Bob Munson

Recap Of 3/22/2017 28 Board IMP Individual

Travel plans including a mostly disappointing trip to Kansas City resulted in our first game of March not happening until the 4th Wednesday.  With two Bobs and 2 Mikes playing today, I have used a number of last names to call out the players.  Six of the boards resulted in double digit swings, starting with the first.

Board 1

 
1
None
North
N
Munson
542
AKQ102
Q7
K83
 
W
Dan
KJ53
J843
3
Q1062
6
E
Bandler
108
975
109843
A54
 
S
Manfred
AQ97
6
AKJ65
J97
 
Munson
Manfred
1NT1
2
2
3
3
4
5
6
All Pass
 
(1) “15-17”
Jerry
Chris
1
2
2
2
3NT
All Pass

 

This hand was all about bidding judgment. For starters, for NT purposes, I evaluate 5 card suits (of any strength) as worth 1 point. Certainly this 5 card suit has some potential to be worth more than 9 points. In any case, I treated it as a 15-17 balanced 1NT hand. After Stayman allowed me to show 4 hearts, partner’s 3 bid allowed me to repeat hearts, showing a heart suit that was 5 long.

To me, as South, the information that North holds 5 hearts (opposite my singleton) would be extremely regressive (in terms of slam potential). My bidding doesn’t show where my points are, but, as South, knowing that I only have 8 cards split 3-3-2 in his suits outside hearts creates problems (imagining the play of the hand during the bidding). It only works if none of my values below the A had been in hearts (if you make the Q the ♣Q and the K the ♠K), and even if that were so, there is still a problem getting to 12 tricks, even if diamonds split. Unless you also give me the ♠J, the spade suit needs a 3-3 split or you must have the ability to attain a spade ruff in dummy. In any case, partner didn’t see it that way. So, rather than trying 3NT or 3♠ with his third bid, partner repeated diamonds. Having no spade stopper (and not clear what 4NT would even mean over 4), I raised diamonds to 5 and partner carried on to 6. Double dummy, the diamond contract has some interesting twists and turns (potential to score 11 tricks), depending upon the leads, discards, and continuations by the defense, but on the actual ♣6 lead (rather favorable for declarer), East won the ♣A and there was no chance for 12 tricks with the diamond distribution creating a certain loser there. In the end, declarer did not finesse the 10, so only 10 tricks were scored for down 2, -100. (But down 1 would not have saved any IMPs.)

At the other table, North did not like the concentration of HCP in the heart suit (for starting with NT), so he started with 1. That allowed North-South to stop in 3NT – not close to pursuing slam. The opening lead of the ♠10 went the the ♠Q and ♠K followed by a heart return, finessing the 10. Declarer ended up scoring 11 tricks. So our teammates, defending 3NT, were -460, lose 11 IMPs.

 
6
E-W
East
N
Pastor
QJ6
A7
9875
A973
 
W
Dan
K54
KQ8
AQ103
KJ2
9
E
Munson
A10873
103
KJ2
1065
 
S
Chris
92
J96542
64
Q84
 
W
Dan
N
Pastor
E
Munson
S
Chris
Pass
Pass
1
Pass
1
Pass
2NT
Pass
3
Pass
3
Pass
3NT
All Pass
W
Bandler
N
Jerry
E
Manfred
S
Schneider
Pass
Pass
1
Pass
1
Pass
2NT
Pass
31
Pass
4
All Pass
 
 
(1) New minor forcing

Sometimes 9 tricks are easier than 10.  In a spade contract, you can pitch a club loser on the long diamond, but you didn’t have 3 club losers anyway, so that club discard doesn’t really help.  You are looking at 9 easy tricks (4+1+4+0) and need the A onside or else a successful guess in clubs.  Having found the A offside, declarer opted/guessed for ‘split aces’ (as good a guess as any, but an unsuccessful guess as the cards lie).  He led a club to the K and lost the trump trick, A and 2 clubs for down 1.  Those same 9 tricks are easily there in NT, but with the defenders seeking 5 tricks to beat 3NT, declarer ended up making 10 tricks for +630 to go with +100, win 12 IMPs.

With many partners, I play a form of Wolff relay (I am not sure how many forms there are?!).  Dan (my partner here) is my regular partner in Gatlinburg, but we haven’t played much since Gatlinburg 2016, so I did not recall if he and I had discussed/agreed to play Wolff or not.  In the form I play with other partners, after opener’s rebid of 2NT my bid of 3 requires partner to respond 3, after which I can pass to play 3, bid 3 of my major to play exactly 3 of that major, bid 3NT as a slam try in his minor, or bid 3 of the other major as a slam try in the other minor.  At the table, I intended 3 as simply new minor forcing (not Wolff), checking back for an 8 card spade fit.  Partner dutifully bid 3 (playing Wolff) and I bid 3NT, ostensibly showing a slam try in diamonds, but mercifully Dan passed.   I was a bit lucky to say the least.

