Toronto – Coup

Hi all

We’re still in. We had a little bit of a slow start yesterday, down by 7 after the first quart, ahead by 18 after the second, lose a few so ahead by 7, but the finish was clean: +59. The Québécois opponents were pretty solid and competent, here’s an example.

West
AT4
2
T954
AQT64
West
North
East
South
 
 
pass
1
2
Double
pass
2
pass
31
pass
3
pass
4
a.p.
 

1. Asking for a stopper

After the auction above I had a pretty good idea of what was happening. Sitting West I chose to lead my Ace, for the opponents have told me my partner has something complementary. This was the full deal:

East Dealer
– Vul
North
K653
A
AQJ62
J83
West
AT4
2
T954
AQT64
East
972
T8765
87
K95
South
QJ8
KQJ943
K3
72

Ace and the Ten (suit preference-ish) for partner’s King. Michael switched to a for my Ace and declarer ruffed my Queen. South quickly found out about the bad trump split, but because parity had been reached he didn’t have a lot of trouble visualizing and executing the trump coup (lead from dummy until East surrenders).

Had Michael continued instead of switching, declarer would have ruffed, but now the timing is different. A to the Ace, back to the King and then the bad news. Now if declarer plays a I can rise and play a fourth , Michael can sluff a and declarer is fatally tapped.

Toronto – Zero Tolerance

Hi all

We’ve made it to day 2 in the mini-Spingold. After the first 28 boards we were down by 51 imp and prospects were glum. Oops!, let me correct that, down by 48, because our opponents got a 3 imp “Zero Tolerance”-penalty for being rude to my teammates and the director. So we straightened our backs, started swinging a bit and behold, after three quarters of the match we were down by 13.

I’m on lead after this exchange:

West
North
East
South
 
1
pass
2
pass
2
pass
3NT
pass
41
pass
42
pass
42
pass
53
pass
64
a.p
 

1. Slam try
2. Cue (first round controls only)
3. Enough
4. No it’s not

West
K95
9872
AT4
T94

I see that everything is breaking nicely for declarer. My holding looks terrible in front of the bidder, so that’s where I started my defence. I led a , trying to scare declarer into a less successful plan. Here’s the full deal, I’ll show you what happened next.

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
AJ763
KQ64
5
KQ3
West
K95
9872
AT4
T94
East
Q84
JT3
J7632
J7
South
T2
A5
KQ98
A8652

On the lead declarer had two quick losers so he had to play 3 rounds of to pitch his losing . Then when he turned his attention to I won the Ace and topped off the defence with a 4th . When my partner ruffed with the Jack in front of declarer my trump holding got stellar promotion. Victory dance!

On any other lead declarer can come home: win the lead in South, set up a trick, then pitch a on the third , and finally ruff out the using dummies trump honors as entries.

This and some magic by our teammates was enough to pull the match with a 2 imp margin. That “Zero Tolerance”-penalty must have tasted so bitter.

Toronto Preparations – Black Metal Brunch

Hi all

After a hellish flight via DC, a missed connection and a sleepless sweaty night I have arrived in Toronto. Perfect preparations for decent bridge. So no stories today, but an announcement that Drew, Bill, Michael and I will participate in the 0-5000 Spingold (starting tomorrow). Michael and I still have to have a system discussion, and with Drew not in optima forma that’s enough of a challenge.

Here’s me and my friend Mary having a Black Metal Brunch in a bar called Graffiti. Very colorful the menu had an entry for “… and shit you can eat”. Cheers!

Vigor

Hi all

I was playing with Sanne at the Pro-Am night at QT. I know we’re are partnership in all kinds of ways, but bridge honestly isn’t one of them. So I didn’t feel awkward or bad about it. That we royally won the event with almost a 4% margin to number two, well… let’s not get into puny details.

In the last round we had a lively auction:

West
North
East
South
 
 
2
2
2
pass1
3
32
pass
43
a.p.
 

