Thursday, February 7, 2019

Classic Rewind: Execution Quiz from 2008

I picked up this nice hand at teams:

♠ 8
AK10974
AQ7
♣ AQ6

 RHO surprised me by opening 1. I doubled and LHO bid 2, nonforcing. RHO bid 3♣. I had heard enough and jumped to 4. All passed.

A spade was led and a weak dummy appeared.

North Deals
None Vul
♠ 9 7 5 4
J 6 5
J 8 3
♣ J 4 2

N
W
E
S


♠ 8
A K 10 9 7 4
A Q 7
♣ A Q 6
I ruffed the spade continuation (LHO played hi-lo) and cashed 2 rounds of hearts which picked up the trumps. What next?

I decided to lead a diamond to the jack to see what would happen. Not only did it hold, but RHO showed out! Hmm...now I have a count of the hand. (Pause here if you want to practice counting...)


RHO started with 6, 2, no diamonds and therefore 5♣. More importantly, LHO was 2-2-7-2. I started formulating a plan. Think about how to best play the hand before you read on.



I led a club to the Q and cashed the ♣A, thereby extracting the clubs from LHO's hand. Now LHO is down to all diamonds, so I simply played Ace and Q of diamonds and he was end played and forced to give me a ruff and sluff so that I made 5!

North Deals
None Vul
♠ 9 7 5 4
J 6 5
J 8 3
♣ J 4 2
♠ 10 3
Q 3
K 10 9 6 5 4 2
♣ 8 5
N
W
E
S
♠ A K Q J 6 2
8 2

♣ K 10 9 7 3

♠ 8
A K 10 9 7 4
A Q 7
♣ A Q 6

At matchpoints it would have been a top. At teams it was only worth an imp, but a well executed endplay is usually worth writing about!

See you at the table!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Classic Rewind: Slamming in Philly (July 2012)

****************************
Stuck 29 IMPs at the half and time was running out.  Jean Barry and I needed some good scores to advance to the round of 8 in the Wagar.  We were playing a good team (Moss, Glasson, Mancuso, Gwozdzinsky, Michielsen and Dekkers) and the two young women from the Netherlands had been brought in for the second half and were at our table.  Their job was to finish us off, and they clearly thought it would be no problem.  We were using screens so I could only see one of them for most of the match.

1. As they were settling in for the first board of the second half, non-vul. vs. vul., I opened 1 in 3rd seat with this raggedy collection: (Bd. 25, table 3)

♠ A62
86
98653
♣ K54

This had the desired effect. LHO overcalled 1, my partner bid 1, RHO jumped to 3, a mixed raise, and all passed.  They made 5 for a score of 200.

2. With 3 boards remaining I opened 1 with this nice collection: (Board 22)

♠ K5
K109843
A96
♣ AK

Pard responded 1 and I jumped to 3.  Pard rebid 3 and I bid 3NT.  She now bid 4NT and I paused to try to figure out what was going on.  Her bid could be Blackwood or could be invitational, but I liked my hand and was willing to carry on.  I hedged my bets by responding 5, showing 2 keycards, and was pleased when she jumped to 6NT.  A club was led.

♠ AQJ96
A
K75
♣10932

♠ K5
K109843
A96
♣ AK  

I only counted 11 tricks.  I counted again.  It looked like I would need something good to happen in the heart suit,  but the odds favored honor doubleton in hearts to drop which would give me 12 tricks.

I played a low club and RHO played the queen.  Eureka!  I could now see 12 tricks.  I wasted no time driving out the jack of clubs and scoring the 10 for my 12th trick.  Plus 990 felt like a good score.

RHO held: 108/J2/QJ10432/Q86 so the hearts would have come in as expected.

3. Then, the last board of the session. (Board 24) Partner opened 1 and I responded 1 with:

♠ KJ974
K7632
K5
♣ 8

Partner now surprised me by reversing into 2! If there's one thing I know how to do, it's count my losers, and I saw that I held a powerful 6-loser hand opposite partner's reverse.  I bid a temporizing, forcing 3.  Partner bid 4, but I wasn't finished.

I bid 4NT, Blackwood and when partner showed 3 aces, bid 6.

♠ A6
QJ84
AJ
♣AK642

♠ KJ974
K7632
K5
♣8

A heart was led and the opponents took their ace, but with normal breaks, the contract came home easily. 

