Thursday, 12 September 2013

Standby Me

Last Monday at the Buchanan I was the standby. That means if anyone comes along without a partner, I join up with them. I had an excellent game with John Logue, and we finished 7th out of 52 pairs.

I had a tough decision early on, with these North cards.

♠ K J 9 8 6 ♥ A Q J ♦ 5 4 ♣ T 7 2


West opened 1♠, and of course I passed. This went round to my partner, who doubled. I was hoping he would. Since East-West were vulnerable I decided to pass the takeout double, and so we defended 1♠x. This was an all or nothing decision, as in Matchpoint scoring we'd either get a top if we defeated it (even by one trick) and a bottom if declarer made it. Luckily for me, John had a good 10 points for his double, and we defeated it 1♠x-1 for +200.

Next here's a hand where I steered home a very dicey 3NT, using my favourite strategy of ducking. I'm sitting South. The defence had already taken one trick, when East switched to the ♦Q.

♦ 9 5 3
♦ A 6 4 ♦ Q J T 8
♦ K 7 2

This looks like big trouble. I ducked the ♦Q, and also the ♦J. I'm now down to the bare ♦K, and was a bit worried East actually had ♦AQJT8 and was about to embarrass me by cashing the Ace now. But, as I expected, when East played a third round West had to win her ♦A, and had no more Diamonds to continue the suit.

Here's another tough bidding decision. Partner, who hadn't got a good hand all day, finally dealt and opened 5♦ vulnerable. I had:

♠ J 8 6 ♥ A K Q 7 6 ♦ - ♣ Q T 7 4 2

Partner probably has eight or nine tricks. With my Hearts there's an excellent chance of a slam. Of course, it's quite possible that partner is void in Hearts. But if he is, then we're not making 5♦ either. So should I just bid 6♦? In the end I decided to pass, and partner, having no Hearts, went one off. The East-West hands were:

♠ A 7 4
♥ -
♦ A K J T 9 8 7 6 3
♣ 3
♠ J 8 6
♥ A K Q 7 6
♦ -
♣ Q T 7 4 2

Declarer got his niine Diamond tricks and one Spade. Lots of other tables somehow made 11 or 12 tricks, so that was a bad score for us (one table made 7♦x, presumably on a very favourable Heart lead).

Finally here's a hand where I made loads of tricks.

♠ Q 9
♥ K T 7 2
♦ A T 5 2
♣ A K 4
♠ A J 8 7 6 4
♥ A 4
♦ K
♣ T 9 7 5

We had agreed that our 1♠ openings promise 5 cards, so once I had rebid 2♠ John could be fairly confident I had six, so bid 4♠.

I got a low Heart lead, and made 13 tricks, despite trumps breaking 5-0.

Then I had a whisky and bodged the last two boards. But we still finished on a very good 58.50%.

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