1. A penalty double would have been justified
2. I was completely & utterly oblivious to what was happening
3. Let’s try to recover some of the points we missed out on

North
KJT86
K2
J743
74
South
QT9853
K62
AKJ3

When West started with the Ace the rusty old lock that was my contract gave away the tiniest crunch. I ruffed and played a towards the King, West rising with the Ace. Desperately looking for a ruff he switched to a via the Queen for my Ace. Yes, I feel that lock slowly opening up to me.

Another to dummy and East follows suit with the Jack. On the King I see East pitching a and I follow his lead. Finally the lock yields to my vigor. So East is 1-2-6-4… the rest is easy as pie: to my hand, draw the outstanding trump and endplay East with the fourth . With just left he has to surrender a trick to my King. + 420

East Dealer
– Vul
North
KJT86
K2
J743
74
West
AQ95432
A74
T92
East
7
J6
AQT985
Q865
South
QT9853
K62
AKJ3

With another lead a clairvoyant South can manage to score five tricks in and three in . Setting up the same endplay as I did will bring in trick nine. East has to pay attention though, because any other exit than the Queen will give South ten tricks.

Too bad we missed out on a juicy penalty. South can score eight tricks in a contract: three , one and always four (West will bring them on a silver platter). Quite funny if the opponents have an eight card fit.

Strawberry Killing Fields

Hi all

Last Saturday we went on a fruit picking tour through Brentwood. I felt like a 4 year old again ravaging through my grandma’s strawberry garden. About 30 years ago my parents took the same pic, nothing ever really changes.

Here’s a tiny deal from a team’s game in Oakland. It was a remarkable event, not only for us winning it, but in addition to the boatload of unpigmented masterpoints I already have, I now have collected enough pigmented points too to call myself a Life Master. Wow! Spotlights on me!

Ugh.

Back to reality.

I was sitting South and this is what I heard and saw:

West
North
East
South
 
 
1
pass
pass
Double
1
pass
2
a.p.
 
 
 
East
AKQ5
AJ
KJT98
64
South
T632
K8
76543
AT

Geoff led the 2 (odd leads) and while declarer takes stock, I try to piece together both other hands. So Geoff has a five card suit, and probably four as well. And I’m pretty sure that for his double he has at most a singleton , he would overcall instead. That must be the stiff Ace or West would have responded to his partner’s opening. So that leaves declarer with a 1-4-2-6 distribution, and yes, that matches to the auction too.

Declarer asks for dummy’s Jack and I win with the King. A to Geoff’s Ace and another for dummy. Now declarer rattles of three top pitching two himself. A low is requested from dummy…

I thought I had figured it all out when I rose with the Ace of , gave Geoff a ruff and tried to uppercut anything by ruffing the with the Ten. But it didn’t. Declarer simply overruffed with the Jack and lost another trick to Geoff’s high trump, 2 making.

In gun terms this is what happened, I drew the gun from holster and aimed ( switch to Geoff), pulled the trigger (rising with trump Ace), and then put my bullet in the chamber (ruffing with the Ten).

In retrospect it’s all so easy. First let Geoff win with one of his top trumps instead of going up myself (loading the bullet), then get the desired ruff with trump Ace (pulling the trigger). Now a through and Geoff’s little trump gets a promotion (bang!). The top trump is then the setting trick (the bad guy is dead now).

East Dealer
– Vul
North
J984
QT642
A
KQ8
West
7
9753
Q2
J97532
East
AKQ5
AJ
KJT98
64
South
T632
K8
76543
AT

It’s a funny little deal, 2 in an eight card fit with trumps splitting doesn’t make, but it takes pretty wicked defence to hold 2 (only seven trumps together with a nasty split) to eight tricks.

Fringe

Hi all

Bridge Big has launched their open beta. René promised the team is zealously committed to fixing bugs, smoothing the user experience, adding more features and solving the “table hopper” problem. With decent exposure in national and international magazines, an article on www.bridgetopics.com and Zia as evangelist they shouldn’t have a hard time establishing a large (and hopefully faithful) userbase.