We headed out of the room to compare.  It was wild and woolly.  There were 5 double-digit swings--4 going our way.  We won 10 IMPs on board 25 where I psyched an opening bid, as our teammates got to the game missed by the opponents at our table. We won 11 for bidding and making 6NT on board 22 and another 11 for bidding and making 6 on board 24.  This big second half lifted us to a double-digit victory and we survived!  

The next day our win was described in the Daily Bulletin as a "mild upset" and our reward was the opportunity to play the #1 seed.

See you at the table!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

More matches from Santa Rosa sectional team game


Match 4: I overbid to game with this hand and was rewarded with 7 IMPs. After RHO opened 1, I overcalled 1 and when Sara inquired about my hand with a 2 bid, I showed a full opener by bidding 2. We ended up in game and it made! 
  
♠A10xx 
KJxxx 
xx 
♣ Qx


RHO won the first 2 diamonds and I ruffed the third diamond with the J which was overruffed.
  
x
Axxxx
xxx
AKxx

♠A10xx
KJxxx
xx
♣ Qx

A spade was returned. I won the ace and ruffed a spade. The ace and king of hearts drew the remaining trumps and I threw the remaining spades on the clubs.  

Match 5: Next is a hand where we stayed out of trouble. LHO opened 1♣ and pard overcalled 1NT. I knew immediately that we were in trouble. RHO doubled without hesitation and I had to scramble. What to do?

♠Jxxx
xx
 87xx
 ♣Jxx


If I were to pass, pard would be obliged to redouble which wouldn't be helpful. Without pondering too long and letting my anxiety show, I bid 2♣, Stayman. Whatever transpired would probably not be worse than playing 1NT doubled.

Pard responded 2 and RHO passed! I breathed a sigh of relief. It looked like the bid had worked and we could buy the hand undoubled. Sure enough--Sara played 2 and went down one for minus 50. This was a big 10 IMP win as our partners collected 500 against 1NTX.

We were in a fairly good position but needed a strong finish.

Match 6: What do you open with this hand?

♠KQx
10s
AKQJxx
♣xx

The winning call is 1NT! Pard raised to 3NT and a spade was led! We won 12 IMPs when our counterparts got to 5.

♠Axx
QJ
J10xx
♣Jxxx

♠KQx
10s
AKQJxx
♣xx

We lost the final match when our opponents preempted with a 5 call after my 2 response to pard's 2♣ opener, forcing a nasty guess as to whether to bid a slam or not, and we guessed wrong. At the end of the day we came in second and everyone seemed satisfied.

See you at the table!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Santa Rosa Sectional Team Game


Reading Chris Barrere's description of his national win of the Senior Swiss, and his obvious enthusiasm for the hands, reminded me that I had some fun hands last weekend at the Santa Rosa sectional team game! :-)

I played with Sara Rothmuller and our teammates were Kathy Venton and Dave Pankratz.

Match 1: We lost when the opponents bid to a bad slam off two cashing aces and our teammates were put in the unenviable position of guessing which suit to lead after winning the first ace.

Match 2: We had a good auction when partner opened 1♠ and I held this hand:

Kx
Void
AQJ109xxx
xxx 


I bid 2, she rebid 2, I rebid 3 and she rebid 3♠. She was probably 6-4. I jumped to 5. (What do you call an 8-card suit?.......TRUMP!)

She thought for a minute and raised me to 6.

♠AQJ10xx
AKxx
x
♣Ax

♠Kx
Void
AQJ109xxx
♣ xxx

I won the K lead and pitched my remaining clubs on the ace and king of hearts. I then gave up a diamond and claimed. We won an improbable 17 IMPs as the opponents were in 6NT.

We also bid and made a vulnerable game for 11 IMPs which the opponents failed to bid. Then came this hand:

♠Axx
Q
Ax
♣KQ10xxxx

I opened 1, LHO overcalled 1♠ and pard made a negative double.  Looking at my 5-loser hand I decided to jump to 3. Partner bid 3♠ (as I was hoping) and I bid 3NT.

I received the K♠ lead and saw the following:

♠xxx
Axxxx
KJxx
♣ x

♠Axx
Q
Ax
♣KQ10xxxx

I would have been happier if partner had a couple of clubs, but I had to make the best of what I had.   I ducked the first spade and won the second. Clearly I needed to bring in the clubs to come close to enough tricks. Also my RHO (who was presumably out of spades) needed to have the A! The red suits were mostly important as entries and I needed to retain the A in my hand to run the clubs if I were lucky enough to set them up.

So I started by leading a diamond to the king and returning a club from the board. I played the K and it held! Now could I smother the J to set up the suit?! I decided that since LHO had more spades than RHO, perhaps she had fewer clubs. After a few minutes of pondering I laid down the Q and was delighted to see the J played by LHO! Now I was in control.

RHO returned a heart after winning the A♣, which I won on the board. I returned to my hand with the A and ran the clubs. Plus 630 was worth another 11 IMPs. We blitzed the match.

Stay tuned...

See you at the table!












Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer Instant Matchpoint Game

I enjoyed playing in the instant matchpoint game this week. Bob Klein and I racked up a 70.5% game and the hands were fun.  The analysis by Silvia Shi and Daniel Korbel was refreshing as they referred to some of the hands as "exciting".

If you want some good bidding tips from a couple of enthusiastic top pros, check out the hands and analysis at the ACBL website: http://www.acbl.org/clubs_page/summer-instant-matchpoint-game/

Here is a fun hand where, as it turns out, I didn't take their advice. At favorable vul. partner dealt and opened 2! (Board 12)

K
KQ9
AQJ954
AQ4 

Wow-what a hand. What to do?

I decided that a slam was likely as I had at most 4 losers and partner's weak two bid will generally have 7 or 8 losers. The first item of business was to check on key cards.

I bid 4♣, Preemptive key card Gerber, and partner bid 4, showing one ace (and no queen of trumps). I decided to shoot it out and jumped to 6. A diamond was led and when I laid down my moose, partner didn't look happy. He finally forced himself to take the finesse which won. Now he was in control. 

♠K
KQ9
AQJ954
♣AQ4

♠763
A108732
87
♣106

He drew trump, took another diamond finesse, set up the diamonds and made 6. Plus 980 was worth 98% of the matchpoints on the instant matchpoint scale. A club or a spade lead would have beaten the contract as the K was offside and hearts were 3-1. 

The comments from Shi and Korbel were entertaining.  First they recommend that my hand (East) should exercise restraint and simply bid 2NT, asking about partner's hand. Then, when partner makes the weakest response possible, East "should steel himself to give up on slam and simply raise to 4."

My response: Partner's hand doesn't need to be so weak that it has fewer than the recommended number of HCP for a weak-two bid (4) and also have 9 losers--more than generally expected!

Bridge is interesting and many hands are "exciting"--according to Shi and Korbel. Don't you agree?

See you at the table!













Saturday, June 2, 2018

From a Bridge Bulletin Reader

I appreciated this email received yesterday from a reader in Quebec regarding using Losing Trick Count.

Objet: Wonderful
Using your count, i ended up first with 65% yesterday among 14 pairs.
Like quantum mechanics, i dont understand,but it works

Envoyé de mon iPhone

It was obviously from a French-speaking area, so I replied to get more info. Paul Bourassa replied that he lives in Quebec, Canada and has been playing bridge for the last 40 years.

Good to hear from you Paul--may we all have more 65% games!

See you at the table!

Monday, May 21, 2018

LTC at Work at the Club

By Bob Klein

Here is a hand I held recently at the local bridge club. My partner opened 1, RHO overcalled 2 and I held:

A 8 2
K 9 7 5 3
3
K Q 5 3

The first item of business was to count my losers.  With 5 hearts to the king, there couldn't be more than 1 loser, so the hand counted to 5 losers.  So I immediately thought of slam, since opener normally has 7 losers.  Using the LTC formula, 7+5=12 losers, which should produce 12 tricks.  I had first or second round control of every other suit.  RHO figured to have most if not all of the opposing strength, and I had a singleton in his suit. If it came down to a spade finesse, it figured to work.

I thought about a splinter bid of 4 Diamonds, but then decided that partner could easily have enough for slam and not have enough to accept a slam try.  So I just took the simple approach and bid 4NT, RKC for hearts.  Pard showed 2 with the queen of hearts, so I closed it out at 6 . The lead was the A, followed by a heart shift. Here were both hands:


A 8 2
K 9 7 5 3
3
K Q 5 3
N
WE
S
Q J
A Q 10 8 4
Q 6 5
A 7 4

Partner drew trump, tested the clubs, and when they didn't split, took the spade finesse, which, as expected, won. Plus 980 was a tie for top as most pairs didn't bid slam. A proper evaluation of my hand, using losing trick count principles, propelled us to the excellent 27-point slam.


East Deals
None Vul
10 7 6 3
6 2
9 4 2
J 10 9 8
A 8 2
K 9 7 5 3
3
K Q 5 3
N
WE
S
Q J
A Q 10 8 4
Q 6 5
A 7 4
K 9 5 4
J
A K J 10 8 7

♣ 62