Thursday, June 25, 2009

A repeater squeeze to make 6NT

When my LHO led the King of hearts against 6NT, I won the Ace and returned the Jack. LHO took this trick and retured a heart. As I won this, pitching a spade from dummy, my RHO was squeezed in three suits. Hoping that his partner held the spade Jack he came down to the doubleton queen. Now I cashed two top spades, and after a few rounds of the minors, revealing that RHO has 4 in each of them, crossed to my hand to enjoy the spade Jack, and he was squeezed yet again in clubs and diamonds, and he conceded.

Let us look at a possible defense. If LHO wins the HJ, we have seen that the repeater operates.
What if LHO ducks the HJ? Now I have on top two hearts, three clubs, three diamonds, and two spades only but, since RHO's hearts have been extracted, I play four rounds of clubs throwing in RHO. He has to concede a eleventh trick in Diamond or spade, but there seems to be no twelfth.

Can anybody find this duck of the HJ? Well, there was a Bridge World hand like that in Swiss Match Challenge where at trick two a refusal was indicated for the same reason.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A jettison, a beercard threat, a show-up squeeze

I opened a 10-12 Notrump as North and became declarer when partner put me in SIX NOTRUMP. The lead was the TEN OF DIAMONDS. This was covered Knave, Queen, and I won in hand. I marked time by cashing four rounds of hearts with no clear clues. After the spade finesse was proven, I unblocked in spades, and played a small club toward dummy's Jx.
Either my LHO (E) would need to have a doubleton honor, or RHO would need to have both, and I was confident I could guess the ending. The Jack lost to RHO's Queen. LHO actually played out of tempo, so I still didn't know the position with confidence. However, in the four card ending, the high heart was in my hand. Since I did not want to commit to the club finesse so early, I cashed the high spade, JETTISONING my Knave of hearts. I then cashed the 5 of hearts, with the BEER CARD the SEVEN OF DIAMONDS as the threat in the show up squeeze. In the two card ending, my RHO had to keep the EIGHT OF DIAMONDS and come down to the stiff KING OF CLUBS. It was rewarding to see the King of clubs popup in the show up squeeze on trick twelve.
A 100% board.
I did not realize the full potential of AT9. A mere double finesse guarantees the contract as long as both club honors are offside, making 75% of the time, and representing a better chance. Thanks to Ian Weinstock for pointing this out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

3NT play or defend on diamond lead?

My partner opened 1NT 10-12, and choosing to blast to game and hide my heart suit I bid 3NT which could have backfired. When defence started hearts nine easy tricks were there.

There are all kinds of avoidance possibilities in the club suit if diamonds are led. For example if declarer ducks two rounds and wins the third, he advances the Club jack into the safe hand, it is covered. Jack, Queen, King, small. The next hope is that LHO has the club ten. Duck small, ten, eight, small. The H finesse is needed. 4 clubs, three hearts, and DA and DS, with the established diamonds shut out.

However, if diamonds are led and continued, what happens if declarer ducks two rounds but defense shifts to spades? Awkward isnt it? I thought this was a very interesting hand.

Anyway with the bidding going ONE CLUB, ONE HEART, and then NOTRUMP, NOTRUMP, at most tables a diamond was led, declarers won the SECOND round, rightly fearing a spade shift, and had to lose five tricks, we earned 75%.

Jeffreyg's tight defense

Partner's opening NOTRUMP was 10-12, I considered a Texas transfer to Four Spades. Instead went quiet on round one. When the ante was upped, I had no hesitation entering the fray over FOUR HEARTS. LHO removed RHO's penalty double and that was that. However, partner had to defend accurately throughout, and watch how he sets up clubs for the defense with tempo for one down and 6 odd IMPs for us. And, yes, 4S is down.

Playing on an assumption.

Even though the opening lead, the ruff-sluff, and the trump guess removal were quite strange, and helped me a lot, there remained a lot of work to be done to bring home the ambitious contract of FOUR HEARTS. In the seven card ending, I did not risk trump Q and another, because my RHO might have the J6x remaining which would set up two trump tricks. So I played a small trump to my 9. When a spade came back from my RHO I was quite sure that the position of the spade King was unfavorable, I needed diamonds 2-4 to make my contract in that case. So up went the Ace of Spades, and on went the diamonds all 4 rounds of them, as I pitched spades from dummy.
RHO followed helplessly holding the outstanding little trump. I then ruffed a spade and was home.

Little slam with big overtrick at matchpoints.

I had forgotten that it was matchpoints, and watched as dummy, wondering why partner was embarking on a line that entailed some risk. Partner brought home the overtrick taking all thirteen tricks for a 98% board.

Crossruffing home a slam.

After partner (having bid TWO DIAMONDS waiting) raised my FOUR DIAMONDS to FIVE DIAMONDS, I simply bid SIX DIAMONDS. After the Spade break was revealed with the unkind ruff of the Spade King, Partner played extremely nicely to ruff clubs in hand while drawing one trump, and ending in a kind of elopement or crossruff for twelve tricks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reaching a 21-point game

The ball got rolling when in spite of a singleton diamond, partner made a takeout double of ONE CLUB. My bid of TWO CLUBS was "pick your favorite Major partner". However partner chose to hedge with THREE CLUBS. Not willing to take any more chances, I took the bull by the horns and bid a somewhat unilateral FOUR SPADES.

