Spring National Seniors Final

October 30, 2008 at 10:27 pm 4 comments

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.


Entry filed under: declarer play. Tags: , , , , , , , .

‘Hey, Mister, can you spare me….’ What’s a king gotta do?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cathychua  |  November 3, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Sartaj, never mind, the work will be done!

  • 2. Sartaj  |  November 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    At the risk of sounding way to Ozone-like and catching your wrath another day, all my experience tells me this is a 5-3 heart fit hand.

    I believe Deal Master, which i have, does have the facility to deal the opposite hand. Hmm…That sounds like real work though….

  • 3. Cathy  |  November 3, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Re Versace trying harder after a superior lead, I must say that when Cayne employed Garozzo, we found that time and time again. I’d see that I’d gone down, or partner had, in a contract made in the other room. Often the opening lead in the other room was inferior (in practice, I’m not suggesting they weren’t perfectly reasonable opening leads) and my reaction, I must confess, along those lines. I’d feel that the swing had been produced in the other room, even though there was some problem I could have solved at my table and didn’t. Versace, no doubt, would have!

    As for the hearts being so weak, well, I did consider that when looking at the hand and thought that the sharpness of the HCP you do have would make up for that. I’d like to generate hands to test which contract is better with a 5-3 fit, but I still don’t have a suitable program for doing this. HELP somebody!

  • 4. Sartaj  |  November 3, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Entirely agree that there is a big flukey element to swings at bridge. Big chunks of IMPs get exchanged for no real “reason”.

    But observing carefully I saw(or maybe i wanted to see) in the Olympid/European CH that the stronger teams play harder to counter this luck. Versace will sometimes push a board in play because he got a tougher lead but still held the hand together. Whereas a declarer from ,say, Germany, would go down and claim his line was reasonable and it was the lead that really made the difference.

    The other thing is that the edge between the best and the next lot is so small that tiny things add up. On the hand in question here the decision to stayman and bid 3NT with such weak hearts is highly questionable. We have limited high-cards, We have sharp cards, We have weak hearts. All these factors argue for 4H, not 3NT.

    3NT was a weak choice, and i think it “deserved” its treatment.


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