Monday, November 3, 2014

No justice in the Swiss

On Sunday, I played in my first tournament since moving to Seattle.  It was a sectional, but it was as big as the OKC regional -- there were 52 tables in the Sunday Swiss!  We played in the AX session -- better to get schooled by good teams than to bulldoze bad ones.

We started off surprisingly well, pulling off convincing wins against two teams each of whose players had more masterpoints than the four of us combined.  The third match, I had my one major mistake of the evening -- I was South on this hand when West doubled my 3C bid:

 Q: How should I play the spades? How many spades can I safely ruff in dummy?

Answer: I can safely cash both the two top honors and ruff both low ones.  East must have 6 diamonds and 5 spades for his bids, and so West must have 3 spades inspite of her failure to raise, and even if East's division is 7-6, dummy's 10 of clubs allows for 3 ruffs.  At the table, I failed to draw the inference, went down one and proceeded to lose the match by 4 imps.  Had I got it right, we would have won that match too.

We blitzed match 5, but lost match 6 convincingly (i.e., by losing imps on pretty much every board).  In match 7, our opponents were bidding extremely chancy games and slams.  Unfortunately, one of their 25% slams happened to make.  Then, they are in another chancy 4H game. Here's what you (East) see after partner leads a low spade:

You win the Ace, of course.  What do you do next?

You know the club finesse is working, so how are you going to beat this chancy game? Note the inference available from the bidding -- because declarer has four diamonds, partner has 2 diamonds. I led a low diamond from my Q10xx.  Partner put up the King of diamonds.  Declarer proceeded to take a losing heart finesse.  Partner then led his diamond to me and got his ruff.  Down 1.  Here's the full hand (click Next to see the play):

At the other table, they were in 3H making 4.  Getting the defense right kept the overall loss to 4 imps, and that was enough for us to come in fourth overall (first in X).

Second in X?  The team we played last.  We ended up placing ahead of the team that beat us in the last round!  But then, we beat the teams that placed #2 and #3 in head-to-head matches too.  There is no justice in the Swiss.


  1. On the second hand, declarer prevails by ducking the first diamond.
    Maybe that wasn't clear to him/her though

    1. Good point. This was probably the 53rd board of the day -- by that point, no one's thinking clearly.