The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

A 5-1 split by any other name …

Playing the club game, all of my decisions are turning up well. Look to play slam in my suit instead of supporting partner? Partner’s suit splits 5-0. Make a stupid game invitation when you know partner can’t have enough to make it reasonable? Find a Kx onside so that AQxx opposite Jxxx plays for no losers. Even messing up Exclusion Key Card Blackwood (hey, I’m now a bridge expert!) didn’t cost me anything.

So I’m pretty sure we’re winning when I pick up the last hand:


Since I’m playing Polish, I have a decision.  I can open 2 Clubs, which shows a 6 clubs (or 5 clubs and a 4 card major) and 11-14 or 15 points.  Or I can open 1 Club and treat the hand as an unbalanced hand with15+ points and 5+ clubs.  The 2 club opening is very descriptive … but we’ve agreed that the 15 point hands will be bad. And while this hand only has 14 high card points by traditional counts, I’m strongly influenced by having the tens in each of my long suits. The Ten of Clubs is a trick. The ten of hearts is half a trick. My shape is good (5431 instead of 5422). I think this hand is too strong. Partner could pass 2 clubs and we’d be cold for game in hearts.  One club. [Brian the next day — I’m happy to see that my analysis is backed up by the K&R evaluator at Jeff’s site.]

Partner bids One Spade, showing 4 or more spades and 7 or more points and waiting to see what I’ve got (my opening bid covers lots of hand types). Having opened the 1 Club, I must bid Two Clubs to narrow my hand type down to what I’ve got (15+ points and 5+ clubs).

Partner bids 3 Spades. Uh oh. We haven’t worked out this part of our system well, but I think partner’s inviting me showing good spades. That’s bad. These hands might not fit well at all. But if I’m already at the three level I’m going to play in game. 3 No Trump ends the auction.

LHO leads the deuce of diamonds and I got a surprising dummy.

          S: AKQTx H:xxx D:xxx C:xx


          S: x H:AJTx D:QT9 C:AQJT2

Oops. Partner and I have both overbid, and I suspect I’m losing the first four tricks. I play low from dummy, and so does RHO, so I win the diamond 9. Let’s see. 4 Clubs, 3 Spades a diamond and a heart. I have nine tricks (assuming clubs break) unless they can win a club and rattle off four diamonds. Given the diamond duece lead, I doubt it. (They are playing fourth best). If I cross to dummy to play the club, I’ll still need for RHO to have specifically Kx to bring clubs in without a loss, which is too much to ask. And I want to wait and have options for finessing the spade. So I play the club ace, and LHO follows with the ominous 9. When I continue with the Club Queen, LHO pitches a discouraging spade. My four club tricks are missing. I’m getting only 3 club tricks. And LHO shouldn’t pitch a spade from Jxxx…

RHO wins the club King and cashes the ace and king of diamonds?! I dodged a bullet there … on trick one he could have played the ace of diamonds, then shot a low diamond back and I have to guess the suit. (Or I might have not had the diamond queen, just the jack! Ugly mis-defense).

He’s thinking now, so that confirms that LHO has the last diamond. He leads back the heart 9. I’m not going to play for him to underlead the KQ, and if LHO gets in I’m down. I win the ace (LHO encouraging) and cash my two good clubs, pitching my hearts from dummy. LHO pitches a heart … and then the 13th diamond.

Why is LHO pitching winners? The only reason can be that she can’t safely pitch anymore spades. And why would that be? She started with Jxxxx. I play my only spade, finesse the ten, then claim when RHO follows.

A local expert (having finished a few minutes earlier) has been watching the play and says “We were even, but I only got +150, so your +180 should clinch it.” I’m too pleased to look embarrassed when I correct him  “+430”. The rest of the field is in 1 or two no trump, making two or three.

In fact his last board has put a considerable spread between us, as we get a stunning 71% game. Some days everything comes up roses.


Written by taogaming

November 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Bridge

One Response

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  1. To balance out yesterday, I played like crap tonight. The Circle of Life!


    November 10, 2010 at 10:28 pm

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