Thursday, January 28, 2016

Genetic Diversity

My opponent on one of the hands I played at the club game on Tuesday emailed:

Great to play against you last night, including board 25 where you opened
1 NT on void, Ax, Axxxx, AKJxxx and wound up in 5D. It's so great that you
have children, because otherwise society would have to put you in some
sort of captive breeding program in order to preserve the genetic
diversity that you bring to the world.  There simply aren't that many
humans who would bid the hand that way!

This is the hand that got him so snarky:

Partner (N) passed as did East.  Having sorted the South hand as follows:
♠ AKJ   ♥ A2   ♦ A7632   ♣ 754
I opened the hand 1NT (15-17).   West overcalled 2S and partner passed.  East, with remarkable restraint, passed!   At this point, I looked down at my hand and realized that I actually held:
♠ -   ♥ A2   ♦ A7632   ♣ AKJ754
The rest of the bidding went:
North E South (me) W
P P 1NT 2S
P P 3C P
3H 3S 4D P
P 4S 5C P
5D P P P

Seems quite normal to me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Support with support

Partner and I had a nice 57% game last night, good enough for second at the club and almost good enough to break the top-25 nationwide in the Common Game.  This was one of the hands that I wish I could take back.

I was West and passed. After North opened 1D, partner (East) overcalled 1S.  South doubled, showing hearts.  What's your bid?
Here are some options:

  1. 2S -- support with support.  A simple raise showing 3 spades and 4-10 points in competition.
  2. 2D -- cue-bid showing 3 spades and 9-11 points.
  3. 1NT -- showing 8-10 points, diamond and heart stoppers. Tends to be 2 spades
I fell from grace. Reasoning that my diamonds were likely to be worthless in a suit contract (they'd be ruffed by South), I decided to bid 1NT.  This was disastrous because North bid 2H over the 1NT, partner bid 3C reasoning that I must have minors and we ended up in 3S doubled and down 2.

For a nationwide bottom.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Playing in a 25c matchpoints tournament on BBO, I picked up:
What would you open?  17 points, two aces and the spade suit. I decided to upgrade this to a 18-count, and open it 1S planning to rebid 2NT. Partner surprised me by bidding Jacoby 2NT and we landed up in the no-chance slam:

My soft diamonds should have dissuaded me and partner's 3 Jacks should have dissuaded him.

Two hands later, I was third hand and held:

Partner opened 1S.  What would you do? I decided to mastermind a little, knowing that in robot tournaments I would hold the best hand. So, knowing that partner had opened a 11-count, I passed!  Unfortunately, this was the full deal:

I averted total disaster by making 5 when I took a diamond finesse and East decided to cash the Ace of clubs and led a second club.

I should have masterminded a little more. Knowing that 1NT is 100% forcing, I should have bid it and passed partner's response. If the robot opened a 11-point hand, it would have been shapely and even a 2C response would shown real clubs.

Looking at the other tables, though, it appears that North rebids 2S (not 3S as I initially thought) and the Souths find ways to raise to 4S on that motley collection! What did those people know that I didn't?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ruffed out

Playing a 25c IMPS robot tourney on BBO, I picked up:

The bidding went:

Partner opened it 1C, RHO overcalled 1D and I bid 1H (forcing).  Partner now bid 1S and I bid 2D (fourth suit forcing).

At this point, North bid 2H showing 3 hearts.  What is your bid?  Essentially, I have diamonds well stopped and the danger is that if North has several diamonds, West will get a few ruffs.

At the table, I could not think of a way to get North to tell me how many diamonds he had, so I shrugged and bid 4H.  It went down because this was the full deal:

As anticipated, West got two ruffs to scupper 4H.  3NT was the right spot to be in.  How could I could have gotten there?  By bidding 3D over the 2H.  Now, North with 3 diamonds and the queen would have bid 3NT.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Find a familiar counterpart

Playing in a strong club game, everyone vulnerable, I'm West on this deal:


North opens 2C which is alerted and explained as showing 8-12 points and long clubs.  This is passed by East and South. What do you do with the West hand?

At the table, I got flustered and thought I needed to balance in.  To compound the error, I balanced back in spades.  Although the 2C bid was unfamiliar, a 2D preempt in first seat vulnerable probably shows exactly the same range.  With my diamonds and clubs swapped, I would have happily passed 2D. I should have done the same thing against the 2C opener.

As you can see, 2C goes down a trick or two.  My inability to find a comparable familiar bid caused us to exchange a top for a bottom.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Forgotten agreements

Playing against an irregular partnership, I was East on this hand:

After 3 passes, South opened a 15-17 1NT. Since partner hadn't opened in 3rd seat, I felt that the opponets had a game, and so, I threw in a 2C overcall.  Against a strong NT, we play DONT, so that shows clubs and a higher suit. Partner, though, alerted and said that it promised the majors.

North now bid 2D, meant (and announced) as a transfer. South bid 2H, but when North went to 3NT, he hemmed and hawed. He'd forgotten what they played over interference and wasn't sure whether 2D was indeed a transfer. So, he decided to pass!

Now, to me. What do I lead? With all the unauthorized information (partner's misexplanation) and forgotten agreements, I decided to do the "normal" thing and lead fourth from my longest suit. Disaster, of course.  Leading a spade would have beat 3NT, but against the club lead, declarer had the first 11 tricks. The whole room was in 4H making 5 (the losing club goes away on a diamond). So that was a bottom.

To put it mildly, my "Disturb Opponents' No Trump" overcall didn't work out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

When you've got them

Playing in a strong club game, we're facing a pair of opponents who finish high in national events.  I always seem to get bad results against this pair. I was West on this deal:


North deals and passes.  Partner opens 1C and South overcalls 1S.  What's my call sitting West?

I'm not strong enough to bid 2H over the 1S overcall, but I have hearts, so I double (this is negative).  North bids 2S.  Two passes and it's back to me.

Well, I do have six hearts, so I venture a 3H bid confident that my failure to bid 2H will keep us from going overboard.   South, after a lot of thought, decides to compete to 3S. This, then, is the bidding:

P - 1C - 1S - X
2S - P - P -   3H
P - P - 3S - allpass

Had this happened at the table, what would you think of the situation?  I didn't think 3H was making and it looked as if they were one too high.  Would I finally get a good board against this pair?

I led the 9 of clubs and declarer won and led back a club.   Partner cashed two clubs and led the Jack of hearts.  Declarer ducked.  What's my play?

Partner's plays have given me the count of his hand.  He has 3 spades (from the bidding), 2 hearts (from the switch) and 5 clubs (from his cash-out).  So, declarer is 5-3-2-3.

I can duck the heart after which declarer has to lose a heart, a spade, two clubs and a diamond for a one-trick set.  Unfortunately, I failed to count out his hand.  I went up with the Ace of hearts and compounded the mistake by leading a small diamond.  Declarer guessed right, ducking to his hand.  Letting 3S make was a bottom of course.

Going up with the Ace of hearts was not a critical mistake -- we could have still survived had I simply returned a heart, and the heart return is obvious if I had counted out declarer's hand.

When you've got them on the bidding, play tight on the defense.