Covering

Hi all

I have been silent for a couple of days. Last teams match was a disaster, and I have been, well… not myself lately. But let’s not get into that now. Here’s a game where I covered my ground. Maybe it’s plain simple, but I’m still proud of my nine tricks.

All vulnerable René opened 1, showing either 11-13 balanced, or 10-15 unbalanced with at least a four card suit , or 12-15 any 4441. My RHO overcalled 1 and I jumped to 3NT. West decided to lead the Ten and this is what I found in dummy:

North
K4
Q983
QJ96
A95
South
AT87
A5
K873
Q74

The lead ran to my Queen and I started on the , East took the second round and returned another won in dummy. Now I ducked a to West and he returned a , but it was too little too late. I took the trick with the King and cashed the Ace of , East discarding a . Now I played the 4 from dummy and East split his honors. I ducked, completing the placing. Now East, stripped from all his exits, had to play either a in my fork or a away from his King: nine tricks. I estimated East having the King, while he had shown a crummy suit and nothing but the Ace.

At the other table the defence started with a but the couldn’t keep their eye on the ball and declarer got home, too. Here’s the complete layout:

North Dealer
All Vul
North
K4
Q983
QJ96
A95
East
QJ953
KT6
AT4
62
West
62
J742
52
KJT83
South
AT87
A5
K873
Q74

Strasbourg 6NT Galore, part 3

Hi all

Closing the Strasbourg series. Another beauty.

The bidding was “yada yada” 6NT. The South hand is minimal, but has good honors in the long suits and a good rebid available. North will then solo carry on to slam.

East Dealer
– Vul
North
A4
AKJ6
AKQ85
72
West
T9762
T743
JT
Q9
East
Q5
Q8
9632
JT853
South
KJ83
952
74
AK64

West started with a small via East’s Queen for Kees’ King. Kind of a strange lead for South had bid . Kees now counted his tricks, ten solid and offer a good source for extra tricks. So from top, the fourth round won by East. A came back, taken with the Ace. Kees crossed to the Ace and cashed the 13th , leading to this position, with eleven solid tricks now:

East Dealer
– Vul
North
AKJ6
7
West
T9
T7
Q
East
Q8
JT8
South
J8
9
K6

Kees played a to his King and saw West’s Queen coming down. Next he played the Jack of and it’s all curtains for East-West. West had to keep the suit guarded and East had to protect against South’s small . So they both had to let go of their guard. Kees didn’t need a finesse, he knew the Queen would fall under Ace-King. A fine double squeeze.

Strasbourg 6NT Galore, part 2

Hi all

As promised, the second story about a 6NT in Strasbourg. Here are the NS hands:

North
972
KJ64
Q862
Q2
South
K5
A83
AK7
AKJT5

After South had shown a 22-23 balanced and North inquired for a four card M, North (me) eventually made an enthusiastic leap to the small NT slam.

Kees was put to the sheer impossible task of not disappointing an enthusiastic partner. Even if the break, there are only eleven tricks. But West offered a hand by leading a small and when Kees called for the Jack, it won the trick. Kees played five rounds of and little pearls of sweat could be seen on West. He could follow suit two times, but then he let go of two small and then after a large pause… also the Ace of .

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
K64
Q862
West
QT7
T954
East
of
no
importance
!
South
K5
A8
AK7

When Kees put the dreaded (to West) King of on the table, West was squeezed again. West discards from some red suit and you discard the other from dummy. Claim thirteen tricks on a progressive squeeze. Nice!

Here’s the complete layout:

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
972
KJ64
Q862
Q2
West
A83
QT72
T954
84
East
QJT64
95
J3
9763
South
K5
A83
AK7
AKJT5

Click here for the wikipedia article on progressive squeezes.

Strasbourg 6NT Galore, part 1

Hi all

Today I was sitting in the train with half a dozen sweaty, blue and purple veined French cheeses. When the people in my coach started complaining to eachother about the air conditioning and the funny, funky smell around, I couldn’t suppress a blush. But I’m at home right now, “destroying” evidence.

So three days, starting today, a story about 6NT. Brought to you by Kees and me, they are all very pretty I promise you.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
A
AJ763
KQT5
A94
West
J864
K852
J76
75
East
732
T9
843
KT632
South
KQT95
Q4
A92
QJ8

The bidding wasn’t very interesting, I opened 1, Kees invited for a NT slam after showing his suit, accepted by me. The lady sitting West started with a for East’s King. A came back, and now, two tricks too late, I took stock to formulate a plan.

The King has to be onside to even have a chance for twelve tricks. And something good has to happen in as well. So the winning plan for twelve tricks is there: squeeze West out of her Majors. I crossed to hand with the Ace of and played the Queen, covered, for the Ace in dummy. Now three more rounds of (me discarding a ) and the Ace of .

South Dealer
All Vul
North
J763
9
West
J84
85
East
73
T
T6
South
KQT
4
Q

Now when I crossed to my hand with the Queen of West was squeezed. Either the would break or the would come in. We’re finally home with twelve tricks.

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.