Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Hideous Hog contract.

In the QF of the Bermuda Bowl, USA1's Levin Weinstein reached 4Spades X on these meager values, on shape, and as a suppossed advance sac against 4H (which was going down 1). Unbeknownst to them Israel also reached 4S in the other room. It seems superficially that this contract has no chance, but click on the next button. South's subsequent trump leads did not hurt declarer, and in the ending he found himself having to give dummy's DQ and established club the game going tricks. Excellent play, I was listening to some Grandmasters just seeing the score trying to figure out how 4S would possibly make. Israel, to their credit, also landed 10 tricks, albeit undoubled.
In order to defeat the contract North needs to play a trump upon winning he first round of clubs, by playing a heart instead, he is helping declarer time his small trump elopement.
As an aside, the normal contract is 4H going down on the bad trump break, although D is favorable. In the USA2-Sweden QF, neither team bid over 4H, and 4H down one in both rooms was a sedate push.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Joe Grue blocked in 3NT.

Joe Grue in the last round of the Round Robin for USA2 (my favorite player), was at the helm in a close 3NT, on a surprising lead from Jxx of hearts. He thought for a long time, played low, won with the Ten.
Joe kept the clubs blocked and advanced the nine of spades.This was covered by the ten and Jack and King, and when defence played heart and a heart, Joe had only 4 spade tricks, 2 heart tricks and 2 club tricks. Yes, the Diamonds were entangled and defence did not get three, but they made 2D, the HA and H7 and the SK for down one.
It seems impossible against correct defense to get the black suits disentangled.
Interestingly the heart lead is the one to give declarer the most trouble. I saw other tables making it on a D lead, a spade lead.

Missing extra chances in play

Playing with a new partner, we managed to come 5th out of 100 tables, in part, because unlike others holding my weak hand, I put partner in 6NT. (My 4NT was not Blackwood, it merely invied 6NT. )
However, his play was not the best.
As you can see by playing with the next button, he won the spade continuation, and before testing hearts, committed to the 3-3 break as his only chance. When that came in he made his slam.
The correct way to play the hand is to give yourself a red suit squeeze against RHO as a extra chance. Unblock the black winners. Play three rounds of hearts, testing the suit ending in dummy. If hearts break your 12th trick has come. Proceed as our declarer did, but without the uncertainty.
If hearts are 4-2 (JTxx-xx) with your RHO having the 4 hearts (as is likely on the spade lead), you have a simple show-up squeeze. On the last black winner from dummy, you are down to D:AQ H:x
and your RHO has to discard in front of you with D:Kx H:J
If he holds on to his HJ, you throw your H, and his DK pops up ahead of you, and you have not committed to the H discard.
Poorly played but for a 9.8 IMP pickup at IMP pairs. Who says bridge rewards good declarer play and penalized poor play?

Another interesting point of the hand is a chance to pick up Hxxx - Hx of hearts without caring about the DK. For this line you have to unblock blacks, play HA and HK only, and if a minor honor falls from the LHO, you throw the DQ on the black winners and play for split honors. This loses to xxx-JTx and that would be a hard-luck story to tell.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Justin Lall's blog, Go USA2 in the Bermuda Bowl!

I am a forty-something unabashedly rooting for the young lions of bridge, who showed during the selections, defeating Nickell and Diamond that they were forces to be reckoned with. In the Round Robin, a brilliant showing against Italy and Poland sees them in 4th place end of Tuesday, the first week.
Justin Lall blogs that the victory margin against the Poles could have been even higher if he had pulled the right card. His analysis is superb. (Both tables went down in 4H, Lall because of the mechanincal error).
I reproduce the following from his blog

I got to 4H with:



LHO led a spade and RHO won the king. The bidding made it clear RHO didn’t hold AK of diamonds. RHO now shifted to a club. I now know the spade position is KTxx on my right, Qxx on my left. If LHO had QT of spades RHO would return one, if RHO had KQ he would have crossed to his partner in diamonds for a spade through.

If I cannot build a diamond trick, my only play is a squeeze. This type of “frozen” spade suit lends itself well to a squeeze. Accordingly, I won the club, cashed the AQ of hearts, cashed the club ace, played the ten of hearts to my hand, ruffed a club high, and led a heart. Now when I run trumps, LHO must hold Qx of spades, and RHO must hold Tx of spades, so they both come down to 2 diamonds (if LHO keeps a club, he must stiff his D honor and will be endplayed).

Great! Except, when I played the H4 from dummy, I inexplicably forgot to overtake with the 8. Stranded in dummy, I couldn’t play the squeeze card! This might be the most tilting hand of all time. Luckily I have all night to recover! It would be much better if I didn’t even see any play, but to get through the hard part and then forget to overtake the 4…words cannot describe it.

