Overruled

Hi all

Last night, after 16 boards René and I had collected an impressive amount of 61 imp. Minus! I just sat there and wave after wave kept hitting me. Evenings like this make you want to crawl back into your cave and sleep until spring. But things changed in the last twelve boards, we clawed back 38 imp. Still leaving us at a very meager total of -23.

South
7
964
AKQJ83
A96

Is this hand worth a strong ? It has a lot of playing strength, but it’s just . So I opted for 1. René starts the party with a gameforcing 1NT.

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
11
pass
1NT2
pass
23
pass
24
pass
35
pass
3NT
pass
???
 

1. 11-13 balanced, 10-15 unbalanced 4+ , or 12-15 any 4441
2. GF relay
3. , unbalanced
4. relay
5. Singlesuited

3NT is end, but I had a lot of playing strength I had not shown yet. I overruled René’s 3NT with 4, showing a very good suit with strong slam aspirations. René cooperated with a cue, I cued in , René continued with 5 and that was enough to launch me to slam.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
T54
AKJ85
7
KQ73
West
AJ832
3
T652
T85
East
KQT6
QT72
94
J42
South
7
964
AKQJ83
A96

You can combine your chances of a 3-3 split (or Jack doubleton) with a finesse in . A few pairs reached the slam in but failed due to the bad break in trumps. This 13 imp gain was definitely the turning point in the evening.

Fantunes-ish

Hi all

Last Thursday at Dombo Sjoerd and I agreed to play something Fantunes-ish. For those who are not familiar with the (surprisingly natural) Italian system: all 1-level openings are 13+ hcp and forcing for 1 round, all 2-level openings are natural, 5+ card suit with 9-12 hcp. Constructive all the way. There were some gadgets and tricks involved, but 20 minutes of system talk is hardly enough to discuss every implication of a forcing NT, let alone all the inversions and transfers that Fantoni and Nunes play together.

Here’s a 3NT:

North
A63
AK84
J9852
7
South
KQ74
52
K64
A964

Sjoerd (North) opened 2 showing a 5+ card suit, 9-12 hcp. I looked for a fit and ended up in 3NT. I liked my King a lot, otherwise an invite on a not so special 12 count is frivolous at best. I was spared a  lead, West led a small . Plan the play!

Source of tricks: . Three can be developed there, but the defence will surely shift to  when they see the massive NS holding. Put some smoke up, try to obscure things.

Let the lead run to your Queen, now play a small to the 8. East takes it and will try to clear partner’s suit. Now play a from dummy and you will probably have enough information to do the right thing. I think tackling the suit this way obscures things best for EW. But you have to hope West doesn’t (or can’t) rise on the small , because West can see there is no future in .

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
A63
AK84
J9852
7
West
JT82
T9
Q73
Q852
East
95
QJ763
AT
KJT3
South
KQ74
52
K64
A964

So the plan above will probably work out. My plan was a shade different, but along the line I took a wrong guess and went off.

What about the system? I like it a lot, a very natural touch, but with a robust relaying engine and enough gadgets to keep my convention hunger satisfied. Feel free to drop me a line (see the “About me..” page) if you have any suggestions, or if you are just interested in developing/following something fun and working.

Dutch Squeeze

Hi all

Little to tell. Here’s a +12 imp story from Star yesterday.

North
63
AKJ964
KQ5
A6

South
8
Q753
AT972
J83

René (North) opened a strong . He found out the giant fit in before the heavy interference in obstructed too much. Imagining a stiff in my hand was a bit of a gamble, but paid out very well when he jumped to the cold slam in (only 24 hcp together!).

Here’s a nice Dutch Squeeze from (and by) Martin:

West Dealer
All Vul
North
Q87
A653
K94
T52
West
T9
JT8
T7532
AKQ
East
J53
Q9
AJ86
9864
South
AK642
K742
Q
J73

A normal board from just another night at the bridge club.

The auction was not very exciting: pass – pass – pass – 1 – pass – 2 – a.p.

I was declarer and West started with three rounds of and switched to a . With five obvious losers (three , one and one ) it seems normal to take the with the King, pull trumps and play a diamond. However, not completely awake on this partscore, I took the with the Ace after which I started thinking. As I had removed the safe entry to the King, the best line is probably to play two rounds of trumps, before surrendering a to maximize the changes in case the split 4-1. I, however, played three rounds of before I played the Queen. North took and returned the fourth .

West Dealer
All Vul
North
65
K9
West
T8
T7
East
Q
J86
South
6
K74

On the last West was caught in a Dutch squeeze (patented by Bob Slavenburg). If I would have had a less and the Jack instead, West had to keep the Ten guarded to prevent declarer from overtaking the Jack. In that case East still has a stopper. West had no idea, discarded a and there it was: the overtrick.

