Michael Ware on the 2010 Last Train part 1

April 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm 4 comments

When Michael sent me his recollections on the Last Train, I asked if I could publish them. So, for the next few days, here’s Michael Ware with the good, the bad and the ugly in our win early this year. Hmmm. I see I should have added the completely insane, which is what we start off with!

2010 Last Train

The week started with the Open Last Train Swiss Pairs. An 8 round Swiss of 16 board matches. There were 12 tables of good players leading to mostly ok datum averages. I was playing with Cathy Chua for effectively the first time. We played pretty basic acol. The interesting thing about playing with Cathy is that her 1NT openings are wilder than mine! (I’m not joking. I open off-shape NT’s occasionally, but Cathy does it systemically every hand)

Talk about a honeymoon start! Three 25s from the first 3 matches saw us leading the field by 16 vps. With 5 rounds to go all we really had to do was hang on which we did. The final margin was 9 VPs over Arjuna De Livera – Ian Robinson, my teammates for the National Open Teams (the NOT)

Speaking of opening 1NT, the following amusing and lucky hand from the 1st match got us on our way.

Board 2
Dlr North (rotated)
EW Vul









X………All Pass

Cathy as North opened 1S, but thought she had opened 1NT, which is her preference. (Can you imagine that – she opened 1S instead of 1NT – “to keep me happy”!).

East bid 2NT minors. I splintered with 4C. West bid 5C and Cathy now bid the master bid 5D which having opened 1NT in her mind said pick-a-major. East found an astonishing lead directing double. I took partner’s 5D bid as shortage and signed off with alacrity. West, partially fooled by his partner’s double of 5D doubled us.

The double / bidding allowed Cathy to only lose two trump tricks by leading trumps towards her hand twice, and then when next in dummy she ran the QH pinning the singleton Jack, there were no more and that was +650! The Datum was 80 to E/W and 12 imps.

I had thought this board was won in the bidding as indeed three North-Souths managed to get to 6S! And two N/S defended 5C, but in fact Cathy won the board in the play as all the other N/S had played 5S – but all going down.

CC: On the subject of opening 1NT I do recall an auction from this event where Michael negative doubled 2S with only 3 hearts after I’d opened 1NT, so he wasn’t altogether thrilled putting them down as dummy when I bid them. Then one of the opponents showed out on the first round. Ouch…6-0 break. Not quite, it turned out I was the one with six! Not that this saved me going one down….

Come back for more tomorrow.

PS: Michael doesn’t record what happened after the bidding. LHO went to lead and I very confidently stopped him from leading out of turn. I can’t tell you how appalled I was when I realised what had happened and that I’d opened 1S on my weak NT and then made a slam try on my two small at the five level. You do have to make after that, don’t you? Not that it was hard…


Entry filed under: bidding, declarer play.

Tomorrow… Michael Ware on the 2010 Last Train part 2

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. khokan  |  April 23, 2010 at 11:14 am


    I think it was hard.

    You did well not to play west for a 4-1-2-6 shape with stiff HK, which is also plausible – well played.


  • 2. Chris Mulley  |  April 23, 2010 at 10:36 am

    This reminds me of a hand I played with Paul a long time ago. Paul was “very clever” in the auction and overcalled with a 4-card spade suit – AKQx or something like that. Back in the day this was a shockingly daring action for us. We were subsequently defending on this hand and as it turned out, one of our spade tricks disappeared in the wash. Paul then enquired as to why I had given him incorrect count in spades. It turned out then when he was counting the spade suit, he thought “I have five, because I overcalled; Chris has an odd number …”.

  • 3. phil markey  |  April 23, 2010 at 12:51 am

    this is the only version of a 5422 within a weak 1nt range where i might open 1 of a suit – even with this shape i would open a weak 1nt most of the time but my 3 stingers swings me to open 1 spade this time

    playing weak 1nt i have the system rule that if it is a weak 1nt you have to open a weak 1nt – this is a lot of clarity in a lot of other auctions

    in short i empathise with the confusion

    5 diamonds is horrible unless you think you opened 1nt – then its maybe ok

    • 4. cathychua  |  April 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      Hmm. I found it hard to decide what it was worth as a 1NT opening opposite the majors, as I thought I was assessing. Three aces look good, but, then, duplication is going to be a problem, maybe?


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