Black Tie Squeeze

Hi all

Here’s a 6NT from one of the Dombo teams matches last week. The game stayed in the back of my mind for a couple days, and finally I found out why.

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
Kx
AJTxx
QJ9x
QT
West
Jx
98xxx
KTx
xxx
East
QT9xx
x
xx
KJxxx
South
A8xx
KQ
Axxx
Axx

North opened 1, East overcalled 1 and South ended up in 6NT. West not being blessed with second sight started with the Jack (a lead from West beats 6NT). Declarer lost track and ended up one trick short.

The plan. You have eleven tricks if you develop the for three tricks. Number twelve has to come from a squeeze, there are no other options available. So take the lead with the King and play a to the Ace and a to dummy, West takes and plays again a for your Ace. Cash both the King and Queen of and cross to dummy in . Now the rest of the red suit tricks and East is trapped.

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
T
QT
West
.
not
important
.
East
Q
KJ
South
8
Ax

When the Ten of is played from dummy it’s all curtains for East.

I hear you say: “But if West switches to a when he’s in with the King?” Now this is what I like about this game. Follow the same lines as above and it will lead to this:

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
x
T
Q
West
.
not
important
.
East
QT
K
South
A8
x

Again these curtains on the Ten.

West can take away one entry when in with the King, but the other black suit will still provide the communication for the black suit squeeze. One question is still left, how to get to play 6NT from North? 

Locked

Hi all

Another one from the glorious match last monday. At both tables 5 went down one, but in the post mortem Wim found the way to eleven tricks.

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
QT2
942
J8
AKQ84
South
A84
AQ75
6
JT953
West
North
East
South
 
 
 
11
pass
22
pass
23
pass
24
pass
3
pass
35
pass
36
pass
47
pass
48
pass
59
a.p.
 
 

1. 15-17 balanced or unbalanced 4+
2. Inverted
3. unbalanced
4. stopper
5. Half a stop?
6. No, but something extras in
7. Not enough for 5, but interpreted as slaminvitational
8. Cue
9. Pulling the brakes

The plan. Take the trump lead in dummy and immediately play a . Take the (likely) trump continuation again in dummy and ruff the other . Cross to dummy in trumps, finesse in , and play Ace and a third round. This is the position:

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
QT2
84
South
A84
7
J

East will be on lead and has to lead away from the King of or give a ruff and discard. On the thirteenth you can dispose of the other losing then. But what if East throws his King, foreseeing the throw in? Too bad, West holds the Jack, so the position is locked frozen for the opponents. Complete deal:

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
QT2
942
J8
AKQ84
West
J75
J83
AT754
62
East
K963
KT6
KQ932
7
South
A84
AQ75
6
JT953

Moral victory

Hi all

Though we tied 15-15 against our arch rivals BCO4, the moral victory was ours. By one whole imp. There were several nice games, a grand in , a couple of nice partials, but let me ask you a question:

West
T63
93
K9752
KT5
West
North
East
South
 
1
1
2
2
pass
pass
3
pass
3
pass
pass
???
 
 
 
 

How greedy are you? Remember it’s teams.

I wonder what hurt most, that declarer got home without breaking a sweat or the doubled overtrick?

There’s something nifty about this game. Game in is on ice for the opponents. Look here:

North Dealer
– Vul
North
A752
AT854
83
AJ
West
T63
93
K9752
KT5
East
KQJ84
KQJ72
862
South
9
6
AQJT64
Q9743

Let’s assume West leads a (as good as anything). You take it and immediately ruff a . Finesse in , ruff another , cross to the Ace, Ace as well and a ruffed. Now if you ruff a in dummy this will be the position:

North Dealer
– Vul
North
7
T85
8
West
K9752
East
not
important
.
.
South
AQJ
Q9

Play a loser from dummy, discard a winning yourself and West has to ruff. Next he will tackle trumps for you. Repeat the trick by playing your last from hand. Drumroll…: Eleven icy cold tricks.

Free Hugs

Hi all

Last week I took a stroll through the center of Utrecht. It was far from a special day, dry but not sunny, cold but not too cold for January, really nothing special at all. Then something remarkable caught my eye. Half a dozen people were carrying signs that said: “Free Hugs”.

Huh?

Yes, you could get hugs for free there. Unknown people hugging random people on the street for fun.

Normally I avoid people carrying signs, either they want money from me, or something else that eventually leads to me giving money to someone else. This was so totally different it left me speechless. With a bright smile I approached one of the girls carrying the sign. Nice.

Kicking off in 2007

Hi all

These best wishes at Star yesterday really paid off, René and I ended up first with 58something%. I felt relieved.

