Now the ANC is over – part four

August 21, 2008 at 2:22 am Leave a comment

Open Interstate 1st round robin Victoria vs NSW continued.

Board 11 Gumby and Lazer judged well to defend 3 against us while Gold-Sarten in the other room played 3. With both contracts failing that was 4 IMPs away.

Board 12 I picked up:


and partner opend 1, played strong NT and 4 card majors. Our partnership’s philosophy on bidding is not to make bids which are likely to be more useful to the opposition than to our side. I bid 2NT showing 11-15 balanced and partner raised to 3NT. Lazer thought for a while and led the 10 which went to the queen from his partner. He’d led from K10x. With dummy to look at it was evidently a real coup as it presented the ninth trick and as you can see club leads from the start would beat the contract:



Again it looked like another swing hand – in the other room West would be opening 1 or, if 1NT then the hand with the presumably obvious club lead would be kicking off for the defence. It was another hand we put in the ‘likely to be pick up category’ but alas, this was the whole layout:

AJ103 Box Q5
A53 Q1062
8765 AJ943

With clubs 7-2 and no entry to them, 3NT was always making.

A quiet few boards and then another coup – we thought – where system combined with a great psyche by my partner led to surely yet another pick up:

87 Box Q109
KQ7 A2
J643 K95
AK84 Q9765
West North East South
1 Pass 2 Double
3 Pass 3NT All Pass

2 shows 11-15 balanced, no major.
3 said bid 3NT.

After an auction like that, would could Warren do but expect the stopper to be in dummy….he began with a low spade to keep communications with partner and, well, that was the end of that. Gill-Ware played a sensible 3 in the other room and this was almost our only swing of the match and our biggest one: 7 IMPs.

Not that we knew that at the time. Wow, how well were we doing, we thought to ourselves…Surely room for, ahem, the following board:

Board 19
Dlr South
EW Vul

9 Box 654
K43 AQ109
KQ9 AJ53
K107652 A3
West North East South
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2NT Pass
3 Pass 3NT All Pass

2NT was forcing and the message of 3NT next was ‘I am not at all sure that this is the right contract partner’.

In the other room Gill-Ware bid to the making 5 Nye bid 1 over 1 and 2 over 2. The rest was not rocket science. Gill jumped to 4 and Ware corrected to 5.

My first thought on this was that we do what we do and that you can’t have it both ways. The logic of not extending information to the opponents is that you don’t bid 1 over because it is so much more likely it will interest the opponents than partner. The logic of the various other hands where we bid quickly to 3NT and patted ourselves on the back when the opponents did the wrong thing over it was exactly the same as on this hand – it is a simple, straight-forward case of not having one’s cake and eating it.

It is the easiest thing in the world to end up with a dysfunctional system because every time you have an issue in the auction you address it in your system. It is the easiest thing in the world too, to make system alterations without enough data.

There were lots of ways the bidding issues of this hand could have been resolved. I could have decided to raise clubs or even hearts rather than bid 3NT. Simon could have decided to remove 3NT simply on the basis that his hand suggested playing elsewhere opposite a game-forcing hand with doubt about whether 3NT would be right. Ultimately, however, are we not both guessing? If our pointed-suit fits are swapped we should be in 3NT and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

But still, maybe 1 IS the wrong start to the auction. My hand is so good opposite an opening bid that I can afford to give the opponents gratuitous information and it is going to make the hand so much easier to bid if I start with 1.

Is it relevant that South is a dead opponent? That he isn’t going to be seriously preempting the auction on his next bid?

Of course, those in 5 still have to make it. Two declarers went down. Gill in the other room in our match made after a red suit lead. He cashed two clubs and figured which red suit was cashing for the spade discard.

John Zollo did make on spade, spade. I’ll let him tell the story: ‘I played a to the ace and a club off dummy. South split and I won the king. I led a to the queen and ruffed the last . Because North had opened 2 I reckoned that he was less likely to have 4 and I decide to play for hearts to be 3-3 (or for South to have 4 if they were 4-2). I thus played the K and one to the Ace and breathed a sigh of relief. I now played a diamond to my king and one back to the jack and led the 4th to coup South.’ Nicely done.

All in all, an interesting match for us, not least because we misjudged so badly what the final result would be as we were waiting for the score-up. Our teammates may not have had the best set in the world, but some of the things that happened to them could only be expected – they are not a regular partnership, so bidding slams for example, was something they doubtless did best by avoiding altogether. Add to that, for example, the 7-2 club layout which made an exciting pickup (in our minds) a board where our auction generated a mere 2 IMPs, and there really isn’t much at all between the solid win we were hoping for – assessing Board 19 just discussed as our bad board – and the extremely large loss we suffered.


Entry filed under: 2008 ANC. Tags: , , .

Now the ANC is over – part three Upsetting the Chinese. Afterthought on the Shanghai 2007 World Bridge Championships

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