 
9
E-W
North
N
Manfred
J
AQ542
AK852
AJ
 
W
Pastor
KQ982
K82
J6
K74
10
E
Munson
10763
J1096
973
108
 
S
Schneider
A54
7
Q104
Q96542
 
Manfred
Schneider
1
1NT
2
3
6
All Pass
Jerry
Bandler
1
1NT
3
3NT
All Pass
 

 

Well, it is hard to argue with success, and if nothing else, the 6 contract was certainly successful.  With clubs favorable (3-2, K onside), diamonds favorable (3-2), hearts favorable (4-3 with the K dropping after 2 ruffs) and the A favorably placed (in dummy), declarer won the J on the opening lead, cashed the A, ruffed a heart, crossed to the A, ruffed another heart, played the Q, played the A, then ruffed a spade, drew trump and claimed.  13 tricks, -940.  Our teammates arrived in 3NT, which certainly has problems on a spade lead.  If diamonds are coming in for 5 tricks, that still only leaves the 3 aces for 8 tricks, so a finesse in clubs or hearts must be chosen to reach 9 tricks (after a spade lead, a losing finesse will result the defense cashing the setting trick in spades).  Since either finesse is destined to succeed, there is no problem after all (except that slam was bid at the other table).  +400 for 3NT compared to -940, lose 11 IMPs.

What about the bidding?  With 19 HCP (the J is a doubtful value, but still 19 HCP), a jump shift seems in order.  The South hand, responding to the jump shift, has problems.  The singleton in partner’s first suit, the A as a cover card, the the Q are all slam positive.  But with only 3 card trump support, South decided to show their black suit values by rebidding 3NT and the auction died.  When North, at my table, opted to rebid only 2, South had a different rebid problem.  No bid appeals.  Should they pass?  (I confess that “pass” would likely have been my bid.)  Returning to 2 (partner’s first suit) makes no sense.  A bid of 2 commonly says (since I failed to bid spades the first time, I can’t really have spades) that I have a very strong maximum raise to 3 (in context of the initial 1NT response).  That bid, certainly doesn’t apply.  2NT should show 11 HCP or a very good 10 HCP.  A bid of 3 should have a lot better spots, or greater length, so that seems to be ruled out.  So, the only bid not discussed so far, 3, was the bid chosen at the table.  Since partner could very well be 4=5=3=1 (with insufficient values to reverse) or 3=5=3=2, the danger of a 3 card diamond suit seems quite real.  You don’t really want to play your 3-3 fit at the 3 level, or any other level!  In any case, after the diamond raise, North (having not jump shifted on the prior bid) decided to make up for lost time and bid the cold (as the cards lie) slam.  

 
13
Both
North
N
Jerry
7432
73
KQ10942
10
 
W
Munson
10
J42
J96
AK9742
A
E
Schneider
AKQJ98
K86
7
J85
 
S
Dan
65
AQ1095
A53
Q63
 
W
Munson
N
Jerry
E
Schneider
S
Dan
2
2
3
Pass
Pass
3
Pass
41
All Pass
 
 
(1) “Never bring back a red 170”
W
Manfred
N
Chris
E
Pastor
S
Bandler
2
2
3
Pass
Pass
Dbl
Pass
5
All Pass
 
 

As you see, the bidding started out the same, but when it came time for East’s second bid, the choices diverged.  It is common, whenever overcalling at the 1 or 2 level with a 6-3-3-1 hand, to first bid your 6 card suit, then (if given the chance) double the next time to show extra values and 3 card support for the unbid suits.  Here you have that.  But, you have a bit of disparity in your suits.  Your spade suit is solid and can play quite well opposite a void.  If partner has values, those values should help your spade contract, but if partner has a suit, your spades may not help their contract as much as you would like.  With this specific East hand, I like repeating the spade suit vs. the double, and specifically on this hand, the double worked out disastrously, while the choice to repeat spades arrived at the spade game.

