Thursday, 5 September 2013

Winter Pairs

Me and Anna had a bumper night yesterday, in the first round of the Buchanan Winter Pairs. We finished as the top East-West pair on 67%, despite a little dip at the end of the night. Anna says this was because I drunk too much beer.

On the penultimate board, defending 1NT, Anna could have taken it down by ducking an Ace, after which declarer would be stranded in the wrong hand. On the final board, defending 3♠, I could have taken down by taking my Ace and not ducking.

The suit looked like this, with North dummy and my defending sitting East:

♥ K 8 5 4
♥ A J 6 3

Declarer lead a low Heart from dummy, and I instinctively played low. Declarer won her singleton ♥Q in hand, and that was enough to make the contract. The full layout was:

♥ K 8 5 4
♥ T 9 7 2 ♥ A J 6 3

Of course it's possible that the layout was something like below, in which case I would have been right to duck.

♥ K 8 5 4
♥ T 9 ♥ A J 6 3
♥Q 7 2

Given the actual auction though, it was clear to duck. This mistake was typical of me, I often duck far too much. Conversely, Anna never likes to duck.

On the whole, our bidding during the evening was very conservative. Despite my whisky I kept the bidding simple. The one time I boldly stretched was this hand below, where we might have played a comfortable 2♠ but ended up in game:

♠ K J 9 8 7 2
♥ K 7 4
♦ K 3
♣ A 5
♠ T 6
♥ 9
♦ A J 9 7 6 4 2
♣ K 9 6

Anna had the West cards, and opened 1♠. The textbook bid from me as East is 1NT, as I ought to have 10+ points to be bidding at the two level. But, I figured that with seven Diamonds, and a decent hand for playing in Spades, I didn't want to play in 1NT. So I upgraded, and bid 2♦. I was hoping Anna would now bid 2♠ (almost certainly showing six), and she did. I was going to pass this, happy it was a good contract, when I realised that actually I only had seven losers. Should I be bidding 4♠ then? With such with weak trumps I couldn't quite do that, so bid 3♠, and with six losers Anna immediately bid 4♠

4♠ looks pretty good. My ♠T means Anna has at most two trump losers, and if she can keep the Heart losers to one, the contract looks good. There's a small danger of a Diamond ruff too.

The defence took their ♥A, and two trumps when North had ♠AQ43, but they were the only losers so Anna made a good 4♠

We'll have to try and make sure we're free the first Wednesday of next month now, to continue the Winter Pairs.

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