Bob Munson

Recap Of 11/01/2017 28 Board IMP Individual

Our November game came early.  There were only 5 double digit swings – 3 from bidding and 2 from defensive problems.

 
3
E-W
South
N
Bob
J1094
J
Q753
10876
 
W
Jim
7
KQ9853
KJ9
J32
J
E
Mark R
KQ83
A72
8
AKQ54
 
S
Manfred
A652
1064
A10642
9
 
Jim
Mark R
2
2NT1
32
4NT3
54
65
All Pass
 
(1) Ogust
(2) Showing good suit, good hand
(3) 3014 RKCB
(4) 1 key card, known to be the trump K, since he reported ‘good suit’ on prior bid
(5) Hoping for a bad lead?
Bruce
Mike
2
41
42
53
All Pass
 
(1) Preempter’s key card
(2) Showing 1+ trump Q
(3) Counting up, and recognizing that is 1 too few

Here both tables found a strong hand facing a normal weak 2 opening bid.  Both approaches were similar, checking on key cards to see if partner had a perfecto, but then…at my table they decided their hand was SO good that perhaps 12 tricks could be found even if they were off 2 aces!?  I led a spade, partner won, cashed the A and we folded up the hand, conceding the rest.  

Had I led a trump or a club, the defense is interesting.  Declarer has 11 top tricks (0+6+0+5).  He must draw trump, perhaps play a few extra trump, run clubs throwing away his singleton spade and diamond loser and then, at trick 11, lead dummy’s singleton diamond towards the KJ.  South must reduce to A and Ax.  South must play low on the diamond lead, resist flying the A and leave declarer with a guess as to which diamond to play.  South may be annoyed partner found such a miserable lead, but stay in the game, make it as tough as possible for declarer, and hope for the best. 

11 tricks at both tables, +100 and +650, win 13 IMPs.

 
5
N-S
North
N
Bob
Q1087
Q1084
Q107
KQ
 
W
Mike
92
AK765
84
10652
J
E
Tony
AKJ653
J2
J53
97
 
S
Jim
4
93
AK962
AJ843
 
W
Mike/Mark M
N
Bob/Mark R
E
Tony/Bruce
S
Jim/Manfred
Pass
2
3
Pass
3NT
All Pass
 

With the same auction and same lead at both tables, it was all up to West on defense.  At the other table, they went up with the K to try a spade lead through declarer.  That achieved 3 spade tricks and 2 heart tricks for down 1.  At my table, they feared my spade stopper(s) were such that perhaps the setting tricks should come from  hearts.  I was a passed hand.  West pretty much knows (looking at 19 HCP between his hand and dummy),  that North has exactly 11 HCP and East has exactly 10 HCP.  If partner led from J10x, hearts will be established by ducking and if partner has an entry, ducking trick 1 will defeat the contract.  So West ducked trick 1.  On another hand, that might have worked.  On this hand, with clubs and diamonds splitting, that gave me 11 tricks, conceding the last 2.

So +660 and +100, win another 13 IMPs.

 
14
None
East
N
Bob
875
J1084
642
108
 
W
Mark M
62
9753
AJ953
K7
K
E
Jim
104
KQ2
KQ
A96432
 
S
Bruce
AKQJ83
A6
107
QJ5
 
W
Mark M
N
Bob
E
Jim
S
Bruce
1
Dbl1
1
Pass
2
2
3
Pass
Pass
3
All Pass
 
 
 
(1) Too strong to simply overcall
W
Tony
N
Manfred
E
Mark R
S
Mike
1NT1
Dbl2
23
Pass
2
2
2NT4
Pass
35
36
Dbl7
All Pass
 
 
(1) Not everyone’s choice, but…
(2) Meckwell, showing 1 minor, both majors or strong spade hand
(3) Stayman
(4) Showing 8-9 HCP
(5) Running out
(6) Good enough to continue competing
(7) Thinking good enough to double

Different bidding to arrive at a similar contract, but doubled at the other table, not my table.  At IMP scoring, you normally want to be looking at a 2 trick set prior to doubling (a game or a part score).  Turning 50 points into 100 has very little gain.  And the downside, if they make, is way too great to justify the small gain from doubling.  In any case, West did double the final contract.  South has sufficient playing strength with modest defense so that competing to 3 is clearly the right call.  Since 3 has 9 tricks, there should be a small gain and 3 might even make.

