06 December 2010

Never any trumps

The session I played a couple of nights ago was filled with no trump contracts. Not sure what was going on with the dealing machine but finding a major fit was like thinking of an amusing simile on a Monday morning. These are three contracts that felt like hard problems. I failed cleverly on two of them and the other my partner played quite well. Remember you're playing matchpoints so making the contract may not be enough.

One No Trump: In a fit of hideous hoggish contract poaching you open 1NT and get left to play there. The four of clubs is lead to the ten and Ace.

K 6 3
J T 7 6 5
A Q T 4
A J 5
3 2
8 6 3
J 8 7 5 2
Two No Trumps: Another simple auction that doesn't help much, 1NT - 2 - 2 - 2NT. Again a club is led (I think it was the 7) you play the nine 9 covered by the Queen and King. This time you have lots of chances to make and make extras, how best to combine them?
K 7 5 3
A 7 5
J 7
K J 8 6
T 9 8 4
Q T 3 2
A T 9
Three No Trumps: The auction was predictably 1 - 1 - 3 - 3NT and you get the 6 of clubs led to the Jack. Despite my warning about matchpoints this one's going to be a fight to make. If/when you pull a diamond towards the ten South flies and plays another club.

Q 8 3 2
T 5
T 5 4
A K T 7
A K 6
K 7 6 4 3
A K 7 6
One the first one the way to make this is to not try to make it. Whatever the defence attack will be your source of tricks. Not that you've got a convenient exit but a middle diamond works amazingly well. I figured everyone was reasonably balanced given all the passing and not wanting to abandon any tenaces pitched two hearts when they cashed the KQ of clubs. Who doesn't overcall AKQxx? -200

The second hand is a happy one, just about everything works, partner looked like a pro and we got 50% when half the room made +630 (3NT) and the other half -100 (1NT or 2NT). Wait, what?

The third isn't a pleasant hand to play. Many declarers started on hearts which was immediately fatal when AQJ8 offside revealed itself - your spots just aren't good enough. The cleverest declarers worked this one out and I gave a hint in the question; duck a diamond early, cash them (they break), cash the spades (they don't) exiting the last spade to south who started with a 4432 shape and has to give you the K for your ninth (if north has A they will have to lead to your T7 of clubs).

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