Monday, March 23, 2009

Too Tough...

I just got back from a quick weekend at nationals. I had high hopes for a good showing in the swiss teams, but they were dashed by a non-qualifying first day effort. These two hands from our second round match were kind of typical of the day--

My partner and I had a nice auction to 6 Clubs--uncontested it was 1H-2C-3D*-3H-3S-4D-4H-5NT**-6C *=splinter **=choice of slams
After the spade lead my partner cashed the king queen of clubs finding jack-fourth offside and eventually conceded down two. At the other table our opponents bid only game in hearts.

Then this two hands later:

I shifted the directions on this one so we were sitting East-West. My partner opened 1 Diamond, South overcalled 2 Clubs, I bid 2 Diamonds. North and East passed and South doubled. North responded 3 Diamonds, South bid 4 Clubs and North bid (gag) 6 Clubs. I'll add that North is a top-ranking expert player...his luck was certainly in this time as both the king and jack of hearts were with the opening bidder...gin. So we got blitzed in that match and never made it back to average. There's always Washington, DC.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

2 Problems from GNT Weekend

Here are a couple of problems that came up for me yesterday in GNT qualifying--
game all, I held
xx Axxxxx Axx xx
RHO passed as dealer, I passed and LHO opened 1 Diamond. Partner overcalled 2 Clubs, RHO made a negative double and I tried 2 Hearts. Now LHO bid 2 Spades and partner bid 2 Notrump passed to me. My bid is?


I opened the south hand 1 Notrump and partner raised to game. LHO led the 2 of hearts to RHO's queen. Eight tricks are in view but you need nine--how do you plan the play?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nice Treatment

I have been kibitzing a bit of the Yeh Brothers Championship team event on BBO the last few days...once again it is staggering seeing the results you can generate from very solid agreements that can only come from a lot of partnership discussion and experience. It is more evidence of how difficult it can be for some of us with full-time jobs to compete at the top levels with professionals who devote so much time to system refinement. Here is one of the more useful tools that I just picked up from watching the final. It is a very easy understanding to add to your bag of tricks, and i think it gives a decided advantage over standard methods. The pair using the aggreement was Drijver/Brink of the Netherlands.

After a 1NT opening and a 4-level transfer, they play a double as takeout of the reponder's suit instead of as a general lead/direct or sacrifice try in the transfer suit. This adds quite a bit of safety since partner can cooperate after the notrump opener completes the tranfer but doesn't have in the case where you wait for opener to accept the transfer and then reopen with a double. The method is particularly useful at favorable vulnerability, which was the case on this hand--Brink held:
Fredin of Sweden opened a strong 1NT and Fellenius jumped to 4 Diamonds, a spade transfer in their methods. Brink doubled and Fredin completed the tranfer...but Drijver held a suitable:
and showed excellent judgement in bidding 5 Clubs. The Swedes had a likely 100 penalty coming for defeating the contract one trick doubled, but reasonably elected to try 5 Spades. Unluckily for them, ten tricks was their limit and the Dutch earned a major swing. Without the agreement, Brink would have had to pass 4 Diamonds and face 4 Spades on the next doubling isn't nearly as safe as you could end up going for a large number or losing redoubled overtricks. Well done--great players have their methods down for these big tournaments and are opportunistic about putting them to use!

These methods could extend to doubles of two-level transfers as well and also to doubles of the drury 2 Clubs.