Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bridge Blog 923: Howling about Howell

        Carolyn Siracuse and I were sure of it. The cards were stacked against us all during the Saturday afternoon STaC game at the Airport Bridge Club. It was a five-table Howell movement and we were on defense more than what we thought was fair. On 24 boards, we were declarers only five times. We finished with 37.94%, dead last by a large margin.
         Generally, over the course of a game, the law of averages evens things out. You can count on getting about 10 points a hand if you’re sitting in one direction all the time. So let’s do a little review of what happened Saturday afternoon as we went from East-West to North-South and back to the other side of the table again.
         In 24 hands, I had a total of 177 high card points. That’s an average of 7.375. Needless to say, I gave those green Pass cards a workout. Carolyn had the better holdings, but hardly enough to compensate. Her high-point average was 9.46. She took the bid twice. We were outgunned.

I held just five opening hands all afternoon and only on three of them did I win the bid. They were 12 points (3 Spades making 4, average board), 15 points (1 No Trump making 2, a lucky top, Carolyn had a 4-point hand) and 11 points (3 Diamonds making 4, average minus, opponents fixed us by bidding a 3 Club opening preempt and kept us from finding our Spade fit). So there’s the evidence, plain as day. The Howell movement can really turn the game against you. 

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