Sunday, May 31, 2020

75.7% Game, Part 3

Reprints of score recaps from the recent 75.7% game in case you are just tuning in to the story...

Here are the last 4 boards of the 75.7% Daylong MP game I won recently. Looking them over for brilliant bidding and play, I just don't see it.  More likely is that the stars aligned and everything fell my way for one brief 12-board session!
Bd. 9

It seems pretty straightfoward to get to 4S on these cards.  I have a 4 loser hand and actually consider 4S to be an underbid.  Bidding with the robots, however, requires that all bids be relatively simple.

The HQ was led and won by South, my hand. On BBO, playing with robots, the human is always the declarer (luckily!) when possible. I won in my hand and made what could be described as the key play in the hand--I ducked a spade. I expect to have two spade losers and need to retain trump control.  This is accomplished by ducking a spade, then later cashing the SA--leaving one trump outstanding. This play generally gains in the long run.

The spade trick went 2,3,8 with East winning the S10.  Now East shifted to the 6D which I trumped in my hand.  Now I led a spade to the ace, leaving the SK outstanding, and started playing clubs.  On the third club honor I discarded a heart from the North hand.  Now I just cross ruffed, with East taking the high trump whenever he chose.  

Making 4S, 420 was worth a 79.5% board.  As it turns out, only half of the pairs in my section got to game and only two pairs made it!

Bd. 10

After I opened 1D and partner responded 1H, I elected to bid 2H which was passed out. I received a favorable lead with the CA, followed by a club continuation which I won on the board with the queen.  A heart to the Ace followed by a heart to the King revealed that I had no heart losers.  The hand was coming together nicely.  I drew the last trump, cashed the last club and gave up two spades and one diamond. The S9 was doubleton so I had two spade tricks.

Plus 140 was another 79.5% board.  Most of the pairs were in hearts, with only about half making their contract.  The breakdown: one 170; three 140; two 110, with the remainder being minus scores in 2H, 3H and 4H.

Bd. 11

Not too difficult to get to 3NT, with the monster hand I held.  I elected to rebid 2NT with my singleton CA, and after a Stayman auction, settled in 3NT.

The S10 was led which I won in my hand and, needing heart tricks, then led a heart to the queen and ace. Now East shifted to the CK.  Luckily dummy had a club stopper, and I won the CA, perforce. I now continued with the HJ, won by East.  The CQ was cashed, followed by a diamond shift. I now have only 3 tricks and the opponents have 3 tricks--I'm scrambling for 6 more!

I cashed the remaining two diamond honors and played the SK.  LHO followed with the S9 and I started hoping that spades were 3-3.  When I led my last spade toward the Q, all followed. The deuce of spades was my 9th trick! I led a heart back to my hand hoping for another heart trick, but it was not to be.

Plus 400 was worth 73.75%.  Another good score.  Most pairs got to game but most pairs failed to make it.  One pair got a top score playing the 4-3 fit in spades. Some played in a heart game and went down.  Others went down in 3NT.

Bd. 12

After many really good scores, amazingly, the best score was on the last board!  Like I tell my bridge students:  first, you have to get to game; and secondly, you have to make it!

After two passes, East opened 1C and I overcalled 1S.  West made a negative double and partner made a very interesting bid:  2D! Wow. I figured the odds were good that I no longer had any diamond losers, and all of a sudden my hand shot up from a good 5-loser hand to a tremendously powerful 3-loser hand.  East bid 2H and I needed to find a way to get to game.

Uncertain of the best strain, and trying to keep the bidding simple, I decided to try a jump to 3S.  Surely that would be a show of strength.  I was delighted when partner, North, raised to 4S.

I got a club lead and dummy was suitable.  East won the CK and made the losing play of trying to cash another club, which I ruffed.  I crossed to dummy and successfully finessed the SQ.  I then cashed the SA and saw that I had a spade loser.  That was fine as the hand was shaping up nicely.  Now all I had to do was keep playing diamonds until East ruffed in.  My losing heart would go on the long diamond in dummy, and that is what happened. Note that if East doesn't ruff the diamond until the fourth time they are played, then I will have to lose a heart.

Anyway, all was well that ended well.  I made 5 and the score of 650 was worth 90% as no other pair in my section made 5. Actually, only 3 pairs out of 12 even got to game!  There were several part scores in both spades and diamonds.

I thought I had a good game, but was dumbfounded to learn later that my score topped the field with a 75.7% game.

