Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jennbridge: Big Casino, Little Casino

By Bob Klein.
When I was a boy, I used to play a card game known as Casino.  It was a simple game where you had to amass cards in various ways.  You could win 11 points on each deal: 3 for having the most cards, 1 for the most spades, and a point for each ace you won.   There were two added bonuses.  You got 2 points if you won the ten of diamonds and one for the two of spades.   These cards were known as the Big Casino and the Little Casino, respectively.  

There were a lot of bids and plays in the National Roth Open Swiss recently in Philadelphia, but one stands out in my mind because of its timing and significance.   It was in the last round of the finals.   Our team had a chance to finish really well if we could win our last match.   During this match, I was dealt:

♠ K8542
♣ 9

Not a terribly interesting collection.  Yet it produced an opportunity for me to either win or lose the match.   Dave Neuman, my partner, opened the bidding with 1 Diamond.  RHO overcalled 2 Clubs.  I passed, LHO cue bid 2 Diamonds, Dave passed, RHO bid 2 Hearts, I passed, LHO bid 3 Clubs, Dave passed, and now RHO bid 3 Spades.  This got my attention, since it gave me a chance to do something.  I wasn’t sure where they were headed, but it seemed like a good idea to get in a lead directing double, so I doubled.  Now LHO bid 3NT, ending the auction.

Dave, being a good partner, followed my direction and led the three of spades.  Dummy hit with:

♠ A9

Declarer ducked, and I won with the king.  Now came the moment of truth.  What do I play to trick two?

It looked like declarer had the clubs locked up, so with the ace of spades that was 7 tricks.  In order for us to have a chance, partner had to have the ace of hearts, and we needed to set up tricks in either spades or diamonds before it was knocked out.   Well, should I continue a spade or a diamond, and which one?   

I decided that If I played a diamond, it had to be the ten.  (A low diamond could be ducked into partner’s hand so the suit couldn’t be continued successfully.)  If I played a spade, if would be a low one.   Interestingly, the choice boiled down to the Big Casino (10) or the Little Casino (2). (OK, I could have played the 4 instead of the 2 to show fourth best, but then it wouldn’t be such a fun story)!
If Dave had 4 spades to the Jack or Queen, another spade would set up the suit.  But if he had only three, the spades couldn’t be set up.  If he had Qxx, giving declarer Jxx,  the Jack would block the suit since I had no entries outside.  
I finally decided that it was more likely that he had three spades than four, so I played the Big Casino.  I had to consider Dave’s possible distributions based on the auction.  South had denied holding 4 hearts, and had supported clubs.   So I thought he was likely to hold 3 hearts and 3 clubs, leaving the same for Dave.  So Dave’s possible distributions were 4=3=3=3 or 3=3=4=3.  If he held 4=3=3=3 he might have opened 1 Club instead of 1 Diamond. 

This was the only card that could sink the contract, as the four hands were: 

West Deals
None Vul
♠ A 9
K Q 9 5
♣ A Q 8 7 3 2
♠ Q 6 3
A 10 3
A Q 9 8
♣ 10 6 4
♠ K 8 5 4 2
8 6 4
10 7 4 2
♣ 9

♠ J 10 7
J 7 2
K J 5 3
♣ K J 5
1 2 ♣Pass2
Pass2 Pass3 ♣
Pass3 ♠Dbl3 NT
All pass
3 NT by South

This won us ten IMPs, more than our margin of victory in the match. 
Good luck!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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