Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bridge over Bexar County

Today I (and my partner) came in 4th out of 28 for the Flight B North American Open Pairs Unit Finals. (The Unit, in this case, is San Antonio & New Braunfels). In both the morning and afternoon session we had a 58% game, which is reasonably good. (50% is average, ~60% can win, ~65% usually wins). Each session was 26 hands, so the total playing time was about 6.5 hours (plus a lunch break). Particularly nice is that the Unit picks up the costs for this, so today was free bridge plus free food.

Here are the hands and the score.

The district (which is basically Texas) finals are in January ... I'm not sure if we're going to play. (It's probably in Austin, in January, I think). I was shocked at how many people qualified to go to Ausin, I figured it would be top 25% or so, but it was over half.

Here's your declarer play problem You open one spade (in third position), your left hand opponent overcalls 2 clubs, and partner dumps you in four spades.

Dummy has
S-KQJxx H-98xx D-A8xx C-void

You have:
S-Txxxx H-AT7 D-Q9 C-AQ9

LHO leads a small spade. Your right hand opponent wins the ace and returns a spade (LHO discarding a the club six. What do you do now? (I'll post the answer in the comments tomorrow).

Incidentally, the Turtle Creek bridge club now has weds night games, which I'll probably start attending semi-regularly.



At 10:04 PM, September 27, 2008, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

I take with the ten in hand, playing low from dummy. Then I lead the club queen in an attempt to finesse the guy who bid clubs -- I ruff if he plays the king, and pitch a diamond (since the hearts are more likely to become eventually good) if he doesn't.

After that I'm not sure what to do...lead a heart? But I'm hoping to lose two hearts and one diamond, and trump all the rest. If my next lead matters, that's deeper than I know how to plan.

At 10:26 PM, September 27, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

Losing two hearts and a diamond will be down one though Dennis, you already lost the Ace of Spades 2008(Motorheard).

I'll win in hand, ruff the 9 of clubs in dummy and lead a heart.

If righty plays low, I just duck and lefty is dead. A diamond return gives me my 10th trick regardless of the location of the king of diamonds, a club return does the same and a heart return allows me to set up the heart pip before they can set up a diamond trick. I may even get 11 tricks on worst defense (going Hideous Hog style here) if the cards lie perfect.

Better defense would be righty inserting an honor when I lead a heart. In that case, I will win in hand and pray that lefty has the king of diamonds and the other heart honors. So I will just continue hearts to establish my pip in dummy before they can establish a diamond trick.

At 10:32 PM, September 27, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

Oh and matchpoints shouldn't be much of a consideration here right? If I need to be worried about overtricks on a 22 pt game, then maybe I should stick to imps.

That lead and continuation should have cooled any thoughts of overtricks anyway.

At 10:37 PM, September 27, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

Only fly in the ointment is that technically, righty probably should have switched to a diamond at trick 2 if the cards are lying as I assume.

But there just aren't that many cards in the deck for righty
KQJ of hearts, KJ of diamonds, KJ of clubs at most. Thats pretty weak sauce already. So he really should have the cards I'm playing him for.

You didn't mention the vulnerability. It shouldn't matter much but if he is favorable, he might be a little frisky.

At 10:50 PM, September 27, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

Don't know how I missed that the Unit paid your card fees and bought lunch.

Very nice.

At 6:17 PM, September 28, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

Michael has it. I won the second spade in dummy and led a heart planning to insert the T (or 7, which are equal, but the T gives away less information). LHO is now stuck. A diamond return lets me run it to the queen ... on the off chance that RHO wins the King, then I'll play DQ and pitch a heart on the DA.

A club lead from LHO gives me two instant tricks, which lets me pitch two hearts, so I'll only lose 1 heart and 1 diamond (in addition to the spade ace) and if LHO continues hearts, then I'll win the Ace assuming an honor appears. Then my seven drives out the last honor, setting up dummys 9.

Best defense at this point is for RHO to play an honor, but now I win and continue. If RHO has a second heart honor and switches to a diamond I'm in trouble, but the bidding makes that unlikely.

In fact, RHO did not find the play to rise with an honor. As Michael pointed out, RHO could have scuttled this contract entirely by switching to a diamond through me at trick two. The mistake is understandable, because dummy doesn't look like it's going to do anything except rough clubs.

A technically unmakeable contract can be made because of mistakes ... the best you can ask is that you capitalize on the mistakes.

Oh, I should point out that you do have to be an ACBL member (and qualified for the Unit finals, which isn't that difficult) to earn the free game. But there you have it.


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