Online bridge hands go by so quickly, I’m going to start blogging some of my sessions so I can start to learn from my mistakes (and others’).

Hand descriptions will be brief unless they are especially interesting. Links are given for each hand.

Hand one

I held a flat 8 HCP and did not bid. Opponents bid up to four hearts, W apparently giving no weight to E’s reverse and E likewise ignoring partner’s Delayed Game Raise. On my lead of the diamond Queen, they quickly wrapped up 13 tricks. Five other pairs bid and made six hearts so that was 2.1 IMPs to us.

Hand two 

Our heart fit vs their spade fit was bound to end up with them declaring, especially as we were vulnerable against not. I encouraged partner’s club Ace lead with my Jack and was rewarded with the opportunity to also cash my King and Queen. I was then able to lead my heart Ace for the setting trick but my King was (inevitably) ruffed by declarer. Down one and another 2.1 IMPs to us. Had we gone on to five hearts, we would likely have been down two. In fact four hearts can be made, but you have to finesse the heart Queen which a famous rhyme will tell you not to do (“eight ever, nine never”).

Hand three

Partner opens 1NT which I assume is 15-17. Holding 10 HCP myself and no four or five card major, I raise immediately to 3NT. After a helpful club lead to West’s singleton Ace, declarer has nine tricks ready-made, but due to some thoughtless discarding by oppponents, he actually makes +2. Almost everyone was in 3NT, but most were making or +1 so 2.7 IMPs to us, but I think we could have been held to nine tricks.

Hand four

West and partner both pass and East opens a weak two hearts. With a doubleton heart and 16 HCP I double and consider converting partner’s three clubs to 3NT. Trouble is, partner may have been forced to the three level with no HCP at all, and my hearts offer no defense and so I passed. Partner actually showed up with AQxx in hearts albeit only 7 HCP but might have concluded that I had rather more than 12 given that opener has 10 at most and West has offered no support. According to Deep Finesse, 3NT by N should make. If South declares, then West can defeat the contract by leading a heart. There were a lot of contracts including 3NT and partner’s eight tricks in clubs fared poorly, earning us -6.9 IMPs. 2NT is probably a better response than three clubs, keeping us to eight tricks but advertising the good hearts.

Hand five

Partner opens one club which might only show three cards as we are playing five card majors. With only 8 HCP I nevertheless have to respond and so I show my five card spade suit. West (recklessly?) leaps to four hearts on the basis of seven to the AKQ and a club void, but partner bids on to five clubs. I’m very happy to have Kxx in support and pass, but even though East is passing throughout, West bids five hearts which partner doubles. Generally, penalty doubles of suit contracts should be based on trump length, and partner has only one heart, and we are vulnerable against not, but it all turned out well. Partner bashed out diamond and spade Aces to take the first two tricks, I gingerly encouraged with the spade seven, setting up my Jack when West takes my Queen with the King. West proceeds to draw trumps and then tries to finesse the diamond Queen but I win the trick and score my spade Jack, following which they claim the remaining tricks – down two and 8.7 IMPs to us. Five clubs would have been down one. Partner’s double is presumably based on holding three Aces and assuming I must have a bit of something somewhere to be able to respond at all.

Hand six

With a new partner, but still bidding SAYC, this time it’s E/W who bid straight from 1NT to 3NT. I lead the diamond ten (top of an honour sequence)  and it falls to dummy’s Jack, placing AK with declarer who cashes two rounds of hearts and tries a spade. Partner wins the king and, trying to give nothing away, returns a diamond, but all the rest of the tricks now fall. 6NT should make but the only pair to bid it managed to screw it up somehow. It’s hard to bid a quantitative 4NT in response to 1NT from East though, as partner holds only 14 HCP. What might have inspired bolder bidding from East is the fact that those 14 HCP are almost all in the form of Aces, which means partner’s hand must be rich in Kings and Queens. Still 0.7 IMPs to them though.

Hand seven

Last hand, and finally I get to declare. My weak two diamonds is passed out, partner correctly not fogging the issue with a six card club suit. I duck the King of Hearts lead and wince as West shoots a club through my AQ removing my only club in hand. They cash their spade Ace and try another heart but my Jack prevails (West must have led away from the Queen) and I get to work forcing out the diamond Ace. East wins my Queen and returns a heart which falls to my Ace. Dummy’s club Ace fells East’s King and although East can ruff my club Queen, I can overruff and draw East’s last trump with my Jack. I have two trumps left and give up the last spade tricks. Contract made. Almost everyone played in either two clubs or two diamonds, with a handful at the three level – all failing. Not everyone who stuck at the two level made it and at two tables the hand was passed out so this was a good result for us – 3.8 IMPs.

Not a bad session, +11.8 IMPs to us.

So… what did I think about Series 7b so far?
So.. what did I think of Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS?