Monday, 30 March 2015

Glasgow League Division One: Maccabi vs Team Rowan

Our last match of the season and we finally got that famous win, clinching an 8.5-7.5 away victory against an understrength Maccabi team. It's a morale booster that has unfortunately come too late in the season, as we are already relegated. "If only we hadn't suffered all those big losses at the start of the season," a team mate suggested, "We'll know what to do next time".

In my first featured hand a tiny gap in me and Anna's bidding system was cruelly magnified to cause a missed grand slam:

Game all
S deal
♠ K Q
♥ Q J T x
♦ K x x x x x
♣ x
♠ A x
♥ A K x x
♦ A Q T
♣ A Q x x
- 2♦ - 2NT
- 3♣* - 3♥
- 4NT* - 5♥*
- 6♥* - -
- 2♦ - 2NT
- 3♦ - 4♦
- 4NT* - 5♣*
- 7♦ - -

I opened the 23 point South hand 2♣ and Anna replied 2♦, showing 5+ points. I showed a balanced hand then after Stayman showed 4 Hearts. Me and Anna have previously agreed that an artificial 3♠ from her now sets Hearts as trumps, and 4NT is quantitative. However, she didn't remember this or possibly thought I wouldn't remember this so bid 4NT as Blackwood. She was right that I wouldn't remember, as I did indeed take 4NT as Blackwood. At least we are on the same wavelength, having both forgotten our system. In response to Blackwood I have all five keycards. What do you bid with all five? You bid the same as if you had two. So I bid 5♥, showing two or five keycards and no Queen of Trumps. Anna was baffled by this. She didn't realise I was showing five keycards, couldn't believe I only had two and still had a niggling doubt that maybe I was replying to a quantitative 4NT . She settled for safe 6♥. I passed, feeling pretty confident something had gone wrong but not quite able to bid 7♥ myself.

6♥ made all 13 tricks. On the other table for Team Rowan Tom & Raymond bid and made 7♦ with the auction above. With that good score at the break we were about 2000 points up, an unprecedented postimargin

In the second half Maccabi clawed back some points. On our table our opponents Peter and Willy bid all of their available games, and you can't do more than that.

Here's one where I was faced with two tough decisions:

Love All
W deal
♠ x x x
♥ A x
♦ J x
♣ T x x x x x
♠ Q J 9 8 x x
♥ x x
♦ T x x
♣ x x
♠ T
♥ K Q J x
♦ A x x x x
♣ J x
♠ A K x
♥ x x x x
♦ K Q x
♣ A K Q

Anna had the East hand and went for a rather bold 1♦ opening. Peter Cohen sitting South has a balanced 21 count so doubled.

1. What would you now bid as West?

We hadn't discussed what 2♠ by me would have been so I decided that was too risky. I went for 1♠, which I am too light for but have six of them and some Diamond support. North stretched to bid 2♣ and South now bid 3NT.

2. What do you lead against 3NT?

I went for a safe Spade lead, which was no problem for Peter who quickly wrapped up nine tricks. The killing lead is of course a Heart, which kills the entry to dummy before he can unblock the Clubs. That would have been a tremendous lead on this layout.

At the end of the second half we nervously waited for the final table to finish. When the scores were all in we had retained a tiny margin for a famous win!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Glasgow League Division One: St. Mungo vs Team Rowan

Team Rowan have enjoyed a strong second half to the season. We've had some promising results, even though we've still not actually won a game. Last Tuesday we had another shot at glory against the strong St. Mungo team from the Glasgow Bridge Centre. It was another close match, and another narrow loss.

Me and Anna had quite a good game against Les and Shirith. My two featured boards are both about ethics. In this first one, I was accidentally unethical by taking a long time to play a singleton. I was thinking about the whole hand and didn't realise until afterwards how misleading it was for me to take two minutes to play my only remaining Club from hand. Fortunately it didn't matter, as my long pause actually guided the defence and they took my down in a contract I could have made. This was the full deal and auction:

EW Vul
W deal
♠ 6 2
♥ K Q 9 4
♦ K T 2
♣ K 8 7 5
♠ K T 8 4
♥ T 5 2
♦ 7 6
♣ A T 9 6
♠ Q 9 5
♥ A J 6
♦ 9 8 4 3
♣ J 4 3
♠ A J 7 3
♥ 8 7 3
♦ A Q J 5
♣ Q 2

I opened a 12-14 1NT and Anna went via Stayman then invited with 2NT. I had a maximum so bid the game. I;m in trouble on a Spade lead, but since I'd bid them West lead the ♣T. I won this with the ♣Q then lead a Heart, losing to the ♥A. East then returned the ♣J, and that's when I went into my long think, before playing my now singleton ♣2 from hand and also ducking in dummy. If I had of won this trick in dummy I could have actually made the contract, via two Clubs, two Hearts, one Spade and four Diamonds. I could still have made it if the defence continued Clubs, but because East thought I had another Club in hand he switched to a Spade, beating the contract. It was poetic justice for play both poor and unethical.

"You took a long time to play that singleton ♣2" East said afterwards, and I apologised.

At the half way mark the team was only a few hundred points behind. With everything to play for we all had a lemon tea and sat down for the second half.

Things started badly when I conservatively underbid to miss a slam (very unusual). We had a serious of good results, then on the very last deal I faced this ethical dilemma:

None Vul
N deal
♠ J T
♥ J 9
♦ K Q 7 6 5
♣ Q 8 6 2
♠ Q 9 8 3 2
♥ 3
♦ J 8 4 2
♣ 7 5 3
♠ A 6 5
♥ T 8 4 2
♦ A T 9 3
♣ J 9
♠ K 7 4
♥ A K Q 7 6 5
♦ -
♣ A K T 4

I opened 2♣ and Anna replied 2♦, showing 5+ points. I showed my Hearts and Anna jumped to a natural but rather pessimistic 3NT. Undeterred, I pressed on with 4♣. It was the end of a long night and Anna didn't fancy raising Clubs either so bid 4♦, which was some sort of generic cue bid without actually knowing what trumps are. We have quite a lot of those sort of bids in our slam auctions, and at some point should really sort out what our bids mean after 3NT.

At this point, most of the other tables had finished, and were milling around near us. While I was thinking about Anna's 4♦ bid I distinctly overheard someone saying "6♥ makes, because the Ace of Spades is onside". It seemed pretty clear they were talking about this hand. The person I overheard was from the opposition team, if that has any bearing. I asked the group to talk elsewhere, but as they walked away I heard someone else (from our team this time) saying that opener only had 19 points. Surely they were talking about this hand too?

I now strongly suspected slam would make, through some very unauthorised information. I'm not sure what I would have bid otherwise, but knowing what I now did I bid a simple 4♥, leaving it up to Anna. I've probably bid enough anyway. Anna passed, West lead a Spade, the Ace of Spades was indeed onside and I made 12 tricks for 4♥+2.

In the end we lost by 600 points, a decent result against another strong team. Of course if me and Anna had of bid 6♥ (or 6♣) the match would have been won.