23 September 2011

69 for the win

Playing the last session of a long running pairs event we needed to score 69% to beat an absent but leading pair and beat another playing pair by 6%. A tough ask but not impossible, we'd score high 60s in this event a few times before. Here are some hands from the attempt:

Vul: All
Dealer: East
K Q 5 3
J 5 4 2
A J T 7 4
9 4
A K Q 9 4 3 2
T 7
9 2
A 7 6 2
J 8 7
K 9 8 6 3
J T 8
T 6 5
K Q 8 6 5

Partner, East, passed and South opened a weak 1NT. I like passing this sort of hand hoping to secure +300 against 3NT so pass I did. North bid Stayman and South denied a major. I started salivating thinking of the match points we were getting for +300 but the auction stopped right there!

Not only that when we didn't defend perfectly (did you imagine that dummy when you led?) it made for -90. Still we weren't -1370 like some poor sods so we got 58% for going minus. Problem is when you need 69% getting less than 60 on a board is a drag.

The next board is a strong contender for the worst auction of the night but for 92% of the MPs I'm not complaining...

Vul: All
Dealer: South
K 6
A K 4
Q 7 2
K T 9 3 2
T 8 5
T 8 6 3
A Q J 4
J 7
Q J 9 7 5 2
A 9 4 3
A Q 9 4 3 2
J 8 6 5
7 6 5

2 Pass 2NT 3
X 4 4 5
5 X End

The weak two could have been 5 card but the double on the second round showed a 6-card max. None of the rest of the bidding makes any sense to me. The play wasn't much better, figuring they had no tricks I led a trump allowing declarer to pitch two clubs, draw trumps and end play me with my annoying diamond holding. Down one.

The real disaster of the night came when we bid a pushy 3NT (as you do when you need a score right?) and caught a well judged double:

Vul: All
Dealer: North
A Q T 9 5
J 7 4
A 7 2
T 4
8 6 3
Q 9 5
6 4 3
8 7 3 2
K J 4 2
K T 6
T 4
A K J 5
A 8 3 2
K Q J 9 8
Q 9 6

I was North now and had opened spades. East worked out his hand was gold and swung the Axe. My partner actually played quite well for down only one and 3%.

We certainly got lucky overall. Twice we played in 3NT with a major fit and twice it was right. On one hand it was simply a case of the same tricks being available in both contracts but on this hand:

Vul: All
Dealer: North
K Q 4 2
K 4
Q J 7 6 3
9 3
J 9 7 5
Q J 9 6
9 4
A K 5
T 8 7 3
T 8 5 2
6 5 4 3
A T 8 3
A 5 3
Q J T 7

Those who found the major suit were in trouble. No matter how well you play you can't do better than 10 tricks. In no trumps however you can afford to run the diamonds before touching spades and. West who'd led a heart got a little uncomfortable having to make three discards and 11 tricks were suddenly possible.

All up we managed 90% or better on 11 out of 26 boards but the 3NT doubled along with a couple in the 20s held us to 67%. Worse, the playing pair we needed to crush scored 66% so we wound up third in the event. 67% has never felt so bad.


  1. On the second board, I think that your partner did well to bid 3H although he should normally be stronger for that action. North should have doubled 4H. When he didn't and based on your partner's 3H, I think it was reasonable to lead trumps.

    The 92% makes sense -- without the 3H bid, they should have ended up in 3NT, making. 4S makes unless the defenders find the rather brilliant minor suit lead from AQJ or Kx.

  2. Yes I support the 3H bid though at the time I was a little concerned. It's almost impossible to get doubled in 3 or 4 hearts when they've announced close to game values and a spade fit.

    I wondered if my partner might have bid 5D rather than 5H in search of a lead but I think most would agree that would require better diamonds.