Archive for October, 2008

Spring National Seniors Final

In the Richman-Gumby final, it was one calamitous set which really settled matters. 94-3 over 16 boards. Ouch.

However badly you might play to end up with that score-line, there has got to be some bad luck in there too. Like this hand:

S A2
H 76542
D K53
S J103
D A762
C Q42

How should you play 4H as West on D4 opening lead?

Supposing diamonds are 3-3 you are about gin if LHO has the king of hearts. If RHO opponent has it, you have to worry about the spade through before you set up diamonds. Bobby began with 3 rounds of diamonds and the defence then shifted to the wrong black suit.

Now he wanted to safety play hearts in case of bare king and played a heart to the eight. A spade back would still have given him a problem. He is cold, after all, by cashing a heart next as long as they are 3-2. But he’d go down to 4-1 with the king onside.

As Bobby said afterwards his first heart play should have been to the ace – this covers bare king and lets him come back to hand for the heart finesse. Still, the defence stuck to the club suit and that was the end of that.

This was the whole deal:


S Q74
H K1093
D Q84
C J93


S A2
H 76542
D K53


S J103
D A762
C Q42


S K8765
D J109
C 10865

Notice how ‘lucky’ Richman-Gaspar were, playing hearts from the wrong side according to conventional wisdom, ie not from the NT opener’s side and yet it transpires this is double-dummy correct.

Meanwhile, in the other room, was Griffin’s decision so unreasonable? He staymanned on the West cards and then raised to 3NT. This was the wrong way up – it makes by West whose doubleton spade honour is protected – but played by East a spade lead through West scuttled it.

That’s the sort of stuff that happens to you while you are losing 94-3. It just doesn’t seem quite fair.


October 30, 2008 at 10:27 pm 4 comments

‘Hey, Mister, can you spare me….’

29 October
Victorian State Pairs qualifying round 2


S K762
H J9
D 108762
C 73


S 54
H A1073
C AK96

You sit West, it’s MP pairs and you know declarer has no major, having opened 1NT. Partner leads the H6, (3rds and 5ths) and your nine draws the king. Declarer bangs down the DK, rather startling partner into taking the ace. She shifts to the jack of spades….what do you do?

Maybe you should have gotten her that second cup of tea she asked for. But it’s too late for that now. YOU CAN STILL SAVE HER THOUGH. Keep that king. When you don’t, this is what happens:


H K42
D K5
C Q10842


S K762
H J9
D 108762
C 73


S J1083
H Q865
D A94
C J5


S 54
H A1073
C AK96

It is a straightforward squeeze, with no room for declarer to go wrong. They cash their winners and as it happens their last card is high.

There is probably more than one moral to this story. On an opening spade lead – I had to pick a major – partner has, again, to keep that king or it is the same sad story. I’d gotten off to the right lead. It was a crass shift in the spirit of ‘it’s nothing declarer can’t do herself’. Still, maybe partner will get me that second cup of tea next time. It could be an investment well made.

October 29, 2008 at 10:41 pm 1 comment

So far and yet so close….

Playing against the Cayne team on BBO last Saturday we were hoping to make it three wins in a row. The other two had been with Appleton and Reynolds but they were busy, so this time we called in my favourite teammates the Singaporean kiddies back from the world championships in Beijing.

Singapore is like all the Asian countries in this region – there are only a tiny number of bridge players and yet a group of really talented youngsters has sprung up. Not that I realised they were kiddies til I asked them if any of their wives had a good recipe for Poh Piahs, much to their amusement. ‘Well,’ I said, after they explained that they were barely out of school, ‘What about your mums?’ But, evidently Poh Piah recipes are closely guarded secrets. I’ve extracted nothing from them.

This week our teammates were Zhang Yukun (Quantumed) and Ng Yong Hao (Starfrut).

It only took us 19 boards to amass the grand total of 2 IMPs whilst our opponents had 67 on their side. Still, they had just the one world champion on their side: Fantoni, aka fulvio2002 partnering Cayne with Saverio and PYG in the other room.

