Tuesday, 6 April 2021

SOL3: Faben vs BShenkin

I was a bit worried about this match, as it was an 8pm start and I don't like playing too late. I also had an icepack on my knee. In the end, neither of those things affected me, and I think John and I had quite a good game. At least, until we went through the hands afterwards and I realised I'd made a few more mistakes than I thought.

The first half was mostly decided by this big board:

I overcalled 1NT with 2♦, showing a six card major. With a seven card suit I could have made a direct 3♥ bid, but decided the hand was too flat. After that things took off. I passed when John bid 5♣, though I was anxious with my extra Heart that 5♥ might play better, and even that John might expect me to correct without support. When it came back to me in 5♦x I was happy to pass, as I have two good defensive cards.

John lead the A♣, and dummy came down. It's a great dummy for declarer, but that is not too unexpected on the auction. Even though declarer got the Diamonds wrong and finessed into my doubleton that was still 5♦x= for -550.

Doubling their making game is never a great score, but we hand't necessarily done too badly. If we bid on with 5♥ say, that goes two off doubled vulnerable for about the same score. And East-West could in theory make 12 tricks in Diamonds or Spades.

On the other table they did get to 6♠, played by West. On discovering all of South's hearts our declarer also finessed Diamonds, so went one off, for a 12 IMP loss.

After 12 boards then we were 10-26 down.

In the second half things started well, as John made a tricky 3NT (repeated at the other table) and we twice caught the opponents overbidding and doubled them. Even better, I made 3♦x. A small hiccup when I played 6♠-1 (but went off two at the other table) then we went down in 1♣ with 20 points, but overall we were well up.

This was the final board:

I thought about overcalling 1♥, thought about doubling the artificial 2♥, but passed twice. This was maybe correct, as with a Heart lead declarer can't fail in 3NT. By keeping quiet there was a chance we could find the killing defence of a Spade across to my Ace then the Queen of Hearts back. It would have been a thing of beauty.

John did his bit, beginning with the ♠Q. Kt was after 11 pm by now and I confess I didn't even consider winning and switching to Hearts. I thought that John couldn't have the ♥AK so there was no chance of setting the suit up. Instead I dreamed up some layouts where we could still beat it with Spade tricks (John leading ♠Q from KQxxx for attitude, declarer having a singleton Club), and ducked the first Spade. After that it was all over, and declarer made 3NT+3.

On the other table after Heart interference they stopped in 4♣+2, so that was 11 IMPs away.

Overall we won the second half 41-28 for an overall loss by just 3 IMPs. That translates to 9.25 Victory Points. A missed opportunity.

A final thing to note, and I mentioned this at the time but no one was interested, I played five contracts where the trumps split 3-0 or 4-0.

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