Keep striving.  An early partner of mine from Louisville used to say modestly about her bridge:  "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes!"

See you at the virtual tables!

Friday, May 29, 2020

75.7% Game, Part 2

Continuing with the boards from the 75% game...

At Matchpoints you are rewarded for plus scores and generally punished for minus scores.  Boards 3 and 4 were the only two minus scores in the game.

On Bd. 3 I made the wrong bid:

5D was a bad bid at matchpoints (perhaps not so bad at IMPs where the rewards of bidding game are so high).  I fell in love with my 18-count and couldn't bring myself to pass partner's preemptive 3D bid.  In retrospect, 3NT was the winning call.  Even pass would have netted a good score.

Bd. 4 was a flat 50% board as all E-W pairs bid and made 4S.

Next come 4 boards in a row, all with the unimpressive score of plus 110, but all resulting in huge percentage scores.(!)

Bd. 5

I won the spade lead in my hand and led a diamond which West won with the Ace.  West continued spades.  East won the ace and shifted to a club which I ducked to the CQ.  West continued with a club to my jack. Now it was an easy matter to draw the last trump, ruffing my last diamond and losing two hearts.   Plus 110 scored an amazing 87.5%.

Two other pairs were in 2S and went down; other pairs were in 1NT, 1H, 3S or passed out.

Bd. 6 

East led the D10 which I ducked to West's King.  West followed with the A,K Q of spades and shifted to a club with East winning the ace.  I had all the rest of the tricks.

Plus 110 was worth 79.5% of the matchpoints.  It appears that at other tables E-W competed to 3C and either played there or forced N-S higher for minus scores.

Bd. 7

When my 1D opener was passed I was a little sorry that I hadn't opened 2NT. West led a club won by East who shifted to the 8 of spades. West won the queen and shifted to a heart which I won on the board.  I next ran the D9 and West won and shifted to a club, 10, Q and K.  I am starting to get some tricks going. The defense is friendly.

I cashed the A,Q of diamonds which revealed the 4-2 trump break and started on hearts.  West ruffed the third heart and I overruffed.  I then led the S10 from the board and it went J, K and A.  Now the dummy is good.

Plus 110, making 3, was worth an amazing score of 96.8%! One pair scored 120, a few were plus 90 in diamonds, and others got too high.

Bd. 8:  The last in the string of high-scoring plus 110 scores.

After a routine 1D, P, 1S, P, 1NT, East balanced with 2C.  Unwilling to risk letting 2C be the final contract, I bid 2S which was the final contract. Partner North only had 4 spades, but had 10 points.

East led the singleton HA and shifted to a club. I won the CA and played another club which West won. West cashed the DA and then gave East a heart ruff.  East returned a diamond to my king and I led a spade to the queen and cashed the ace.  When the smoke cleared I had 8 tricks.

Plus 110 was worth another 87.5% board.  Several pairs played spade contracts at the 1, 2 and 3 level--half making and half going down.  There were a couple of club partscores.

I have to admit that I'll give the humble score of 110 more respect in the future!
Stay tuned for part 3. The last 4 boards are more interesting as they involve 3 out of 4 game bids.

See you at the virtual tables!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

75.7% game in Daylong Pairs

I have been enjoying playing in the ACBL Daylong games which consist of one human and three robots per table. The games are generally 12 boards, either IMPs or Matchpoints. You can join whenever it is convenient and play at your own pace--even play a few boards now and the rest later.  The matchpoint games seem to be quite popular as there are now four per day. Plus...they only cost $1.35.

A loosely-held goal of mine during this time of quarantine has been to crack the top 10.  Well..I did it in fine fashion recently. The stars aligned and I found myself on top of the pack with a 75.7% game in a Daylong MP game with 520 pairs!

As 70% games are rare and 75.7% games rarer still, I thought I'd present some of the hands. The robots are better than they used to be and can give you a decent game from time to time.  Beware making any obscure takeout doubles, and note that their defense is not always the best (except when they are YOUR opponents, of course)!  

 Here is the score sheet from the session.

 You need some luck to have a big game! The first two boards are defensive problems. Let's take a quick look at board 1 and you can see how the robots misdefended:

I received a helpful heart lead, then took a winning finesse of the spade jack.  On the run of the hearts the West robot fatally pitched a spade, and then on the run of the spades West fatally pitched a diamond.  West held on for dear life to the K84 of clubs, so I only lost one spade trick and was able to score 12 tricks for +490 and an 86% board. Good start!

On Bd. 2, I had an interesting defensive problem.

