Monday, October 8, 2012

A Guinness with That

Thanks to a chain of contacts initiated by frequent commenter Paul Gipson, I got to play bridge in Ireland the second night after I got here.

Not only did I have a pleasant partner, friendly opponents and a glass of Guinness at the table, we even scored up 64% for second place!

The one dark spot was this board. See if you can make a better decision than I did.  I was South on this hand and had started 1S. West made a negative double. Partner prempts 4S and east bids 5D. What would you do at this point? Pass, double or bid 5S?

Would your decision change if I told you that this was a strong pair? (I didn't know this at the table).  Well, I passed and 5D made. They were one of only two pairs to bid a E-W game. 5S would have been a good sacrifice; this was the full hand:

Still, it was not all terrible  judgment. Here was a defense that turned out to be worth all 18 matchpoints. In the following hand, 1NT is 12-14 and 2D is natural. Against 4C, you lead the Ace of hearts and partner encourages with the 4 of hearts. Now what?

Click Next to see my defense:

Did you find the spade switch on trick 2?  I thought it was a relatively straightforward deduction, given partner had bid. Also, 4H our way makes on anything but a trump lead. So, I expected the board to be flat.  Some pairs bid 3NT and made on a diamond lead by North. Others were in 3C making 4. No one was in a heart contract.  +50 was the only positive North-South score!


  1. Pleased it all worked out, enjoy the rest of your trip.

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  3. That's quite a spade switch! Perhaps the spade switch is findable if your partner had DIScouraged on your heart lead. But once he encouraged, I would have been tempted to lead two more rounds of hearts, hoping that partner could overruff dummy on the third round, perhaps even with a finesseable/droppable CK. That's three tricks in, with hopes for the DK as a setting trick.

    Of course, it would have been hard for North to discourage, when he held only the SQ and so needed for you to hold the SK for the switch to be productive.

    A comment on the auction: I am used to playing that overcalls of weak notrumps show good hands, and not just the distribution that one would associate with overcalls of strong notrumps. You and your partner seemed to be on the same wavelength on this hand, that your partner could have a weak, distributional hand.

    Finally, a compliment to you, Lak, for being so humble in your blog entries, and one to Paul for helping you arrange a game. Best of luck!

  4. As Churchill said about Atlee: "a humble man with much to be humble about."

    With my regular partner back in Norman, we play that we encourage under a Ace only if we hold the Q. We encourage under a King only if holding the Ace or the J. We don't encourage with doubletons, so didn't know one could play it that way. Although I suppose encouraging with a doubleton makes sense here because partner has not shown 3 hearts by supporting, for example.

    Similarly, we play that against the weak 1NT, any 2-level bids are merely competing/interfering/lead-showing. Only a 3-level bid is serious (16+ points). Again, didn't know one could play it any other way ...

    Always a learning experience ...