Monday, January 30, 2012

One howler and one close call

Playing in the GNT qualifiers at the club yesterday, we'd won our first three matches and were playing the fourth, and final, match for all the marbles. I made two bad decisions in that last match.

The first mistake was a howler.  Lefty opened 2H, preemptive and partner, in fourth hand, bid 4S. It was passed around to righty who doubled. Back around to me. I was void in spades and 4-4 in the minors with a decent hand. I should have left it in, of course (4S goes down 1, perhaps) but I scrambled with disastrous results.  Lesson learned -- a 7-0 fit is easier to play than a 4-3 one especially if the 4-3 contract is one level higher.

The second mistake, a closer call (I think), was on this hand.   I was sitting South, and my 2H overcall shows hearts and a minor.  The opponents end up in 3NT.
Against 3NT, what do you lead?

I reasoned that West probably had the hearts stopped, what with my hearts being so bad.  And my diamonds were longer anyway. So, I led a diamond. Disaster ensued as declarer now had his nine tricks.  (Our team-mates were in a club partial, making.) Do you have any way to deal with this?  Does North have anyway of suggesting a heart lead?

These two hands cost so much -- 22 imps! -- that two of the teams we beat earlier pipped us, and we ended up fourth.  Being a C-team, however, has its advantages -- we still qualified.  It would have been better, of course, to have made it honestly instead of relying on the handicap.


  1. On the second one, I'd bid 4H with your pard's hand -- such a big fit. The diamond lead is normal on this auction.

  2. I don't know how to mark vul/non-vul on Bridge Base's hand-editor (I should find out) ... one reason pard didn't bid 4H is that we were vul and they were not.

  3. Since it is unlikely partner will often double in this auction, you might assign to double the meaning: "please lead your known suit." If partner had doubled here in the absence of agreements, I'm pretty sure that would have meant he thought a heart lead was defeating the contract. That also helps with a negative inference, namely that if partner doesn't double a diamond becomes more attractive. In this hand, a double by partner would doubtless jockey the opponents into 5C, which goes down one on any lead.