I have to play slower from now on, that is really just not good enough in the Bermuda Bowl."

A really cute 4-card ending to visualize.

Dont worry about it Justin. What is done is done. More such heavenly analysis ahead

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another diamond slam, after my RHO opens.

Out of 109 tables, 4 pairs arrived in a small slam, I was one of them. I bid myself to the slam after buying a raise and after just two cue bids. I was able to completely cross ruff the hand conceding just the trump ace.
If they lead a diamond, the play becomes interesting. I need to set up the clubs. Under DA unblock a high D. Win any return, CA, C ruff high, D small to D 9, C ruff high, Draw trump, get to dummy with a ruff to enjoy the clubs.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paying close attention to those pips

I cannot resist sharing a hand from a old book by Ewart Kempson.
You are doubled in SEVEN DIAMONDS. On the lead of the HT
The full hand is
_________ __North: S:Ax H:xxxx D:Q865 C:xxx
West: S:xxx H:T9xx D: 7 C: Jxxxx ________________ East:S:xx H:KQJx D:JT32 C:KTx
____________South S:KQJxxx H:A D:AK94 C:AQ
Well, there is one side entry to take the club finesse, and to pick up the diamonds. How do you play after winning the H lead perforce?

Small to the Queen will only pick up a stiff DT and DJ Your hope would be small to the Q, catching a stiff minor honor, finish trumps with a single finesse against the Hxx. and you have the SA entry for the C finesse, but today that line fails.
If you do lead a small card, and play a trump up to hand, east splits. Now you need a extra entry to dummy, You might try to ruff a spade hair-raisingly hoping LHO with the short trump has the short spades but not today as E over-ruffs.

The winning line?
D9 at trick two, smothering the 7, and unblocking at the same time to the DQ. Now advance the equals 865, and with the D4 safely in your hand, split or not, you can finish in dummy to take a C finesse. Pretty, isn't it?

One bid for our side, at the SIX level.

When you get dealt a hand like mine, it is not for going quietly short of slam. LHO preempted 3H, and when it came around to me (if rho had raised to 4, i would make the same bid), I needed only a little help in secondary honors in either suit from partner for a laydown slam. I therefore bid SIX, which was reached by 15 tables out of 29.
Plan A, was to find trumps 2-1 when I can pull trumps, unblock the clubs and reach the K of clubs. However, I had to fall back to Plan B when trumps were 3-0. The only play is to pull trumps and overtake the third round of clubs hoping for clubs three-three. As the cards lay, I could not be defeated.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A master class in play, and bidding.

When I played these cards, I held the 6-4 in the blacks and i bid 1S-2D-3C-3NT-4S(showing concentration in black suits, 6-4 distribution and a semi-solid spade suit). Partner gave this a look but passed. He might have taken a optimistic view of his fitting club cards, the 98 of spades and the A AQ in the reds covering my three red-suit cards from the bidding.

At the table I am presenting, over 3NT which was a balanced opening, opener's 4C was likely Roman Keycard Blackwood for spades, received a four spade response showing two aces, and five diamonds was a cuebid, the redouble showing a cue in the same suit, an ace, and opener simply jumped to slam.

I made 12 tricks (ie overtricks in game), but this declarer made 13(an overtrick in slam). Every textbook tells you to play S:AKJTxx opposite xx with plenty of entries like this: Do not cash the Ace first. Take a first round finesse, so that you can pick up Qxxx which is much more likely if there is a 4-1 split. Indeed that is how our hero played it. The only one in 60 plus tables to bid the slam and the only one to make thirteen tricks.

Adding up to ten

I choose to show a table where I was not playing. This hand replayed at 60 tables, when played at FOUR HEARTS went down as often as it made. Many declarers tried a complete cross-ruff and fell a trick short, losing control sooner or later. It is essential to build one spade trick, cash that spade trick and then get four spade ruffs (because defense usually manages not to draw two rounds of trump, not disentangling the heart ace early), to go with four high trumps in hand and the Ace of diamonds. At this table, declarer got it right.
For defence to quickly pull two rounds of trump, opening leader must act double-dummy, eschewing the lead of a club from AK, hardly possible. If he plays a heart, partner can return a club, and now S plays a second round.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

3NT with three overtricks made by partner

One Notrump was 10-12, and I gave partner 3NT.After opening leader cashed a high spade and shifted to a heart, my partner Jeffrey Garbus, crossed to the club Ace, finessed in clubs, found out by cashing the CK that his RHO guarded the clubs, and he ran diamonds, pitching his spade queen, and dummy's spade ten proved to be a threat, and neither opponent could hold hearts. He made 12 tricks on the nicely executed double squeeze.

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

My photo
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