This was another hand where the swing came from defense (but the size of the swing came from the double).  My wife and I play some kitchen bridge with another couple and there is a constant refrain, often after a defense has missed its chance – “throw your losers, save your winners”.  It seems like a pretty useful adage to live by, but sometimes we lose focus and all of a sudden a fatal discard is made and the defense is over.  That is what happened here.

At my table, the play/defense went really fast.  The opponents started K, then club to the A (declarer dropping the Q, but not fooling anyone).  East then played K and Q.  Since West knew they could not beat dummy’s trump if a club came back, they overtook with the A and continued with the J.  Declarer ruffed, drew trump and conceded a heart at the end, down 1.

At the other table the defense started with 3 rounds of clubs, with West ruffing the Q  and overruffed in dummy.  Now declarer played 6 more rounds of spades, the A and another heart.  In the end, East came down to KQ and KQ.  But West came down to xxx and A.  So, when East won the second heart lead, a diamond went to the now singleton A and at trick 13 a heart to dummy’s J provided the contract fulfilling 9th trick.  Oops.

Lose 50 and lose 530, lose 11 IMPs.

 
26
Both
East
N
Bob
10842
J65
874
AKQ
 
W
Manfred
AKQJ65
A98742
10
2
E
Mark M
93
Q10
AKQJ9532
3
 
S
Tony
7
K3
6
J109876542
 
W
Manfred
N
Bob
E
Mark M
S
Tony
1
5
61
72
Pass3
Pass
74
Pass
Pass5
Pass
(1) See below
(2) See below
(3) See below
(4) See below
(5) See below
W
Mike
N
Bruce
E
Jim
S
Mark R
3NT1
Pass2
43
All Pass
 
 
(1) Gambling
(2) Not wanting to get involved
(3) Bid what I think I can make

Wow, what an auction.  At both tables.  No lie of the cards can bring that heart suit home for zero losers, so the 7 grand slam was due to fail on any lead.  I decided to hope for a spade ruff (a double by partner would normally ask for a diamond lead).  Declarer won the 9 in dummy to start drawing trump.  Partner ducked the Q, but the when the A had to take the K, my J held up for the setting trick.

At the other table, North tried a high club to start the defense against 4 and declarer was looking at 15 top tricks after ruffing and drawing trump.

It isn’t often that you have a potential choice of 3 suits for a grand slam (diamonds, hearts and spades).  As noted, the heart grand slam was hopeless, but what about diamonds?  Or spades?  With the wrong lead, as noted above in the defense of the 4 contract, 15 top tricks are there.  Against 7, a club must be led, forcing dummy to ruff.  Now, getting off dummy to draw trump is not possible.  The best hope is 2 rounds of spades, then ruff the third round and draw trump.  But with a singleton spade in South, the second round spade ruff dooms the 7 contract.  But only with a club lead.

Against 7, a diamond must be led.  Any other lead allows the same ’15 tricks’.  After a diamond lead, declarer is faced with heart losers and no access to the many diamond tricks.  Even 6 can be in some difficulty after a diamond lead.  Declarer must draw trump and lead a small heart to dummy.  With the diamonds all good, North would ‘have to’ rise with the K if they had it (although a stronger defense would be to duck with Kxx, hoping had South held Jx).  So, declarer would likely play the 10, forcing the K and establishing both an entry to the diamonds as well as making all of his hearts good in the process.  So the 6 slam is quite likely to come home – it cannot be beaten on any lead if declarer guesses right.

As you might guess, this hand created a fair amount of discussion.  With so many IMPs at stake, the bidding choices had a lot riding on them.  With the contracts that were reached at both tables, there was no opening lead that could make any difference in the IMPs.  But, with different contracts, there could have been a critical opening lead.  What about the bidding?

First – as East, what do you open?  I think a gambling 3NT often looks more like xx xx xx AKQxxxx, but some thought the suit should be bolstered by the J to be ‘traditional’.  Here, at my table, the extra solid diamond and extra length diamonds (8, not 7), coupled with the Q resulted in a simple 1 opening bid.  5 should also be considered for the opening, and that would have taken the auction down a completely different unpredictable path.  But the other table, East chose 3NT to start the auction.

Next up is South with a 9 card suit.  Over 3NT, they decided to not get involved.  Over 1, my partner decided to try the effect of 5.  Both choices (what action to take over 3NT and over 1) certainly seem reasonable.  But bidding 5 over 3NT should also be considered.  However, that likely would not have ended well – we will never know.

