Monday, June 23, 2014

Nashua, NH

I don't often use this space to tell you about good results that happened at the table. Typically, I am more interested in some point of theory or maybe some problem hand that arose. But it's nice to be able to write about good results, especially when I can give most of the credit to my partner.

Last week I got to play with my wife and favorite bridge partner, Kim—for a change—in one of the big pairs events at the Nashua, NH, summer regional. We got a few gifts in the first session, resulting in a 63% game. One of my favorite hands, and an excellent example of the efficacy of the cooperative double, is the following:

[deal rotated]

What is particularly impressive here is that most of the evidence suggested passing my double. Yet, knowing that I was a passed hand, it must have appeared very likely that 2♠ would make (it would) and so Kim sensibly bid 3. At the point of the 2♠ bid, we were destined for either 5 or 10.5 matchpoints (out of 25), depending on our defense. When they didn’t double 3, we had improved to average. When one defensive trick was mislaid, we moved up to 17.5 mps, but then they dropped another, allowing Kim to actually make her contract. That put us all the way up to 23.5.

We were about half-way through the afternoon session, struggling a bit and getting insufficient gifts, when this hand came up. As you can see there's not much to the auction—but all day we had been defending a lot and doing it quite well, this being perhaps our best effort. We were lucky that declarer went astray a little—but we did everything we could to help him along.

Kim chose the ♠8 for her opening lead which helped create the illusion that she started with AJ98. I quickly decided to duck the first high spade so I could smoothly follow low (2). Now, it must have seemed "obvious" how the spades were dividing. Declarer has no very good option at this point, the suit he wants to develop first (spades) being playable only from the other side of the table. Obviously hearts is the suit to attack, but which one? I think running the 9 stands out, but on this layout it turns out just as wrong as leading low to the king and ace, which is what declarer actually did.

Kim had noticed my ♠2 (we play upside-down carding) and so she continued with the ♠9. After some thought, declarer backed his earlier hunch and played the king which I captured with my ace. It was still far from obvious how we were setting this contract, but I chose to lead ♣2. I knew this would persuade Kim to return a club if she won the trick (we play attitude leads in the middle of the hand) but I didn't mind that too much as I did have the 9 sitting over the T8 and quite possibly the thirteenth club. But even more so, I didn't particularly want her to continue spades just yet or to switch to another suit.

Some of the plays seem a bit odd, I know. It's possible that I have the exact sequence of spots wrong—my recollection is that my hand took four tricks including the last trick with a diamond—but I couldn't make that work so I must have misremembered. But the final outcome is correct—we ended up setting the contract by two tricks. No other N/S pair managed eight tricks on defense. Our result was a shared top (23/24) because two other pairs managed to set contracts of 2NT and 3NT, each by two tricks.

This board helped us to a 55% session which was just enough to give us a creditable fourth place. Not too bad for a 27-table event with average masterpoints of almost 3500.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your finish.

    RE the first deal: Another thing bidding 3H has going for it is that opponents often take the push.