Monday, April 30, 2012

Throw-in or show-up squeeze?

Please use next button to play through first few tricks. In view of the diamond gift and tempo, I went after clubs. Lefty chose to continue clubs, but did well to choose the 8 spot, the 10 would have been, for him, a disaster. I won the D return. Then I took a losing spade finesse, and a diamond came back. I rose in order to play a spade up again. The speed with which LHO followed, I felt that this finesse was bound to lose. I know also that RHO has longer hearts from the play. Therefore, a better line than the one I followed might have been: Go up with Spade Ace, cash Club A, exit spade, which RHO has to win. Now he is endplayed and has only hearts to return into the tenace "AQ" in dummy!

At the table, I missed this unnatural line, choosing to finesse again in spades. RHO was out of diamonds and put me back in dummy. I had to execute a precise sequence of moves. I need the H finesse for the second OT, but I can take it in a sexy way, via the show-up squeeze. On the next trick (SA) I keep my D threat card, and pitch one heart, next I play off the CA and a C to my hand squeezing LHO between Kx of hearts and the DQ. He chose to throw the DQ. I cashed my D9 and HA for my last two tricks. The "show up" case occurs when LHO keeps as last two cards DQ master and Stiff HK. When I play the H up, I can see the HK. A 90% board

The ultimate puzzle is why did partner playing a 15-17 open 1C rather than 1NT? Did he fear his D guard? That is not the modern way. Hands where N declared did not get the D lead gift and, on average, took fewer tricks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Abbot and the Merrimac Coup that could have been

A field of 218 pairs were competing in the St.Titus charity speed-ball. The Abbot was in a bad mood, having admonished Brother Aelred for his opening choice in the previous set. He looked up from his upholstered South chair to see Brothers Cameron and Lucius arrive to take the specially provisioned cane chairs for East-West pairs at that table.

Brother Cameron, the upstart novice who annoyed The Abbot immensely, considered his bid over One Diamond. He had too much playing strength for the weak TWO HEART response he had convinced Brother Lucius to play. He started with ONE HEART, Brother Aelred entering this live auction on the North cards with ONE SPADE, Brother Lucius found the most deceptive bid he could, calling ONE NOTRUMP with no clear spade stop. The Abbot had a clear raise on values, but he lay possum. He did not want Brother Aelred to be declaring, heaven forfend. Brother Cameron came to life. His partner had bid NOTRUMP. Any spade tenace or finesse was likely on, and they had magnificent offense in hearts. He trotted out a nonchalant FOUR HEARTS that all passed.

The defense did not distinguish itself. Bro Aelred led SA to have a glimpse of dummy. He persisted in spades, declarer ruffed, and in time took club finesse twice to dispose of a losing diamond, only to lose a spade, a trump Ace and a diamond.

The Abbot: "Shift to a diamond at trick two partner, looking at that dummy, it should be obvious and your only hope."
Brother Cameron shot back: "That is too late Abbot, I am cold for 4 then, I can rise DA, ruff a spade to hand, finesse clubs, ruff another spade to hand, finesse again and dispose of my diamond." Brother Aelred was nodding in agreement as The Abbot's cheek reddened.

To add further insult to injury, Brother Aelred piped up. " My first choice was the doubleton lead. Declarer would have gone down with no chance. I was still thinking about your rebuke about my doubleton lead on board 9, Abbot."

The Abbot was not finished. There was a third string to his harangue of Brother Aelred. "Or you could lead the HA to look at dummy, we can hardly have two trump winners on that auction. Then the diamond shift is obvious and, for one, dummy has no more trump for transportation, and for another, he has no spade ruff to hand before we take the diamond setting tricks"

Brother Lucius said "That leads to a most interesting middle game. HA at trick one, D shift, declarer ducks this trick and the Abbot has to win DQ. He appears to be endplayed but he can get out with DK, a sort-of Merrimac coup. Dummy has to win this trick. If declarer now attacks spades, The Abbot rises King and gives Brother Aelred a ruff.

