Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oregon Grinders: Day 1

Paul and I are playing all pair games at the Seaside Regional. We started off hot by winning the Charity Pairs Monday night. According to the directors, we led wire to wire and won by a landslide. There were a lot of fun hands, and we handled them well, surviving three near-zeroes. That just goes to show you that you shouldn't let one bad board ruin your session...

Our first set of two boards warned of a wacky set of hands:

Systemically, we open 1C with 5-5 black hands. We got to absolute par by saving over 4H. Do you agree with 4S by me? West, understandably, took the push to 5H with his 6-5. +200 was worth 32 of 34 matchpoints.

OK, here's some problem hands for you to chew on. Feel free to share your answers and read others' opinions by clicking on the word "Comments" at the end of this article. I'll also tell what happened at the table in that section.

(A) White vs. red

A32 KT4 5 JT8643

LHO (a solid citizen) opens 3S; pard doubles; RHO passes. Your call.

(B) All white

Q52 Q987 KQJT QJ

RHO opens 1C. You're up.

(C) Red vs. white

A K52 Q98652 Q96

You open 1D in third seat. LHO bounces to 4H, and partner makes a negative double. Your bid.

(D) How should these hands be bid at all white? South starts, and East bids (or doubles) hearts at her first opportunity.


McKenzie said...

(A) I bid 5C over the double, which didn't work out very well when RHO held KQ9x of trumps. 3N is a winning call, but the matchpoints go to those of you like my wife who make the Reasonable and Attractive call of 4H. (You need to be a Bridge World scholar to catch the meaning of that...)

(B) I decided that this wasn't good enough for a takeout double, so I overcalled 1D.

(C) Paul held this hand and made the good decision to pass. We took his ace of spades, king of hearts, and spade ruff to go along with my two aces for +300 when 5D would have been off one.

(D) Paul opened 1S, and I decided to start with a game-forcing raise of 2NT rather than a splinter or 2D. I thought I would get the most information that way. Over my LHO's 3H, Paul bid 4S showing a minimum (may or may not have shortness). I cued 5C, he bid 5S, and I bid 6H, trying to pinpoint the need of the diamond ace and the top spades for a grand slam. In retrospect, after he showed a minimum with 4S, I should have just sufficed with 6S. He had the spade tops but no diamond ace, so he bid 6S. East made a no-cost matchpoint double, and we went +1210.

I really, really shouldn't have tried for a grand. I needed to trust my partner to know that three keycards is too much for a 'minimum' response.

Meg said...

(A) I bid 4H over my partner's double. Pard definitely has four hearts and should have 5. I considered 5C, but felt that my club suit wasn't good enough for this. I'd rather play a good 4-3 in a major at the 4 level than a bad 6-2 in a minor at the 5 level. Plus, I think 5C shuts pard out too much if he's slammy, so I chose 4H. Harvey cued 4S and I felt like I had no more to say, so I signed off in 5H. Not wanting to make my partner feel bad about missing the slam, I took only 11 of my 12 tricks.

(B) I passed and they played 1C just in.

(C) Blech! We had a very different auction at our table:
X(snapdragon)(P)2D (4H)
Pard knows I have spades and isn't interested, and I'm not interested in saving in diamonds after this auction. (My pard held the hand you showed in this case.) We set 4H. But in the given auction, my hand isn't good enough to sit for this. Partner'd better have some awesome distribution for this call. 5C.

(D) I held the north hand here and splintered 4H over pard's 1S opener. I could have said 2N to save some room, but ultimately decided that the splinter was the best description of my hand. Pard signed off in 4S and we got the only lead that holds it to 5, collecting slightly better than a third of the matchpoints. Harvey tanked for a long time before signing off, which effectively barred me from further exploration anyhow, but I think he's probably right to sign off. 4H certainly improves his hand, but he's still very minimum. If anyone is going to get this hand to slam, it's got to be me. My choices over 1S (which I agree with) are 2D, 2N, 4H, and 5H. I still like 4H here, and I think Harvey's right to sign off. If everyone else in the room is as clairvoyant as the west at our table who found the little club lead, we'd have a good board here.

Noble said...

(A) 4c
I like plus scores.

(B) Dbl
I love doubling with QJ tight, sometimes I win 2 tricks with it when I could have won 0. Besides it's ALL WHITE MATCHPOINTS.

(C) Pass
Tough one, swayed by the fact that I must make or go down 1 for 5d to be good, and I don't think that's happening if we're not beating 4h.

There are a variety of ways this could be bid. The most important thing is that North NOT bid 4h at his first call (if that's a splinter). I am OK with a 3h splinter, but when you splitner with 4M-1 it should be minimumish, not nearly this strong a hand. I might use the strong heart splinter if playing two-way. Mike and I would bid 1s-2n-(3h)-p[extras]-3s-4s-p probably.

Noble said...

(re: D) but responder could easily just force a slam in the auction I gave

Noble said...

I don't understand Meg's comment on (A). What would you like partner to bid with x Q9x AJxx AKxxx? Although the expectation is 4 hearts, the double certainly doesn't promise 4, and certainly could be 3 as/more often as it could be 5.

I think the gutsy 4h bid is fine. Pays off great when it works, and you can always run to 5c if you get doubled.

Meg said...

Re: (A), with both minors, pard can bid 4N asking me to pick a minor. If pard has a single-suited moose without hearts, he can double and pull. I think that unless he's planning to pull, double here promises at least 4 hearts, but usually 5.

Noble said...

Poll results for partner's average heart length on (A):

<3.5 [ 0 ]
3.5 to 3.75 [ 1 ]
3.75 to 4.0 [ 10 ]
4.0 to 4.25 [ 6 ]
4.25 to 4.5 [ 0 ]
>4.5 [ 1 ]

This is about what I'd expect.