Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jennbridge: Trying for Nine On-Line

I was fooling around on Bridge Base last night when I had a pleasant experience. A BBO friend invited me to his table where I was partnered by a well-known expert and we had about 35 kibitzers. I was dealer and picked up this nice hand:

♠  T72
♥  AQ84
♦   A52
♣  AKJ

I opened 1 Club, partner bid 1 Spade, I rebid 2NT and she raised me to 3NT.  LHO led the jack of hearts, and I saw: 

♠  Q954
♥  K2
♦  Q6
♣  97643

♠ T72

I wanted to set up the clubs and the heart king was my only sure entry to dummy, so I won the first trick in my hand with the ace, then started the clubs with the ace.  RHO showed out, pitching a heart (a critical error as it turned out), so the clubs weren't going to come in and I had to find a Plan B.  I saw a possible 9 tricks: 2 spades, 3 hearts, 2 diamonds and 2 clubs.  To get  there, I had to start the spades.  I led the deuce.  LHO won the king and continued a second heart (a diamond would have been better).   I won dummy's king, played a club to my king and played the ten of spades (to unblock).  It went jack, queen, ace.  RHO returned a heart, I won the queen and LHO followed with the ten.  My 8 of hearts was now good, so I was up to 8 tricks. If the spades came in 3-3, I would be up to 9, so I played my last spade to dummy's 9.  LHO showed out, but I still had a chance.  RHO had a good spade, but all his remaining cards had to be diamonds.  So I played dummy's last spade.  RHO won and returned a diamond, perforce.  I played low, holding my breath, and when LHO didn't produce the king, I was home with 1 spade, 4 hearts, 2 diamonds and 2 clubs. 

My expert partner sent me a nice message:  "I'm impressed!"  That's a great thing to read in front of 35 kibitzers!

Good luck! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jennbridge: Online Fun

By Bob Klein:  Bridge Base Online (BBO) is a fun place to play bridge.  I have developed a set of acquaintances who often invite me to play in team matches.  Some of them are players I can rely on to be experts; others, who claim to be experts, are of uncertain skill.  Often a good player will invite me into a game and pair me up with someone I haven't played with before.  When this happens, there are times when I have to make decisions without firm partnership agreements or confidence that my partner will know to do the right thing. 

Last night, I picked up this interesting collection in a team game with both sides vulnerable:

♠  Axxx
♥  AQJxxx
♦   Kx
♣  x

RHO dealt and opened 1 Club.  Do you double or overcall 1 Heart?  I decided to double.  There were only 5 losers, so I felt it was strong enough to bid hearts the next time if partner didn't respond in spades.  The auction proceeded pass, 1NT, pass back to me.  Now what?

The most important thing playing IMPs is to bid your vulnerable games.  Since partner has shown some values, I wanted to bid a game.  It looked to me as if this hand should be played in either 3NT or 4 Hearts.  If I had been playing with Jenn or anyone whom I could trust to be an expert, I would have bid 3 Hearts, which should be virtually forcing and giving partner a choice of games.  However, I was playing with a new partner and didn't want to risk being passed out, so I just bid 4 Hearts and hoped for the best.  Everyone passed, LHO led the jack of clubs, and I looked at:

♠  xx
♥  Kxx
♦  Jxxx
♣  KQxx

♠  Axxx
♥  AQJxxx
♦   Kx
♣  x

Not a bad catch.  Partner had nice trump support, so I had a reasonable play for the contract.  There were 3 obvious losers, one each in all of the plain suits.  I had to somehow take care of all of my low spades, and avoid a second diamond loser.  There were two possible approaches:  (1) ruff one spade low and one high, and pitch a diamond on a club winner; (2) ruff one spade, pitch one on a club winner and play a diamond toward the king, hoping RHO had the ace.  Line (1) risked promoting a trump trick for the opponents if trumps were 4-0 or if they could manage an uppercut by continuing clubs when LHO had 3 trumps and only 2 or 3 clubs.  Line (2) risked the ace of diamonds offside and had some problems managing entries to dummy. 

I covered the club.  RHO won the ace and shifted to the king of spades.  I ducked this trick as LHO encouraged.  He contined with the spade ten.  I decided to play him for the ace of diamonds and go for line (2).  I took the ace, ruffed a third round of spades low in dummy (LHO followed with the jack), pitched the last spade on a high club, played a heart to the ace and another to the king (hearts were 4-0 with LHO having all of them), then played a diamond toward the king.  RHO stepped up with the ace and played back a club.  I held my breath and ruffed low hoping that I wasn't being uppercut.  Fortunately, LHO followed, so I drew his trump and brought home the game. 

Good luck!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hand from Mixed B-A-M **+

The food was fabulous and the weather was woeful in steamy New Orleans last week.  Here is one of my favorite hands from the Mixed Board-a-Match Teams. Not much of a hand, mind you, but the type that can be action-oriented at the right vulnerability:

♠ void
♣ J97432

It was the second board of a tense round against young opponents clearly proud of their intricate big club system with transfer responses, etc.  At favorable vul., LHO opened 1 club and partner, Bob, overcalled 1 heart.  RHO made a slow bid of 2 hearts, and while LHO was clearly thinking about what the bid meant before alerting it, I took the matter into my own hands.

Certain that they could make a vulnerable game (or even slam!) in spades, I jumped to 5 hearts, taking away most of their bidding spade and presenting LHO with a dilemma.  The best she could do was double.  RHO passed reluctantly and the king of clubs was led.

♠ void
♣ J97432

♠ J752
♣ A106

Needless to say, we won the board with our score of minus 100 as the opponents can make 6 spades (or 6 NT).  Their hands were:  AK10/A4/KQ10854/Q8 opposite Q98643/3/A732/K5.

It often pays to interfere with a precision or big club bidding system--sometimes Big Time!

See you at the table!