We weren't able to bid our spade game, so needed to take the maximum number of tricks in 4Hx.  East ruffed the third spade and ducked a diamond to North's J.  North returned a club to my K and West's Ace.  West now ruffed a club and ruffed a diamond.  When declarer tried to ruff a club back to his hand, it was time for me to pause and try to work out the best defense.

The good news was that I now had a count on the hand. East started with 6 hearts for the weak-two bid, and had only 2 spades and 1 club.  That meant East started with 4 diamonds.  How would you defend?

I decided to overruff the club with the HJ, then cash the HA and play my last heart to cut down on dummy's ruffing power.  This would cause East to lose an extra diamond trick at the end.

Down 3, +500 was worth 84%, as one pair bid and made 4S, and other pairs either failed to either bid of make 4S, or made fewer tricks in 4Hx.

Stay tuned and keep playing.

See you at the virtual tables!

Monday, May 11, 2020

I Couldn't Believe My Eyes

I enjoy playing in the daylong IMP pair games on BBO.  Playing with and against robots, a large number of people enter the daily events, and you can play at your leisure--all 12 boards at once or divided up during the day.

I am still shaking my head at this one.  I was sitting South Vul vs. NV.

East (RHO) dealt and opened 1 and I had a nice hand.


I overcalled 1 and LHO bid 1.  Robot partner bid 2 and it was passed to me.  This hand had potential and I decided to trot out the bid of 2.  The auction accelerated.

3 by LHO, 4 by partner, 5 by RHO, 5 by me, pass, 5 by partner, pass, pass double!

Uh-oh I thought.  What kind of trouble has my robot partner gotten me into this time?! What kind of disaster did my 2 bid on AK72 precipitate?

The dummy hit and I couldn't believe my eyes!

Now this is a dummy...6-card trump support, Kxx in your first bid suit, and first round controls in the other two suits! (How about a 1 bid on the first round of bidding, pard!?) Of course, an expert pair would probably have found a way to get to slam, but..hey...playing with the robots, I'm relatively happy.

I won the heart lead, drew trump, guessed the diamonds, and made seven.
5x making 7 resulted in the nice score of +1250!

A gain of 9 IMPs and a fun hand for the blog.  All in a days' work on BBO.

See you at the virtual tables!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Scoring on BBO: Using the History tab

If you’re new to BBO and are not used to computer programs—here is a secret:   Click on everything you see!  Not necessarily in the middle of a game, but sooner or later.  Nearly everything you click on will provide you with information or something useful.
  • ·         You can click on the board number to review the bidding.
  • ·         You can click on the trick count to see the last trick.
  • ·         You can click on the name of your opponent to get their name and statistics. 
  •  You can click on the menu box (with the horizontal lines) at the top left of your screen to call the director, etc.

The History Tab is Where It’s Happening!  That is where you get all of the results. You can access the History tab (in yellow to the right of the box below) at any time.  While you’re playing, it will show you the running score under the My Table heading so you will know how you’re doing.  It’s a fun barometer-style of scoring! After each round the new scores appear, so you can observe your game percentage as it rises and falls.

If you have time between rounds, you can take a look at the Other Tables heading to see why you either got a good score or a bad score.  (Not a good idea during the game as it is a big distraction!)

You will note that under the hand you can see a blue box Next trick. Click on it to see a play-by-play of each card played during the hand. Keep clicking the Next trick box to see each subsequent trick.

At the end of the game, once the scores are finalized, there will be a “Results” box (below) that will appear on your screen.  On that box will be a list of the winners, your final score, including any masterpoints won, and a link “Show Boards” to click to see the hands you played.  The following examples are from a game I played with Bruce Blakely.

When you click on the “Show Boards” link, you have choices regarding how to review each hand.

If you click on Traveller, you will see the scores of everyone.  If you click on Movie you will see the details of that board as it was bid and played at your table—as below.

At the bottom of the hand you will see some boxes.  If you click on Next, you can see a card-by-card replay of the hand.  To PRINT the hand click on the menu box to the right of the tool bar at the top of the screen and scroll down to "print".

After the game is completed, you can click on the History tab again and then click on Recent Tournaments to find the game you’re looking for.  You simply click on the line for the game you want to study, and it will come up (as below).  If you have played hands other than in a tournament, you can click on Recent hands rather than Recent tournaments.

When you click on the tournament you want to review, the following screen will appear and you click on the blue box Results to get the details.

Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

Good luck!  See you at the virtual tables!