Friday, December 16, 2011

Borderline BAM Decisions--Updated

Here are two similar hands that came up in Seattle--how would you handle each situation? Each is rotated to make you South.

1. Dealer South, N/S game
You open 1NT, checked around to RHO who bids 2D showing the majors. LHO removes to 2S and partner doubles, passed to you.

2. Dealer East, E/W Game
East opens 1H, you overcall 1NT, passed back to East who bids 2D. This is passed to partner, who doubles. Back to you again.

After some debate I am still torn, but the only 2 real options in each case are pass and 2NT. Jonathan's point about partner having other options with more takeout-oriented hands is a good one. Also important to note in BAM/matchpoints, the opponents have jockeyed you out of your best-scoring partial, so you need to consider how any action you take may compare to what you may be able to score in 1NT.

What were the table results? Well, I regret to say that the first hand was the last of our qualifying effort in the Open BAM Teams event and I had a blind spot, bidding 3 Clubs. My RHO had a borderline balance (our teammate passed out 1NT for -150) and partner had a maximum pass with just enough to beat 2 Spades 2 tricks. Passing would have won the board and 2NT would have saved a half, but 3 Clubs lost it. As it turned out, a win on that board would have qualified us for the final. The second was from the 2nd semifinal session of the Reisinger Teams and this time I passed and led a trump. Unfortunately dummy was pretty good with 3 trump, a stiff heart and an ace...declarer (he had AKJxx of trump) emerged with an overtrick. Worse, 2nt was on our way. Our teammates played in the same contract on the same auction, but took a safe line to make 2 on a club lead. Another loss, but hopefully some experience gained!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Catching up--A Hand From Seattle

Unfortunately my postings have been few and far between this year. I've probably been playing as much bridge as usual but haven't had as much free time to chronicle it, spending old free time working on my real job and planning my wedding for September. This year has featured perhaps more bridge excitement than most, including a trip to Tangier, Morocco for high-stakes rubber play! Hopefully over the next few months I will get a chance to catch up and, of course, add some new experiences. First, a nice defense by my partner Howard Liu from the first qualifying session of the Reisinger Teams at the Seattle NABC.

First in hand he held: 3 K98 Jxxxx KJxx
He passed and heard this uncontested auction starting on his left: 1 Spade-2 Clubs-2 Hearts-2 Notrump-3 Spades-4 Clubs-6 Spades.
I led the 9 of diamonds and this dummy appeared:
Declarer won the ace, dropping the queen from his hand and played a low heart from the dummy, finessing the queen successfully. Now he cashed the ace of hearts, Howard following with the king! Declarer played a third heart, I followed suit with the Jack and declarer began thinking. Finally he ruffed low and had a near claim for making his slam--his hand was:
If he had ruffed with the jack, my ATx of trump would have been promoted into two tricks. I'm inclined to think that declarer would have gone wrong if he had timed the play "better." He could have discarded two losing hearts from his hand on dummy's extra minor suit winners before taking the heart finesse. Now in a similar position to the one he actually arrived at, he would be in much better shape, as he could ruff with the jack and make against most 2-2 trump splits (barring an unlikely promotion if the jack was over-ruffed). Unfortunately in the actual position, if declarer ruffed with the jack and suffered an over-ruff, the contract would be sunk as he would have no entry to dummy and thus no place to park his heart losers! Apparently he decided it was better to give Howard credit for making a nice play than to play for 2-2 trump with the ace in my hand. A pity, but still a fine effort by my partner.