Match two began at 9am on Tuesday. I hate the way they schedule this, so that if you win (finishing at 11pm), you have to be back at it bright and early. Thank goodness I'm a morning person.
My RHO for this match had the annoying habit of thinking with his hands. He counted all his points with his fingers, suit length and distribution were obvious from his gestures, and he tanked over every bid, drawing lots of attention toward this bad behavior. I watched his partner closely for signs that he was taking advantage of this UI, but he maintained a far-off, glazed look, so I was confident that he was not. While I do feel that you are entitled to take advantage of all the information your opponents want to give you, I didn't want to win that way, so I did my best to ignore my RHO throughout the match. Apologies to my partner, who thought I was upset with him. No, I was just cranky.
My first hand of the day was this, in third seat, all red:
8632 QJ5 86432 A
Pard opens 1D and there's a pass to you. We play inverted minors, so 3D is an option here. I could also mention my 4-card major, or just bid 1N, which sounds like a sign-off and in retrospect is the call I would make if I had it to do all over again. I started with 1S. Here's the auction:
Now, I really have said my piece, and I'd opted against 3D at the start...but I don't think we're setting 3C and it feels right to compete. I won it for my pard at 3D, which was just in. If I'd bid 3D directly, showing perhaps a bit weaker hand than I implied in this sequence, I wonder what the opponents would have done. It's hard to predict in this bracket. I did at least discourage a spade lead...a little trick I learned from my husband, but probably don't use optimally.
I had a little lead problem later in the match, after this uncontested auction:
Holding 9642 2 KJ6 KT652, I decided to go fishing for the ace of diamonds. I figured that with shortness, declarer wouldn't bother finessing, and maybe my K would be worth a trick later, since it'll take a few rounds to draw trumps. I was proud when this came true for down one and win 13.
We were up 23 at the half, which leads into a segment I'd like to call "How Not to Make up a Deficit in Teams."
The first incident came on the second board, where I'm in fourth chair and I see the auction go (P)1N(2S). I had a bad hand with a spade stack, so I didn't ask for an explanation and sat for the bid. It passed around and was explained as natural. So, what does a natural 2S overcall look like?
If you can figure it out, you'll set them several more than the 2 tricks we beat it by. Can you guess?
It's pretty much a yarb with five spades. Silly me for thinking he'd have shortness or honor cards anywhere -- I guess I should have watched him when he was counting on his fingers this time. Our teammates set something by 2 tricks at the other table -- I didn't ask, but I can't imagine it was spades. We actually have tricks in that suit.
With nine unspectacular boards in the tank, the opponents have got to know they're in trouble with only four boards to go. Time to start swinging, maybe?
Well, when you hold AQJT KJxxx xx xx and your opponents bid to what smells like a misfit in 4S, what do you do? Hint: your partner has bid in this auction.
You pass, of course! Why would you double when you only have four sure tricks?
Then, on the final board of the match, you open 1D with this: AQJT Q65 QT96 K4. Pard comes in with 1S, so you...2S? 3S? 4S? (I don't actually agree with 3 or 4, but knowing I'm down a lot and have one measly board to do something about it, I'm happy to lay it on the line).
In their 1S contract, declarer managed to take only 10 of the 12 available tricks.
So now we're in the money round...will the bridge get any better? (Hint: no.)