Open Dutch Pairs Qualifiers

Hi all

Yesterday Martin and I participated in the qualifiers for the Open Dutch Championships Pairs. It was a rough night, we crossed about every strong opponent in the room and took some less fortunate decisions. What do you think about this one?

North
5
QJT96
83
QJT95

All vulnerable, my RHO passed and so did I. LHO opens 2, either weak with or any semiforcing+. Martin overcalls 2 and I jump to game. Without taking a split second pause LHO bids 4. Martin competes with 5, RHO 5 and I was willing to compete to the 7 level. I bid a descriptive 6 and Martin finally got doubled in 6.

North
5
QJT96
83
QJT95

South
AK743
K9752
A62

Well, don’t you just want to claim twelve tricks? East certainly has everything for his gameforcing hand in , doesn’t he? Martin took a confident finesse in . Bad news: it was offside. 

West Dealer
All Vul
North
5
QJT96
83
QJT95
West
J9763
82
QT6
K83
East
AKQT842
5
AJ4
74
South
AK743
K9752
A62

I have seen this before, people thinking a solid suit with an outside trick is worth a semiforcing.

Sigh!

I could barely suppress the urge to put a flamethrower on my opponent when he mentioned he did good this game. We scored 54%, occupying place 5, about 1% short in qualfying for next round. Better luck next year.

Teams March 3rd, part 2

Hi all

Yesterday I showed you a game where Sjoerd was looking for gold. Today it’s about hitting gold:

North
AK6
AKJT94
AK
82

Again an “Utrecht strong 1NT”. Sjoerd answered 2, showing 6+ hcp but less than three Napolitan controls. Wim bid his and Sjoerd bid a semi-positive 2NT, Wim 3 (nothing else to bid). Now Sjoerd gave one little push with a 4 cue. Wim blasted straight to the slam.

North Dealer
– Vul
North
AK6
AKJT94
AK
82
West
J
Q62
J954
KT543
East
QT842
83
T82
Q96
South
9753
75
Q763
AJ7

Wim had no real troubles after a lead. Va banque he played: Ace of , Ace and King of , to the Ace, discard a loser on the Queen and finesse against the Queen of trumps. Agreed, slam isn’t really odds on, but a slam that makes is a good slam.

Teams March 3rd, part 1

Hi all

Last Saturday the teams season closed. We occupied a solid spot in the middle, but a lot happened in the top, favourite teams losing to underdogs. If we had scored 50 VIP out of 2 matches (instead of 36) then promotion would have been ours. Alas!

I was kibitzing Sjoerd in the second match (René and I played just the first match):

South
A
AKQJ52
A743
AQ

Nice. Sjoerd and Wim play some crazy system: Utrechtse Klaver. Canapé style with a strong 1NT opening. And by strong I mean 23+ balanced or 21+ unbalanced. DONT or Landy are not advised unless you are prepared for a massacre. The hand above fits nicely in their system, but it’s not your turn yet. Your LHO opens 1, passed to you.

Sjoerd started with double, buying the hand in 4.

West Dealer
All Vul
North
9832
63
T92
T432
West
KQJ54
84
KJ
K876
East
T76
T97
Q865
J95
South
A
AKQJ52
A743
AQ

Too bad the didn’t split. There are some remote chances of establishing an endplay if West takes a nap on the run of trumps, but 4 can always be defeated (West should keep a small ). Sjoerd had some fantasies of finding partner with a magic hand, but later he agreed to my practical suggestion: 3NT. You have 9 solid tricks, so do the obvious thing.

Leaping Michaels’

Hi all

Last Tuesday wasn’t a rich day. René cancelled because of the flu, so I played with Martin. But it wasn’t a good day for both of us. I had full values and good spots for a vulnerable Muiderberg, but the opponents grabbed hold of me for -800. A couple more disasters: -500 against triggerhappy opponents in some partscore, -1100 because I thought our run-away-system didn’t apply. All disasters were quite expensive, especially when it’s imps. Here’s a nice one, it still makes me smile.

East Dealer
EW Vul
North
7
Q96
KT763
J632
West
AT85
732
AQ842
Q
East
KQJ9643
J4
J5
84
South
2
AKT85
9
AKT975

East preempted 3 and I had a very, very clean Leaping Michaels’ with 4, West raised to 4 and Martin bid the game. West pondered for some time and eventually bid 5, doubled by Martin. East immediately commented West: “Heb je de kwetsbaarheid gezien? Rukker!”. It’s near impossible to translate, maybe something like: “Did you check the vulnerability? Wanker!”. I wet myself from laughter.

