Friday, July 13, 2007

Safety or gamble at MP?

Saturday I played a marathon as preparation for the upcoming EK for university students. Concentration for a long period of time could be one of the biggest problems we'll face, so we played in a good field for an entire day with MP scoring. Imp tournaments are more relaxed imo, so MP is a great training.
We didn't do great, but it wasn't bad either. Some silly mistakes mainly in carding, but our bidding system and competitive agreements work.

The most interesting hand I declared was the following:
AQ9x
AQxxxx
Axx
-

KT8x
K
KJx
AJTxx

We were on the way to grand slam, but partner missed in number of keycards (it was late), so we ended up in 6 instead of 7. Not that it's such a great grand slam anyway, so I didn't complain (it would probably make, but that's not the important issue imo).

LHO leads K. Imo the best way to make lots of tricks is to play on s. I discard a in dummy and take my A. Now comes K of course, followed by a to the Ace. When you play a small RHO shows out (doesn't ruff ofcourse, since that's pointless).

Back into the tank! Is there still a way for +1? Is my contract in danger?

Trumps are 3-2 or 4-1. 3-2 is no problem. So what about 4-1? If RHO has 4 s we'll probably go down. If LHO has 4 of them, we need to unblock s when ruffing out our s, and take the finesse later on to keep control of the hand. That's a safe line when LHO has 4s, but may still be dangerous if LHO has 3 s and a singleton minor! We will have played A to ruff a ...

Anyway, I choose to unblock the s, ruffing with T and K (keeping 8 opposite Q9x). When I played 8, LHO played the J and I made +1.

I was quite surprized that scored a top! Since 6 is a normal contract, and are divided Jx-xxx, any line you choose will get you an overtrick as long as you play on . LHO didn't have a singleton , so the lead doesn't matter much. EXCEPT: the lead of a small will make it harder on you, because they take away an easy entry for ruffing out the s. I guess you'll need even better unblocking there, and you'll need to play on a 3-2 split for sure. Still, you can always make the contract.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Funny game yesterday

Yesterday I played some games with Gert against Ed and Rob. It's always fun, they like to psych from time to time, they don't mind if we do it too (so it's a good training in "who to trust"), you can fool them, they can fool you, and nobody really cares that much about the scores.

Not long ago we made some changes to our intervention handling after 1NT openings. Because most worldclass players advise us to be able to play 1NTx, we abandoned the forcing pass. It came up, with success. I opened 1NT, LHO doubled, partner passed, and RHO held following hand:
T982
98
K3
T9732
What is he supposed to do? Penalty doubles can be anything, and he holds a K! So he passed. 1NTx+1 was the result.
The non-forcing pass puts pressure to your opponents: do they have to pull or not? If pass obligates partner to ReDouble, opponents get a second chance, and he will pull to 2 (probably -1).

A few hands later there was time for some fantasy. I held:
AKQJ87
J653
94
5
Nobody vulnerable, I could open 2 showing 10-13HCP with 5+, unbalanced. However, I thought the hand was just too strong for that, so I opened 3NT, which shows a normal 4-level preempt in one of the Majors.
Partner asked me to bid my suit, and RHO bid 4! Easy Dbl ofcourse, for a telephone number.

A while later I get the following hand:
A873
Q962
T942
7
Unfavorable, the auction went (we were silent):
1 - 1!
3 - 3NT
(1 shows 4+s)
What do you lead?
Here's the full hand:

Dealer:North
Vul:EW
Scoring:imps
J
A53
K8
AQJT842
A873
Q962
T942
7
6542
JT4
AQJ3
53
KQT9
K87
765
K96

Only a lead or switch can defeat this. No idea if I could've found this one...

A few boards later, I held favorable in 1st seat:
873
T75
T96
QT43
I psyched a 1NT opening (11-14). Opps ended up in 6 when they knew they had a double fit (5-3, 4-4). We already had a board where they had a double fit, and the 4-4 was better, so I guess they remembered that one. Ofcourse, it was the other way around now: partner had J stiff, and my RHO had AKxx, so no chance at all. 1 down is good bridge.

Now look at this one:
-
A97
AQJ98742
KJ
What do you do, favorable in 1st seat?
RHO got creative and passed! I opened 1NT, partner transfered , and NOW he bid 5. What was I supposed to do with:
J6
QT63
KT
AQ653
I doubled, he made... Nice maxipsych!

And our last interesting hand was the following:

Dealer:East
Vul:Both
Scoring:imps
A6
K8653
QJ9875
-
KJ753
942
32
JT7
T982
Q
T6
AQ9843
Q4
AJT7
AK4
K652

The auction went:
pass - 1 - pass - 1!
pass - 2NT - pass - 3
pass - 4 - pass - 6
pass - 6 - ...
(1 shows 5+s)
I thought this would make, and gambled by doubling. Opponents may play the trump suit completely wrong. How was I to know lefty had 5s and partner Q stiff... :-(