This afternoon, we had a 62.14% game and a section top. Could we do it again?
Well, sort of. Although, we did have a higher score tonight (62.62%), there was one bigger game and we came 2nd in our section. Still, it was a great showing and we are sitting 3rd in the event.
I'll put in a few hands from both the afternoon and evening sessions.
In the afternoon, I sat South and Jonathan sat North. Here is the first board out of the box:
The bidding went:
My first double as South was for takeout. At Jonathan's second turn, he had a close decision (in my view) between doubling for penalties and trying for a club slam (clearly, his hand is golden, and I will usually have 4 clubs for my double). He chose to double for penalties, and we collected +1100 for 96.5 of 103 matchpoints.
We went for the throat here:
With only the opponents vulnerable, Jonathan after some thought decided to take his chances defending 3Sx. As you can see, best defense holds declarer to 6 tricks for +800, but I switched to a heart at trick two after cashing the sA to try to ensure +500, which was clearly be a great score (in fact, 98 matchpoints).
I love when people redouble. When you have the right hand for it, you can really push them around. Here's a case in point:
The opponents failed to find their spade fit and even allowed me an overtrick in 3D for 86 out of 103 matchpoints. A strong argument for just bidding 1S with the East cards.
Two hands from tonight where Jonathan did well (we were East-West):
It looks pretty normal to bid at Jonathan's first turn, but he applied an excellent rule (especially when the opponents are vulnerable), that I'll share with you: when you have length in the opponent's suit, it is relatively safe to pass. The reason is that if partner is short in their suit, he tends to reopen, and then on this hand, you can happily jump to 3D to show your values. If partner is not short in clubs, the opponents do not have a fit, and defending is not so bad. So it proved here, as we collected +200 without breathing hard for 93 matchpoints.
Again, it looks pretty normal at red/white vulnerability to convert my double to 3NT, but after some thought Jonathan decided to pass! This was a big position at these colours, and I would not do it, but Jonathan had the vig that +300 or +500 would be good enough if 3NT did not make. (Certainly at IMPs, passing seems good as +500 vs +600 is no big deal). In any case, I didn't find the best lead of a trump (+1100), but on a heart lead, we took enough tricks anyway for +800 and 98.5 matchpoints.
OK, the answers to yesterday's lead problems:
The answer to the first problem, where you hold
is to lead a heart. If the opening lead is going to matter at all, LHO will have running or near-running diamonds (if partner has diamonds nutted this contract won't make). Partner is definitely not doubling on the sA (he probably has a whack of them to bid 5S and doesn't expect necessarily even 1 spade to cash). Therefore, if the lead matters at all, a heart must be the right lead (unless partner is ruffing diamonds and has a side ace -- but in that case you should bid 6M to make!!). And so it proves: a heart is +100 and a win in the match, while anything else is -1090 and lose.
The answer to the second problem, where you hold
against 6S, is a little more complex. The opponents have not used Blackwood, so there is no reason to think they aren't off an ace here. If so, your goal is to cash partner's ace before it goes away. Alternatively, it may be necessary to lead a club to set up a club trick before your sK is dislodged. I think a diamond lead is clearly percentage, as RHO must have a club control to bid this way, and he's more likely to have upgraded a hand with little or no diamond wastage if the slam bid is pushy. In addition, if you guess the wrong minor, you are far more likely to survive a diamond lead than a club lead. If you catch declarer with AKJ of clubs, he is very likely to be able to discard dummy's diamond, whereas if you catch him with AQ or even AQJ of diamonds, as long as partner has the dT you may get in with your sK in time to switch to clubs. This board would have put us comfortably in the overalls in the Open Pairs. Oh well.