Friday, June 17, 2011

Jennbridge: Lightner Double

I had the opportunity to make a Lightner double the other night playing in a team game on BBO.

Lightner Double - A Double of a slam bid, to request partner to make an unusual lead. Typically anticipates the player making the Lightner Double can generate the setting trick by ruffing the lead of a long side suit.

The double excludes the normal lead of the suit bid by the defenders, excludes the lead of a trump and often calls for the lead of Dummy's first bid suit.  The opening leader is expected to work out the correct lead based on the auction and her holding.

       Bridge base:  Lightner Double

East Deals
E-W Vul
♠ A Q J 4
A Q J 8 6
A 4
♣ A 10
♠ 9
K 10 5 4 3
Q 9
♣ K J 6 4 3
N
WE
S
♠ 8 7 6

K J 10 8 7 3 2
♣ Q 9 7
♠ K 10 5 3 2
9 7 2
6 5
♣ 8 5 2

WestNorthEastSouth
BobxJennx
3 Pass
PassDblPass3 ♠
Pass4 NTPass5 ♣
Pass6 ♠DblAll pass
 
 
After I opened 3 diamonds the opponents bid strongly, and, it seemed to me, confidently to a spade slam.  From my point of view the slam was likely to make, and our best chance to beat it would be for me to get a heart ruff at trick one.  Left to his own devices, partner would probably lead my suit, diamonds, and we wouldn't have another chance to set it.  Accordingly I doubled, asking for an unusual lead.
 
Partner duly led a heart.  Declarer finessed and I ruffed.  The slam went down a couple of tricks and we got a good score.  As it turns out, it wasn't a good slam and would have gone down anyway, but the benefits outweigh the risks for this action.  Setting a slam which would otherwise make generates a huge payoff, versus a small loss if the doubled contract makes.

Bob pointed out later that he had to choose between his two 5-card suits for the opening lead and he chose correctly.  He reasoned that I was more likely to be short in hearts based on the takeout double and his own heart holding. I further pointed out that it was more likely that I had club length and heart shortness for my opening diamond preempt, rather than heart length and club shortness.

Stay alert for these great opportunities!

See you at the table! 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jennbridge: Declarer Play Problem

Here's a cute hand from a NAOP qualifier today.  (Board 12, hands rotated.) Holding the South cards, I opened 3 hearts after RHO passed.  Bob, my partner, raised to 4.  The ace of diamonds was led.

♠ AKJxxx
xx
QJ10xx


♠ Q10x
AQJxxxx

♣ xxx

I ruffed the diamond and studied the hand.  How would you play it?

****************

I first think about ruffing a couple of clubs, but that would still leave me with a club loser and unable to take a heart finesse. 

What about a loser on loser play--throwing a club on a diamond honor?  That line has risks--getting to the board for the play and getting back to the board for the heart finesse.  There has to be a better way.  Plus, this is matchpoints, so the maximum number of tricks is the goal.

Any other ideas?

***************

How about this?  Lead the queen of hearts from my hand, in order to maintain trump control!  Yes, this is it.  LHO won the king of hearts and returned a trump. I scored up 680 for all the matchpoints. Once LHO wins the king of hearts she has no recourse.  Of course, if she started with more than 2 hearts she can cause me trouble by refusing to win the king.

See you at the table!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jennbridge: Matchpoint Matters

Here are a couple of hands from the evening session of the pair game at the Sacramento regional. (Board rotated.)

Board 16
North Deals
E-W Vul
♠ K 10 4
Q 10 5
9 8 4
♣ Q 9 6 3
N
WE
S
♠ A 8 6 5 3
A K J 9
A K J
♣ K
WestNorthEastSouth
xBobxJenn
PassPass2 ♣
Pass2 Pass2 NT
Pass3 NTAll pass


Looking at 23 of the finest, I opened 2 clubs.  Bob responded 2D, waiting, and raised my 2NT bid to 3NT.  A low club was led and my king won.  I paused to assess matters and was pleased with the contract.  It was likely that we were on our way to a good matchpoint result. 

At trick two, I led a spade to the 10. RHO won and returned a diamond.  I won the ace and noted the encouraging signal on my left.  I now starting running my major suits, spades breaking 3-2 and hearts breaking 3-3. 

A funny thing happened in the end game.  LHO thought she was being squeezed in diamonds and clubs and ended up pitching the queen.  I figured her for the ace of clubs as well as the diamond queen and was surprised when I saw the whole hand:



Board 16
North Deals
E-W Vul
♠ K 10 4
Q 10 5
9 8 4
♣ Q 9 6 3
♠ Q 7
8 4 3
Q 10 2
♣ J 10 8 5 2
N
WE
S
♠ J 9 2
7 6 2
7 6 5 3
♣ A 7 4
♠ A 8 6 5 3
A K J 9
A K J
♣ K


Plus 690 was a cold top.  Opening or rebidding notrump on hands like this generally works well for me.  Since we play puppet stayman, we usually find our major suit fit when it is important to do so.  We needed the 690 score as there were a few 680s.

******************
On the very next board (hands rotated) I opened 1 club and Bob bid 2 clubs, inverted minor.  I then jumped to 3NT showing a strong notrump. (Our opening notrump range is 14-16.)

