Sunday, August 26, 2012

The supremacy of the club suit (part 2)

At the half-way point of the Heorot duplicate, it was the custom for Hrothgar and the warriors to take a little light refreshment, consisting of spicy hoggies, lampreys, sherbert, plenty of mead and a curious spirit distilled from dragons' blood, called Naegling's Revenge.

The next round saw a little variation on this club suit business.  I was late to the table as I was obliged to break up a fight among the serving wenches and so missed the auction and play of the first board, but our pair was just entering +300 against a vulnerable, undoubled 2NT contract for another top.  Beowulf had apparently been on lead with KQJ72 of clubs with a queen, king and king in the other two suits after declarer had opened with 1♣.  It's not hard to imagine what the opening lead was! On the next board, I watched the action from a standing position where I could see Hrothgar's hand and Wiglaf the dealer's hand.  Hrothgar picked up a modest Axxx J9x xxx T98.  Wiglaf with 4225 shape and 11 high card points, opened 1♣.  Beowulf doubled and RHO bid 1.  Hrothgar bid a somewhat questionable 1♠  but I could see that this had a disconcerting effect on the normally fearless Wiglaf.  The obvious penalty double would have resulted in 500 and a top.  But this pair were playing a strange new agreement whereby opener would promise three hearts if he doubled here.  Some of these modern ideas are too funny for words.  Opener passed therefore and so did Beowulf.  The fourth player, Wiglaf's man-at-arms was not done however and now bid 2.  This was passed back to Wiglaf.  2NT would seem a reasonable call here for a relatively easy 120 points but instead he bid 2.  This was mercifully undoubled.  Hrothgar, who by now was sensing some special magic in the club suit, lead the ♣T.  Eventually, Beowulf got a club ruff and the contract drifted off one trick.  Our pair took home all the matchpoints again.

I reclaimed my seat by Beowulf for the next board in which clubs again played a prominent part, though this time the suit belonged to the opponents, a pair of junior Shieldings whom I did not recognize.  Without going into any detail, those wicked clubs in the dummy apparently cast a spell on declarer who took four fewer tricks in a notrump game than were possible.  I could tell from his smirk that that Beowulf thought it was his brilliant defense that had engineered the set.  But I know better.

The club pips took a rest for a few rounds and I didn't notice any funny business with the black leaves until the penultimate round.  Beowulf picked up a nice hand as dealer with all vulnerable: ♠A7 AK654 JT ♣KJ95.  Naturally, he opened 1 and the King bid a forcing 1NT.  The rebid of 2♣ was passed out.  A top diamond was led and the dummy that appeared was far from majestic: ♠K52 Q7532 ♣8732.  I noticed Beowulf looking a little askance at this offering, but the opponents sensed nothing amiss.  As he observed after the hand, he might have had only two clubs on this sequence.  The lead was the A and I noticed Beowulf sit up a little straighter.  Seeing the shortness in dummy's hearts, trick two was the trump ten-spot which went to the knave.  After this helpful trump lead, and diamonds splitting 3-3, nothing could prevent declarer from scoring 130 for another clear top.

The evening had passed to dark night.  More than one of the players had fallen asleep.  But finally the count was done.  The club pips had rattled and squeaked their way sufficiently for our noblemen to win their direction with 61%.

No comments:

Post a Comment