Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Glasgow Division Two: Team Rowan vs Maccabi

After work on Tuesday me and Anna went straight to the Buchanan Club for a league match. I was starving. As we waited for our opponents to arrive some stories went round about how good they were going to be. Sure enough, in came a couple of Scotland Internationals. On our table we were up against Peter Cohen, the SBU Convenor [Edited as I got this wrong before], and his wife Helena.

Early on me and Anna bid to a rather wild 6♠. Helena cashed the ♥A in defence, so I needed to win the rest. This was the position in trumps:

♠ J 9 8 7
♠ Q T 6 4
♠ A K 5 3 2

I didn't fancy it much, but decided to try cashing the ♠AK. On the ♠A, West showed out, and I knew I had to go down. In the end, I actually used one of dummy's trumps to ruff something, making my trumps even more vulnerable. East was now able to make two trump tricks, so the result was 6♠-2.

The hand's worth mentioning because of Peter's decision as East not to double me, despite his excellent trumps. In 6♠x I can actually make it, if I am bold enough to run the ♠9 on the first round. I'm not sure if I would have taken that line or not, it depends if I think he's doubling because of his trumps or because we've had such a poor auction.

It was chilly in the room, but I was warm. This is the natural progression of things in a league match: first, I feel warm and take my jumper off; next, Anna feels cold and borrows my jumper and puts it on her knees; finally Anna puts my jumper on.

Me and Anna had a mixed first half. On the downside we had missed a couple of games (including bidding that bad slam). On the upside we defended well. The highlight was a good 500 penalty when I had a Spade void and kept doubling the opponents for takeout and Anna kept passing, right up until she finally passed 4♠x and we beat it by three. At the break the team was surprisingly about 1000 points up. I had part of a sandwich I'd bought from Subway earlier, and we emerged rejuvenated.

In the second half me and Anna took down a series of part scores, which I think probably added up to one game altogether. There was a lot more bidding, including in my featured hand. I'm not sure if we got a good result here or not.

N deal, Love all
♠ A J 9 7
♥ A J T x
♦ x
♣ K J T 9
♠ x x
♥ Q x x
♦ A K Q x x x
♣ x x
♠ K x x
♥ K x x
♦ x x x
♣ Q x x x
♠ Q T x x
♥ x x x
♦ J x x
♣ A x x

I've got the decent North hand. Me and Anna have never really discussed how to open 4-4-4-1 hands, but I think when the singleton is a Diamond like this we're both agreed in opening 1♣. Anna replied 1♠, and West came in with a very solid 2♦ overcall (with partner having already passed 3♦ is a possibility also). Now I know we've got a Spade fit I've got a decision as North. I've only got 14 points, but it's only five losers and all the suits are very chunky. I thought about bidding an immediate game, but wound my neck in and only bid 3♦, which showed an invitational raise in Spades. I should probably have just bid 3♠ as an invite in Spades, but I bid 3♦ and Anna knew what I meant. With a minimum hand, she corrected to 3♠ and I passed.

3♠ is a tough contract, as you want to draw trumps so you can set up Clubs and Hearts, but you also want to ruff some Diamonds.

Anna got the ♦A lead, then another top Diamond, which she ruffed. With few entries to hand Anna immediately finessed Clubs, leading the ♣J, then the ♣T, then a third round of Clubs to her ♣A which West ruffed. The defence kept playing Diamonds and Anna kept ruffing them, and in the end the defence came to one trick in each suit, for 3♠=. Afterwards, I asked Anna why she didn't draw trumps once she'd guessed the Club finesse correctly. Her reply was "Don't confuse me, let's play the next Board", which we did. Maybe if you draw trumps you then lose the ability to ruff the last Diamond, so get nine tricks anyway.

What do you think of me inviting game in Spades? After I invited game I wished I has just bid 4♠ instead, and when Anna refused the invite by only bidding 3♠ I thought about topping it up myself, though this would have been a bit ridiculous.

My North hand, 14 points 4-4-4-1 shape and only five losers is almost exactly the same hand that John Faben features in his blog about the Buchanan Winter Pairs here.

♠ KQT4 ♥ QJ52 ♦ KQJT ♣ 4

With this hand John decided to only raise his partner's 1♠ bid to 2♠. I actually had the same cards as John in that event, and when I got the hand I also bid 3♠. So at least I'm consistent.

For the rest of our league match me and Anna played fairly well, finishing with a flourish with 6♠ on the last hand. There was a lot of high level interference during that auction from Peter, so after I decided to bid 6♠ I was pretty anxious putting my dummy down. But to my relief, Anna claimed twelve tricks almost immediately. On our table we won the second half by about 700 points.

Overall, Team Rowan won the match by 480 points, a tiny margin over a total of 96 hands of bridge. In fact, it's exactly 5 points per board. The narrow points victory translated into winning the match 9-7.


  1. I think it's very easy to overestimate the playing power of 4441 hands, so a simple raise to three spades is probably sufficient.

    I don't think that Peter is the SB News editor, unless there has been a recent change, as I send all my material to Bob McKinnon!

  2. Agreed I should have just bid Three Spades in the auction above. Talking to Anna afterwards, she wasn't sure what my Three Diamonds bid meant, thought it might be asking for a stopper for NT (which I now think it should be).

    And yes of course Bob McKinnon is the SB News editor!