Board 17
East Deals
None Vul
♠ A 10 8
10 9 8
K 8 4
♣ A J 6 4
N
WE
S
♠ Q 7 4
A 6 3
A Q 6
♣ K Q 8 2
WestNorthEastSouth
xBobxJenn
Pass1 ♣
Pass2 ♣*Pass3 NT
All pass

A low heart went to the king which I ducked.  The 4 of hearts was returned which I won with the ace.  I then played 4 rounds of clubs and West discarded the nondescript 6 of spades, while East discarded the 2 of hearts.  I followed this with 3 rounds of diamonds, ending in dummy.  With 8 tricks in, these cards remained:

Board 17
East Deals
None Vul
♠ A 10 8
10

N
WE
S
♠ Q 7 4
6

If East had the spade king, I could lead low toward my queen and score 10 tricks.  If I made that play and West had the spade king, however, I would hold myself to 9 tricks.  I studied the hand some more.  I knew that West had 2 hearts and (I believed) 2 spades left.  I had to guess the location of the spade king to get that most prized possession:  the extra trick at matchpoints.  I knew the players and tried to read the situation.

After a minute or two I finally led my heart, throwing in West who cashed her remaining heart and led a spade.  The moment of truth.  I ducked and East followed with the 9, my queen winning! 

Board 17
East Deals
None Vul
♠ A 10 8
10 9 8
K 8 4
♣ A J 6 4
♠ K 6 2
Q J 7 5
10 7 2
♣ 10 9 5
N
WE
S
♠ J 9 5 3
K 4 2
J 9 5 3
♣ 7 3
♠ Q 7 4
A 6 3
A Q 6
♣ K Q 8 2
Plus 430 was worth 15.5 matchpoints out of 17. 

See you at the table!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jennbridge: Pitfalls Abound

We missed winning a two-session pair game at the Sacramento regional last week by only one matchpoint!  Here are a couple of hands from the first session on June 3, 2011.


Beer Card Alert!
 
Board 24
North Deals
None Vul
♠ Q 10 6 5
8
K 10 7 6 5 3
♣ Q 10
N
WE
S
♠ A 7 3
A Q 2
A Q J 4 2
♣ 8 2
4 ♠ by North

Somehow I landed in 4 spades from the North.  Bob opened 1 diamond with the South cards and I responded 1 spade.  Now the opponents got into the auction and some lively bidding ensued before subsiding with a 4 spade bid from Bob.  The opponents cashed their two clubs and switched to a heart.

I wasn't thrilled with my prospects. In truth, I figured the board rated to be a disaster.  I first had to decide whether to take the heart finesse and also had to decide how to play spades.

As I would almost certainly go down if the heart finesse lost, I went up with the heart ace.  I then played the spade ace followed by a spade to the ten which forced the king.  A heart was returned which I ruffed.  One slight chance remained.  I cashed the queen of spades and all followed, ridding the deck of spades! 

I showed my hand, which now contained only diamonds and saved the beer card (the 7 ) for the last card played.  Whew!  This netted 15.5 out of 17 machpoints.  The pair that beat us played 4 spades doubled, collecting 590!

Board 24
North Deals
None Vul
♠ Q 10 6 5
8
K 10 7 6 5 3
♣ Q 10
♠ J 9 8
K J 10 9 4
9 8
♣ J 9 3
N
WE
S
♠ K 4 2
7 6 5 3

♣ A K 7 6 5 4
♠ A 7 3
A Q 2
A Q J 4 2
♣ 8 2
4 ♠ by North
Plus 420


*********************************
  
Steal a Trick!
Board 25
North Deals
None Vul
♠ Q 4
K 9
A 7
♣ A J 10 8 7 4 2
♠ A J 8 3
Q 7 5 3 2
K 9 5
♣ 5
N
WE
S
♠ 10 7 6
A J 6
Q 8 4 3 2
♣ 9 3
♠ K 9 5 2
10 8 4
J 10 6
♣ K Q 6
WestNorthEastSouth
JennBob
1 ♣Pass1 ♠
Pass3 ♣Pass3
Pass3 NTAll pass

Before East led, he asked about Bob's 3 diamond bid and I replied that it was forcing.  He then led the 3 of diamonds, the jack was covered by the king and I won the ace.  I was pretty certain that East started with 4 or 5 diamonds including the queen, so that I had a second stopper.

I still didn't have 9 tricks, however.  It was a nice contract, but needed some work.  I couldn't afford to lead a diamond early in an effort to set up a 9th trick, for fear that west could get in with the ace of spades and lead a heart through my K9.  This was to be avoided at all costs.

I studed the hand for a minute, trying to come up with a plan.

I decided to try to steal a spade trick early, before the opponents really knew what was going on.  I therefore led a club to the king and led a spade off the board.  This had the element of surprise in addition to the fact that many defenders are reluctant to go up with their ace looking at the king in the dummy.

When my queen of spades won, I started running my clubs.  Not unexpectedly, both defenders started getting uncomfortable, particularly East.  He had to make 5 discards while retaining his queen of diamonds and trying to protect his heart holding. When he released his last spade I knew I had him. 

It was then a simple matter to throw him in with the queen of diamonds, forcing him to lead a heart to me at the end. 1S, 1H, 1D and 7 clubs comes to 10 tricks. Plus 430 was a tie for top.

True, the defenders could have done better, but if you give them enough rope, sometimes they will hang themselves!

See Bob's comments on the bidding below.  See you at the table!