Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bridge Blog 621: Doubled up

Ever notice how certain things always seem to happen in every game? I mean, for a while now, I feel like I’m destined to register a minus 800 score on a hand before the day is done. That happened again today, Wednesday, at the Airport Bridge Club in a totally inappropriate sacrifice where I bid 2 Spades and was doubled on a hand where the opposing pair routinely made 3 Spades. Yes, I was down four. And yes, it was far and away an absolute bottom board.
But now a more satisfying phenomenon has begun to pop up – the doubled contract that I succeed in making. This one happened on the very first hand of the day Wednesday against Dave Donaldson, sitting East, and Mike Silverman, who is West. Board 21. I’m the dealer, sitting North, and we’re vulnerable, East-West is not.

Spades: 4; Hearts: None
Diamonds: A-Q-10-9-5-4; Clubs: A-7-6-4-3-2

This hand screams for some sort of high-drama bid, but I’m reluctant to pre-empt, so I just open 1 Diamond. Dave passes and Wednesday partner Celine Murray bids a Heart. Mike chimes in with a Spade, I bid 2 Diamonds, Dave goes to 2 Spades, Celine bids 3 Hearts and Mike jumps to 4 Spades. My hand is worthless if we play in Spades. Maybe Celine has the Clubs instead, so OK, 5 Clubs. Celine corrects to 5 Diamonds and Mike doubles. Dave leads a Spade and I suppress a smile as Celine lays down this hand:

Spades: 8-2; Hearts: K-9-8-7-4-3
Diamonds: K-J-8-3-2; Clubs: None.

Mike captures the trick and there’s no lead he can make that I can’t take. I draw trumps in one round and cross-ruff my way to an overtrick. Plus 950. But, everyone at the table wonders, won’t somebody bid and make the slam? Or wouldn’t it be better to sacrifice at 6 Spades? I check the traveling score slips later for the answer, but first here are the other two hands:

Spades: A-J-10-7-3; Hearts: 6-5-2
Diamonds: 6; Clubs: 10-9-8-5

Spades: K-Q-9-6-5; Hearts: A-Q-J-10
Diamonds: 7; Clubs: K-Q-J

It turns out to be a top board. One other North-South matches it. Nobody bids the slam. At every other table, East-West plays it in Spades – 4 Spades, down 2; 5 Spades, down 3; 5 Spades, down 4; and 6 Spades doubled, down 4. (John Ziemer tells me Saturday that he bid the 6 Diamond slam on this hand, which would have yielded a score of 1370, but this is where the opponents went to 6 Spades.)
I give Dave and Mike a top board on the next hand by trying for the slam we should have made on this one. Celine opens and I have three Aces and 17 high card points, but we only have seven trumps between us and it goes down two. In the end, we’re second in B in our direction with a 48.75% game, earning 0.50 of a master point. Total for December now is 20.80.

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