The heart lead against 5 resulted in 4 quick tricks for the defense (2 hearts, a ruff and the A), down 2.  Against 4 the defense began with 2 rounds of diamonds.  Declarer crossed to the A (noting the fall of the 10) prior to starting to draw trump.  Playing one round of clubs before playing trump was a really thoughtful play.  If declarer starts with 4 rounds of trump, they now have to guess how to play clubs.  (Well, they could still lead one round of clubs after 4 rounds of trump, ruff the last diamond (with the last trump), and then guess clubs correctly.  But, that risks going down a lot of vulnerable undertricks if you get clubs wrong.)  So, I like the timing of declarer’s play and especially like the correct guess in clubs (finessing the Q on the second round) to score +650 (one club was discarded as trump were drawn) to go with +200 and win 13 IMPs.

 
14
None
East
N
Jerry
AQJ74
J4
Q82
985
 
W
Munson
965
KQ8
K109
AKJ4
9
E
Schneider
K83
76532
AJ75
2
 
S
Dan
102
A109
643
Q10763
 

 

W
Munson
N
Jerry
E
Schneider
S
Dan
Pass
Pass
1NT
Pass
2
Pass
2
Pass
2NT
Pass
4
All Pass
 
 
W
Manfred
N
Chris
E
Pastor
S
Bandler
Pass
Pass
1NT
Pass
2
Pass
2
Pass
2NT
Pass
4
All Pass
 
 

As you can see, the bidding was identical at both tables.  Choosing 4 (rather than 3NT) may not be everyone’s choice, but partner often has shortness somewhere and the concentration of values in hearts (and lack of spades) convinced me (and Manfred at the other table) to choose the heart game over 3NT.  Had I been in 3NT, the defense gets off to its best start leading the Q followed by the J.  Assuming I guess to rise with the K, I would then learn the A was onside (can’t get to 9 tricks without heart tricks), then finesse against North, the danger hand, for the Q and arrive at 11 tricks in NT (1+4+4+2).

But, I wasn’t in 3NT.  The same 11 tricks are there in a heart contract, or at least appear to be.  The defense and offense vs. 4 began the same at both tables.  After the club lead, declarer continued with two more rounds of clubs pitching 2 spades from dummy followed by a spade, won by North’s A as dummy follows with their now singleton K.  At this point, a spade continuation seems obvious/automatic.  At my table, that is what Jerry led.  I ruffed the spade in dummy, led a heart to the A followed by a club ruff by North, then a spade ruff by South, holding me to 9 tricks, -50.  At the other table, upon winning the A, North shifted to a diamond, not only solving that problem, but when declarer won the J and led a heart, South ducked, so another diamond to dummy and another heart lead resulted in the 11 tricks that were ‘always’ there.  -450 for our teammates and lose 11 IMPs.

 

 
21
N-S
North
N
Bandler
9
865
K96
AQ9652
 
W
Schneider
106543
92
Q43
K73
♠4
E
Chris
J82
QJ103
A102
1084
 
S
Munson
AKQ7
AK74
J875
J
 
W
Schneider
N
Bandler
E
Chris
S
Munson
Pass
Pass
1
Pass
2
Pass
3NT
All Pass
 
 
 
W
Manfred
N
Jerry
E
Dan
S
Pastor
Pass
Pass
1
Pass
2
Pass
2NT
Pass
3
All Pass
 

Being rather well-healed in the majors, it did not occur to me to bid anything other than 3NT after partner made a (non-forcing) passed hand bid of a new suit at the 2 level (certainly guaranteeing that he held no 4 card major and around 10+ playing points).  So, we ended up in game while the opponents, holding our cards at the other table, stopped in 3.  Playing diamonds, declarer only lost 2 diamond tricks, scoring 11 tricks for +150.

After East followed with the J at trick 1, I won the opening spade lead with the K, hoping that by concealing the Q my 7 might grow up into a trick later in the hand (it didn’t).  At trick 2 I led the J which was covered by the K and I ducked (there was no suit I was ready to play from dummy and I (thought I) was happy to have LHO on lead.  Perhaps they would under lead their 108?!  West continued with the 3 to the 8 and A, as I pitched a heart from dummy.  Between my hand and dummy, I held the 98765.  I decided my best chance was to play LHO for the Q or 10, but not the A, so I led the 5 to the 4, 6 and 10.  Back came the 2 which I won with the Q (establishing LHO’s spades, so LHO better not have the A!).  I continued diamonds to the 9 and when that forced the A, dummy now had the precious entry to enjoy club tricks and I now had plenty of tricks, scoring 3+2+1+4 for +630.  If there were only 2 club tricks to cash (if clubs had split 4-2), I still had the chance that diamonds were 3-3 and I could score 2 tricks there.