The Abbot pointed to the next board. "We will be here all night. This is speedball. I was just about to point out the Merrimac possibility myself, but there is only so much you can talk about with novices aboard at speedball. Brother Aelred, could you fetch the satin cushion on the skip table chair? I have to speak to the directors about better furnishing."

Well played, but not well enough

There is a saying in chess. When you find a good move, do not stop, look for a better one. The same is true at matchpoints. In the following hand, I, abhirar, got a 77% score making two overtricks in 3NT. The first few tricks have possible different plans, but let me pass over them without too much comment. Trick one, H6, 9, J, A Trick 2: Spade 5, HEART DEUCE, SA, S2. Trick 3,4 test clubs, on T4 RHO pitches D9 and I keep the remaining clubs for transportation. Trick 5: I play the SQ to drive out the SK Trick 6 (At this point all returns give me at least 11 tricks which the reader can work out) RHO returns ST to drive out my SJ I win and Trick 7, from my S equals 8,7, lead the 7 to drive out HIS S9, but defence makes its first matchpoint mistake ducking this trick. Now I can take ALL the remaining tricks making 12 instead of 11 (a MP score of 89% instead of 78%), can you see how? This is the ending Dummy S:void H:KT D:AQx C:x LHO S:void H:Q87 D:x C:xx RHO S:96 H:none D:KJ82 C:none Me: S:8 H:x D:Tx C:QJ Well the only line to win all the tricks is to finesse the HT, cash the HK pitching my diamond, Cross to the Club master, cash the last club master pitching a diamond, and RHO is simple squeezed. If the S8 is not high in the two card ending, the DAQ should score two tricks.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bashing a slam. 9=3=1=0 distribution

I think you will all agree that when Briggida, the muse of bridge, deals you the above 9-3-1-0 hand, it is not meant for you to stop short of slam. Anyway I opened SIX DIAMONDS, which RHO doubled. When I saw dummy, and the lucky non-spade lead, having disposed of my spade loser, my only fear was a 0-4 trump break. It transpired that my righty hand doubled with K third of trump and an outside ace. I was relieved to land the doubled slam.

Partner shines in 3NTx

In bridge, optimism and foolhardiness are tied very closely. However bravery sometimes comes to the rescue. Here is partner in action after I have made a questionable overcall into the teeth of bidding opponents and a silent partner. Partner bid 3NT. RHO doubled. Indeed at double dummy they can take five black tricks off the top, but see what happpened. Declarer took her only chance after three rounds of spades. She overtook the second heart. The suit kindly broke. She still needed a diamond finesse and luck with the DT. When her lefty held on to Kx of clubs and a winning spade, and bared the DT, it only remained to tally up the doubled overtrick for an amazing +13 IMPs. Bravely done, partner.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I am outwitted by a nice trick one play

I propelled myself into a unnecessary slam yet again, this time my RHO thought for a while before passing. I was inclined to play him for the trump Q when I saw dummy. I thought the lead was a likely doubleton. If Righty wins Ace, and I guess trump, I get a huge score. Righty ducked the C lead to force out my King, and although I used spade ruffs to pick up trumps, guessing the lie correctly, I was doomed by the failure of the DJ to materialize in three rounds. I risked 12 IMPs to win a slam against a field. +1 would have been +5 IMP. I was -7 IMP. You live by the sword, etc.

I make an aggresive small slam bid and back it up.

The bidding was more than a little agricultural. First, my two spades bid was not forcing, so, better was a cuebid on round one. Still the trump suit clarification would not happen for another round.
Luckily they did not lead a heart. I was able to set up three diamond tricks by giving up a trick to the DK, thus getting rid of my closed hand H losers, and when trumps proved to be 2-2, sort of, reverse the dummy. 3H ruffs,4 trump in dummy, HA,CA and three diamonds for 12 tricks. LHO tried the effect of not taking his DK, but wild horses could not make me ruff a D in hand, I absolutely needed to play loser on loser, sluffing my two hearts on a losing and winning diamond. Making this wild slam was an unsurprising 100% at MPs. Risking sure game for a pie-in-the-sky slam? Maybe, but it was 12 board MPs, I could always come back, not like a IMP game.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Have half-stop, will bid 3NT