There was not much to the play. When my LHO ducked his club Ace, I had the chance of making an Overtrick with the aid of the heart finesse, which I spurned in the five card ending.

Bidding and making game was good for 8.5 IMPs.

Partner misses a squeeze but makes the overtrick.

At speedball, when dummy, I relax sometimes, and fail to pay attention to the play, but oftentimes, I am trying to analyze the play of the hand.

In this case, I was quick to spot a diamond-club simple squeeze possibility. Just finish the trumps, keeping three diamonds in closed hand and two diamonds and the Jack of clubs in dummy.

My partner opted for the straightforward line (probably better line if the two spade bidder even had three diamonds) of advancing the Club Jack at an early stage, when it was covered, the ruffing finesse was proven and the Club Ten gave trick number 11 for a good MP score.

Aggressive bidding pays dividends. Partner shines in FIVE HEARTS X

I raised partner to FOUR HEARTS with King doubleton and the Ace of clubs, and in competition, partner judged to bid FIVE with all the playing tricks!

When the defense tried to cash two spades, (should it not be clear that declarer must have a singleton spade?), partner janal39 played well to bring in a bushelful of IMPs.

When Fourth Best is Not the Best.

Having made a VUL overcall at the THREE level, I was faced with a lead problem against 3NT.
Since RHO rated to have a doubleton, and LHO had shown a stop, I hit upon the lead of the HQ. (The HA followed by a heart amounts to much the same thing. Neither option stikes gold if dummy has Kxx and declarer has Jxx when the tempo is against me.)

Declarer, spurning the club finesse ended up short of tricks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A freak distribution

My opening NOTRUMP was 10-12 HCP, partner raised the ante to FOUR HEARTS, but LHO with thirteen minor suit cards could not be held back. The defence was brutal, resulting in a 1100 penalty. Declarer must have missed a diamond spot (the nine) , trying desperately to run the SQ to pitch the D8 going down an additional trick.

The odd thing about this hand was, looking at the traveler, played 96 times, there were only six plus scores to those pusillanimous souls who subsided in either two hearts our way, or three of a minor their way. There were -500, -800 aplenty in five and six of a minor doubled. FOUR HEARTS was running into a brutal split of its own. Also doubled and going off at other tables.

When misguessing was better than guessing right!

Please click on next to follow the play in the bridge movie.
MATCHPOINTS. After my misguess in hearts, losing two of them, four winners were ripe and ready in dummy. Not seeing the urgency of cashing the club trick, my LHO instead was still on the track of stopping ruffs in dummy. Spade KING collected the outstanding trumps, and the overtrick was had because the misguess lulled the opponents into a false sense of security. To his credit my LHO was the first to apologize to his partner on the defence. 96.49%

I like the paradoxical situations in bridge where the one who makes the most tricks is not exactly the one who has placed the most defensive honor cards.

Breaking Garrozzo's rule

My partner shangool got into the normal contract of FOUR SPADES. However, opening leader, perhaps put off by my opening bid of ONE CLUB, paid no heed to Garrozzo's rule : "Always lead your singleton in a trump contract." With a routine down one at all other tables, this unfortunate non-singleton lead resulted in a pick up of 8.69 IMP for us.

A gutsy 3NT, making for 10 IMPs

When my RHO bid Hearts, my LHO got off to the unfortunate lead of the HEART QUEEN from the doubleton. I proceeded to guess the spade honors, and went on to make 3NT for a good IMP score.

A fraught THREE NOTRUMP, making.

I made an offshape TWO NOTRUMP bid, held off the first two hearts and brought in the club suit. Some other declarers were helped by a diamond lead.

A minor-suit slam.

I chose to jump to FIVE CLUBS, and partner with beautiful controls judged to bid slam, I held the diamond void. In the play, LHO of partner accidentally dropped his King of trumps with a misclick. But reaching SIX, albeit in the minor was a good IMP score.

Defence of 1NT X

A lucky slam

After my shaded limit raise, my partner boldly jumped to slam and it needed only trumps 2-2 with King onside, and pulling in the spades, all of which tippiellis guessed to perfection. A sizeable IMP gain on the lucky hand.

To view the play of the cards, click on the third button, it works like an embedded bridge movie.

Welcome to Ramesh's BRIDGE BLOG

In these pages, I comment on hands from Bridge Base Online ACBL tourneys. I play in these with a variety of partners with different degrees of skill. I might present a hand or two from my collection of bridge books, every now and then. I am more interested in play and defense than in complex bidding systems, but I do follow the cut and thrust of Vanderbilt and World Championship Vugraph and try to keep abreast of expert practice in the obstructive and constructive bidding system department. I may also feature, newspaper-style, famous hands from important matches that I saw on Vugraph.

NOTE: For JUNE, I am experimenting with adding BBO's Handviewers, which make bridge movies embedded. Just
scroll down beyond the few sampled book covers and you arrive at the blogs that play themselves with the NEXT button. THANKS, BBO!!

About Me

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Bridge expert for 20 years. I started blogging about bridge only in 2009. Chess follower. Problem fan. Studied hundreds of composition themes in two-movers, fairy chess, the former from the Good Companion era to the modern style of virtual play. Big collector of chess and bridge rare books. My two game blogs bridge blog, and my chess problem themes blog chess expo

My alter ego, The Hideous Hog

My alter ego, The Hideous Hog