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.

Lovely Salad

Hi all

Here’s a salad for your pleasure and enjoyment. It’s wonderful.

2 hands of rucola (tear them a bit smaller)
1 or 2 Granny Smiths
Extra vergine olive oil
Parmigiano reggiano
A pinch of salt

Slice the apples in very thin pieces (remove core), peeling is optional. Mix the sliced apple with the rucola and add the salt and olive oil. Do yourself a pleasure and get good olive oil, it’s such a waste and loss if you use your regular cooking and baking oil. Pull curls of the Parmigiano with a sharp knife or a "kaasschaaf". Sprinkle them on top. Enjoy! 

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.

Slow Start

Hi all

Last Sunday the teams season started for us, 13 and 17 don’t put us in the top regions. Oh well, we’ll recover. I played terribly, giving away a vulnerable game, completely mishandling one of my own. Pffff, I get sweaty thinking back to those and other horrible errors. Here’s a little success (my hand):

South
KT964
6
AT76
A43

René opened a strong and the relay sequence started with 1 (me showing ).

West
North
East
South
11
pass
12
pass
13
pass
24
pass
25
pass
36
pass
37
pass
3NT8
pass
49
pass
4NT10
pass
611
all pass

1. 16+
2. 8+hcp at least 5 card
3. relay
4. 12+ hcp
5. relay
6. exactly four
7. relay
8. 5-1-4-3 distribution
9. relay
10. Two Aces of the same rank
11. You play this! Either our together are good enough for discards or a finesse as backup plan.

This was the complete hand:

North Dealer
– Vul
North
A32
KQJT854
QJT
West
QJ
9732
KJ532
95
East
875
A
Q984
K8762
South
KT964
6
AT76
A43

I must admit I was a bit surprised finding only a thirteen count in dummy, but it’s a fair call with so much playing strength. René upgraded his hand the same way I did, are we in sync or what?!?

I got a trump lead for East’s Ace and back came a . Nasty! Now I have to finesse before I can check out the . Fortunately it proved to be onside. The current layout would have provided a parking spot for the as well, but these odds are a factor smaller than the finesse being right.

This one the opponents didn’t find, but they scored a couple of nice part score swings and finally the match tipped in their favor, 13-17.

Smokescreen

Hi all

Tuesday at Star. René was playing some tournament with Nira so substitute-time. I found Hans and we immediately agreed to not have a dull match. Fireworks, lots of them. First half we bid every possible game and defended mercilessly.

Second half. Less spectacular games with little room to score. There was one nice game where we pulled a smokescreen on our opponents.

East Dealer
– Vul
North
74
K865
7432
K73
West
KJT2
A942
Q86
J5
East
A3
J73
AJT95
A82
South
Q9865
Q8
K
QT964

East opened 1 and I overcalled 1. Not too happy with such a bad suit and soft values, but with ten cards in the black suits I wanted to do something. West doubled, showing four hearts and Hans (North) raised me to 2 (!). West ended in 3NT not worrying about the spadesuit.

But Hans did what he’s best at, do killing things to opponents. In other words: he found the lead. Declarer not blessed with second sight finessed into my bare King of and got beat one trick. Nice.

@Hans: thanks for playing and the big fun.

Mogwai: Internal Reorganizations

Hi all

Last night Martin took me to the Melkweg in Amsterdam, Mogwai on stage. I own a couple of albums and I have seen them before, at the Lowlands festival a couple of years ago and at the Werchter festival this year. But these encounters were short and a bit shallow. This was a full and frontal confrontation. Expecting an internal reorganization of my organs (that’s what they are famous for), but it was not to be. They played a very solid set, not too noisy, but with plenty of exploding guitars. Good show, I’m happy, very happy.

@DX: Bringing a good book wasn’t really necessary  ;-) 

Thanks Martin, I owe you. Too bad about Tool on the 9th of November, just too bad.

Congratulations!

My dad turned 59 today. Congratulations! Next time I’m home we’ll be making this:

Tarte tatin

Ingredients
Cox’s apples: 5 pc
Butter: 100 gr
Sugar (Castor): enough
Puff pastry

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC
2. Roll out the pastry approx. 3mm thick and cut into a circle big enough to cover the base of the plate with a 2cm overlap to allow for a ‘crust’
3. Peel, core and cut the apples in half
4. Melt the butter in a suitable (glass) plate, sprinkle sugar royally, and keep stirring until a caramel is formed.
5. Arrange the apple halves in a circular fashion and place the plate in the oven.
6. Carefully cover with the pastry round and tuck in the edges, bake at 200ºC for approximately 20 minutes : until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown
7. Remove from oven and ensure that the pastry has not stuck to the sides and the caramel is fully formed
8. Turn upside down onto a serving plate, the pastry is served as the base and the apples should be sitting on it all wonderfully caramelised and arranged. So before lifting the pan ensure the apples are not stuck to the pan.

Enjoy and bon appetit!