Saturday, 15 November 2014

Glasgow League Division One: Rowan vs Phoenix

Last week Team Rowan suffered a 15-1 loss to Team Phoenix from Hamilton.

On our table we played against Alan and Martin. It was an exciting set of boards, and I think we gave as good as we got.

Board 2
NS vul
East deal
♠ A Q J x x x x
♥ x
♦ Q J x
♣ A x
♠ x
♥ A Q T x x x x
♦ A x
♣ J x x
♠ x
♥ J x x
♦ x x x x
♣ K Q T x x
♠ K x x
♥ K x
♦ K T x x
♣ 9 x x x

After two passes it came round to me sitting West. I would normally open this hand 1♥, but being third-in-hand I decided to mix things up with an immediate 4♥ bid. North bid a prompt 4♠, which I thought would probably end the auction. However, Anna chipped in with a 5♥ sacrifice, South weighed in with 5♠ and it was back round to me. I remember reading somewhere that if you choose to pre-empt with a good hand you should be prepared to double later on. I didn't really want to double 5♠ but with my two Aces felt I ought to give it a go.

Against 5♠x Anna led a Heart, and I was surprised when my ♥Q held the trick - Anna must have supported with only three Hearts. I was slightly worried about dummy's Diamonds so switched to a Club. Declarer took the ♣A, drew trumps in just one round then played on Diamonds. I snapped up the ♦A and we got our Club trick, for one down. "Great defence partner!" Anna said, with her eyes, while actually writing the score down silently.

That ought to have been a good board for us as 5♥ goes down as long as the defence find a Diamond switch. However, when Christine was declarer in 5♥ it went down when she gambled on North having a singleton ♥K so lost a trump trick, and when Heather & David were sitting North-South declarer managed to squeeze home in 5♥. Overall a bad one for Team Rowan then.

On to the next, where I rolled the dice again.

Board 7
All vul
South deal
♠ x x
♥ x x
♦ J T x x x
♣ A K Q x
♠ Q J T x x x x
♥ J x
♦ x x
♣ x x
♠ 9
♥ K Q x x
♦ A Q x x
♣ x x x
♠ A K x
♥ A x x x x
♦ K x
♣ J x x

South opened a weak 1NT (even though it's got 15 points if I've remembered the hand correctly). I had the seven card Spade suit and was planning on opening a weak 2♠, reasoning that the seventh trump made up for the weak hand. Over the 1NT I thought I should still bid, so overcalled 2♦ showing a six card major. North doubled and Anna bid 2♥. This would normally be pass or correct, but after the double I don't know it means. South doubled this and I now got to bid my 2♠, passed out.

There's a certain five losers of the top, so to make it I've just got to get rid of the Diamond loser. I tried to do this by setting up the Hearts but once I realised they were 5-2 it became tricky, so I banked on the certain Diamond finesse. This was a 'marked finesse', as by the time I came to finesse South had already shown 12 points, and in the auction North had doubled 2♦ to show Diamonds. I was shocked when the finesse lost. Maybe I miscounted South's points.

I hoped it would still be a good score for us, as the opponents have 25 points between them. North-South can make 3NT if they manage to force a couple of Diamond winners, to go with the other six top tricks, before the defence get into Hearts. 3NT made on Trish & Christine's table (where Team Rowan were defending) and went down on Heather & David's table (where Team Rowan were declaring). So another bad one for the team.

At the half way mark I expect we were quite far down. Tom & Raymond went to chat with their pals from Hamilton, while Anna lingered by the tea and coffee, waiting for me to make here a cup of tea.

Here's one I bodged:

Board 15
NS vul
South deal
♠ Q 6 x
♥ J x
♦ K x
♣ J T x x x x
♠ A K T 9 8 4
♥ x x
♦ x
♣ A Q x x
♠ J 7 x
♥ x x x
♦ A J T x x x
♣ x
♠ x
♥ A K Q x x x
♦ Q x x x
♣ K x

After South opened 1♥ I overcalled 1♠, and North made a very light 2♣ bid. This makes my hand slightly worse with the Club finesse likely to fail, but I felt was strong enough that when Anna supported me with 2♠ I could bid 3♠. When South bid 4♥ I bid 4♠ without really thinking - it was one of those nights where both sides just seemed to keep bidding.

