Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A curious hand

We are playing at the table of the best pair in the room when partner deals and opens 2NT.  He is West and I am East:


North passes.  I transfer to hearts and then bid 3NT which partner corrects to 4H.  At this point, North comes to life and, taking advantage of the favorable vulnerability, bids 5D.   The bidding so far:
(1) 20-21
(2) transfer

What should would you do with the East hand?

I have more than the minimum, so I made a forcing pass.  Partner now doubles and it is decision time.  Do I have enough to pass and pull?   I decided that partner's double suggested that he had only 3 hearts and with the preempt, hearts were likely to break 4-1.  So, I settled for playing 5Dx.  Now, what should I lead?  This is my hand:


At the table, I decided that the auction called for a diamond lead and led the 6 of diamonds that declarer covered with the 8 of diamonds.  Now, declarer had two entries to dummy and he used that to lead towards his spades twice.  That, and the 2-2 fit in diamonds meant he went down only 3 whereas everyone was making 12 tricks in hearts our way for a bottom board.

But note the curious nature of the hand.  If I had led a heart or a club, we come to four tricks. If declarer has to play diamonds, he has only one entry to board.  5Dx down 4 would have been a top for us.

We'd have finished 4 places higher and they'd have fallen four spots lower had I found the club or heart lead.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Being Hideous

Still trying to find my way around the Seattle bridge scene, I find myself partnered in an intermediate-level club game with a good player.  We're having a good game, sprinkled with the odd misunderstanding when this hand comes up.

Partner opened 1S and I decided that at matchpoints, 3NT was where I wanted to be. A little Hideous Hog of me, I know, but with a 4333 hand with overwhelming strength begs to be played in 3NT and my diamond holding is better if it gets the opening lead ...

I couldn't bid 3NT immediately over 1S because that shows 13-15 points typically and partner with a better hand can't move forward.  So, I temporized with a 2C bid. Partner bid 2H and now I was really in a pickle.  Do I raise his 2H to 3H, or continue with my original plan of playing in 3NT?  It is probably better to now bid 3H, but at the table, I bid 3NT.

Partner now bid 4NT, quantitative.  I misunderstood and showed 2 aces.  Partner thought this was slam confirmation and 3 hearts, so he bid 6NT.

The opponents inquired closely about our bidding and I had to own up to my 5H as showing 2 aces, not 3 hearts and confirming slam.  So, dummy came down and everyone at the table knew that I was in a poor contract.

RHO took his Ace of diamonds and returned a passive diamond.  What's your line?

When you are in a poor contract, you visualize a layout that will let you make.  I have 12 tricks only if both the spade king and the club queen are onside.  What about the ten of spades, though?  It has to be doubleton or West has to have it.  When LHO turned out to have QTxx of spades and the club finesse through RHO also worked, I apologized to the opponents (click 'next' above to see my line of play).