Sunday, December 13, 2009

No Cigar Follow-Up

I made a new post for this in case any new readers would like to read the problems first before seeing what happened. Thanks again for the comments...I was relieved to see that my table actions received a decent amount of support. See what you think of the results.

On Board 9 I held AK9x Axx xxx KQx and faced an invitational 3 spade bid in a Stayman sequence. I'm not sure why I was gun-shy on this one...usually it is my style to go for game in close situations. Arguing for bidding, my cards are all prime and well-located. The hand isn't "max" but rates to play better than many 17 counts on this auction. Arguing against is the minimum distribution. For whatever reason I Joe mentioned in the comments, game was pretty good. He had xxxx KJx Ax Jxxx. I got a club lead to the ace, trump split 3-2 and I had no problem taking 10 tricks. The board was doubly painful, though, because we had a chance to win it at both tables. Our teammates lost their way defending a notrump partial at the other table, also allowing 10 tricks. Pipped!

On Board 14 with Kxx AKQx Axx Kxx i opened 1 Club in 2nd seat, got a 1 Diamond overcall, a preemptive 3 Club raise and 3 Diamonds from RHO. I doubled (scary, as Weinstein pointed out). My partner sat for it, which was scarier, and then they made the contract, which took the cake. Partner had to find a trump lead from T98x xxx J QJxxx to beat it. It was a tough break, but I think the disciplined pass is really the way to go at these colors...our teammates had a nice result here, scoring 110 in 3 diamonds (undoubled of course).

On Board 20 I was caught speeding again...with xxx AKQJxxx x xx I overcalled 4 Hearts with both vul after my RHO's 3rd seat 1 Diamond opening. This was passed out. Partner had a smattering of values including the ace of spades and 2 trump. Unfortunately there was no play for a 9th trick and I was -200. My hand overcalled 3 hearts and played there down 1 at the other table.

Board 22 was interesting. I held Qx QT QJxx QT9xx and had the final decision about sacrificing over 5 Spades. Normally I would pass this one out me, all the reasons in the comments were going through my head. Still I felt like I had a decent amount of table feel--something was telling me that bidding was right. My RHO was one of the most solid citizens I knew in the world of bridge and he hesitated forever over 5 spades...I knew he was too disciplined to bid a slam on the auction and that his eventual pass was inevitable, but the fact that he was thinking so long made me nearly certain that 5 spades was making. Finally I passed, deciding bidding was too much of a position. My partner led a top club--dummy was JTxxxx AKxxx x x. Partner cased the diamond ace and exited. Til near the end I held out hope that there was a heart loser, but alas declarer had 4 small hearts and eventually scored up his game. We had 10 tricks available in clubs...this result was a push, and I don't think I did anything wrong, but will resolve to trust my instincts and table feel when the decision looks close.

Finally, Board 24. This one was embarassing, but I'm still not sure what really should have happened. I led the king of spades from AKxx KJx x 9xxxx against 3nt on the given auction and saw: 6 QTxxx Kxx K8xx. Any attention to cashing out/holding in overtricks was immediately replaced by the necessity to beat the contract. My partner followed with an encouraging 9. It looked normal to continue a low spade, which I did--partner won the queen and played a 3rd spade to my ace. I didn't know this for certain, but we had just set up declarer's 9th trick. I had to find a heart shift now to get our 5 tops and failed to do it. Declarer's hand was JTxx xx AQJx AQJ. Our teammates again came through with a reasonable +120 on this board, but they understandably couldn't cover -400. I was thinking that perhaps my lead had made it more difficult for us to cash our tricks--maybe I should have stuck with a 4th-best club. More likely it is a combination of bad luck and my own defensive slip later--it was certainly possible to find the heart shift.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Cigar

Well I'm back from another enjoyable trip to nationals...the most exciting moments and ulitimately my biggest regrets came from my team's one day in the main event, the Reisinger Teams. It is scored by point-a-board--in other words, you score one point for beating your opponents' score on a hand, a half for tying and 0 for scoring worse. We played 26 boards in the afternoon and evening and ended up dead average with 26/52. Unfortunately we came on the wrong side of the tiebreaker format and were sent to the showers...2 of 7 teams with our score advanced. This is my favorite event of the year, and it would have been a great experience to advance to the 2nd day, but I guess there is always the next bridge tournament. Here are a few hands from the 2nd session for you to ponder. You hold the same South cards that I had.

Bd 9:
The auction starts with two passes to you--you open 1NT, partner staymans and bids 3 spades over you 2 spade reply. Do you go?

Bd 14:
none vul
You open 1 Club in 2nd seat. LHO overcalls 1 Diamond, partner raises to 3 Clubs (weak) and RHO bids 3 Diamonds. You?

Bd 20
Both Vul
RHO opens 1 Diamond in 3rd seat. How many hearts do you bid?

Bd 22
E-W Vul
LHO opens 1 Spade in 3rd seat. Partner overcalls 2 Clubs and RHO bids 4 Clubs (splinter). You double (do you?), LHO passes, partner bids 5 Clubs, RHO bids 5 Hearts, you pass, LHO bids 5 Spades, partner passes and RHO takes 2 minutes to pass. Do you sacrifice?

Bd 24
RHO opens 1NT, LHO transfers with 2 Diamonds. RHO bids 2 Hearts, LHO 3 Clubs and RHO 3NT. What do you lead?