The above piece of chutzpah at Matchpoints won me 87%. I reasoned thus, holding 6 card diamond support and the HA and the S QJ, maybe they could run spades on me but it was matchpoints, not money. The better bid was perhaps a scientific three spades, lest partner should have Axx in spades. As it was, the spade lead set up my ninth trick. (No lead threatens me. If H is led i hold up till round 3.) When it was ducked, I went safely to set up a club. Now a heart return is needed to hold me to nine. But that is a bit double dummy. Even nine tricks in game would have been 72%. The field was all over the place 3D +1, 4D = etc.

Making use of Zia's Bols tip. When they do not cover...

The featured declarer made good use of Zia's Bols tip "when they don't cover it, they don't have it", dropping the diamond king offside and making +430 (whereas many declarers, including the one at my table where I was defending, went down two on the same lead).

Bidding to a top-scoring slam

I (abhirar) had a maximum pass, and when partner bid 2NT I drove to the NT slam. Partner would have had to take the double finesse after the HJ fell on round one, but pd was not put to the test when roeroeroe split somewhat pointlessly. (yes, partner can lose a H trick and still make the slam because of the lucky club position, 3C, 4H, 3D and 2S)
Made 6, good enough.

Quiz hands, bid problems

  1. LHO opens 1NT pass pass to you S:QJx H:QJ D:AKxxx C:AT9 you play Cappeletti in direct seat, presumably similar in balancing seat. Your bid at IMP pairs?

  2. In previous problem you double, it goes pass pass RHO bids TWO CLUBS natural, your bid?

  3. You hold at both VUL S:xx H:Jxx D:Axxxxx C:xx Partner opens 2C, you bid TWO DIAMONDS (say negative, but if you play waiting, see if that changes anything) LHO TWO SPADES, partner doubles, pass to you. Your bid?

  4. Partner opens weak TWO HEARTS at unfav vulnerablity. RHO passes. You hold S:AQJT9x H:J D:xxx C:xxx You play RONF, and normally you are not a shrinking violet however you pass. LHO bids THREE CLUBS and RHO bids THREE NOTRUMP, all very fishy. You feel an urge to get active. You double, and lead what? (Hint: your side CAN beat this contract)

  5. Unfav VUL. You open ONE CLUB on S:A9x H:Axx D:void C:AJ9xxxx LHO bids ONE HEART. partner, an active bidder, passes, and so does RHO. It is IMP pairs. Do you reopen and how much of what?

  6. You will be astonished to learn that if you reopen, they bid diamonds and raise and reraise diamonds to the five level and your CA does not cash and they make it.

  7. VUL versus not, you hold in fourth, S:J H:KTxxxx D:KJxxx C:x, LHO opens ONE CLUB, partner bids ONE SPADE. Do you a) pass awaiting developments or b) bid something?

  8. The above was a two part question. If, like me, you passed, LHO opens with a double, RHO converts for penalty. now, what would a Notrump bid mean, a jump in notrump mean, finally what would TWO HEARTS (double) pass pass Redouble mean ? In fact we were on for THREE DIAMONDS when we went for 200 in TWO HEARTS doubled. ( I play in a tough neighborhood)

Game in a minor

when my RHO in third seat found a opening bid of ONE SPADE, I debated for a while before settling on the flexible overcall of TWO CLUBS. LHO should perhaps have bumped the bidding up to THREE SPADES, but he chose TWO SPADES. When partner raised me to THREE CLUBS, with my hand screaming suit offense, and needing just a Ace opposite, I tried FIVE CLUBS.
Tricks were fairly routine on a spade lead, as long as I kept the trump entry in dummy. 80% board.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A devastating lead at 3NT

What do you lead on the west cards after they end up in 3NT after the auction shown? I reasoned that with a strong 2NT on my right, and my Queens being potential entries, it cost nothing to begin with the Ace. I was surprised to hit paydirt with the Kingleton of clubs in dummy! Taking the first six tricks for down two was worth 80%.

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