Friday, August 24, 2007

2Sx? No, we prefer 3D

Take a look at following auctions:

Open room:
pass - 1 - pass - 1
pass - 2 - Dbl - pass
3 - pass - pass - pass

Closed room:
2! - pass - 2! - pass
pass - Dbl - pass - 2NT!
pass - 3! - pass - 3
pass - pass - pass

Yes, these are the auctions from 1 board played at 2 tables! It was the match we played against one of the Danish teams (Blakset). At both tables we were doubling our opponents in 2 (both down), and at both tables our team ended up in 3!
The board was not fouled, everybody was sitting in the right direction, nobody was psyching,...

Here it is:

Dealer:West
Vul:None
Scoring:imps
863
Q864
AK
A862
QT952
95
J63
Q94
J
AKJT
Q842
KT53
AK74
732
T975
J7

In the open room, the auction started pretty standard. The raise to 2 seems unnecessary to me because there are lots of values in the doubleton. Nevertheless the North player decided to raise. Now East had a clear Double, showing his values, red suits, length in and shortness in . West was afraid to leave it in and decided to play 3.

In the closed room, West started with a "trash mini-multi", showing a poor hand with at least a 5 card Major. North (me) couldn't double that, because we play Dbl as takeout opposite a 2 opening. Whatever action we want to take opposite a 2 opening can usually wait a round. So East bid a 2 P/C which went back to me. Now I had a takeout Double, although my s were a bit short. South was too afraid to leave that in, and started a Lebensohl sequence to 3.

Our team mates in the open room made 7 tricks, we only made 6, for a nicely combined total of 13. Christina Mortensen (= West in the closed room) claimed they defended better! :-)

So where did it go wrong? I'm not entirely sure (and my opinion is biased anyway), that's why I posted 2 polls on the Bridgebase forums:
Open room
Closed room

At the moment, it seems like people agree with Gert's decision to run, while they don't agree with the decision in the open room.

Maybe some will not agree with my takeout Double, who knows? An auction like 2 - 2 usually points out the weakness of the fit, so I really thought my partner would probably pass 2x. Well, he didn't, but I can't blame him.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Psychs I've seen in Bruges

1. First of all, one I've heard from a friend:

Dealer:North
Vul:EW
Scoring:imps
AT87
K632
J654
2
KQ94
A854
AK8
A7
J3
97
Q92
KQJT96
652
QJT
T73
8543

The auction started:
pass - pass - 1NT! - ...

Now West had a problem: he couldn't Double because that promissed either or both red suits. So he tried 2, showing either or both Majors! Ofcourse, East did what he thought was best: Pass!

pass - pass - 1NT - 2!
pass - pass - pass

EW made some overtricks...

Once again you get proof that Dbl should not be too artificial, especially after a 3rd seat favorable 1NT opening! With Gert I play Dbl as 4M-5m or strong distributional, so we can easily Double. If partner passes, great, but if he bids we can still find 3NT (next best thing).

2. One of our opponents did this at our table:

Dealer:East
Vul:None
Scoring:imps
KJ975
Q5
A2
KJ53
3
987
QT864
A862
AT42
J43
KJ95
QT
Q86
AKT62
73
974

The auction went as follows:
1! - 1 - 1! - 1NT?
2 - pass - 3 - Dbl
pass - 3 - pass - pass
pass
(1 usually shows 5s, opps play Polish )

I bid 1NT because I didn't suspect a psych at that time, and partner could've overcalled a bit light. After the 3 bid however, I was shaken awake, as was my partner. But how many s did I have? Hard to find 4 now imo.

West started his singleton to his partner's Ace but didn't get his ruff (apparently East was the only one who didn't realize the psych). We made 2 overtricks, but 4M makes if you can guess the s.

3. I couldn't help it, the last day against our friends from Oxford:

Dealer:East
Vul:EW
Scoring:imps
J765
J3
A9
T9752
2
AT9842
K42
QJ8
AKT8
75
QT86
A64
Q943
KQ6
J753
K3

The auction went:
1NT! - pass - 2 - 2!
pass - 3 - pass? - 3
pass - pass - 4? - pass
pass - pass
(1NT = weak; 3 = invite+ with fit)

I lead A and got an encouraging signal. Partner thought I lead from AKx and wanted me to cash the suit before declarer's losers would go away on AK. I don't think I'd ask for attitude from AKx, rather count (by leading the K), but ok, we forgive him because it was the last day and we weren't 100% concentrated (nothing to win or lose anyway). After the continuation (I thought I'd get a ruff) declarer made 4 by discarding his losers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another missed slam

