Sunday, 20 November 2016

Aggregate at St Andrew

Having not played for a while I've a few games coming up. Tonight was a practice match with John Faben at St Andrew, practice for him as he has a match in the National League tonight. We were therefore playing the system that he'll be using, which was unfamiliar to both of us. 5 card majors, 14-16 NT and 2/1 game forcing, and plenty of other things I highlighted on the Convention Card (Ghestem, Drury, Bergen Raises, DONT).

As tends to always happen, not much of it came up, but I was ready when it did. On the third board I had a two-suited hand, and was determined to get the right bid. Playing Ghestem you can bid all the different two suiters. Here's the options when the opponents have opened 1♣:

2NTThe lower two remaining suits (Diamonds and Hearts)
A cuebid (2♣) The lowest and highest remaining suits (Diamonds and Spades)
A jump in s minor (2♦) The other two suits (Hearts and Spades)

I was dealt Diamonds and Spades. South had just asked me a friendly question, but I had to say "hold on" and think for a bit about my bid first, before correctly choosing 2♣. I was delighted when John alerted this as Diamonds and Spades. This was the full deal:


John then raised me to 3♦, but we were outbid and the opponents stopped in a good spot of 4♣, making with an overtrick. I might have tried 3NT as North, which fails when the Clubs don't split.

There were only three tables at the event, mostly made up of Raymond's and students from his class. It was a friendly atmosphere and no one was too worried about the scores. But one pair afterwards were delighted when they bid and made a slam no one else did. This was our auction to 6♠:


John opened 1♠ and a replied 2NT with a game forcing raise in Spades. After that the bidding was mostly natural, as we trundled towards 6♠ (I tried to stop in 4♠ but John kept going). It was a good contract, but doomed when the defence accurately found the Diamond singleton lead and return. In aggregate scoring this was expensive, 6♠-1 when the other tables were making 6♠ or 4♠.

But never mind the points, my personal highlight was when I did something clever when against a 1NT contract. As a defender I was cashing my long Clubs and had enough to get the defence up to six tricks, leaving one card left for everybody. I was fairly sure that my partner had winners in both the Majors, but was worried that when he got down to the final card he wouldn't know which winner to keep. So rather than cashing my last Club winner (and giving John a long pause and awkward discard) I played a Heart across to partner at Trick 12, and John was able to cash the last two tricks. I've thought of doing this before but not been bold enough to do it.

Overall it was a fun night at the Club, and I hope John is now ready for the National League tonight!

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