Actually bidding 5 won them two imp, because West’s other option was to double 5, and that would’ve been -550.

Dummy Reversal

Hi all

Last Saturday I played a small (13 teams) Patton tournament. I can say we beat all the good teams fair and square, but against very soft opposition we failed. Badly! I already know what I want for Christmas, a tool to hammer out all my basic errors.

There were some memorable events, René and I wrapped up ten tricks in 4 while Sjoerd and Wim scored ten tricks as well in 4. The opponents tried a vulnerable game after Rene had opened a strong . They discarded our convention card and didn’t ask for any explanation after my alert. Maybe they don’t care about an occasional -500.

East Dealer
– Vul
North
QJ93
QT7
943
KQJ
West
K65
J84
KJT72
62
East
AT72
K32
AQ85
85
South
84
A965
6
AT9743

East opened 1 and René jumped to 3 (weak), West supported , passed to René. Not afraid he introduced his four card suit, passed out. I thought 4 would be way too high, so I pretended to have a nice four card fit for him. The defence started with three rounds of , René getting rid of his losers. He ruffed the continuation and played a to the Ten for the King. Again a , ruffed. Next he cashed the Ace, crossed to the King and the Queen of . Yay! Trumps split, run the rest of the for nine tricks.

A nice 4-3 fit dummy reversal. At the other table the bidding was exactly the same (!), but North ran to 4, one off.

So close, so close

Hi all

I participated in a threesome last night… Don’t hold your breath, it was just a regular clubnight at Dombo, I played with Martin and Peter-Paul. I was kibitzing Peter-Paul when this deal came up.

South
KT985
AQT964
76

So, what to open with this hand (first hand all red)?

I’m still not sure what I would do, but Peter-Paul made up his mind fairly quick and opened 4. Yikes! I hadn’t thought of that. If and are switched I would agree, but I’m not brave enough with just a five card suit in . Everybody looks sort of happy and West leads the 3 (odd leads).

North
Q72
QJT983
7
T42
South
KT985
AQT964
76

Game must be on for the opponents on their combined 26 count, so going off a couple doesn’t matter in a pairs game. But dummy has some very useful cards, maybe 4 even comes home. What do you require to make 4? Either find West with the Ace of doubleton or a successful finesse against the Jack. And you need a 3-3 split with the King onside.

The lead runs via the King to your Ace. A small towards the Queen stays alive and a ducked to West’s bare Ace also works. The defence shifts to now and you ruff the 3rd round. A ruff follows, the butterflies in your stomach are shouting for a 3-3 split.

Too bad, they split 2-4 and loss of control couldn’t be avoided. Peter-Paul was set three tricks.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
Q72
QJT983
7
T42
West
A6
A742
32
AQ985
East
J43
K65
KJ85
KJ3
South
KT985
AQT964
76

3NT isn’t exactly laydown for EW, but will (and did) in practice almost never fail.

Extremities

Hi all

I have been silent for some days. Study, work and some slacking kept me from posting.

Swinging the axe
A hand from last Dombo clubnight (vulnerable against not).

North
AK2
KQ6
AK64
AKQ

It’s a regular 28 count. Here’s what happened, you open something strong and your LHO jumps to 4, passed back to you. You put your red card on the table radiating violence, passed to your RHO. Tiny pearls of sweat appear on him. Is he? Is he? Yes, he runs to 4NT, showing both minors. Again more red. LHO doesn’t look happy, but bids 5. A last red card and partner starts with the Queen.

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
AK2
KQ6
AK64
AKQ
West
J
72
T852
T98643
East
QT9853
J854
J93
South
764
AT93
Q7
J752

EW have a trump trick, but that’s all. Down ten, I haven’t seen this score before: +2600.

Receiving the axe

Unfortunately I don’t have a diagram or hand anymore. An approximate guess: I held something like eight solid , a void somewhere and at least an Ace and King in the other two suits. I know I started with a strong and the defence interfered a couple of times with destructive rainbow-ish garbage. René and I desperately tried to stay inside the relayframework, but it got disgustingly complicated. Up to 4 René had shown a balanced hand with one Ace. This got doubled (leaddirecting or just penalty, who knows) and I redoubled, thinking/hoping it was a superrelay, then it would ask what Ace he held. Opposite the right Ace slam would be odds on. But now René and I were not on the same wavelength, he passed out 4 redoubled. He thought was my suit and the redouble was for business. Well, I have 3400 reasons my redouble was not for business.