Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On different wavelengths

After about 2 months of summer travel where the only bridge I played was in the daily bridgez tournament, I am back in Norman now and showed up for a "live" game with another intermediate,  up-and-coming player.

We were both quite rusty. The last time he'd played bridge was a month ago, and his partner then had asked him to play a homemade Fantunes-like system. In bridgez, I had been playing Francophilic 2/1 and so, our Precision system was quite rusty to both of us.

We had a lot of mishaps, both in bidding and on defense.

Hand 1: West opens 1D, which is assumed to be artificial and the bidding now goes:
(1) 2+ diamonds, 10-15 points
(2) 4+ spades, 8+ points
(3) 13-15 points, balanced
(4) Forcing or not?

Is 3C forcing or not? I guess it depends on what 2C is.  Partner thought 2C would be "new minor forcing" and therefore, 3C was a weak hand with lots of clubs and a 4-card spade suit that I wanted to show on the way.  I thought 2C was a retreat from NT and non-forcing because the 1D was artificial, so 3C (responder jump) had to be forcing.  Long story short, I declared in clubs a hand that ought to be in 3NT.  We got a dead bottom on the board.

Hand 2:  Because we open pretty much all 10-point hands, and a 2/1 response only shows 12+ points, we have agreed that it is okay to pass a simple rebid, preference, raise or 2NT.  Thus, 1H-2C-2H, 1H-2C-2D-2H, 1H-2C-3C or 1H-2C-2NT show 13 points or lower and may all be passed.  Either party with 14+ points does something other than these.  So, is the 2NT in this sequence passable?
(1) 2+ diamonds, 10-15
(2) 12+ points, 5+ clubs
(3) 5+ diamonds, 10-13 points
(4) Can this be passed?
I thought 2NT was one of our passable bids after 2/1.  Partner thought that because he'd told his story and I kept on bidding that it was game force.  We landed in 3NT. I went down 1 by squeezing RHO in clubs and spades on the run of dummy's diamonds.  Everyone else went down in 2NT, so making 2NT would have been a top.  Instead we got an average minus.

Hand 3:  This was a defensive error where I thought the bridge logic was obvious, but I could have made things clearer had I just did the system thing.  We are playing upside-down attitude on opening lead, and playing standard attitude leads (so that leading a low card implies that I would welcome the suit to be led back).  They were in 3NT and partner led the 9 of spades.  Dummy hit with:
and I held 5 spades to the ten. My hand held 4 points: the King of hearts and the Jack of clubs.  Which spade would you play?

Well, I have no good spades, but at the same time, I don't want partner switching to any other suit either. So, I "encouraged" with the 3 of spades. Declarer won with her queen -- she must have AKQ of spades -- and immediately finessed the 10 of clubs. I won with the Jack of clubs and thought about the hand a bit.  It was obvious that partner held the AQ of clubs and after declarer gave up the Ace of clubs, the rest of the tricks would be hers.  If we had a heart trick, I needed to set it up now. So, I led back a low heart (attitude leads).  Partner won with the Ace of hearts and led back a ... spade!  All because I'd encouraged on trick 1.  Had I gone with "the system", I'd have denied spade honors playing a high spade and partner would have happily continued hearts. Another way I could have helped partner out was by leading the King of hearts. After all, I've deduced that he has either the Queen or the Ace, and my King is in a finesse-able position, so it can not hurt. An average minus board. Had we gotten our three tricks, we'd have had a top.

All the bad boards piled up at the beginning of the session, but by the second half, we had found our groove a little. We ended up with 55%, which was good enough for third place.  Have to shake the rust off.