Lots of jedi mind tricks, all in smooth ease we seduced our opponents into making fatal mistakes. With decent and polite smiles we accepted all gifts.

I almost dare not tell you about René’s (well timed) weak jump in . The opponents ended up in 3NT and missed their best spot in 4. It’s no typo, René blasted them out of their 6-3 fit. You do the math: his weak jump was based upon how many ?

Here’s a little gem:

South Dealer
– Vul
North
T983
AT965
KJ4
K
West
AKQJ
73
Q6
AT542
East
74
Q842
T9853
Q8
South
652
KJ
A72
J9763

I passed as a dealer, West opened 1, René introduced his suit and I bid 1NT, ending the auction. West started with four rounds of and Ace of and to the Queen. East wasn’t really happy to be on lead and decided to lead a , my Jack winning the trick. Current layout:

South Dealer
– Vul
North
AT9
KJ4
West
7
Q6
T54
East
Q84
T98
South
K
A72
J9

I cashed the King of and the Jack. Now I noticed East started with only four black cards. I played a to the King and the Ace, West showing out. I have complete count, West is 4-2-2-5 and East 2-4-5-2. Confident I play from top, the Queen would either be doubleton in West’s hand, or East had been squeezed out of it already. My 7 of was the 7th trick. I have heard this is worth beer in some places, so where can I collect?

Quack… Duck

Hi all

Another game from last friday. Because of the fine, strong honors in South (no soft Queens or Jacks) I sold it as a 22-23 NT. Dennis put me in 3NT. I got the lead of a small (4th) and this is what I saw:

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
6
943
QT72
QJ975
South
AK74
AK62
AK6
83

I ducked both the lead and the continuation. When they pressed on in (wrong!, if the defence now shifts to a I will suffer the loss of five tricks) I won and played a to the Queen, East winning. Now a came back and here I could pluck the fruits of my early ducks. I took it and again a towards dummy, West rising. A fourth round of the pointy black suit followed, leaving me with an awkward discard in dummy:

North
QT72
J9

Do I discard a and play for the Ten to drop, or discard a and hope something good happens in ? A discard leaves more options open: 3-3 or the Jack doubleton or a squeeze against East. The Jack dropped doubleton (sorry, no squeeze), resulting in nine tricks.

I’m satisfied with my play. But I guess this game is more about defence, take two tricks and then shift to to develop the setting trick there, with as entry. I have to improve my defensive skills, because I’m not sure if I’m able to imagine such defence at the table.

Momentum

Hi all

Friday, Christmas drive at one of the other strong clubs in Utrecht (BCO). Though I’m no member anymore, I felt welcome the moment I entered the playing field. With Dennis this time, lucky me.

We played solid, here and there we bled some imp, but our opponents often returned the favour. Sitting South I held:

South
74
KQT963
A9743

I heard lefty pass, Dennis 1NT (12-14), and my RHO entered the bidding with a preemptive 3. What to do? This is how the bidding proceeded:

West
North
East
South
pass
1NT1
3
4
5
5
6
6
a.p.
 
 
 

1. 12-14

I had the right momentum in bidding 6, opposite a fitting hand and probably no wastage in it’s so close, I thought. And when it was passed around, it truly felt as if I had hit the soft spot.

West Dealer
– Vul
North
A8
8752
KQJ2
KJ6
West
QT963
J4
T5
9853
East
KJ52
A
86
AQT742
South
74
KQT963
A9743

When West started with a it was the end of the defence, I discarded the losing in dummy on my fifth after drawing trumps.
K’ching! 11 fat imp, for nobody had found this one.

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

Risotto with lemon

Hi all

I have a very, very fine risotto for you. It’s… it’s… just mindblowing tasteful!

Ingredients for 2 persons:
1 medium onion
2 stalks of celery
1 clove of garlic (optional)
200 grams of risotto rice
1 liter of stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 egg yolk
1 lemon
cream
parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, fresh rosemary

Remember, risotto is slow food, it needs touch, time and attention. But the result is so rewarding. Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan, slowly heat the chopped onion, celery and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and be carefull the vegetables don’t colour too much. Then add the risotto and stir until the rice looks a bit glassy. Slowly add the stock, please don’t drown the risotto. Add the zest of half a lemon and season with the pepper (just a little) and chopped rosemary.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolk, cream, zested parmesan cheese and the juice of half a lemon. I guess you can use something like 50-100 ml’s of cream, I didn’t really check. Now when the texture of the risotto is good, turn down the heat, add the egg-cream-lemon juice mixture and serve.

Succes guaranteed!

@Nigella: Thank you.