Vienna No More

Hi all

Last night advanced course at Dombo. I prepared some games at home and with exactly four students the table was complete. Here’s one of the prepared games where I found out my first analysis wasn’t completely correct.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
J93
K2
J63
AKJT6
West
QT82
QJ94
95
982
East
654
853
AKQT72
4
South
AK7
AT76
84
Q753

The bidding isn’t really interesting, South opens a natural 1, North answers inverted, East interferes with some number in and eventually North-South will end up playing 5.

Now my original plan was to ruff the third round of high, cash both Ace and King of (the Vienna coup) and then drop all trumps on the table. West is squeezed in the Majors. This works because East has both honors, but if one of them is transferred to West, then this line is doomed to fail. West can unguard his without problems.

A trump squeeze is the true solution. Same as before, you ruff the third round of high, West discarding a (a is immediately fatal). And now you play four rounds of trumps, leading to this position:

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
J93
K2
6
West
QT8
QJ94
East
of
no
importance
!
South
AK
AT76

West still has to find a discard. If a is discarded, you cash both in hand, enter dummy via a ruff and the Jack is your eleventh trick. A goes away? You can ruff out the remaining with the Ace as an entry. This line of play works too if both honors are divided and therefore the better play.

Edit 06-12-2006:
If East switches to a after just one high then you only have the Vienna coup to revert to. The opponents are already halfway in destroying your communication for the trump squeeze, but I guess your opponents are called Belladonna or Forquet if they do.

Natural or conventional?

Hi all

No money at Star yesterday. René had troubles with public transportation so he asked me to find a substitute 40 minutes before kickoff. Yikes!

@Remco: Thanks for playing on such short notice.

No real misunderstandings, but we just didn’t score much. Add the few disasters we encountered and the minus 30 imp has been explained.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
KJ86542
Q9
K4
AJ
West
93
K42
QT953
K52
East
Q
JT873
862
T987
South
AT7
A65
AJ7
Q643

Our opponents couldn’t get to the good slam. After a strong 1NT in South you have problems in describing your playing strength. I guess the most reasonable (natural) sequence to slam is something like this:

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1NT
pass
2
pass
2
pass
4
pass
6
a.p.
 
 
 

This is only playable if you also play transfers on the four-level. You need them for hands that are just worth game. Via a transfer on the two-level and then bid game like above is mildly slam going. South has a true fit + three Aces and should advance to the slam. Holding three keys I wouldn’t even ask for Aces. Have a little faith.

Now how would I bid this one with René? Probably something like this.

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1NT
pass
2 1
pass
2
pass
2 2
pass
2NT3
pass
3 4
pass
3NT5
pass
4 6
pass
4 7
pass
6 8
a.p.
 

1. Stayman or GF relay
2. GF relay
3. No 5 card minor
4. relay
5. 3-3-3-4
6. relay
7. 3 Aces
8. This should have play, but you’d better not have that wasted Queen of trumps!

It’s so simple.

Squeeze Potpourri

Hi all

There was this 3NT Wednesday that has been bugging me. Itch, back, you know what I mean. Taking nine seemed possible, I just couldn’t get to the solution. Here’s the full layout.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
A7
QT84
AT965
Q3
West
942
J962
QJ4
KT6
East
KJ653
A5
72
J954
South
QT8
K73
K83
A872

Our opponents had an undisturbed auction to 3NT. I could have interfered by bidding my , but my holding was so anemic I threw it away. Declarer didn’t have any trouble on a non lead. At the other table though, they did interfere with 1. And the lead ducked to the Ten to keep communication intact left Sjoerd in a very miserable position. Eventually leading to one trick short.

So what to do?
You should take the lead with the Ace, and play a towards the King. It doesn’t matter if East rises or not, so let’s assume he ducks. Now play a small to dummy and finesse the Ten (or duck if your psychic). East will again play a small (communication!), but you take it with your Queen and then exit with your remaining .

East has to take his two because it’s the last time he’s on lead. Now the spotlights go to West, what to discard on the next two ? One small is easy, but on the 5th West is squeezed in three suits.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
Q8
AT
Q3
West
J9
QJ4
KT
East
72
J954
South
7
K83
A8

West still has to find a discard. Impossible!

A or a is immediately fatal, so West discards a . East plays back a trying to disrupt communication, taken in hand. Now cross over to the Queen and cash the other high as well. You discard your remaining small and West is now caught in a criss-cross squeeze.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
A
Q3
West
QJ
KT
East
7
J9
South
83
A

That’s nice, first your partner murders you with too many , then declarer shakes a criss-cross squeeze out of his sleeve. I think I would stop playing bridge if I couldn’t see the beauty of it.

I need to practice, then practice some more and then just for the fun of it even a little bit more. Because three days to formulate a winning plan isn’t exactly winning bridge.

Edit: 26-11-2006
Kees-Jan has pointed out there is no three suited suicide squeeze if East doesn’t take his 5th . So you’re still stuck on just eight tricks. There is a way, though, and that is being crystal ball psychic when touching , so small to the King and then ducked to the bare Ace. Now if West refuses to take all his , you have three tricks in , two in and the Ace of . The necessary tricks in can be developed safely.

