The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Weekend Update

Knocked out (by a good team which won and was 2nd in the swiss, although it was my own fault) Saturday am. 2nd place in the afternoon pairs, 4th in the Swiss. If I could just stop the mental aneurysms every, oh, 8 boards or so I’d be dangerous, although I think real expert will elude me forever. (Let’s see … I need to learn to just bid 3N instead of creating a torturous auction that tells the opponents the killing leads, assuming I don’t confuse partner. Being content with the imperfect part score I’m in instead of improving, especially at IMPs). Still, while it wasn’t a great weekend (some mistakes sting) it wasn’t bad. And my mistakes are interesting. I played for a show up squeeze (Where you run all the cards to force a person to discard to a single card in a suit you plan to finesse in, so you know when to not take the finesse) and when the card didn’t show up I hooked anyway. The finesse lost (of course) but the person winning hand to return the suit … for the same result as if I’d just cashed out.
Partner — “Why’d you finesse, you played a show-up squeeze. You knew it would lose.”

Me — “It’s only a show up squeeze if I trust his early carding (leading K presumably from KQ). And LHO had a count and was good enough to lead K from Kx. And I needed the last two tricks to make, so playing for LHO to be tricky was my only real shot.”

Partner — “You had a card turned wrong. You only needed one trick.”

My combination of skill and chicken-addled brains is potent, indeed.

Incidentally, a lead problem:

1D*  1H   [*Limited
2C*  2S** [*Should be 9 minor cards, either one longer, **Artificial, game forcing, usually worried about spade.]
2N   3N

You hold
S:xxxx H:Axxx D:Qxx C:Kx

Doctor Who — Capaldi is great in the role, and despite getting off to a wobbly start, I think there have been a nice run of episodes. I’m now at the point where Moffat’s name on the script (as sole writer, at least) elicits a groan. Perhaps it’s just the case that the first season with a new lead is inherently novel.

The Wire — Very good.

Mage Knight — Played again last night, the standard coop with the TaoLing. Felt good.

As for the lead — A very good player (on the winning team for the Swiss) started off with his 4th best heart, but the only card that worked this time is the heart ace. That may very well give away the contract, but given that declarer seems happy with his spade stopper and has 9 minor cards, you have a decent shot of finding him with a stiff heart. In fact, his stiff heart is the Queen, and dummy has Kxxx of hearts, so the small heart lead presented declarer with a bonus heart trick, and any non-heart lead gives declarer enough time to set up his minors.

On the other hand, if declarer has 2-2-5-4 or so, a heart lead may very well set up the heart suit and you may need to lead a spade. But partner didn’t double two spades.  At the other table LHO decided to bid NT (instead of bidding 2S as fourth-suit-forcing) and act like a man with a spade stopper. Apparently they believed him, because he got a heart lead through the singleton queen — the heart ace murdered her and 3N went down.

So I’m confused. Sometimes the auction to get the right hand as declarer gives the show away, but sometimes it doesn’t and it saves you a bundle of IMPs. So many contradictory lessons….


Written by taogaming

October 14, 2014 at 6:26 am

Posted in Bridge, TV & Media

One Response

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  1. Lead problem: tough call between a low heart and the HA. One way to judge between the two is how quickly opener bid 2NT. If it was instant, then he’s probably 31(54) and the HA looks right. If it was tortured, he’s probably 22(54) and then a low heart is probably better, or if your second-highest heart isn’t the 9 or 10, it may be better just to play passively and lead a spade. Of course, after an insto-2NT and a HA lead, you might see dummy’s HKQJx and look like an idiot, but probably you weren’t beating this one then.

    A brain fart every 8 boards is 3+/session, which is a lot. The only way to cut those down is practice, practice, practice. Even then, there’ll be walls against which it is hard to push. 2/session was one for me.

    Contradictory theories: which is better, more bidding to try to reach the best contract, or just bash to one which will be best most of the time and not worry about when it is not? I think part of the decision should be made strategically: how tricky are you? If you reach a terrible contract, but the opponents don’t know it, are you able to take advantage and often make it anyway? If you are very tricky, your cost from bashing isn’t as high as to someone more technical, so bashing may be a good strategy. If you are not so tricky, but good at technical card play, giving away information to get to the right spot is probably better for you. Best of both worlds is to have the information given away to be only about the dummy while keeping declarer’s hand hidden. That only informs the opening lead. But these are just tendencies; while everyone will have his own style about those choices, best is to make an active decision based on the situation, your hand, and your opponents. On the other hand, you do have to finish most boards in 7-1/2 minutes, so getting this right each time might not be an option.


    October 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

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