Sunday, 23 June 2013


Last night me and Anna boldly decided to have a go at an online tournament. This is the first time we've done this.

We entered "SpHiNx Pairs", along with 369 other pairs. Anna was pretty nervous, and I certainly didn't help. On the first board I miscounted my losers and put Anna in a hopeless 6♠, off two. Then she passed my takeout double of 1♥, and declarer made it with three overtricks. 1♥x +3 was not a good score.

These two bad boards were followed by two very good ones, which were a bit wild too and did nothing to settle the nerves. The opponents went way overboard in 4♠, doubled, then Anna bid an impulsive 5♣, doubled, and made it. though.

My featured board is that 5♣x=, which gained us 7.6 IMPs.

All vul
N deal
♠ Q 6 3
♥ J 4
♦ Q 7 4 3
♣ A 8 3 2
♠ K 8 4 2
♥ A T 8 5 2
♦ K 5
♣ J 6
♠ J T 9 7 5
♥ Q 9 7 6
♦ J 6 2
♣ T
♠ A
♥ K 3
♦ A T 9 8
♣ K Q 9 7 5 4

Anna opened the big South hand 1♣, which West overcalled 1♠. Why West overcalled 1♠ I have no idea. I had the decent looking North hand, and settled for a modest 2♣, prepared to bid 3♣ later if I had too. East raised to 2♠ and Anna had a rebid problem. With four losers and a ten card Club fit, she went for 5♣, which looks fine to me. Afterwards she suggested she could have bid 3♦ instead, which would probably have got us to a rather dodgy 3NT (which does make - eight tricks on top, extra tricks in Diamonds, and opponents can't attack Hearts or Spades without giving you tricks).

5♣ potentially has four losers - two in Hearts and two in Diamonds, if you are very unlucky. West lead the ♥A, which limited us to one Heart loser straight away. So Anna drew trumps then got ready to play Diamonds. The normal way to play the suit is to finesse twice, but since West doubled there's an arguement for playing him for holding ♦K and ♦J and leading up to dummy's Queen. Anna went for the standard double finesse, leading the ♦Q from dummy, which worked nicely. When West won his ♦K he made it easy for Anna by returning a Diamond, for 5♣x=.

Perhaps West played that second round of Diamonds as he was reluctant to lead a Heart and give a ruff and discard, or a Spade away from the King (although actually on this layout that is safe). Declarer could try and make it harder for the defence, by eliminating the other suits before tackling Diamonds. You could just cash the ♠A, or better eliminate all the Spades. Then, even when West has ♦KJx, once he wins his ♦K he might be forced to returning Diamonds as he knows the other suits will give a ruff and discard. In fact, with four Diamonds in each hand, you don't gain anything by a ruff and discard, but the defence don't know that.

This would be the position after Spades are eliminated, with dummy on lead about to run the ♦Q.

All vul
N deal
♠ -
♥ -
♦ Q 7 4 3
♣ 8 3
♠ K
♥ T 8 5
♦ K 5
♣ -
♠ J
♥ Q 9
♦ J 6 2
♣ -
♠ -
♥ -
♦ A T 9 8
♣ Q 9

After that third doubled hand in a row, things settled down slightly. I made a poor 1NT, Anna squeeked home in 3NT, then made another 5♣. Then she lost her connection, was replaced by a Sub, and had to sit and watch this extraordinary auction.

EW vul
S deal
♠ 8
♥ 8 5 3
♦ K T 9 8 7
♣ Q J 8 3
♠ A 5
♥ A K Q T 7
♦ J 6
♣ 7 6 5 4
♠ K Q J T 9 6 4 3 2
♥ -
♦ Q
♣ A K 9
♠ 7
♥ J 9 6 4 2
♦ A 5 4 3 2
♣ T 2

East opened 1♥, West replied a simple 1♠, and East rebid 2♥. Now West made up the forcing bid of 3♦, which gave East a rebid problem. He found it such a big problem he decided to pass, leaving them in 3♦, a nice 2-1 fit.

Declarer has six top tricks outside trumps, and somehow, through terrible defence, made it up to eight tricks. Me and the Sub both trumped each others winners. I did it accidentally, then I think he got upset and did it on purpose, then he deliberately crashed his ♦A with my ♦K. The end result was for 3♦-1. But since everyone else was in 4♠+2; or 6♠=, we gained an undeserved 15 IMPs here.

In the end, with a lot of help from that last hand, me and Anna finished 67th out of 370 pairs.

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