But, at least double dummy, I played the hand wrong.  Once I ducked the K, I can no longer make the hand.  I was (wrongly) hoping LHO would continue spades from the 108.  But, all they need to do is notice that they likely have no further entry and switch to the 9 (which is the only continuation that beats the hand).   Now the defense can go about establishing their heart suit while East still has 2 entries in diamonds.  That would give the defense 0+2+2+1.  To make the hand legitimately, I must win the K with the A.  From that point, there are various successful continuations, as declarer:

  1. I can go after diamonds, trying to find the 10 (assuming one defender will eventually have to lead a club to allow me to score the Q).  That provides 3+2+2+2 = 9 tricks.
  2. I can cash the Q myself while I am in dummy and then try to find the 10.  That also provides 3+2+2+2 = 9 tricks.
  3. I can play 3 rounds of clubs and hope for 3-3 clubs with a late diamond entry (which, in this case, can only come about by stripping East of spades and throwing him in with hearts to lead away from the A).

Option 2 seems the best to me.  At the point when I cash the Q, I hold double stoppers in both majors and the opponents only have 1 club to cash (the 9 prevents a second club trick).  So, if I can find the 10, I will lose the AQ, but score 2 diamonds to go with 7 tricks in the other suits.

When West is allowed to hold the K, they know dummy’s clubs are established and they know declarer holds (at least) the A (partner would have played the A at trick 1 if he had it).  If declarer also holds the A, he is up to 9 tricks (2+0+2+5).  If declarer does not hold the A, continued pursuit of spades is futile, since the established spade suit would have no entry.  Defense is tough.  Being a declarer is tough.  A lot becomes easier when looking at all of the hands after it is over.  In any case, +630 went with -150 to win 10 IMPs.


5 Comments

CrisMarch 25th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

On #6 declarer relies on “split aces” for his contract. This is really a reference to the idea that with two aces a player might have a bid. But he also might not, as here. A more telling indicator is the lead, which isn’t mentioned. I bet it was the 9 of diamonds which should give declarer pause to question why a lead into declarer’s first bid suit rather than either of the side suits or trump. The most likely answers are in his hand: A trump honor and the two missing aces. He would more likely led one of those suits had he not held those honors.

Bob RichardsonMarch 25th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

#1 I have no problem with opening 1NT. South’s 3D promises a 4 card spade suit (after your 2H), 5+ diamonds AND an interest in slam. Bidding 3H implies concern about clubs. Maybe you find partner with the perfect 4351 shape when you have the KS instead of the KC. In this situation, you do have a club stopper that very much needs to be in declarer’s hand. I think a better bid is 3NT rather than 3H. Your hand is not fitting well with partner’s and you need to start applying the brakes.

RLPastorMarch 25th, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Correction: 1 Bob and 1 Robert

bobmunsonMarch 25th, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Cris – the D9 lead by North on board 6 was against my partner’s 3NT. The 4S contract was played by East with South on lead. I failed to capture the opening lead at that table, but I believe it was a heart to the K and A and a heart returned.

Bob (and Ed Nagy who commented by phone) – your comments raise two questions about the auction on #1:
1 – what does the 3D bid mean/show?
2 – what does the 3H bid mean?
RE: #1, you suggest 5+ diamonds, exactly 4 spades, slam interest. I have always held (can be persuaded otherwise) that 3D simply means doubt about strain. If you knew where you wanted to play, you would have placed the contract. You may have slam interest, but you may just be probing to make sure you arrive in the right game and actually have no slam interest. I can poll others, but some of the polls will depend upon the context of other methods used. You also suggest it promises 4 spades. I think that definitely depends upon the context of your other methods. If you play 4 suit transfers (which I am with many, but not all partners now), then I agree. But without the ability to transfer to diamonds, how else do you show a strong one suited hand (diamonds without spades or hearts?). Anyway, when playing 4 hands per month with many of the partnerships, there is inadequate clarification of many sequences which often result in disappointment!

RE: #2 – You suggest the 3H bid expresses concern about clubs for NT. Ed Nagy suggests 3H ‘confirms diamonds and shows a heart control for a diamond slam’. In this case, 3H was merely intended to show a 5th heart and, also, doubt about strain, since I was not sure what hand to expect for 3D. With those 3 radically different meanings for 3H, it is no wonder casual partnerships have periodic train wrecks.

I’ll try a poll on bridgewinners.com and see what happens.

bobmunsonMarch 25th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

The polling has begun. First, I queried ‘what does 3D mean?’ and got many answers, but the majority/plurality vote was ‘doubt about strain and level’ (the numbers are still coming in)
http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/after-bidding-stayman-what-is-3d/

Then I asked ‘what would you bid with the actual North hand on Board 1?’ Not many votes in yet.
http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-2-zsjgsis0jh/

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