That left 9 boards to pick up 65 IMPs. Well, 66 if we wanted to avoid the draw. This is how the rest of the scoreboard looked as the Southern Hemisphere made its comeback. NO IMPs for the Cayne team

20 + 12 IMPs
21 + 6 IMPs
22 0
23 + 1 IMP
24 + 5 IMPs
25 + 11 IMPs
26 0
27 + 11 IMPs
28 + 10 IMPs

That left us 9 IMPs short and calling for time on.

The last board:

Bd 28
Dlr West
NS Vul

S 98
H J96
D J873
C Q1076
S A105
H AK10
D A10942
C K2
S Q764
H 8532
C 43
S KJ32
H Q74
D 6
C AJ985
PYG Starfrut Saverio Quantumed
1D Pass 1H Double
Redouble 2C Double All Pass

After the DK opening lead a trump shift went to the king and another to declarer. He played a spade to the jack, and having got that suit right, +180 was in the bag. Meanwhile in the other room:

Hinge Fulvio2002 Chua Cayne
1D Pass 2D Dble
3NT All Pass

The world champion led his longest and strongest, clubs were cleared and now declarer had no choice but to pick diamonds. He put the nine on the table and ran it – +400.

October 27, 2008 at 6:35 am Leave a comment

Failing to reassess…again

I hope you all would have done better on this deal from our Saturday match against Cayne on BBO. (more…)

October 20, 2008 at 11:44 pm 1 comment

Please help me, doctor, I’ve been playing Pairs.

Honestly, it must be a couple of years since I’ve had a pairs game and let’s just say there is room for improvement.

Last night was the first qualifying night of the Victorian Open Pairs and things didn’t go altogether according to plan.

Suppose you pick up, vul against not:

S 109xx
H Jxx
D 98x
C Kxx

RHO opens 1D, you pass, LHO bids 2C and partner butts in with 2S. This is passed around to LHO who doubles. RHO bids 3H over that. So what do you do? ANYTHING? Pass looked like the best bid I’d made all night, but in fact 3S makes 9 tricks and plenty of people bid it. Partner has nothing much, either:

S AJxxx
H Kx
C J109

Was I just unlucky: spades broke, HA was onside, CQ was onside, the 98 of diamonds were worth about a trick when there was DK10 doubleton under the ace….

October 16, 2008 at 7:20 am Leave a comment

Can those Italians defend or what?

2008 Bridge Olympiad Beijing
Italy vs Brazil


October 10, 2008 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Doggon it, we were right! Italy demolishes Brazil in the 2008 Olympiad

With apologies to Ms Palin. I’m darned if I can stop speaking like her. It’s so much fun.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this hand from the qualifying rounds of the 2008 Beijing Olympiad.

Round 9
Bd 11
Dlr South
Nil vul



S J52

H A10543

D AK1074






D J93




S 96

H Q8

D 82

C QJ98732



S 10843

H 962

D Q65

C 1065

You see, in a BBO match last year this hand came up. Maybe we were playing Australia and maybe another Australian team was playing China:


S KQxx

H AJ10




S xx

H xx

D 109xxxxx

C Qx

Our auction looked automatic to me:

2C 2D
2N 5D

The Oz one crew, as it then was, didn’t like this at all. They thought it was wrong both to bid 5C and to raise that to six. At the time I was prepared to stand corrected, but when I checked out the Oz one internet site I found little to change my mind.

The methodology by which these assessments were made was that they gave their opinions on a chat site. With all due respect for their opinions, I spent a few hours generating hands and looked at the results. It was clear cut to bid on. I might add a caveat: I don’t know that I looked at enough hands – maybe 100 or so – further data would be welcome.

So, back to the hand given at the start of this post. I guess it’ll be obvious by now that the Brazilians bid 2NT 3NT – off on the obvious diamond lead and continuation while the Italians bid 2N 5C – but isn’t that down too? Well, it was in Pakistan vs France because a transfer sequences meant the strong hand played 5C. But in this match South began with a spade…and that was the end of that.

Memo: if Semanta is ever in Melbourne, cook him my very best lasagne. A lasagne that would make a hockey mom proud.

This was not the only hand of the match where I feel I have a personal involvement. More tomorrow.

October 9, 2008 at 12:10 pm 3 comments

October 2008
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