Friday, July 12, 2013

Bridge Blog 696: Learning to love defense

It was the kind of game I love, that Wednesday session with the ebullient Judy Kaprove at the Airport Bridge Club. Heavy on offense. We were declarers on 16 of 24 hands and wound up with 59.33%, first overall, for 1.98 points.

Did we win because of our offensive play? Let’s look at percentages. I played seven hands and won 25 match points out of a possible 35, or 71.42%. Judy played eight hands and 27.2 match points out of a possible 40, or 68%. Guess there was nothing wrong with our offense.

The double session with the lovely Dianne Bloom at the Airport Club was quite the opposite. We were on defense all day long, first as North-South, winning the bid on only six of 23 boards, and then as East-West, when we successful bidders 10 of 21 times, although there were at least three hands that we should have left alone.

          Our defense was good enough in the morning session to win us master points, 0.45 red, 0.44 black, with a 47.23% game. On the three hands where I took the bid, we took 14.5 of a possible 21 match points, or 69.04%.

          When the cards continued to frown on us during the afternoon session, I decided to shake things up by getting more aggressive despite my weak hands. The results were not pretty – minus 1,100 points. Twice. Add another three bottom boards and it’s no surprise that we finished at 39.13%, dead last among the East-Wests, but fortunately not last overall.  

          Thus chastened, I was determined to accept my fate if the cards dictated defense on Friday with Selina Volpatti at the Bridge Centre of Niagara over in St. Catharines, Ont. Sure enough, that’s what they did on 15 of the 26 boards we played.

          Destined to play defense, we played it pretty solidly, setting our opponents eight times. A couple of those times they were doubled. Out of a possible 180 match points in our 15 defensive hands, we collected 125.5, or 69.72%. If only our offensive play was up to that level. Nevertheless, it was our best game yet in St. Catharines. We wound up at 61.06% overall, second in the A strat, first in B, winning 0.91 of a master point.

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