the Senior Mixed Pairs. I had the pleasure of being paired with a fine player – Peter Benjamin. We qualified 23rd the first day and were in decent shape for day two. An average first final session dropped us way down in the standings, but a strong 63% game in the evening bounced us up into 10th place.

Here's a hand I liked from the final session. (Bd. 23, Both Vul). After two passes, North opened one diamond and I overcalled one heart with this hand:

♠A102
A5432
Q10
♣K87

LHO bid one spade and partner jumped to three hearts which ended the auction. The heart queen was led and I saw this dummy:

♠876
K10876
K42
♣103

♠A102
A5432
Q10
♣K87

I won the heart in my hand and drew the second trump ending in dummy. When I let a diamond from the board LHO won the queen and returned a diamond. I won the king and led a low club off the board.  LHO rose with the ace and returned the queen of spades.

It was now time to get serious in studying the hand.  I had lost 1 diamond, 1 club and I had two spade losers. Or did I?  I mentally reviewed the bidding.  LHO had bid 1 spade after my overcall, almost certainly showing 5 spades.  That would mean that RHO had only a doubleton spade.  If RHO's doubleton was the QJ, he could be endplayed!

I rose with the spade ace and set about stripping the hand for a possible endplay.  I ruffed the my last club and ruffed the last diamond from the board.  Now I simply exited with a spade.  If RHO did, indeed, start with the doubleton QJ, he would have to win the trick and give me a ruff-sluff.  LHO could not effectively execute a "crocodile coup" (rising with the king, dropping partner's honor to take him off the endplay) because I had the spade 10 which would have been good.

Great!  RHO won and gave me a ruff-sluff and I scored up 170.  This was worth 46 of 64 matchpoints--better than a 70% board.

See you at the table!