Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Playing with the big boys

Now that the kids are off from school, I have to do less ferrying and so, partner and I were able to go to the city to play a pairs game in the larger club there.

This is a tougher field than we find in Norman, and it is a larger field, so things were somewhat different.

This was a hand that gave me a bidding problem and resulted in a poor score.  In our normal club game, we'd probably have had company, but in the stronger field, this was a poor board. Sitting South, holding 20 points and 4 hearts, I hear partner open 1H.  What would you have bid?

Dealer: N
Vul: NS
♠ Jxx
♥ A10xxx
♦ KJxx
♣ Kx

♠ Axx
♥ QJx
♦ xxxx
♣ xxx
♠ KQ
♥ K9xx
♦ AQx
♣ AQJx

 1H - P - ?
HTML Bridge Hand Layout Creator

I was in a bind.  Jacoby 2NT is out because I really don't care for shortness in any suit.  We should be in slam on high-card points alone. And we have a 9-card fit. Looking at my hand, there are five losers: two aces, the queen of trumps and the two minor suit kings. Even if we played that the cheapest bid after RKC is a queen ask, it doesn't help here because we are playing 0314, so that the response for 1 ace is 5D.  Long story short: I  contracted us for the poor slam off one cashing ace and the guarded queen of trumps.  In our club, bidding this slam probably would not have hurt -- no one bids all that scientifically, and so everyone would be in the slam.  In the tougher field, though, many of the pairs managed to stay out of it.

Even though the field was strong, we did reasonably well, finishing third.  Our 54% game was not because of any superior card play but was instead because of some lucky pickups like this one:

Dealer: N
Vul: EW
♠ 10864
♥ Jxx
♦ Kxxxx
♣ A
♠ 9x
♥ Axxx
♣ Jxx
♠ KJxx
♥ KQxxx
♦ AJx
♣ x
♠ AQ7
♥ x
♦ x
♣ KQ 1098 632

P - 1H - 5C - X(!)
P - P - P
HTML Bridge Hand Layout Creator

Once partner had passed, and at favorable vulnerability, I bid 5C over East's 1H.  Now, put yourself in West's shoes.  What do you do?  West doubled, which is an excellent decision because 5H doesn't make. Unwilling to lay down the Ace of hearts, however, he led the 9 of spades.  I covered with the 10 and won the trick with the queen of spades when East played his Jack.  Now, a club to the Ace of clubs and a small spade to my 7! I pulled trumps and led towards the king of diamonds and when that didn't work, I claimed 11 tricks.  5C doubled and made was a clear top.  5C doubled and down 1 (the par result) would have been average minus.

1 comment:

  1. And yes, I misplayed the second hand. I need to lead towards the king of diamonds before I use up the Ace-of-club entry. If the defenders misdefend by letting the king hold, I can make an overtrick. On the lay of the cards, though, it didn't matter.