The Victorian Playoff continued

April 29, 2009 at 9:12 am 10 comments

Sorry, the big question I was going to ask everybody has to wait til tomorrow, as I think this story and hand are relevant to the topics in hand.

Yesterday I put up two posts. If you didn’t see the second one, a ‘what do you bid?’ you might want to look at it first before reading on….

Jamie Ebery, who was on the ‘B’ Australian team last year and the ‘A’ Australian team this year, sent me the following story about Hayden Blakeman who is on the Victorian Open team this year, his first really exciting result in bridge, though he’s been keen enough for some time.

When I was playing in the under 5 master point section at Essendon congress event (and not doing well either) I noticed Hayden for the first time. They announced him as the winner of the under 25 master point section (playing with John Cox). Then Martin Jacobs got up and said this is the guy that Keith Kat wanted to get his hands on to train up. Boy,.. was I envious, here we have a guy who is 1) Younger than me 2) better than me, and to top it all off he is going to get special training from the best player in the state. At that point I knew that I would never be as good as Hayden. Hence I have always closely watched his progress from that day forward. Cheers, Jamie.

Great story, thanks Jamie. Of course we need a hand to go with that, and it does fit in rather neatly with the hands we have been looking at.

Board 25
Dlr North
EW Vul









When the losing Butler team sat EW, North opened 1H, East overcalled 2C and South’s 4H bid ended the auction. An interesting hand in the context of the ongoing discussion about 6-4s and how they should be bid and what a high level negative double opposite that should show…

In the other room Blakeman for the winners sat East. Over the 1H opening he overcalled 1S!!! Smart bid 4H, Dilks 4S and now what should North do?


I think it is a really tough decision. In the end Beale pushed on to 5H, one down when the heart finesse failed. The Pennant team had won the board anyway, simply by getting to 4S.


Entry filed under: bidding, VBA. Tags: , .

Your bid. Victorian Playoff continued. On the role of beauty and regret in bridge.

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ron Lel  |  April 30, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Hayden is very lucky to have Dilks as a mentor now. Dilks was the long time partner, (in both senses of the world), of a multiple world champion. Together they won numerous National and International events including a rather prestigious Calcutta, the field of which included Zia and, I believe, Meckwell.
    Many of the current crop of English players remember him – I remember discussing Michael with David Burn somtime ago.

  • 2. phil markey  |  April 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    “That’s why I find it really objectionable when an explanation is required of players for their actions when there does not need to be one. ‘Because I felt like it’ should do fine. If you are in good form, it will often be the case and more explanation is not relevant!”

    i think that in practice when the question is asked its kind of known that your an idiot who got lucky and the asker is simply waiting for you to say something which automatically confirms that diagnosis – “because i felt like it” is definately the right answer in that scenario

    but it seems to me that its a fine question to ask if you really want to hear the answer

    if i was 4126 or 4162 my style/agreement is to double – 4216 is a problem – solving the problem by overcalling 1 spade is interesting – we can all see that the upside is gold but the downside could be messy

    the merits of overcalling 1 spade make me think about the mainstream view of downside in such a decision – seems to me that the mainstream view is that there are some things you can simply not let happen in a bridge auction because they make possible a truly stupid looking result – i think i was recently derided in these forums for pointing out the downside to a certain bid could be that you play in a 5/1 fit – truth is that my crazy system means i play in 4/2 and 3/3 fits in an uncontested auction fairly regularly – i dont fancy playing in a heap of 5/1 fits but i’m happy just to call it downside

    seems to me that while the mainstream is good at weighing upside there are certain downsides that just cant be experienced because they look too stupid – whilst i’m happy for the scoreboard test (this guy is plainly a legend this hand) i wonder if we should be attempting analysis not just by the scoreboard test but by being open to killing some sacred cows

    • 3. sartaj  |  April 29, 2009 at 11:47 pm

      “because they make possible a truly stupid looking result ”
      That is very much the Italians’ approach to the bidding. I feel that it is the fear of a stupid result that is a big factor in their reticent preemptive style and lack of singleton-honor NT openings.

      While we guys are used to creating action and hoping to win points at our board,(in the long term we tell ourselves) my guess is that their psyche is one of playing bridge as a team sport… Keep teammates’ result in the equation…..We try and win too much at our table.

      It made an impression when Versace talked about teammates’ result on the 15K hand story on my blog. All of our discussions around winning style etc. focus on getting the best result at our table, our score, our averages, our datum.

      Having solid teammates perhaps makes them revisit such assumptions.
      But they again pairs like Meckwell are similar to us, in that they try to win points at their table. They do not seem to subscribe to this teammates’ score attitude. Maybe that has something to do with them usually having had (relatively) weaker teammates.

  • 4. khokan  |  April 29, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Great piece from Jamie Ebery! Hayden clearly seems to be a player to watch out for. As Ben said, it was great timing from Hayden on this auction. I’m not sure about the long-term benefits of actions like Hayden’s, although I’m sure Marshall Miles would agree.

    • 5. cathychua  |  April 29, 2009 at 10:40 am

      Yes, it seems to simple to bid bid clubs and then spades, or clubs and then double….but in the end, when you are hot you’re hot. That’s why I find it really objectionable when an explanation is required of players for their actions when there does not need to be one. ‘Because I felt like it’ should do fine. If you are in good form, it will often be the case and more explanation is not relevant!

      • 6. khokan  |  April 29, 2009 at 11:28 am

        Hayden’s mentor, Keith Kat, isn’t too shabby on the timing issue, either. On his way to winning the Blue Ribbon Pairs with Brigitte (in 1997?), Keith held the following at unfavourable vul against Seamus Browne and me:


        He heard Brigitte open 1S and Keith responded 2C! I held the following hand:


        I bid 2D (for the lead, mostly) and Brigitte bid 2H. Seamus raised to 3D and Keith bought the hand in 4S, making 4.

        Note that if Keith had done something “normal”, we would certainly have pushed them to the 5-level. It’s a great shame that Keith doesn’t play much these days.

      • 7. khokan  |  April 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm


        While I generally agree with what you say, I also think that one can go overboard in describing someone’s actions as visionary (eg Camillo Pabis-Ticci’s CA lead on a blind auction to 4S) when there’s no rational basis for doing it. I have to say that I totally agreed with Andrew Webb’s description of the lead – see earlier blog – and thought that bloggers’ arguments explaining CPT’s choice were very thin.

  • 8. Michael Ware  |  April 29, 2009 at 10:18 am

    I don’t like South’s 4H bid after the 1S overcall. You don’t have a 5th trump or even the right playing strength really, and all you have succeded in doing is stampeded the auction to 4S (a bid West wouldn’t normally make) and transffering the last guess to partner. I prefer a FSJ if available or a mixed raise. I think North’s 5H bid is correct in the given problem for the reasons Ben gave.

    • 9. khokan  |  April 29, 2009 at 10:30 am

      I don’t mind the 4H raise. The hand isn’t good enough for an FSJ, as it has no aces – I reckon that it’s top of the range for a preemptive 4H bid. I disagree that west wouldn’t normally bid 4S if south makes a cue raise – it’s a good two-way shot IMO.

  • 10. Ben Thompson  |  April 29, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Referring back to my comment on the initial post for this hand –
    “One of the areas TNT breaks down is when you have slow defensive trump tricks”

    And of course another area TNT breaks down is when they don’t have as many trumps as you think they do 🙂

    Nicely timed overcall by Hayden.


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