Friday, April 8, 2011

Bridge Blog 403: I'd rather be lucky

          Marilyn Sultz and I were overall winners Wednesday at the Airport Bridge Club, but we didn’t do it alone. We had some help from our opponents and nowhere was it more appreciated than on this hand:
Board 14.
          It comes up in the middle of the match. I’m North and Marilyn is South. I can’t locate my score sheet at the moment, but I believe our opponents were Mike Kisiel (East) and Paul Ganley (West). Nobody’s vulnerable. East is dealer. Mike passes. Marilyn bids 1 Diamond. Paul passes. I’ve got this hand:

          Spades: K-J-8; Hearts: 7-2; Diamonds: Q-8; Clubs: A-10-8-7-4-2.

          Can’t bid a major suit. Can’t bid 2 Diamonds with just two-card support. But I have 10 high card points and a six-card suit, which I figure I should show. 2 Clubs. Marilyn rebids her Diamonds. OK, she’s got six of them. Paul passes and so do I. But Mike, after passing twice, steps in with a 2 Spade bid. I don’t recall if Marilyn passes or bids 3 Hearts, but Paul chimes in at 3 Spades and I start seeing my hand in a new light. Marilyn has the red suits covered, maybe, and I sort of control the black suits. 3 No Trump. I figure Mike is going to lead me a Spade, which would be ideal, but he leads a low Heart instead. Here’s Marilyn’s hand:

          Spades: Q-4; Hearts: A-J-10-8-3; Diamonds: K-J-10-6-5-4; Clubs: none.

          I play the Jack from the dummy and West’s Queen wins. He returns a Spade, which I duck and East ducks, allowing the Dummy’s Queen to take it. I lead a low Diamond from Dummy, winning with the Queen in my hand and returning a Diamond, winning with the Jack. A third Diamond drives out the Ace and now I can run the dummy’s long Diamonds. Or can I? West sends back a Spade, won by East’s Ace, but now I’ve got him. I can win any return, get to the dummy with Ace of Hearts, take three more Diamonds, lose a Heart and get my ninth trick when they lead a Club. At that point, Mike has a belated realization. They could beat me, he tells Paul, if only one of them had led a Club earlier. Here are the other hands:

          Spades: A-9-7-6-3; Hearts: K-9-5; Diamonds: 9-7; Clubs: Q-J-9.

          Spades: 10-5-2; Hearts: Q-6-4; Diamonds: A-3-2; Clubs: K-6-5-3.

          It was a top board for us – plus 400. Nobody else bid game. Second best was a 2 Heart bid that made two overtricks (plus 170), followed by 2 Hearts making one overtrick (plus 140), a pair of 3 Diamond bids, both making an overtrick (plus 130), a pass-out (zero) and someone going down one at 3 Hearts (minus 50).

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