Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hospital bridge

Bridge is a constant as we move through this ordeal. Two of our bridge friends from Santa Rosa, Chris F. and Joanne P., traveled to the city for a game with us. They were impressed with our digs--private room with bath, shower, refrigerator, cot, decent food and great views of the city by the bay.

I opened 1C with:


Frank bid 1H, I bid 1S and he bid 2S. I jumped to 3N, showing a relatively balanced hand and inquiring whether partner had 4 card support or not. He surprised me by bidding 4H (an alternative contract?) and I signed off in 4S.

A club lead revealed a satisfactory dummy:



I won the CK and decided to try to ruff a couple of clubs: club ruff, heart ace, club ruff…All was going fine until I played the spade K and the Q fell on my right. I could tell (from comments and mannerisms) that it was a singleton, so I played two more rounds of hearts and all followed. I had won 7 tricks and these were the remaining cards:

S ----
H 10
D Axxxx
C ----

S A9x
H ----
D xx
C x

As I called for the ace of diamonds I realized that I had been lazy and hadn’t taken time to completely count the hand. Sure enough, LHO ruffed it. (A count would have revealed that LHO had 5S, 3H, and at least 4C…therefore at most 1D.) The play was a little careless and I needed to engineer a good recovery. LHO cashed a club and exited with a club which I ruffed, bringing about a cute ending:

I held A9 of spades and a small diamond.
LHO held Jxx of spades.
When I exited with my losing diamond LHO was forced to ruff it and lead into my spade tenace. Making 4.

As it turns out, nearly any play works--the key is to not cash the spade ace, thereby preserving the endplay on LHO.

We switched partners and played for fun--dropping a few tricks here and there. Partner opened 1H and RHO overcalled 1S. I passed with:


LHO bid 2H, showing a good hand, presumably with spade support. Pard passed, looking disappointed and starting to lose interest. RHO bid 3C--presumably showing a good hand with clubs as well as spades. Not a bad bid EXCEPT for the fact that it kept the bidding low and got me thinking…maybe I could now come in with my diamond suit and maybe even wake up my partner--3 diamonds! LHO bid a quick 4S and pard, clearly interested, bid a firm 5 diamonds! Everyone passed. Well, this is an interesting development…it is easy to see why partner came to life:



I ruffed the spade lead and started trying to figure out how to make my contract. The key is clearly to keep LHO out of the lead to avoid a club lead through the K. I therefore played the heart ace and continued with the J, hoping that RHO would need to win the king and I could set up my hearts without LHO gaining the lead.

Alas, LHO won the HK and made the obvious play of leading a club through. RHO now need only cash the A and Q of clubs to beat the contract. The ending went awry, but the interesting points included: 1) staying alert for the possibility of getting into the bidding, and 2) utilizing an avoidance play in an effort to keep the danger hand out of the lead.

Health update: Frank is doing well and hopes to be back home in a couple of days. Maybe we’ll see you Wednesday night!

See you at the table!

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