Bob Munson

Recap of 8/19/2013 21 board IMP individual

We tried a new format today – 8 guys on BBO playing a 2 table individual.  We’ve done that a number of times, but this time, I attempted to replicate the movement that we use when we are in a home or DVBC, since with BBO 2 table IMP pairs, you might have the same partner 3 rounds out of 7.  With today’s movement (7 separate team matches), every player was your partner once, teammate twice and on the other team 7 times.  However, there were problems.  Boards 1-2-3 were used for all 7 rounds, so to talk about the hands, it will be board 1, 2 or 3 from match 1-7.  There were other problems I won’t go into, but I think future BBO games will just deal with the BBO flaws of IMP pairs.

Board 1 Match #1

The action started on the first hand.  Neither table had the auction I would have predicted.  After both tables had a 17 HCP 4th seat 1NT opener, the rather soft balanced hand appears to me to be invitational Stayman.  One table tried Stayman and then bounced to game (although an invite would have seen an easy acceptance with the 17 HCP) when they heard spades.  The other table bounced to 3NT, spurning Stayman.   Against 3NT, partner led 4th best diamond and when I went 3rd hand high with the J at trick 1 (wrong), declarer played 3 rounds of diamonds, establishing 3 tricks for himself.  Had I played 3rd hand low, the diamond suit would provide only 2 tricks for declarer, 2 for us.  With 3 diamond tricks, declarer was up to 10 tricks and then I threw away clubs allowing him to reach 12 tricks -490!  The seemingly more normal 4 contract didn’t fare so well.  The helpful diamond lead didn’t happen.   And when Mark dropped the trump Q on the first round of spades, declarer was taken in and developed a line for 9 tricks, down 1.  Lose 11 IMPs.

To make 4 without an opening diamond lead, it appears a double dummy play in diamonds is required.  Take an intra-finesse (lead small  from dummy and if the J/T doesn’t appear, duck, losing to the 10).  Then, later the lead of the Q can capture the K and the remaining 98 provide a ruffing finesse against the J.  Not obvious.  Especially when a K onside easily brings the contract home.  But when you lead the small diamond off dummy and RHO doesn’t fly the K, perhaps declarer should consider the intra-finesse?  With the Q onside, there are 9 straightforward tricks in 4 (5+1+1+2) but there are 3 clear losers and you have to find the 10th trick.  As the cards lie on this hand, I believe the intra-finesse in diamonds is the only way home  to 10 tricks against best defense.

Board 1 Match #3

With 3 quick tricks in 3rd seat, many would open 1.  My partner did.  But not Art at the other table.  I include both bidding and play from both tables in full because of the interesting development of the auction.  With some partners I have a way to show a constructive raise vs. a junk raise after the double of 1, but here I simply raised to 2♠ with a little in reserve.  Soon the opponents were in an unbeatable 4.  At the other table, Mark saw 3 passes and decided to treat his hand as a reverse, opening 1, and rebidding 2.  Mike Schneider now had to figure out how to treat his hand.  Own up to the 5th spade, or announce a weak hand (presumably without a 5th spade) by bidding (an artificial, negative) 2?  Somehow I think they were not headed for a 4 contract regardless of what Mike’s choice of rebid was, but when he chose to rebid 2, Mark passed an ostensibly forcing bid and they played an unsuccessful 2 when 4 was cold. Hearts were never bid.  It still isn’t clear to me how to get there with the opponents passing throughout.  Sometimes when the opponents enter the auction, bidding is MUCH more difficult.  Here, simply passing left an extremely awkward auction for Mike/Mark and they were unable to arrive in a heart contract.  Meanwhile opening 1 (which I would have done) provided a rather smooth path to the sound 4 contract.  Lose another 11 IMPs.

Some play 2NT after the reverse is always the weak hand, and 4th suit is natural, not necessarily game forcing.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, but I think the cheaper of 4th suit and 2NT to show the weak hand is fairly standard expert practice.  Another key point about the reverse auction – I had a hand several years back that was horrible, but enough to scrape up a 1 response, since I held 5 spades.  After partner’s reverse, I felt duty bound to show my 5th spade  by bidding 2 and we ended up in a horrible spot.  Another player suggested that if partner is 3=1=4=5, he will support spades anyway on his next bid, so it might be better to not show the 5th spade and just show the weak hand.  I think that idea has merit and would certainly have worked far better on this hand.  Wherever they landed, it would not have been 2.

Board 1 Match #5

Here I produced an impossibly bad defense to allow 4 to come home.  There is no play to make 4 legitimately.  But, when declarer led a small spade off dummy in the middle of the hand, I flew the K and our diamond trick went away.  I was fearful of JT doubleton.  But, so what – if he has it, he has it.  He didn’t.  I have to play second hand low.  The other table took the ‘save’ in 4, +100 for our teammates.  Lose 8 IMPs.

Board 2 Match #6

I think this is somewhat similar to the first hand – how do you evaluate a hand responding to 1NT, in this case in the context of a 1NT overcall?  Only this time, the evaluation is ‘signoff or invite’ instead of ‘invite or force game’.  Mike Bandler treated his 7 HCP as invitational (seems reasonable to me – JT8 should be useful and hands play well after partner overcalls NT, knowing where the opponents cards are).  After the invite, they were quickly in 4.  Chris Pisarra simply transferred and signed off in 2.  The play goes much better if you find the doubleton J.   Double dummy 4 can always make – simply find the J.  But when Jack Scott finessed and lost to the J, he was quickly down 2.  Win 8 IMPs.

Boar 1 Match #7

Amazingly, 3NT is cold with the club fit and diamond finesse.  But I learned long ago to pass 4-3-3-3 8 HCP hands as the player holding those cards did at both tables.  Those hands ‘never’ produce tricks.  Anyway, at the other table, they simply passed out 1NT, making +120.  At my table, Mark decided to reopen, having alread passed a near opener.  As usual in our game, he asked ‘the BBO table’ “what are we playing?”, and partner replied Meckwell.  So, Mark decided to show a hand with diamonds and a major.  Chris, with no great diamond holding, decided to hope for the major and tried 2.  Jack, having passed his 4-3-3-3 8 HCP hand came in with a double and that ended the auction.  The club lead was quite effective.  We immediately had trump control and we should have gotten +500, but we let Chris score his Q before cashing out for +300, win 5 IMPs.

Board 3 Match #7

Last board of the day.  I was south at the other table and considered opening 2NT or 2, but decided 1 was the only sensible opening bid.  That was passed out and I played it there +170.  The only lead to hold declarer to 9 tricks is a heart lead.  I got a heart lead, but the opponents were so intent on killing the diamond ruffs that they never got their heart ruff.  As you can see, a very different auction at the other table.  Mike Schneider decided his hand was worth a bump to 2, Art decided to come in 3, and Mike Bandler bid the obvious 4.  Bob Pastor decided to double, having heard partner come in at the 3 level!  But, after the K lead, 4 is cold.  Declarer simply takes the diamond ruff and forgets the spade finesse, avoiding the heart ruff (of course this line requires ‘s 3-3).  But LHO must have been doubling on something.  Anyway, after the spade finesse, the heart ruff insured -1, +100.  Win 7 IMPs.

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