Sunday, 22 September 2013

I'm not sitting on de'fence

Late last night I had a few hands on Bridge Base with Anna, in the Acol Club.

In the first few hands, nothing much happened. Then came the big one. With no one vulnerable my right-hand opponent opened 2♣. I didn't hesitate, and weighed in with this fairly modest hand:

♠ A5 ♥ QJT ♦ AQ874 ♣ T74

I overcalled 2♦. My philosophy is to always interfere with the opponent's 2♣ openings, if possible. There's no chance you're going to get doubled, as whoever opened 2♣ has got a monster hand and is going to want to show his suit at the very least. Here I actually had an OK hand, with ♦AQ too.

The extra hope of interfering is that you can find a good sacrifice, but partner couldn't support by Diamonds, and the opponents ended up in 4♥. This was the full deal and auction:

I'm South and Anna is North.

You can see that East has decided to open 2♣ on only 11 points, but with a massive Heart suit. With a hand like that, there's no chance of it getting passed out if you just open 1♥, so that's what I would have done. Then bid 4♥ on the second round. The other option is to just open 4♥, but I think the hand is too good for that.

Once East opens 2♣ West has a massive 11 points, so must have been thinking of slam, but kept the bidding low, and they reached the normal contract of 4♥.

You can see that, with the bad Heart split, declarer has just seven Heart tricks, along with two Clubs (even if the finesse fails), so only nine tricks. However, there's chances for a tenth trick in Spades (if you guess to play to the King), Diamonds (if the defence try and take the ♦A), and Clubs (if South leads away from his ♣T, declarer's ♣9 becomes a third round winner).

But I was giving nothing away. I lead the ♥Q, which declarer won in hand and drew trumps. After I won the third round of trumps it looked pretty hopeless, so it was time to take a risk.

I lead a low Spade from my ♠A5. Since people so rarely underlead an Ace, declarer naturally put in the ♠J, which Anna sitting North took with her ♠Q. She was a bit confused where the ♠A was, but figured it out and returned a Spade to my ♠A. We now had three defensive tricks, so I tried cashing my ♦A. Declarer ruffed this, but was now cut off from dummy, and had to lose a further trick in Clubs to North. 4♥-1, the only table that managed this.

I was pretty surprised when partner turned up with both the ♠Q and ♣K, leaving declarer just 11 points for her 2♣ opening, but it was the only shot and we took it. Flushed with that success, I made a mad lead on the next board which hit the jackpot too.

Jake Corry, who seems to see everything on Bridge Base, described my play of a low Spade from ♠Ax as "flashy, but nice".

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