Here’s a deal from the San Francisco sectional that has been giving me head ache:

West
North
East
South
3
3
pass
???
South
872
AQT2
A9862
Q

After partner has overcalled the first problem arises: where to bin your hand? Is it a top heavy invite? Investigate other games than 5? Or enter a slammish sequence perhaps? But those three small are a bit smelly…

At the table I bid a loaded 4, hoping partner would bid (a natural) 4, perhaps 4NT with a softish hand, or continue to 5 with a control rich hand. The result was the same at both tables: 5 down 1.

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
T643
KJ
KQJT7
AJ
West
Q
653
53
KT98642
East
AKJ95
9874
4
753
South
872
AQT2
A9862
Q

It bothers me quite a lot that I can’t figure out a way to reach a sensible contract. Expert players and established partnerships offer me a broad range of answers, but most of them do something slammish. Opposite hands like:

North
AKx
Kx
KQxxx
xxx

Slam is laydown.

I guess I just have to accept that the deal above is a fringe. And that a slammish sequence (say 5) is an IMP positive action.

Mind Games

Hi all

I’m indulging, [read sigh of complete satisfaction here.] But I don’t think I will be rested and recharged when I get back to Berkeley. It has been a wild stew of travel, beer, little sleep (in lots of different beds), and way too much attention. Thanks friends & family, you were all wonderful company!

You’re at the helm of a modest 2 contract.

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
pass
pass
1NT
pass
2
21
pass
pass
22
a.p.
 
 
 

1. Attempt at suicide, because red vs. white
2. Weak with both Majors

North
AJ9
AQ8
AJ42
JT9
South
QT83
T9532
6
762

West leads the 9 (zero or two above), and you see it’s a healthy contract. You win the Ace and ruff a to your hand, East showing up with the Queen. A small trump towards dummy and the King makes his appearance.

You take stock for a second. But that 1-4 trump break doesn’t pose a problem to you. Confident you have analyzed and formulated an endplay in trumps. You ruff another (East discarding a ), and you hook the , losing to the King. East now cashes Ace and Queen and continues a third for West’s King. You win the switch in dummy and this is the position:

North
9
Q8
J
South
QT
T9

Count complete, East is 3-4-2-4. Just string off your and when East ruffs he is endplayed to lead away from the Jack.

Wait…!

West has a small surprise up his sleeve. That trump King was accompanied by a small one all the time, so the third gets guerilla ruffed. And East still has a guarded trump Jack… Down 1.

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
AJ9
AQ8
AJ42
JT9
West
64
K7
KT9853
K53
East
K752
J64
Q7
AQ84
South
QT83
T9532
6
762

I don’t like to meekly lay my head low, so I smoothly inserted the King of trumps. Give the pot a good stir. And fortunately my RHO was of the right caliber to not panic and resolve the apparent trump position.

Punch

Hi all

If you take a drive towards Oakland you’ll see quite a few billboards of doom.

… And the bible guarantees it.

Pffffff
Hi
Hi
Muahahahahaaa
* snort *

Well, I don’t have to clarify my point of view now, I guess. I thought mankind was beyond this already. Anyway, we’ll be sitting in a plane to The Netherlands, the only screening we will be subjected to is by DHS (not so great either). Three weeks of visiting family & friends, indulging in decent bread & cheese, and play some non-ACBL-cured bridge. Good times.

Here’s a fine deal from a STaC game in San Francisco. I’ve met my LHO before, she’s venomous. The frost at the table is very real, her glares at my partner chill my spine. After pass – pass – 2 – double – pass it’s my turn again:

South
K865
QJ72
T932
Q

Lebensohl or no? I decide to take the weak route (2NT) because I hate my King in front of the preempt and a stiff Queen doesn’t give me warm feelings either.

Partner surprises me with a jump to 4. What? Come again?

