Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jennbridge: Slamming in Philly III

There were few bright spots in our match against the #1 seed (Joel, Sokolow, Seamon-Molson, Meyers, Willard and Cronier) in the Round of 8 in the Wagar.  In the first session I played a normal 4 after opening 1NT and engaging in a Stayman auction.  As I had to find the trump queen and could delay playing on trumps, I took the opportunity to make some discovery plays and learned that my RHO held all 3 missing aces.  With that information I played LHO for the trump queen.  Wrong--lose 10 imps! We were down by 28 after the first 32 boards. 

In the second set, as dealer at unfavorable vul.  I opened 1 holding:

♠ KJ874
♣ A103

Partner bid 2 and it was my call. Her bid certainly brought my hand to life and I considered my options.

Obviously I could bid 3, but didn't I have a more descriptive call available?  With 6 losers, the hand was better than a minimum opener. What about 3, a splinter bid showing heart shortness and, certainly, in this instance, good diamonds?  That sounded right so I jumped to 3.

Partner now bid 4, which we play as Minorwood, asking about keycards.    I bid 5, showing 2-plus the queen and she bid 6.  (So far, so good--we seemingly successfully navigated the Minorwood minefield...:-)  A trump was led.

♠ KJ874
♣ A103

♠ A9
♣ K6

The ace of diamonds was taken and another trump returned, trumps dividing 2-2.  She now ruffed 2 hearts and set up a long spade (spades broke 4-2) as a parking place for her last heart.  

Plus 1370 felt like a good score and, indeed, when we compared, it turned out that we won 13 IMPs on the board as our opponents stopped in game.  (Partner later commented that she loved the splinter bid.)

But alas, the opponents increased their winning margin and the match was over.  The Joel team eventually played in the finals where they lost to the Westheimer team. 

Slam Bidding In Philly Analysis: 

This is a small sample, yet I believe that there is a lesson to be learned from these slam hands I have been presenting.  A team with excellent slam-bidding skills should have the upper hand in these women's events, provided their mistakes are kept to a minimum.  In Philadelphia our team was relatively young and inexperienced and not favored in either match, yet our slam bidding propelled us to an upset win in the round of 16 and produced a notable swing in the round of 8.

Attention to slam bidding is always a fruitful area for match-winning swings, and should probably be an area of concentration for teams seeking success in this arena.

See you at the table!

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