Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hands from the Charlottesville Regional

The Charlottesville Regional was a huge success! Almost 1600 tables, great people, great hospitality, and a great job done by both our directing staff and the hotel staff. Thanks again to Millard and his team of directors, as well as Mark and his team at the DoubleTree.

I’ve been so busy since the tournament that I haven’t had a chance to share all the tough hands that I ran across then! Here, almost a month later, are a few of the problems I faced.

In problems A and B you’re playing with an unfamiliar, but expert, partner. All problems are from knockout (IMP) play.

(A) Red vs. white

A652 3 AJ74 AQT9

You open 1D (promising 4+), LHO overcalls 1H, partner bids 1NT, and RHO raises to 2H. You’re up. [Double would be for takeout here.]

(B) All red

K763 QJ95 J8752 –

Partner opens a strongish (good 14 to 17) 1NT, and RHO passes. What’s your bid / plan?

(C) Red vs. white

A65 AJT65 – T9843

Partner opens 1S, and RHO sticks in a 2D call. Systemically, here are your choices:

2H, natural and forcing to 3H;
3C, natural and forcing to game;
3D, invitational or better spade raise;
3H, invitational with long hearts and a spade fit, at least nine cards between the two suits;
4C, game-forcing with long clubs and a spade fit, at least nine cards between the two suits;
4D, game-forcing spade raise with at most one diamond;
And, of course, Other.

What’s your call?

(D) White vs. red

A3 KQJ85 Q QJT62

You open 1H in first seat, and your LHO’s weak 3D bid gets passed around to you. What’s your call?


McKenzie said...

(A) I wimped out and passed. We went +100 against two hearts. Double nets you +300 or +600 depending on how aggressive partner is feeling.

(B) I thought this was a very good problem, but not too many people agreed with me. I started with Stayman, of course; if partner could bid a major, I would lift him to four. Sadly, he didn't have one. Over his 2D bid I decided to give it one push with 2NT. Partner reraised to 3NT, and RHO doubled very confidently. I sheepishly retreated to 4D. Partner and RHO both thought about it for a while but eventually 4D is where it rested. +130. RHO made a very poor double with KQJTx of clubs and two side aces. Yes, he was 100% to set the contract, but there was no reason to chase us to a plus score! His greed to turn +200 into +500 turned it in to -130… The other table was +130 on our cards as well. RHO was trying to turn his +200 (win 8) into +500 (win 12) and ended up turning it into a push. Not a very good return on his investment!

Think about this hand next time you're considering doubling an opponent's suit slam with nothing more than QJT9 of trumps. Trying to gain an extra 50 or 100 points (2 or 3 IMPs) while risking pushing them to a different spot that will make (say, 6NT) costs 14 or 17 IMPs!

(C) I decided to go with the 3H fit-showing jump. Partner went on to game and we were +650. I have no really strong feelings about this one.

(D) Anyone who's played with me more than a session or two knows my answer to this one: Double. I bend over backwards for my partners' penalty passes of opposing overcalls. Yes, when the opponents are vulnerable they tend to have a good suit. Yes, my singleton queen of diamonds tends to suggest that partner can't have a good holding in diamonds. Yes, I'm not prepared for a 3S bid by partner. And yes, we went +800 for a huge pickup.

Kevin said...

(a) Dbl; pard doesn't have 4 Spades but may have 4 Clubs . . . or a trump stack!

(b) Stayman 2C; pass Pard's 2D response but go to game in his/her Major

(c) I'd bid 2H; then next:
2S . . 3C, forcing second suit
2N . . 3C, forcing second suit
3C . . 4D, splinter
3D . . if it's Western Cuebid, then my 4C response is still a forcing second suit, and I bid 4S if pard bids 4H.
3H . . 3S, cuebid and 3-card fit

I'd worry a little about missing slam; it's not easy to show two five-card suits, 3-card support, two aces, and a void in the opponents' suit, all below game level.

(d) with a 5-loser hand, I show my second suit with 4C.

warren said...

Usual caveats about skill level:

1. X
2. Stayman. Raise a major to game, but I'll pass 2D.
3. 3D. Showing fit is my number 1 priority.
4. X

lance said...

A) double seems like the obvious choice, but on reflection, i'm not sure what it accomplishes. partner's already taken a freebid of 1N, so i'm not sure why 4S would ever be superior. it's possible 5C could be right, but once again, are we making 2 extra tricks in clubs when partner's gone out of his way to bid 1N? i'm tempted to shoot out 3N as a matter of practicality, although it seems unlikely we have a source of tricks. red on white, my philosophy is not to worry about the specifics and just bash the most likely game if it's close. it seems like the practical way to look at things. is 2N natural? if so, that would express a little extra. is partner forgiving? lol, i guess i'll bid 2N if natural, 3N if there's ANY doubt about what 2N is.

b) stayman, and raise to the appropriate game.

c) i'm going to risk double, although i have sympathy for the 3H fudge. i'll raise whatever partner bids to game, and hate it if he leaves it in. a diamond raise is coming on my left, and it seems that this is the best way to give partner the least distorted view of my hand at my best opportunity.

d) doubling and converting 3S to 4C.

crafruso said...

A. Double
B. 2 Clubs. Raise to game if partner has a major, pass if partner bids 2D.
C. Other - 4S. Why give the opponents information? Odds of a slam aren't good, and Spades should play as well as Hearts.
D. 4 Clubs. Make partner pick a suit.

Meg said...

(A) X seems clear. You might have to explain to me why this is a problem. Maybe I'm fudging my strength, but it's going to be my call.
(B) 2C then 3D over 2D. That's forcing, right? I'll allow pard to sign off in 3N if he wants, but I'll explore other avenues first. Red at teams, we're playing in game. (I'm assuming 3D is forcing.)
(C) This wasn't with me, right? So it's not a Precision 1S? Opposite a Precision 1S, I double. Opposite a 2/1 1S, I'll FSJ to 3H. I think. At least that's how I feel at this moment, but there are lots of calls that I'd consider, and none strike me as horrible.
(D) Double.

Noble Shore said...

(A) Double -- ideally partner will pass with 2 trump tricks and another card, but if he doesn't pass that's fine too.

(B) 2c, planning on passing 2d or bumping 2-major to game.

(C) If 3h is forcing to 3s then I like that (I will bid game later or double no matter what). Otherwise I'd splinter for lack of good other options.

(D) Pass. However -- If my dQ was the sQ then I'd double, converting 3s to 4c, sitting for 4s, and praying that this plan doesn't burn me. It's just too likely partner has a penalty pass in this case, so I can't let LHO off the hook. Here I don't think partner has a penalty pass so I will let myself off the hook.