I forgot one where I made an easy 12 tricks, because it's just crazy to bid slam on this hand. We didn't even reach game, and it needs too many well placed cards to actually make a chance. Here it is:

Dealer:South
Vul:Both
Scoring:imps
AJ4
84
AT2
AJ975
K3
Q72
KJ96
T862
T85
KJ9653
Q74
Q
Q9762
AT
853
K43

The auction was quickly over:
pass - pass - 1NT! - pass
pass - pass

(weak NT)

After a lead, I immediately took A and finessed J. When the K drops under A and Q drops under K, an easy 12 tricks are for the taking...

Slams we missed

Apart from the 2 grands we've missed (we bid only small slam) we only missed 2 slams. Coincidence or not, both contained a void. Note again that these were also 26-point-slams, just like the ones we bid...

1.

Dealer:East
Vul:NS
Scoring:imps
AKQ
KJT98632
63
-
J83
-
KQT87
AJ742
76542
4
J54
QT53
T9
AQ75
A92
K986

pass - 1NT! - pass - 2!
pass - 2! - Dbl - 4!
pass - 4? - pass - pass
pass

1NT = 12-14, balanced or semibalanced (4441/5422)
2 = puppet to 2, many hands
2 = obligated
4 = shows a splinter, good and no stopper.

The question whether South should've bid 4 remains unanswered. South claimed that a splinter bid is an "evaluation bid" (and with Kxxx he should refuse), while North claimed that South should just show his cue, because showing a good suit without Ace and Queen is very suspicious to say the least. North also claimed he's endplayed if no cue is shown by the opener.
Both players agreed that North must have very long from KJ with slam interest. Since he doesn't hold anything in or , he must have solid s as well. But that doesn't guarantee that we won't lose 2 or 3 tricks. 5-level is probably safe, so percentage wise South might've just cuebid his A, but still it's a borderline decision.

2.
Dealer:North
Vul:None
Scoring:imps
AK7
AJ943
5
QT74
Q52
Q6
KT97642
6
T84
72
AQJ83
982
J963
KT85
-
AKJ53

1! - pass - 2NT! - 4
4 - 5 - 5 - pass
pass - pass

1 = 14+HCP, natural, F1
2NT = fit, either invitational, or GF with a void

Afterwards South admitted he should've just bid 6 instead of 5. Opener shows a non-minimum hand by his 4 bid.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Slams we bid

1.

Dealer:East
Vul:EW
Scoring:imps
Q8762
-
AQ8753
T3
JT3
J842
J92
J84
A94
AKQ63
64
972
K5
T975
KT
AKQ65

1 - 2 - pass - 2
pass - 2 - Dbl - 3?
pass - 4 - pass - 5
pass - 6 - pass - pass
pass

Result: 6=

A sharp one on the first day. We weren't sure about the 3 bid, but we both considered it to be natural. We have numerous ways of supporting partner's s, and an autosplinter wouldn't make much sense.
Bidding 2 followed by another cuebid and 3 wouldn't necessarily show 5-6, so we agreed (afterwards) that this sequence above should be natural with 5 and 6.

2.
Dealer:South
Vul:None
Scoring:imps
63
AJ9872
AJ
Q62
T9842
T654
K3
84
QJ7
-
QT87642
J95
AK5
KQ3
95
AKT73

Opponents were silent:
1! - 2!
3! - 3NT!
4! - 4!
4NT! - 5!
6! - 7

1 = 14+ natural or 15+ balanced (no 5M), F1
2 = GF, 6+
3 = sets, 3+
3NT = minimum hand, no cue
4 = cue and cue, slam interest
4 = cue
4NT = odd number of keycards (3 or 5 in this sequence), cue
5 = 1st round cue, no 1st or 2nd cue
6 = shows trump Q, interest in grand slam if I have a 3rd round control

Result: 7=

Always fun to bid a sharp grand slam on vugraph against the team that would eventually win the tournament.


