Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Buchanan Congress - Part Two

This is the second part of the report of the Buchanan Bridge Congress Teams Event, featuring me and Jake, and John Faben with Neil Wylie. Last time I left us we were at the half way stage and were about in the middle of the eight teams.

In the second half we played the same seven teams again, this time with four board matches. Since this happened a while ago now I'm just going to mention a few interesting hands that I remember well.

I was determined not to be cowed, but this perhaps lead to a bit of over-stretching, and I quickly got myself into trouble. On the very first board I'd have done well to wind my neck in.


Anne sitting South opens 1♠, playing 5 card Majors. I have a chunky 15 point sitting West, and I'm right in there with 2♥. Norman bids an immediate 4♠, and it's back round to me. I have a nice hand, with short Spades, so decide to weigh in with a double. After all, can't let Norman's 4♠ steal the board. Jake has a bit of a quandary as East, as he's got a terrible hand and knows there's no good options. He decides against leaving in 4♠x (which might be cheapest for us, even if it makes), and bids 4NT, for minors. I choose 5♣ and end up playing this, doubled.

The defence begins with two Spades. I ruff the second one, and cash the ♣A, North playing the ♣Q. It's obvious I'm not going to make this contract, or get anywhere near making it, but as I've got myself into this mess I need to try and come out of it reasonably well. The safest thing to do I think is to set up my second suit before I run out of trumps, so I play a Heart to the Jack and Ace. South plays ♦A and another, which I win with the ♦K. It's looking pretty bleak, as I've already lost one Spade, one Heart, one Diamond and still have two Clubs and another Diamond to lose, for six losers and four off. But the good news is that South only has Spades and Clubs left, so after she wins her last trump is forced to give me a ruff and discard, and my second losing Diamond goes away. 5♣x-3 is -500, which as Jake immediately points out means we'll only lose 2 IMPs against the easy -420 for 4♠ their way. In fact 4♠ makes +2 (if played by South, as West then can't lead a Diamond), so we only loes 1 IMP.

The hand record claims that in fact East-West can't even make 1♣, but I think that relies on a defence where North-South unblock their diamonds before cashing Spades, unlikely in practice.

Getting out for -500 (still an expected loss) is a relatively good result, and has got my pulse racing. In retrospect I'm happy with my Double of 4♠, though it worked badly here I'd do it again.


Me and Jake were playing three Weak Twos, which left him free to open this East hand 2♦. Much better than Reverse Benji. I topped him up to 3♦ with the West cards, and North could only double. When South bid 3♥ North had no idea whether her partner had a 0 count or a 9 count, so decided to bid game. Should I double this as West? I didn't, and felt a bit disappointed when it went three off.

There was an ounce of controversy on this hand. The room was very loud and at one point Jake misheard declarer calling for a card from dummy, and failed to follow suit. The director ruled the card was a penalty card (no problem), but also added lead penalties meaning that as soon a Jake was on lead he was forced to lead (or not lead) that suit. I'm not sure but someone later said that actually the rules are only that your forbidden to lead (or not lead) that suit if it's unauthorised information. Declarer was already two off at this point, so luckily no one really cared.


This hand was always likely to produce a swing, and it went heavily against us. On our table Jake manoeuvred into 4♥ via a 3♣ cue bid then taking out of 3NT. Apparently that shows a hand too good for a direct 4♥ overcall; I'd never seen it before. My dummy was useless and it went one off. Notice my cheeky decision to reply 3NT to Jake's 3♣ bid, promising that I have a Club stop. On the other table East overcalled with only 1♥, then bid 2♥, then bid 3♥, and was lucky enough to get doubled by North and make it exactly. I don't think North can be blamed for doubling, East bid the hand strangely which is mostly going to result in missed games, but here brought home the bacon.


Third in hand and non-vulnerable Jake doesn't like to pass. He found a tasty 1♥ opener for this East hand (we play five card majors too). Luckily I didn't go overboard as West, and made the contract exactly, for a good result. It felt like we were doing quite well at this point, but we weren't.


How often are you thinking about slam and go down in game? It happens to me a lot. This last hand shows what I think is an unlucky auction. I've got the lopsided West hand, and open 1♥. I don't think anything else is sensible, when I also have four Spades. Jake does indeed reply 1♠, and now I'm getting excited. South overcalls 2♣, and I have to decide how good my hand is. It's only five losers, so I decide it's good enough for game. I'd much rather have a void in South's suit than Queen doubleton, but with all those Hearts game's likely to have a decent shot. Rather than just bidding 4♠ I splinter with 4♦, which Jake swiftly passes. The defence take their ♣AK then later come to a Spade and a Heart, for one off. Jake's ♦AK are a very poor match for my hand.

In the end our team finishes a very middling joint 4th out of 8.

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