Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bridge Blog 901-A: Fault Lines

Shoulda done better than 48.76% Friday in St. Catharines, Ont., with Selina Volpatti. Where did we go wrong?
Well, here we’re in the A strat. Top seven pairs win master points. To finish seventh, we need better than 53.05%, another 20 match points. On my score sheet, I marked only two hands where we underachieved, but clearly there’s more than that.
Board 4. Bid and made 2 Spades, but shouldn’t I get an overtrick? Not so, say the hand records. Should be down one, despite the eight-card fit. Got 7 match points. A couple Norths make 3 Spades, 11.5 match points. Best outcome, however, is if East-West overcalls 3 Diamonds, down two vulnerable, but they don’t.
Board 14. Selina’s a trick short on a 2 Heart contract. Hand record says it makes 2 Hearts, but nobody does. They all go down. We get 10 match points. Our shortcomings are elsewhere, like those three bottom or near-bottom boards.  
Like Board 17 against two top players, Brian Macartney and George Morrissey. In a competitive auction, Selina winds up playing 4 Spades, down two, only 0.5 of a match point. Hand record says down one. It’s only a seven-card fit. Best (and most common) bid is 3 Diamonds. Nine-card fit, taking 11 tricks, for 13.5 match points. Should I have persevered with my five-card Diamond suit despite only 7 high card points? Or should partner bid 3 Diamonds? Or did Brian and George go 3 Hearts before she could bid 3 Diamonds and I supported Spades? Yes, that was it. Doubling 3 Hearts (it makes only 1 Heart) would be a top board. Undoubled it’s worth 6 match points. They bamboozled us in the bidding.
Board 24. Our only absolute bottom – down four on my impulsive bid of 4 Clubs, doubled (not vulnerable, thankfully) by Ed Hills and George Vaccaro, the East-West winners. Hand record says down three. Why didn’t I let them play it at 3 Diamonds? They make it, but that’s 11 match points for us. Even if they get an overtrick, as several do, we’d get 7 match points.
Board 25. Against Pat Reading and Malcolm Ross, I double Malcolm at 5 Spades vulnerable and he nails it. Hand record says he ought to. Hey, I have Ace-King of Diamonds and the Ace of Hearts (partner has the King). Down two, right? But they have singletons in each of the red suits and our black cards are worthless. The only North-South that does worse takes the bid at 5 Hearts doubled vulnerable. Down five. As it turns out, five of the 16 East-Wests who play it in Spades take only 10 tricks and one of them takes only nine. Not doubling? Not much better – just 3.5 match points.

Turn around those four hands and we’d have our 20 match points. And a few more. We’d be fourth North-South, not 11th. For hand records, click this link and see the results calendar for the afternoon of Aug. 12. 

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