3.
Dealer:North
Vul:Both
Scoring:imps
AKQ942
7
T9
AJ75
5
Q92
KQJ83
KT42
J86
T853
65
Q963
T73
AKJ64
A742
8

1! - pass - 2! - 2NT!
Dbl - 3 - 3 - pass
4! - pass - 4! - Dbl
4! - pass - 4NT! pass
6 - pass - pass - pass

1 = 14+HCP, natural, F1
2 = GF, natural
Dbl = ready to penalize
4 = cue, serious slam interest
4 = cue
4 = cue (yes we cuebid singletons in partner's suit), no cue
4NT = shows even number of keycards (2 or 4 in this sequence)
6 = poor bid

Result: 6= (7 makes however)

I pushed a bit (showing serious slam interest) when I found out opps had a fit. This was justified, but for some reason I didn't investigate grand anymore. I must have been distracted because I'm always mad if my partner bids like this opposite an unlimited hand...


4.
Dealer:North
Vul:None
Scoring:imps
-
QJ6543
AQ96
K87
T6543
9
JT83
Q52
KQ982
87
K754
J9
AJ7
AKT2
2
AT643

Opponents were silent:
2! - 2!
3! - 3!
3! - 3NT!?
4! - 4!
4! - 4!
5! - 5!?
6?

2 = 10-13HCP, natural, unbalanced
2 = relay, usually GF
3 = natural, 0-2
3 = sets trump, at least light slam interest
3 = cue
3NT = light slam interest (???)
4 = cue
4 = cue
4 = also light slam interest
4 = even number of keycards (2 or 4 in this sequence)
5 = cue
5 = no Q

We had a bit of a misunderstanding here. Showing only light slaminterest with South's hand is imo an underbid. After this, North never gave South 4 keycards, especially when he bid 5 later on. North showed slam interest with only 1 keycard, so South could've done more by bidding 5NT. This should show lots of keycards without the trump Queen, why else bid like this? 6 was a gamble, since North gave South only 2 keycards, but didn't know if he had A or not.

Result: 6+1 (7 could've been bid imo)


5.
Dealer:South
Vul:Both
Scoring:imps
KT965
AQJ6
QT42
-
7
T532
J53
Q8764
43
K984
K7
T9532
AQJ82
7
A986
AKJ

Opponents silent:
1! - 2NT!
3! - 4!
6

1 = 14+HCP, natural, F1
2NT = invite with fit, or GF with a void
3 = relay
4 = void splinter
6 = didn't think grand slam was possible

Result: 6+1 after a weird lead! Otherwise K has to be found to make grand slam.


6.
Dealer:n/a
Vul:n/a
Scoring:n/a
QJ
KJT98
KQ8743
-
A986
Q63
5
K8654
72
542
AJ62
J732
KT543
A7
T9
AQT9

Opponents were silent:
1NT! - 2!
2! - 3!
3NT - 4?
6NT

1NT = (11)12-14HCP, balanced or semi balanced
2 = transfer, 4+
2 = no good hand with 4
3 = GF, 4, 5+
3NT = no fit
4 = North thought he showed 5 and 6, while South thought he showed an even number of keycards with as trumps

This was bid on the final day, where we didn't have anything to win or to lose. A bidding misunderstanding made sure we were in a ridiculous contract, but that didn't mean we didn't made the best out of it. When my hand came down, I told partner to play a bit fast if he was going down for sure. I knew the chance of success was pretty small, but this feeling got confirmed when partner immediately started playing with an enormous tempo!


Conclusion: we went down in only 1 slam which we bid without much concentration, but we missed some (lucky) grands as well. Note that all of these slams made on distribution rather than HCP! This proves yet again that evaluating the hand is the most important, and points are only useful to a certain degree.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

European Championship for University Students

This week the European Championship for university students took place. It was organized in Bruges, which is very close to where I live. I competed with Gert Vandyck, with teammates Willem De Visschere en Rutger Van Mechelen. We are a decent team, but our results were a bit disappointing. Lots of (stupid?) mistakes were made at both tables, but that didn't mean we couldn't make fun! The atmosphere was great, opponents were friendly most of the time, people were relaxed,...

There were 32 teams. The organisation wanted to play an incomplete round robin, followed by semi finals and finals with the best 4 teams. There wasn't enough time to play against all teams, so we only played against 28 or so. Nevertheless, we got to meet a lot of people this way.

The matches consisted out of 8 boards (tight schedule if you have to play 30 matches in 4 days), with quite an agressive VP scale. Going down in a vulnerable game could easily mean a 19-11 loss! Every mistake was translated in your VP's, even overtricks from time to time...

