Monday, July 16, 2012

GNT Part 4

Forgive me if I wasn't as enthusiastic about posting the team's demise in the round of 8 of the GNT. It was quite a heartbreaker for us as we held positive margins, albeit somewhat small, after each of the first three quarters. Only at the end did we dip below the water mark.

When the score is 104-92 it's obvious that plenty mistakes were made on both sides, although perhaps not as many as in one of the other flight B matchups which ended 158-142. So, searching for IMPs that we should not have lost is relatively easy. We can quickly point to 10 from the first quarter where we let a bad non-vulnerable 3NT make due to a defensive misunderstanding. But the most tragic hand came in the third quarter, where we lost 12 imps due to my action on the following hand: ♠9 K874 AJ ♣AKQ932. All were vulnerable and the bidding started with 1♠ on my right. I doubled and LHO bid 4 showing a splinter ("most probably a void"). Pass from partner and then 4♠ on my right. What's your choice? Systemically, double now would be "two-way" and would encourage partner to bid on with a distributional hand with short spades. If it matters, I should point out that the opponents play a system of lightish openings where they open every 10 count in first or second seat (with either 1NT for a balanced hand else 1 of a suit).

While you're deciding the fate of the team, allow me to show you an amusing hand from today's KO match that gave us a temporary reprieve in an otherwise losing effort. We actually bid and made what might be the tournament's worst slam. The hands were (Kim) ♠A AQ84 T9843 ♣K75 and (Phasmid) ♠QJ9 762 AKJ86 ♣32 (did I really only have 11 points? I thought I had 13 at the time!).  Kim opened 1 and I responded 2 (game-forcing raise of diamonds with no four card major).  Kim didn't hesitate: she bid 4 (keycard ask), I showed two without the Q (5♣) and she bid 6.  Assuming for the moment that the Q is not a problem (it wasn't), declarer's hand has three potential losers in hearts and two in spades.  That's four too many!  Well, the opening lead was from Txxxx of spades and the 9 forced the K (yes he might have guessed to play low but didn't).  This provided a parking place for the two small hearts.  So now we're down to two losers.  Well, wouldn't you know the heart K and club A were both onside and the slam came home!!

So, going back to the fateful hand?  What's your choice?

If you choose pass, we would go into a playoff – who knows what would have happened.

If you double and partner leaves it in with ♠K6 JT963 T87 ♣654 you will be going on to the semi-finals of the GNTs with a 3-imp margin.  If partner pulls to 5, you will be down 2 most probably, losing the match by 12.

I decided to bid 5♣ – which was doubled – and on the given defense I actually had a chance to make assuming that I don't play on auto-pilot and the defense does (they did).  However, my auto-pilot didn't do such a good job on this hand – the details are too painful and embarrassing to relate –and I also lost the same 12 imps.

Had I played like a sentient being, and provided that the defenders basically stuck to their same ineffective line of defense, I would have made the hand to put us in the semi-finals with a winning margin of 14 imps!
So, after 11 sessions of winning bridge, the twelfth was below par and our team came to an abrupt and disappointing end.  But we had a great run.  The competition was excellent and the teams we played were all friendly and worthy opponents.  I feel privileged to have had the chance to represent the district.  I want to heartily thank my teammates, Kim Gilman, Jay Tang, Michael Lieberman, Alya Asarina and Leo Zelevinsky - they were all great competitors and, most of all, pleasant teammates.

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