When dummy came down I was glad Anna was full value for her 2♠, and game looked decent. I planned to get five trump tricks, four Clubs (with three ruffs in dummy) and the ♦A. The only danger was that when the defence got their ♠Q they could play another trump to cut down my ruffs, in which case I'd have to rely on setting up Diamonds. I didn't consider the lucky Club position making the ♣Q a winner.

North lead a Heart and South took the first two tricks and played a third Heart. I ruffed with the ♠T, and North shrewdly threw a Diamond. I started my cross-ruff, and got two Club ruffs in dummy before North took his ♠Q. He played a Club through and I had to ruff high in dummy to stop South over-ruffing. All this ruffing high had weakened my trumps and I ended up with my ♠4 in hand losing to North's ♠6. In fact on this layout once the ♣Q becomes high I don't need so many ruffs so can draw one round of trumps and make it.

I should say I played this hand painfully slowly, and apologised to everyone afterwards. And on the other tables? Christine managed to make 4♠ for Team Rowan in the West seat, and it was also made by the opposition East-West pairs. So due to my bodge another bad one for Team Rowan.

My final board is a big one, where me and Anna got very carried away:

Board 18
NS vul
East deal
♠ Q J T x x
♥ x
♦ Q x x
♣ A x x x
♠ K x
♥ Q x x x x
♦ A K x x x
♣ x
♠ x
♥ A K J x x x
♦ J T x x x
♣ x
♠ A x x x x
♥ x
♦ -
♣ K Q J x x x x

Anna dealt and chose to pass the East cards. I think this was perhaps a mistake, as it caused her to bid like mad later on to 'catch up'. South opened his freak hand 1♣ and I overcalled 1♥. Although I could have bid 2NT to show a two-suiter we only do this for weak or strong hands, so with my middling hand I have to bid twice (if possible). North bid 1♠, Anna came in with 4♥, and South bid 4♠. I could have passed this, but was determined to show my second suit and maybe direct the lead so bid a natural 5♦.

Things took off now, and we bid the double fit all the way up to 7♥. No one knew who was sacrificing and who was bidding to make. I wanted to double 6♠ to stop Anna bidding on as I thought we could beat it, but was worried if I doubled my ♠K would get finessed. Anna did go on and pull out 7♥, and it was up to North to end the madness by doubling.

Once the defence took their two tricks against 7♥x my main concern was whether or not they could have made 6♠. Unfortunately, when I drew trumps the Hearts were 1-1, meaning in defence of 6♠ we would have got one Spade and one Heart (but no Diamonds).

7♥x-3 cost us 500 points, which was bad considering they were going down in 6♠, but a good sacrifice against their 4♠ game.

On the other tables Trish & Christine sitting East-West defended 6♠x-1 for +100 and David & Heather sitting North-South judged very well to defend 6♥-2 and also collect +100, so overall I think the other pairs saved us. There was of course also a fourth table for Team Rowan featuring Tom & Raymond, but they remain tight lipped about their adventures.

Overall it was regrettably a big loss for Team Rowan, and I fear we are still without a win in Division One.


  1. I would have opened four hearts with Anna's hand. However her actions were reasonable.

  2. I assume you were actually sitting West on the first board as well? I'm not sure I agree with the double of 5S, Anna's 5H bid probably implies little defence against spades, so you're not completely confident it's going off, and it's got to be very unlikely that you can take 500 (probably about as unlikely as that you're conceding 1050). So basically you're betting that this isn't making more than 1/3 of the time (200 vs 100 or 620 vs 850), and also giving away some info to declarer.

    If Anna had the heart king, and declarer the club king then 5S would be completely cold.

  3. Yes I was West, I've updated it now. It was indeed a dodgy double, but I felt obliged.