Archive for the ‘Bridge’ Category

Six more bridge hands

Posted on November 8th, 2013 in Bridge | No Comments »

A decent session just now, playing with a variety of different partners.

Hand one

I pick a rather shapely 5143 hand with 9 HCP, not enough to open, but enough to bid 2S over their 1NT overcall. West responds with 3H and partner doubles which I assume is for penalties. Defending 3HX, partner leads the spade five to my Queen. I cash my Ace, noting (but not surprised by) partner’s discard. I lead my spade nine for partner to ruff and partner now cashes AK of trumps which defeats the contract, declarer winning the rest of the tricks. Not a bad result, but several NS pairs made 3NT, one doubled and one with an overtrick. Partner, holding AK of hearts should realise we controlled all four suits and with my 2S bid showing 10HCP could have bid game instead of doubling. 0.2 IMPs to them.

Hand two

Another shapely hand for me – this time with a five card heart suit and a spade singleton, but not enough to open, so it’s passed around to West who starts with 1NT. Partner passes and so does East, but I’m damned if I’ll let them quietly stack up seven tricks in no trumps, and partner could have quite a few points, and not have a suitable bid, so I try 2H, which is raised to 3H by partner, which becomes the contract. The defence start off with a low spade and dummy comes down with AKQ7 in spades, plus four good hearts. I cash the Queen (not the Ace – if I cash the Ace I will have to remember that the King and Queen are good later) and proceed to draw trumps, the missing Ace popping up on the first round.

Having no better return, West leads another trump, East showing out and I draw the final trump with dummy’s Jack. Now I’m a little stuck. I have two more top spades but no way to establish the seven. I have two more winning trumps, but that still leaves me two tricks short and it’s likely that the missing AQ of diamonds and clubs are all with West. Anyway, I cash the Ace and King of spades, since I can ruff any spade return, and lacking any other good ideas, I try the diamond finesse, but of course, my King is covered by the Ace. West follows up with the Queen which spikes my Jack, but West no longer has a good lead. More by luck than by design, I’ve executed an Elimination End-play. West has no spades or hearts left to lead and leading a diamond gives me a ruff-and-discard.

That having been said, West can still set the contract by one by leading another diamond. After my ruff-and-discard, I can try the club finesse again, but again it will fail and so the defence will take the setting trick. After a lot of thought, West actually lead the Ace of clubs. Now whatever happens, I will take the last four tricks.

At other tables, 1NT made and so did 2S for West, so our 3H making was very good. Two foolhardy NS pairs tried 4H, one doubled, neither making. 4.3 IMPs to us.

Hand three

With my flat 12 point hand, I open 1C since we are playing five card majors. Partner responds 1S but I feel I have no good bid over East’s 1NT overcall, and this is passed out.

The play is not especially interesting as the hands are very balanced. We make some diamond tricks, they make some spade tricks, but no-one even has a five card suit so no-one can get a suit established. Eventually they make it with an overtrick, which is a common outcome at other tables, although some pairs were held to seven tricks, so 2.5 IMPs away.

Hand four

Partner opens with a weak two hearts and I look down at 14 points but only three hearts myself and a flatter shape than I ideally would like. With a singleton or a void I would bid on to game, but with my 3352 hand, I just bid 3H over East’s double. West passes and so does partner, and East now goes on to bid a rather reckless 4C. With a third club to my King I might have doubled, but after partner’s pass I did not want to compete, so 4C it is.

I start off with a low heart which runs to declarer’s Ace. Rather than pull trumps, Declarer returns a heart and I win my King. Dummy is now out of hearts, so leading my last heart is pointless. Instead I switch to the diamond King (top of a sequence). Declarer covers with the Ace and prefers to take dummy’s last diamond instead of starting in on those trumps. So I’m back in with my Queen and try a spade which gratifyingly partner wins with the Ace. Even more gratifyingly, partner returns a spade to my King and then I give partner a spade ruff. That’s five tricks to us already, and when declarer leads the Queen of clubs from dummy, I win my King and that’s three down and 1.9 IMPs to us.

Hand five

Partner opens 1D and having no four card major, I raise to 3D, expecting to end up in 3NT. On reflection, 2C is probably a better bid. Since partner might have only three diamonds, I need to have five for the raise, and 2C is forcing so I will get another chance to bid while keeping the level a bit lower. As it is, partner bids 3H which I convert to 3NT, satisfied that we have all bases covered.

The defence cash two top spades and then try a third spade, presumably hoping to find partner with Qxx, but actually I have the Queen – but no more spades left. West is now sitting on two established spades, but that shouldn’t be an issue as I have nine top tricks now. I run through the clubs which spit 3-2 so I pick up the nine as well, and then cash three top diamonds and ace of hearts for ten tricks and 5.3 IMPs. One or two pairs made +2 and one even made 5C but several were messing around in part scores or defending an EW heart game undoubled.

Three pairs made only eight tricks in NT, all with North declaring. If East leads, the obvious spade lead creates a finesse of the Queen in dummy, allowing West to make five spade tricks off the top. And the sequence 1D – 2C – 2NT is a perfectly good description of North’s hand. In fact, arguably better than 1D – 2C – 2H because North should know partner doesn’t have four hearts or they would have been bid.

Hand six

Playing with a new partner, I pick up a flat 17 and open 1NT (playing strong no-trumps). Partner eschews transfers or Stayman and bids 2NT which I obviously convert to 3NT with my maximum-strength hand. I’m a little surprised to see dummy come down with ten high card points (suggesting a jump to game) and even more surprised to see four hearts to the Ace (suggesting Stayman). 3NT will need a bit of doing here.

West starts off with a low diamond, East tries the Jack and I play the Ace. I can only withstand one more round of diamonds so I need to be careful. As well as two diamond tricks I can count five club tricks and the Ace of hearts, that’s seven. The KQ of spades should be worth one trick and then I’ll have to try and do something with those eight hearts. Getting to work on the hearts is a priority, so I try the Jack which falls under East’s Queen.

East continues the diamond assault, but this time I play low, hoping to exhaust one opponent of diamonds before I have to play my King. On the third round of diamonds, I throw a spade and since West has followed each time, I now know that West only has the Queen left. North switches to a spade and when West plays the ten, I take the chance to win my Queen.

Back to the hearts now and I lead the five over to the ten which West wins with the King, but East has followed suit again. That means the outstanding hearts were 3-2 which in turn means that I can safely play the Ace and have a winner left in the shape of the lowly seven. However, it’s all too late. Getting here has taken so long and cost me so many tricks, that all West has to do now is play the Ace of spades, winning the setting trick for the defence. For some reason, however, West actually played the diamond Queen, which fell under my King, following which I cashed my clubs, crossed to my Ace of hearts and won the final trick with the seven.

In fact, as the King is singleton, playing out the Ace will win – as indeed it will in any situation other than one opponent having Kxx since I also have the ten. But it’s hard to know that at the time.

Even this miracle win wasn’t enough to get us positive IMPs though. Our 400 for 3NT bid-and-made is less than the 420 made by the dozen or more people playing and making 4H, some of them with over-tricks.

Some bridge hands

Posted on April 30th, 2013 in Bridge | 7 Comments »

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.