I had a successful tournament in Monterey last week. I won a Bracket 1 KO with Dave Neuman, Larry Hansen and Erwin Linzner, came in second in another Bracket 1 KO with Jenn, Ellen Anten and Steve Gross, and won the Fast Pairs with Jenn on the final day. Here are one hand from the first KO and one from the Fast Pairs.
The first one, from the KO, illustrates the importance of bidding vulnerable games in IMPs. Dave was in third seat, both sides vulnerable. I dealt and passed, and so did his RHO. He looked at
He opened 1 Heart. I responded 1 Spade, which showed a 5-card suit since we play Flannery. He rebid 2 Diamonds, which I raised to 3 Diamonds. Now what?
Dave decided to jump to 5 Diamonds even though I was a passed hand. Although the hand had only 13 HCP, it only had 5 losers. There are two key principles at work here: 5-5 come alive, and bid your games at teams.
LHO led the ace of clubs, and Dave looked at:
After the opponents cashed two high clubs, they shifted to a spade. Now while this contract isn't cold by any means, the IMP odds favor bidding it. You need the king of hearts onside, plus either (1) 2-2 diamonds and no worse than 4-2 hearts, or (2) 3-3 hearts and no worse than 3-1 diamonds. In the first case, you can draw trumps, finesse the hearts, and ruff two hearts in dummy to set up the fifth one. In the second case, you draw 2 trumps, finesse the hearts, cash the third trump and the ace of hearts, and ruff one heart in dummy to set up the suit. Case (2) actually came in, so we were +600 for a 10-IMP win, which we needed as we won the match by only 4 IMPs.
The second hand, from the Fast Pairs, illustrates that sometimes a psychic bid backfires. With neither side vulnerable, my LHO held, in third seat:
His partner opened 2 Spades, weak. I doubled. Now, looking at this hand, he saw that he had virtually no defense against either hearts or clubs, so he had to do something to get in our way. Usually, the best approach here is to take up a lot of bidding space by raising to 4 Spades, or even 5 or 6 Spades, making it hard for the opponents to exchange information and find out that they are cold for slam. I think that if I held this hand, I would have just bid 6 Spades, an advance save. What he did was try and confuse the issue by bidding 3 Hearts! This might have worked, but here it backfired. Jenn, in fourth seat with
came in with 4 Clubs, which was passed to me. I was dealt this 3-loser monster:
I knew that the opponents had to have a lot of spades, and was virtually certain that my LHO didn't really have hearts. So I took his bid as an admission of weakness and an attempt to confuse the issue. Jenn's bid of 4 Clubs enabled me to determine that she would be covering most if not all of my losers, so I just closed my eyes and jumped to 6 Hearts! We made 7 easily for +1010 and 12.5 out of 15 matchpoints.