Moving around to West.  One West had to choose over 5 and they decided to bid what they thought they could make (6) opposite a ‘normal’ 1 opening bid.  They were right, that is what they can make.  The other West had to choose after partner’s gambling 3NT was passed to them, not knowing if their suit is diamonds or clubs.  The hand has more promise if opener’s suit is diamonds, but West doesn’t know which suit it is.  And most asking bids are oriented towards playing in the minor (which would certainly have been OK here as long as no grand slam is bid).  Anyway, West wasn’t interested in opener’s minor with their own self-sufficient spade suit (game is 10 tricks, not 11), so they bid what they thought they could make – 4.  Should they have been more optimistic?  If all of the hands are balanced, and partner’s suit is clubs, declarer figures to be able to lose 2 hearts and a diamond and hopefully score 10 tricks in their spade contract.  So, missing slam hardly seems crazy.

Now, look at North’s hand.  After 3NT-P-4, they have the only flat hand at the table and it cannot occur to them to bid something.  The opponents are already playing their longest suit as trump!  But, after 1-5-6, North has a different world view.  North ‘knows’ that South must have 9 or 10 clubs, since they bid missing the AKQ!  That doesn’t leave any club tricks for our side (automatic ruff at trick 1, perhaps a ruff/sluff).  And North certainly has no defensive tricks in diamonds, hearts or spades.  The chance that South has 2 tricks when they only have 3-4 total cards in the other suits isn’t high.  So, I took the ‘save’ in 7.  I hoped partner had 1 trick (to defeat a grand) but not 2 tricks (to make my bid a phantom sacrifice – the most costly bid of all).  If I pushed them into a making grand, when only a small slam was bid at the other table, that, too, could be quite costly.

Back to East, they opened a simple 1 and now the bidding is at the grand slam level after one round of bidding!  I think it is standard to double if you have a loser in the sacrifice grand slam suit bid by the opponents, but here East chose to pass.  South also passed.  Now West, with their powerful 2 suiter (but spades way stronger than hearts), decided to try for a grand slam rather than take the penalty.  He chose 7 to give partner a choice between the 2 suits (but, how can partner know your spades are THAT much better than your hearts?).  East, with hearts stronger than spades (considering that on this auction, partner was likely 6-6 with possibly AKJxxx and AKJxxx), chose to pass the 7 bid and, as noted above, all leads result in down 1.  With such a self-sufficient suit, some thought West, if they aren’t going to just double 7 and ‘take the plus’, should try 7, ignoring hearts.  Perhaps.  But, a counter to that was that, if East is void in spades with their opening bid values located in hearts, a heart grand slam could be safer.  It wasn’t.  Bottom line, it is really costly to be wrong at the 7 level, so taking whatever tricks are available on defense (the sure plus) is often the wisest choice.

So, +100 and +710, win 13 IMPs.

 
28
N-S
West
N
Bob
Q3
QJ4
KQ4
AKJ95
 
W
Manfred
97542
A965
J5
42
A
E
Mark M
KJ6
K1072
A86
876
 
S
Tony
A108
83
109732
Q103
 
W
Manfred
N
Bob
E
Mark M
S
Tony
Pass
1
Dbl1
2
2
32
Pass
Pass
3
Pass
Pass
Pass
(1) 3 card support for all unbid suits and all bid suits as well
(2) Competing for the part score
W
Mike
N
Bruce
E
Jim
S
Mark R
Pass
1
Pass
1
Pass
2NT
Pass
3NT1
All Pass
 
 
 
(1) Vulnerable…never take back +150

I have seen contracts stolen via light opening bids and light overcalls, but I think this is the first time I have missed a vulnerable 3NT because of a (very) light takeout double.  I cannot imagine what auction I should have manufactured to arrive in 3NT (3NT is not that great of a contract, but it happens to make as long as you find hearts 4-4 and drop the J).  Suggestions welcome (as to what I should have bid).  As you see, we simply defended 3, beat it a couple of tricks, and didn’t think much about it.  It would not have occurred to me to double with the East hand, but it sure worked.

Meanwhile, the players with our cards at the other table, with no interference bidding, waltzed right into a 3NT contract.  Even though the defense started with 2 rounds of hearts, they shifted rather than establishing the heart suit.  So, declarer only lost the diamond and 2 hearts, 10 tricks.

How good (or bad) is that 3NT contract?  Well, with two club entries, ‘all’ you need is the 4-4 heart split and the A onside or the J doubleton.  Not the worst vulnerable game, but not one that is that embarrassing to miss.  But it was costly to miss it.

We were +100 for our paltry 2 trick set of 3 while our teammates were -630, lose 11 IMPs.

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