Suddenly my hand improves by 1.609 km’s and then some. I expect partner to hold a singlesuited monster. And I add four trumps to the Queen – Jack, a singleton, even the King recovered some of it’s grandeur. I’m worth another call: 5. Raised to 6.

West
North
East
South
 
 
pass
pass
2
Double
pass
2NT1
pass
4
pass
5
pass
6
a.p.
 

1. Lebensohl

This was the full deal:

East Dealer
EW Vul
North
A3
AKT94
AKJ
A93
West
QJT742
83
7
J865
East
9
65
Q8654
KT742
South
K865
QJ72
T932
Q

There was no play to it, two ruffs and then a hook for a possible overtrick. I’m glad my partner decided to sell his hand as a singlesuited hand, I probably would have doubled and then bid NT myself.

Juice

Hi all

I’m a bit sore. Sore from carrying sand and tiles to revamp our backyard. But our combined efforts led to drinking Duvel in the sun’s splendor on our new terrace. Life’s good.

Geoff and I had an uncomplicated auction to 3NT.

North
QJT
Q964
J3
AQ63
South
AK85
A7
AQT7
JT2

West leads a small . I don’t want to endanger my contract so I call low from dummy. I win East’s Ten with my Ace, next my Jack gets covered by the King and Ace, and the same happens for the Jack from dummy. Just for sake of symmetry I cross to the Queen, and all four suits have been played in the first four tricks.

I continue cashing out on the black suits ( breaking) and I find myself squeezing West out of his five card suit and the King. All thirteen are making their bow to me… the 7 last…

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
QJT
Q964
J3
AQ63
West
3
KJ83
98642
K75
East
97642
T52
K5
984
South
AK85
A7
AQT7
JT2

So the juice I squeezed from my opponent magically turned into beer. Well, coming from Dombo I know, no, I feel! the 7 is a false prophet. The universe revolves around the 8. The 7 outranked in class, suit and number. There’s not a lot more to it than that.

But woe me, the invertebrate! The promise of beer and I set aside my beliefs (be it temporarily).

Carrot

Hi all

I’m looking to participate in the summer nationals in Toronto. Unfortunately my partners here have other plans/obligations, so here’s me throwing a pitch: Reasonable & imaginative player, often wears colorful pants and has a lot of fun at the table seeks decent partner to wreak some havoc in Toronto. Responses here.

Here’s a deal from me and James again at Quick Tricks.

South
AT8
KT9843
Q875
West
North
East
South
 
 
pass
11
pass
1NT2
Double3
24
pass
4NT
pass
5
pass
6
a.p.
 

1. A tad light
2. Kaplan inversion, 4+ at least invitational
3. Take out
4. Let’s just take the least dangerous path

After my opening and rebid James switched on the nitro. For a second I pictured myself on the launch schedule at Cape Canaveral. Lift off complete!

My LHO leads a low and I see that I’m standing on the edge of a very deep cliff. But the strong gust of wind has a friendly directional push, I’m not plunging to my demise just yet.

North
KQ52
AJ7
AKQ8
62
South
AT8
KT9843
Q875

So we’re off two tricks from the start, but I can pitch three of them on dummy’s , taking care of half my issues. The other half is to locate the whereabouts of that lovely Queen.

I take stock for two minutes and I’ve formulated a small trap I can set for my RHO. I start with pitching three and then on the fourth round of I throw my last , East winning the trick.

East winces for a second and then switches to a .

He fell for it!

Why would he switch to a if the look so much more attractive in their vulnerability? He must have a stiff ! Combine that with his first round pass and then a minors showing take out double. East is 1-2-5-5.

Confidently I play from top and the Queen does make her appearance.

East Dealer
EW Vul
North
KQ52
AJ7
AKQ8
62
West
J9643
65
T752
K4
East
7
Q2
J9643
AJT93
South
AT8
KT9843
Q875

Perhaps I would have taken the right guess anyway, but a succesfully sprung trap offers some extra backing. Check out this story if you’re hungry for more bridge, it is out of this world:http://www.blakjak.demon.co.uk/crypto.htm