Outgunned?

Hi all

We scored 10 victory points yesterday against fair players from Culemborg. After the first twelve boards we were ahead by an incredible 7 whole imp. Then the second half started. René played a boring 3NT and all other boards were for our opponents. And these opponents were solid, I mean solid. With gentle touch they maneuvered every contract home. Even strong defensive carding they could handle. It’s so frustrating when you recognize you’ve lost all grip on the match.

I have a nice game where Sjoerd and Wim had a little success.

North Dealer
– Vul
North
KQJ93
KQ
Q4
Q832
West
42
952
A763
J974
East
AT
JT873
KJT982
South
8765
A64
5
AKT65

West
North
East
South
 
1
2
41
double
4
5
5
pass
pass
double
a.p.

1. Splinter

Wim led the 2, obviously asking for a ruff. Sjoerd didn’t disappoint him.

At our table the auction proceeded a little different.

West
North
East
South
 
1
21
42
4
4
5
double
a.p.
 
 
 

1. Twosuiter, including
2. Fitshowing jump

René kicked of with a high . Declarer took it and played a trump, René took the trick with his King and cashed his high . The continuation was ruffed in dummy and again a trump. Looking for a ruff I rose with the Ace, crushing René’s Queen. I couldn’t believe my eyes, West bid 4 on three small . Daredevil!

So the result was +100 at both tables. Well it’s a plus, but not really satisfying. Were we outgunned? I think not. Outplayed I can live with, but I have to say that stocks dropped badly on our shares of luck.

Naked Viking

Hi all

It was so easy, I just had to sit back and let René do his thing. His true Viking nature showed. No fancy bidding involved, just bid the level you value your cards for. Then add some because you’re a Viking, and your name is René, and because you feel like you hit the jackpot.

West Dealer
All Vul
North
AK863
7
JT64
852
West
Q975
J8
Q
AKT643
East
J4
5432
K82
QJ97
South
T2
AKQT96
A9753

The bidding was easy, we were done in approximately 37 seconds. West opened 1, I overcalled 1, East passed (didn’t feel like introducing his collection of garbage) and René bid 6. Yes, you read it correctly: 6. There was no play to it.

So this story isn’t about bidding or playing. It’s not about style, tablepresence or luck. It’s just the naked Viking approach, blunt axe involved. Tow away the 15 imp you butchered from the opponents. Thanks, goodbye, and have a wonderful evening!

Viking Defence

Hi all

I found this one while cleaning my room and reorganizing my personal administration. So before it gets lost I have to document it here on Vikings In Space where it can shine on for eternity. Yeah, I’m proud of it, did you notice?

No one vulnerable, it’s up to you after pass – pass:

West
Q73
A4
9854
A862

I couldn’t find a bid with this holding so I passed as well. The opponents have an undisturbed auction: 1 – 1 – 2 – all pass. Now what to lead? In a moment of divine inspiration (insanity?) I led the 4 of . Yes, a trump. This was the complete layout:

East Dealer
– Vul
North
J85
K875
AKJ72
J
West
Q73
A4
9854
A862
East
AK92
QJT
3
97543
South
T64
9632
QT2
KQT

Declarer, still unconcerned, played small for René’s Ten of . I saw a small twitch in his eyebrow when the Ten held. Three rounds of followed and I was on lead again. I cashed the Ace of and exited with a .

Now declarer really dug his own grave by taking the in dummy. But without this error there wouldn’t have been a story, now would there? After some thought declarer decided he wanted to lead from his hand so he played a towards his Queen, René ruffed in front of him.

East Dealer
– Vul
North
K87
KJ7
West
A
98
862
East
9
Q
Q753
South
963
Q
KJ

Now René put the icing on the cake by playing the 13th . I ruffed with the Ace of and played another for the final blow on the chin. Declarer dazzled and confused wrote -150 and left the table somewhat trembling.

I try to be a nice and friendly opponent, really I do. But this time the “High-Five” was truly unavoidable.

Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore

Hi all

Despite of my lousy play yesterday (minus 25 imp), I have a nice gem. Though it’s mostly declarer’s error, René and I gave declarer all the room he needed to go wrong. RHO opens a strong 1NT and everybody is silent.

You lead a heart (3rd – 5th) from:

West
JT
K9876
A62
A74

Dummy puts down a collection of garbage, including a stiff Ten of .

South Dealer
All Vul
North
763
T
JT954
Q962
West
JT
K9876
A62
A74
East
98542
AQ4
Q7
T83
South
AKQ
J532
K83
KJ5

We start with five rounds of (declarer throws a ), taking René’s signals into account I exit with the Jack of . Declarer tries the King and Jack of , but I duck both. A small to dummy is for René’s Queen and again a for declarer. He could have cashed out for down two now, but he exited with a small for my Ace.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
Q9
West
2
A
East
5
T
South
K
K

With a bang I smack down the Ace of . It’s a complete guess for declarer which King to hold on to. After some thought (or could it have been a prayer?) he discards the King of . With a merciless grin I put down the smallest in the pack for down three. Vulnerable. Yummie!

