Monday, December 12, 2016

Bridge Blog 926: Normalcy

Back to normal Monday after all those double sessions during STaC Week and it was a relief to be able to have lunch after the game and not have to race home and walk into work later that I oughta.
What’s more, partner Barbara Sadkin and I had one of our better days. As an unusually large number of scoring mistakes were ironed out after the game ended, our score and our winnings kept rising.
First we were 54.55%, third in the A strat, fifth in A overall, earning 0.66 of a point. Then we nipped up to 57.52%, still third in the A strat in our direction, but better overall, earning 0.83 of a point. And finally we rose to 58.12%, still third in A in our direction, but through the miracle of stratification, we were second in an expanded B strat, earning 1.06 point.
High point of the day came early, in the very first round, when we got our first and only absolute top board. Barbara, with a flat hand and 13 high card points, opened a Club. Holding five in that suit, I raised it to 2 Clubs. West, void in Clubs, doubled. Barbara then went 2 Spades, but that would be a four-card suit. Having only two Spades, I took it back to 3 Clubs. East, who had five Clubs headed by the Ace-King, doubled.
The hand record notes that this deal should make 3 Clubs. Barbara got an overtrick, thanks (I guess) to an over-ruff. It was plus 570. Second best at two other tables was a 2 Club bid doubled and making just two for plus 180. One East player won the bid at 2 Clubs and went down three. A South took the bid at 1 No Trump and made an overtrick. Best East-West score came from West winning the bid at 3 Diamonds and making it. Here are the hands:

North (Barbara)
Spades: A-K-9-4; Hearts: K-Q-2; Diamonds 10-7-4; Clubs: J-8-7.

South (me)
Spades: Q-7; Hearts: 6-4-3; Diamonds: A-6-2; Clubs: Q-10-9-5-3.

Spades: 6-5-2; Hearts: 10-7-5; Diamonds: K-Q; Clubs: A-K-6-4-2.

Spades: J-10-8-3; Hearts: A-J-9-8; Diamonds: J-9-8-5-3; Clubs: none.

Second-best effort came three rounds later – a 3 No Trump contract where I made three overtricks. That plus 490 tied for a top board. According to the hand record, North should make 6 NT, 6 Hearts or 6 Clubs, but South can only make a 3-bid in each of those suits.
I don’t see why South shouldn’t make it. Against No Trump, West does the natural thing and leads a Spade, I capture East’s singleton King with the Ace, take a marked Spade finesse for four Spade tricks to go with four Heart Tricks and four Club tricks. I save the Diamond loser for last.
A Diamond lead keeps South from making more than 3 NT, but since our bidding went 1 Diamond-3 NT, East didn’t drop a hint about holding the Ace of Diamonds.  Here’s the hand. North is dealer.

South (me)
Spades: A-Q-2; Hearts: A-Q-10; Diamonds: 7-4-3; Clubs: Q-J-4-2.

North (Barbara)
Spades: J-9-6-4; Hearts: K-9-6-3; Diamonds: K-9-8; Clubs: A-K.

Spades: 10-8-7-5-3; Hearts: J-4; Diamonds: Q-6-2; Clubs: 10-5-3.

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

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