With so many teams, a round robin was a bad idea in my opinion. Halfway in the tournament, most teams don't stand a chance to get to the semi finals, so they're just playing for fun and let their concentration slip. The organisation has some ideals they want to accomplish, like creating a certain atmosphere between all players. Still we see all people from the same country stick together most of the time. This means the social contacts aren't actually made, so it might be better to try to give all teams something to play for and give the "university spirit" a lower priority.
Imo starting with groups of 4 would've been a lot better. Half of the teams get to play side tournaments, the rest plays a knock out. Every knocked out team joins the side tournaments, every day there are some winners. If you have an off day, no problem, tomorrow you get a new chance to beat your opponents. This way you can also make lots of new friends, and the teams with a real chance for the big title will have to beat their opponents face to face.

The organisation mentioned that they weren't planning on playing a round robin next time, so I guess they already realise it's not the best solution. We'll have to wait and see, but it should be an improvement.

Enough with the rant...

Congratulations to the French team "Paris Sud" who won!


In this week I encountered lots of interesting problems, which I will try to share with all of you. To warm you up, I'll give you one where I really fooled my opponents after an awful bid from Gert:

Dealer:West
Vul:Both
Scoring:imps
T6543
Q743
54
74
98
T862
A862
J92
AJ7
AKJ9
QT
AKQ8
KQ2
5
KJ973
T653

The auction started:

pass - pass - 2! - Dbl
pass - pass - RDbl - pass
pass - ...

I was sitting North, so I had a problem. 2 was any GF, the RDbl was explained as a strong balanced hand. 2xx and made is a game score, so I should try to find some contract which will go -2, maybe -3. If I would bid 2 and partner had a singleton, it would be problematic. Since I didn't have a RDbl available, I choose to bid 2! If partner has a 3 card support he'll pass, with a singleton he'll RDbl. The auction continued:

pass - pass - 2! - Dbl
pass - pass - RDbl - pass
pass - 2 - Dbl - RDbl
pass - 2 - Dbl - pass
pass - pass

My LHO made it clear that I would die in 2 with a strangling gesture. I was happy to get a RDbl from partner, because it meant we probably had a fit!

East started with A and switched to T, really hard for me to read that card. I played the King which was taken with the Ace. The return was for East's Queen, she took Q, and continued with a small which I ruffed. Now I played a small to the King which held, and ruffed another (West discarding a !). I had a chance now (to go only -2), so I played a small to East's Ace.
She gave the hand some thought, she thought I had 4 and 5 (what I was hoping for), so she could give her partner a ruff! AK followed by went to my Queen (you really had to see the look on my screenmate's face when her partner still followed suit!), a to dummy and my s were high. Result: 2x-2 and 5 imps to the good guys!

The double on 2 was awful and plain useless (he was probably on lead anyway, so there's no lead directing purpose), but it got me a nice story and it won us some imps. Luckily Gert realised his mistake and refrained from doing such things again.

The defense wasn't much better than the Double, but I think both my opponents thought I had 4 and 5 and misjudged the hand completely. They probably tried to shorten me in trumps, which is obviously a reasonable idea, but it didn't work. A return from West however would've been fatal, but how could they know that I bid my 4 card suit first? In the end, East was endplayed and there was nothing left to do than giving me my 6th trick on a plate.

More stories will come for sure!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Psyching vs strong Club

It's been a while since I posted, but I've been very busy, haven't played much, so didn't encounter any interesting hands. So I decided to dig a little into the past, around a month ago, where we had a funny auction after a strong 1 opening. Here's the hand:

Dealer:South
Vul:NS
Scoring:imps
K872
J9
972
Q542
J64
QT75
8
KJ986
AQT953
8
AJ63
T3
-
AK5432
KQT54
A7

South opened a strong 1, and looking at the vulnerability and the strength of my hand, I thought that a psych would probably work out just fine. So I intervened with 3! North, having some values and some defense, but no shape decided to pass. East had a great hand, thought game might be possible. So he bid 3, showing good s and a fit (a fit non-jump). South somehow decided to pass with this monster, which turned out to be a good decision. The auction ended abrupt:
1 - 3! - pass - 3
all pass

The play was easy, and we made +1. We lost imps however! Look at the scoresheet below:


Some people got in realy ridiculous contracts... Nevertheless, we all enjoyed the way we got to our contract. :-)

The European Championship for university students starts this weekend, 15km from my house. I'll be competing which will make sure I'll have some good material to post afterwards. You might be able to follow my actions on vugraph from time to time.