The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Two Slam Swings and Misses

Playing a tune-up game (for the upcoming North American Open Pairs) with Hank I pick up a nice hand:

S:AKQT98x H:AQJ:D:x C:xx

Hank opens 1 Diamond, which is usually unbalanced (with diamonds) or 6+ Diamonds. I bid 1 Spade, and Hank rebids 2 Diamonds. I fudge a force with 2 Hearts and after Hank’s preference to 2 Spades I see no reason not to just check on key cards with 4 No Trump. Hank admits to 2 Aces, so I bid 5 No Trump, confirming all the important cards (the Aces and K/Q of trump). Hank bids 6 Hearts, which shows the heart king and denies the minor kings.

I think that’s likely good enough for a grand. If Hank has 3 spades and six diamonds, no matter how his hearts and clubs divide it’s cold. If Hank had 5-4 in the minors (either way, I suspect I’d have heard two clubs. And with 3=4=5=1, he’d have raised spades.

I bid 7 Spades.

My LHO leads the queen of clubs and dummy is not a delight.

S:75 H:Kxx D:AQ7xxx C:Ax

I have to win the club ace. With any other lead I could try to ruff out the diamonds, but now I only have one entry. The only two times ruffing out works is if RHO has a stiff or doubleton King. (Finessing works anytime LHO has the diamond king. I guess I’m 50-50. I play the spade to my ace, RHO playing the jack. I run all the spades and then the hearts and take the finesse, but it losses and I’m off.

It’s only after the game that I notice that because RHO played the spade jack on the first round, I could have ruffed out the diamond king! I play diamond Ace, ruff a diamond high, my small spade to the seven, ruff a diamond high, and the heart king is an entry. This works anytime diamonds are 3-3 (as was the case) or if the diamond king is in the short hand.

Overall there’s a lot not to like on this hand.

  1. Bidding seven was greedy, but it’s a tune up game.
  2. I had a better bid than 1 spade. We play that a jump shift of 2 Spades (after 1 diamond) is a strong bid. It comes up so rarely I forgot. This would have been perfect.
  3. I missed the fall of the jack meant I had another entry.

Later on I pick up a normal looking hand. S:Axxx H:Q9xxx D:x C:xxx

LHO opens 1 Diamond, Hank passes and RHO bids 3 NT. I pass and contemplate my lead, but LHO isn’t done. He bids 4 Clubs (Gerber), RHO bids 4 Spades. I could double this in case they get to six diamonds, but I wouldn’t hate a heart lead, and I think I’d just be telling the opponents how to play the hand. LHO bids 6 No Trump and that gets passed around.

I’m still on lead.

3N was showing 13-15, so opener has 18 or 19. That leaves Hank with … bupkis. Maybe a queen. If he could have 3+ points an attacking heart lead would be tempting. But on this auction I should find the safest lead. That gets rid of a major. A diamond could pickle Hank’s Jxxx. A club could also do that. Hank could have doubled four clubs, but if he’s broke (maybe with Qxxx of clubs) would he?

In the end I settle on a diamond, and dummy is not what I expected.

S:T9 H:xx D:KQJT9xx C:AK

(Fixed dummy).

Good news. I haven’t given up a trick. Bad news. LHO shot out a slam on a running suit. If I had known that ….

LHO wins the diamond on the board and after a bit of fussing runs the spade ten. Gross. I win but the hand is over. I flash my heart queen with a raised eyebrow. Partner flashes the heart king in response and shrugs.

“50/50” says RHO.

Neither Hank nor I correct him. Sometimes bad bidding is it’s own reward, but I guess the lesson (as always) is don’t trust opponents at the club.

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Written by taogaming

December 26, 2018 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Bridge

One Response

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  1. The dummy on the second hand is 2-2-7-3.

    Jeff Goldsmith

    January 3, 2019 at 8:08 pm


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