The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Luau

At the Bridge Club yearly Luau I am playing with Roxie against very nice newcomers … so before the round I congratulate them for playing and generally encourage them. (New players are rare and valuable). Rather unfortunately, the first two hands against them have belonged to us, so we get to routine, average-ish contracts (although likely pick up a bit on one hand against a misdefense). In an earlier round the pair who don’t have a firm grasp of their own system have the hands, which gives us good results as they can’t bid them. I was hoping for a repeat….

Then I pick up the sort of hand that bridge players dream of, but rarely see….

S: — H:A7 D:AKJT9x C:QT762

Not many high card points, but bursting with potential. I am dealer, vulnerable vs not, and I have an easy One Diamond opening. My LHO bids One Spade and Roxie is there with Three Diamonds. We play that as pre-emptive, but red vs white it should have something of note. My right hand opponent bids Four Spades.

Roxie should have at least four diamonds for her bid, and five is more reasonable, so I’m losing at most a heart. Losing three clubs would be unlucky but possible, but it takes very little for my hand to make slam (particularly if I get a spade lead). KJ of clubs would do nicely. Red vs White its just possible partner has more (a side king, even).

Since I think slam is still in the picture (remotely) but also that I’m expecting to have a good chance to make, I bid Five Clubs. This should help Roxie know that clubs honors would be welcome offensively. LHO passes, Roxie declines to push for slam with Five Diamonds and RHO is there with Five Spades.

Is Five Spades making? Well, if Roxie doesn’t have anything in clubs, she should have a card or two in spades and hearts, and those would both work. I have two aces (although its possible the diamond ace may not cash). I think if five spades makes we’re getting a bad result, so I’ll try to protect our position. I double.

LHO passes and Roxie contemplates this and pulls to Six Diamonds. This goes to LHO, who bids Six Spades. This comes back to me, and I don’t think my logic has changed. Admittedly they are one level higher, but against that I suspect that someone is void of diamonds. And the new players may just be horribly misbidding. In any case, I’m likely only risking a matchpoint by doubling, so I double again and nobody has anything else to say.

Partner leads the eight of clubs….

Dummy: S: Kxxxx H:K8xx D:x C:Axx

Roxie: S:xx H:xxx D:Qxxxxx C:8x Me: S:– H:Ax D:AKJT9x C:QT762

Declarer: S:AQJT9x H:QJT9 D:– C:KJx

After winning the club in hand (covering my queen with the king) declarer pulled trumps in two rounds and then lead the H9 to the HK, which I won. When the diamond ace didn’t cash, I still had hopes that partner had the heart queen or jack (and that declarer misplayed), but eventually declarer took the rest for a score (for them) of 1660.

I should have simply passed five spades, I had already bid my (shapely) fourteen count to the five level opposite a pre-emptive hand (and while part of me wants to say that CHO should have perhaps bid four diamonds, that bid could easily be a disaster red vs white). The silver lining? Doubling did only cost a single matchpoint. Still, that number was a bit more encouragement than I like to give out, new pair or not.

Written by taogaming

August 8, 2021 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Bridge, Session Reports

2 Responses

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  1. At what point do you go to 7 diamonds and play for 1-3 down?

    Jeroen

    August 10, 2021 at 11:04 am

    • That would have been a good sac, but there were several things that made it difficult/near-impossible to find.
      1) My overbidding — I expressed interest that 5 wouldn’t make, so even after hearing partner pull it, when I double six she can’t really pull. I probably have a trump void, but for all she knows I have three aces.
      2) My partner’s overbidding — yeah, she pulled 5, but I’m really not playing her for just the queen of diamonds and out (which is what six small diamonds basically is). I expected a queen or better somewhere else for a non-vul mixed raise. That may be enough (even if the diamond ace is ruffed). Admittedly this means that partner may be willing to risk pulling even when I have them dead to rights, but she really can’t because of …
      3) Matchpoints — If slam is making we’re getting a terrible score. Even if seven is a good sacrifice we’re losing b/c other people didn’t get to slam … maybe they got to sacrifice one level lower, or make their 5D game. And obviously if its a phantom sacrifice (their slam didn’t make) partner is turning a near top into a bottom board. At Imps (or total points) the rule is “When in doubt, bid one more” (or “Take out insurance” …. give up a sure 200-500 points to avoid paying out 1000+ a reasonable percentage of the time) but that doesn’t apply to matchpoints.
      4) Vul — If we were non vul and they were vul, that would make it easier. If we were not vul, partner might be inclined to say I was weaker for my earlier bid, I wouldn’t have counted on her for a side queen, etc.

      taogaming

      August 12, 2021 at 3:58 pm


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