SixFifty

Hi all

Yesterday I played with Dennis. Me bidding like a hesitant snail on sedatives didn’t really work out for our score. Next deal is nice and compensates a little for all disasters.

South Dealer
– Vul
North
J65
AKT854
AQ72
West
QT94
AKJ732
96
J
East
A73
QT65
Q72
T85
South
K82
984
J3
K9643
West
North
East
South
pass
1
2
3
pass
4
4NT
pass
5
pass
pass
double
a.p.

Dennis showed a 6-4 with 4NT. East wasn’t happy with our bidding and showed his discomfort with a booming double.

I ruffed the Ace of and drew one round of trumps with the Ace, West playing the Jack. I took stock, E-W bidding game on such a low point-count meant that there was shape involved. I cashed both honours and ruffed a third round, West discarding. Another ruff in dummy and I started playing dummy’s high diamonds. East ruffed, I overruffed and crossed to the Queen of (extracting the outstanding trump in the meantime). After cashing the remaining , I led a towards the King for an unexpected overtrick.

Well, I guess +650 isn’t really uncommon, but I wonder whether a lot of people can say that they scored it in a contract.

Speeding… but no penalty

Hi all

Last Thursday the annual Dombo board meeting was scheduled. Talks and discussions for some two hours, so no time for a regular club night. Every year after the meeting it’s speedcarding, ten deals in twenty minutes. After two hours I’m totally exhausted and I feel like burning up, feverish. So no wonder the evening ended with too much beer, to cool down of course. Here’s an ugly one (for the opponents I mean):

AKQT84
AJT
J5
A6

René (North) opened 1 and I bid my . Now some funny guy interfered with 2. Why funny? I’ll show you in the complete diagram…

René told he had diamonds as well, and I finished the auction with a brutal jump to the grand in . I know, I know, it’s not really the scientific (Viking) way I’m known for, but remember, it’s speedcarding. There’s just no time for something unimportant like Blackwood.

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
7
KQ943
KQ94
Q82
West
952
76
83
T97543
East
J63
852
AT762
KJ
South
AKQT84
AJT
J5
A6

The Ace of beats it, of course, but there might have been fear of hitting a void in dummy. Or maybe the Ace was hiding behind another card because of the high, confusing speed. I don’t know. This is what happened after the lead of a trump. René drew three rounds of trumps ending in dummy, six rounds of followed, René discarding a and all his . Leading to this position:

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
K9
Q8
West
of
no
real
importance
East
AT
KJ
South
J5
A6

René felt everything right: after a ruff his last trump hit the table. Unbearable pressure on East. And this all was executed in less than two minutes. Chapeau!

Edit: November 1st, 2006.
After some thought and discussion I have to add something to this game. I agree, it sounds strange for a grand with an Ace outside, but there’s a better way to play it. You have to play four rounds of trumps before cashing six . Leading to this position:

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
K
Q8
West
unknown
unknown
East
unknown
unknown
South
J5
A

This position has some criss-cross-feeling, but ultimately it’s a variation on the trump squeeze (wikipedia). And it works against both opponents, you just have to read correctly who’s holding both keys.

The Victoria syndrome

Hi all

There is this club in Woerden (BC Victoria) that gets under my skin. Months of preparation, psychotherapy, the works, it’s all in vain against them. These people get under my skin so easily it’s frightening. Timed remarks and comments take my blood to boiling point in seconds. Argh! But this year was different. René took almost all pressure away during the match, so I could keep my concentration. After twelve boards we gained a substantial lead (some 30 imps) by bidding careful part scores and staying out of bad games. It was good bridge.

The second half I took off badly with a misplayed slam. Shaking and trembling, but I was able to keep my cool. Look here:

West Dealer
EW Vul
North
A84
742
KJ85
843
West
T53
KJ93
92
Q762
East
KQ62
Q86
63
KT95
South
J97
AT5
AQT74
AJ

I opened the South hand in 4th position with a strong . With René’s positive response the no-trump game was truly inevitable. Any plans after a lead? You have eight tricks with very small chances of developing a ninth. Kees suggested post mortem taking the second heart and exiting with your last heart. While this certainly has some merits, I don’t think it’ll work in this situation. You just have too little tricks to take, and there is very little pressure to exert.

This was my plan: I ducked the two times and was kind of happy that West didn’t shift to a , so the third round was for my Ace. I played the 7ducked to East’s Queen, and back came the Ten of . I took it and five rounds of followed. I watched the discards carefully and read the end position correctly, at least I hoped I did:

West Dealer
EW Vul
North
A4
8
West
3
Q7
East
K6
K
South
J9
J

I exited with my Jack of and East was thrown in for the ninth trick. Yummie!

I enjoyed West’s angry explanation about unblocking and placings, I just wrote with a large smile my +400. At the other Wim found the lead and the contract was immediately without chance.