Monday, March 1, 2010

Board 107

Poohbear is falling down on the job.  I mis-scored Board 103, so I'm doing two imps worse than I thought.   I'm down 26 imps going into this board.

Board 107
Neither vulnerable

♠ A 9 8 6 5 4 2 5 ♣ K Q 8 3 2

I open one spade. Partner bids two hearts. I'm not worth a game drive opposite two hearts, so I can't bid three clubs. I bid two spades, and partner bids three notrump. Two notrump would not have been forcing, so three notrump promises no more than game-forcing values.

I suspect this hand will play better in one of my suits than in notrump, so I bid four clubs. Since I have enough shape to remove three notrump but insufficient values to bid three clubs over two hearts, partner should have a fair idea of what my hand looks like.

Partner bids four hearts. This should be a cue-bid in support of clubs, since hearts is out of the picture as a trump suit. What would four spades by me mean at this point? If clubs were firmly agreed, then it would be a cue-bid. But I see no reason to rule out four spades as a possible contract. Whenever four of a major is a possible contract, that bid should be natural and passable. If I were sure Jack agreed with me about this, I would bid four spades.  But I'm afraid he'll take it as a progressive move, so I bid five clubs. Partner raises five clubs to six, and LHO leads the seven of clubs.


NORTH
♠ J
K Q 10 9 7
A K 7 4
♣ A 10 4






SOUTH
♠ A 9 8 6 5 4
2
5
♣ K Q 8 3 2



West North East South
1 ♠
Pass 2 Pass 2 ♠
Pass 3 NT Pass 4 ♣
Pass 4 Pass 5 ♣
Pass 6 ♣ (All pass)


I'm not sure I agree with partner's judgment.  He more high cards than he needed for his three notrump bid, but they're not worth much opposite a black two-suiter.  And the singleton spade is a liability with only three trumps. At least the trump lead suggests trumps are breaking. I have essentially two approaches to consider: (A) set up spades or (B) set up hearts.

Let's look at (A) first. Suppose I rise with the club ace, cash diamonds, pitching my heart, then play ace and ruff a spade. If two honors have fallen, I'm home (on the assumption that trumps are breaking). I play a club back to my hand, draw the last trump, and concede a spade trick. If two honors haven't fallen, I need three-three spades. Either I can draw trumps and concede a spade, or I can try to ruff spades out and make seven. (No need to worry about the details at this point.)

How about line (B)? I have five clubs, two diamonds, and one spade. If I go after hearts, I need four heart tricks or three heart tricks plus a spade ruff in dummy. Suppose I win the club in my hand and play a heart. Let's say I get lucky. West plays low, I insert the nine, and it forces the ace. East now shifts to a diamond, killing my entry to the hearts. With my diamond entry gone, I can no longer manage three heart tricks and a spade ruff. I need four heart tricks. So it's not good enough to find the jack of hearts onside.  I need to find jack third of hearts onside. Line (B) is clearly not an improvement over line (A).

I rise with the club ace and lead the jack of spades--three--ace--deuce. If the opponents are giving honest count, I rate to make this. I play the four of spades--seven--four of clubs--ten. On the ace of diamonds East plays the three; West, the deuce. On the king of diamonds East plays the eight, I pitch my heart, and West plays the six.

Now what? Suppose I ruff to my hand, ruff a spade, ruff back to my hand, and draw trumps. I'm now out of clubs. If spades weren't three-three, I'm down. In fact, I'm down two, because I've lost control. Suppose, instead of ruffing another spade, I just draw trumps and concede a spade. If spades are three-three, I make six. If they aren't, I still have two trumps in my hand. They win one spade and tap me. I drive the other spade and claim. Down only one.

So my choices are: draw trumps and play a spade (either making six or going down one) or ruff another spade in dummy (either making seven or going down two). There is more likely to be an IMP difference between down one and down two than there is between making six and making seven. That, combined with the risk that I will be overruffed returning to my hand, prompts me to adopt the first line. I play the ten of clubs. East pitches the nine of diamonds. That's not fair. West led a trump from jack-nine forth? Spades are indeed three-three, but with trumps not breaking I'm down two after all.


NORTH
♠ J
K Q 10 9 7
A K 7 4
♣ A 10 4


WEST
♠ K 7 2
8 5 3
Q 6 2
♣ J 9 7 6


EAST
♠ Q 10 3
A J 6 4
J 10 9 8 3
♣ 5


SOUTH
♠ A 9 8 6 5 4
2
5
♣ K Q 8 3 2



At the other table, my hand passes in first seat, which seems downright weird to me. North opens one heart, and South bids one spade. North makes a gross overbid of three diamonds. (This is actually a good hand for playing weak notrumps. You can open one heart, retaining the option of treating this hand as a strong notrump if partner bids one spade.) South, discouraged by the misfit, bids three notrump, which North passes.

West leads the six of clubs. This picks up the club suit, giving declarer nine easy tricks. The defense then gets tangled up in the end position, giving declarer a tenth trick. Making four and putting an end to our rout.

Me: -50
Jack: +430

Score on Board 107: -10 IMPs
Total: -36 IMPs

4 comments:

  1. So bidding 4S over 4H would have worked - Jack could have either passed or bid 5C, which you would surely have passed.

    Also, don't you find it weird that Jack bid 4H over 4C rather than 4D? I find it weird that it didn't bid 3D over 2S as well; it has a very good hand with slam prospects in two suits, yet it never bids one of them.

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  2. At your suggestion, I replayed it to see what Jack would do over four spades. He bid six notrump. Who knows what he thought four spades showed?

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  3. Somehow you weren't published in Australia

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  4. Strange. Accordingly to Google Analytics, I have seven visits from Australia: four from Brisbane, two from Sydney, and one from Melbourne. The latest visit was from Brisbane on March 5. You weren't using Cablevision as your provider, were you? Maybe Disney was blacking me out, too.

    ReplyDelete