I just returned from a full week at nationals. The tournament continues through the weekend...my college buddy committed the indiscretion of scheduling his wedding this Saturday so I had to come back and fulfill my role as groomsman. I feel like the guy doesn't even know me :)... In all seriousness, I got enough bridge in and got to play some incredibly interesting hands. I'll share three of them in succession here and will use Hugh Kelsey's framework from his fantastic series of books on matchplay--first I'll leave the problem for you and then later I'll post the results (matcpoints) depending on how you bid, played, or defended. Good luck!
Hand 1, love all
and choose to open a frisky 1 Heart. Your partner responds 1NT, semi-forcing, you bid 2 Diamonds and he bids 3 Hearts...do you bid game?
Whatever you do is passed out.
West leads a 4th best deuce of spades, you play the seven from dummy and East wins the ace. He returns the 3 of spades. Plan the play.
I don't have a lot of insight about the bidding, except to say that what started as a very borderline opening hand has grown in the presence of a fit. Opposite a 4-trump invitational raise I would consider it a mistake not to bid game. Opposite this 3 card raise, passing seems normal, but if your game needs some momentum, this may be the time to take a shot. On to the play!
If you are in game, you can make against a diamond or club lead with a normal 3-2 trump break and the honors split as long as diamonds are 3-3. Eventually you will duck a diamond and the long diamond becomes your 10th trick. This spade lead upsets your timing--you are about to be forced and will need to lose the lead twice more before your tricks are established--once by losing a trump and again when you duck a diamond. That's once more than you can afford and you'll end up getting tapped and losing a spade trick. On the bright side, the early play suggests a different line--it looks as if spades are 4-4 with LHO starting with Kxxx and RHO AQxx. If this is the case, you can pitch a diamond on this spade and then use your established ruffing finesse to dispose of your other diamond loser. You have just enough entries to pull all of this off--so you'll end up with 1 spade trick, 4 hearts, 2 diamonds and 3 clubs.
The matchpoints were particularly unkind on this hand because the diamonds were 3-3 all along and the spade lead put you to the test. If you bid game and made it, you earned a 90% score and your game got the shot in the arm it needed. No matchpoints if you went down. If you stayed in the partial, you needed to take 10 tricks to earn slightly above average--9 tricks are worth only a 15% score. At the table I was in 3 hearts and missed this line completely--in fact I wasted the ten of spades at trick one and had no chance for 10 tricks. I'm guessing diamond and club leads were common at other tables...I am glad it happened because otherwise I never would have noticed how interesting the hand is.
Main Event wrap-up
6 months ago