Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bridge Blog 723: Niagara Falls Regional, Part V

It wasn’t great success that distinguished the final day of the Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional Tournament for our little B strat team. It was a bizarre round involving the pair from Saturday’s incorrect score incident (see Blog 722), a round that resulted in director calls so complicated that we might as well have pulled up a chair for one of them and let them keep watch on us full-time.

It began on the first hand of the round. Partner Eva Schmidt, midway through playing out an iffy 3 Diamond contract, led a Heart and ruffed it in the dummy. The woman in the opposing pair – Susan, the guy called her – overruffed with the 10 of Diamonds. Then, a few cards later, she played not one Heart, but two of them.

Her partner called her on it and, after play finished on the hand, called for a director. Susan, meanwhile, folded up her cards. The other three hands were intact, though, and after a second director joined the deliberations, we sorted out which tricks belonged to whom and wound up with an overtrick.

But it didn’t end there. A couple hands later, after Eva dropped a Pass card before Susan, as declarer, could make her lead-off bid, we got into a bidding snafu in which I played a major role.

We all decided to ignore Eva’s out-of-turn bid and Susan opened 1 No Trump. Eva passed. The partner, sitting North, bid 2 Diamonds for a transfer to Hearts. I’m holding four Aces (no Kings, Queens or Jacks) and five Diamonds in a 5-3-3-2 hand. I feel that I’m obliged to bid something, but what?

Doubling would either be regarded as lead-directing or imply that I had cards in the major suits, where I was 3-2. (Belated thought: I could follow up a double by bidding Diamonds on the next round, couldn’t I?) I also thought of bidding 2 No Trump, but with an Aces and spaces hand and us being vulnerable? Forget it. I wanted Diamonds, that was it. So I bid three Diamonds, which still looked like a cue bid.

Susan asked Eva what my 3 Diamond bid meant. Eva said she didn’t know, but thought I was asking for major suits. Susan unhappily bid 3 Hearts, passed all around, and called for a director. We got two directors again, to whom I expressed a little of my perplexity. Susan said she wouldn’t have bid 3 Hearts if she knew what that 3 Diamond bid really meant.

The directors considered the whole thing highly suspicious and stuck around to see how the hand played out. I took tricks with all four of the Aces and Eva had the King of Clubs. Down one. The directors asked Susan if she would rather have played it at 3 No Trump. Still down one. A minus 50 score either way.

At our teammates’ table, the bidding also began with 1 NT and a 2 Diamond bid transferring to Hearts. The other East player did not feel compelled to say something, despite those four Aces. Usha and Joe Miranda stopped at 2 Hearts, bid and made.

All those director calls delayed us considerably. We still had two hands to play when the end of the round was announced. Those two unplayed boards? Wouldn’t count. Zeros for both teams.

That was our first victory of the day – 22 International Match Points to zero. Unfortunately, we added only one more win after that and it took until the final round to get it. Our victory point count was 85. To earn gold, we needed at least 125. We needed to be like Bob and Judy Kaprove, who won their first four rounds and picked up a fifth win later to score 129 victory points and finish eighth in the B strat. Our consolation prize – 0.31 of a red point for each of our winning rounds.

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