Friday, February 1, 2013

A surprising outcome

Here's a curious hand that came up today playing in a Speedball on BBO with Barmar.

Let's say you pick up ♠J643 985 AQ4 ♣QT7 at matchpoints and favorable vulnerability. There are two passes to you. At this point, what odds would you give that your side can make slam? You probably wouldn't be willing to bet a lot on it. Yet it turned out so (although we didn't actually bid the slam – and neither did anyone else).

Some explanation of my initial pass is in order. No, I didn't decide to downgrade my hand. I was aiming for the 1 button when I discovered that I had registered a pass. It's a problem with the mouse on the Macbook – it sometimes has a mind of its own.

Fortunately, East gave me a chance to get back in by opening 1♣ in fourth seat (a questionable decision in my view). The tricky thing for me now was how to "catch up" without committing some terrible sin. I decided to start out just as I should have in the first round – with 1. Over 3, I felt that the time had come to show my spades. Barry would probably think I was 6-5 but so be it. The vulnerability was in our favor. Naturally, he decided to take the push to 4♠ over 4. I'm certainly glad he did. For one thing, they are only down one in 4 and we probably wouldn't be doubling. For another thing, I wouldn't have a story.

I managed to avoid any great blunders during the play and surprised all, not least myself, by making two overtricks. I was then slightly disappointed that I hadn't been doubled as +790 would have been worth 99%. Another declarer was doubled but only made one overtrick. As it was, we managed a nice 88%.

What's interesting about this unusual circumstance (well, not so very unusual on BBO where there are no undos) is that had I opened as I should, we would have found our spade fit immediately via a negative double. But advancing an overcall is rather different than responding to an opening, especially when the opening is in a minor. Is there really any chance we'd have found slam? Not on the evidence of the other tables in play.

You can imagine the chagrin of my poor RHO. All she had to do was pass the hand out for a 93% board (in fact, there was one pass-out). That decision represents a negative swing of 81%!

This was a big tournament with 102 pairs playing this board. This hand helped us score a 71% game for 5th overall.

1 comment:

  1. It's easy to mess up on online bridge. I've under-ruffed and done all kinds of crazy things. Fortunately, the system won't let you revoke.