Squeezing The Dummy

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Midnight Tourney With Josh: Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 Josh and I had successfully gone eight boards in an ACBL tournament without a below average board. Our running average was at 75.37 % as we entered the home stretch. Unfortunately, in 12 board tournaments each board counts for quite a bit towards your total score so anything could still happen. After our customary 10 minute wait between rounds (we play too fast) we are ready to start.

Board 9: I pick up AK432 AJ9 6 AQ73. I open with 1 and get a raise to 2 from partner. I used to be the type to just bid 4 with this hand. I really love that auction for concealment purposes, but I found I just missed too many slams (especially if partner has a fit in my second suit). So, I bid 3 and partner retreated to 3. Now I have an easy 4 bid and am not worried about missing any slams. They lead the Q and dummy hits with J87 T6543K974 J. So much for slam, it looks like game will be difficult to make. I duck the diamond and when they continue with the jack I duck again and ruff in my hand. I have 2 heart losers, 1 spade loser, and a diamond loser off the top. That's not to mention the clubs I have to deal with. One possibility is trying to sneak a club to the jack so I can double finesse hearts while ruffing 2 clubs. If they do win the K I will be down off the top, possibly 2. The answer on this hand is to count winners, not losers. I have 1 club and 1 heart winner. If I can take eight trump tricks I will make my contract. I will need some good splits but I like this line. I am able to ruff 3 clubs in dummy and 3 diamonds in my hand while taking the ace of hearts along the way. I then have the AK of spades as my 9th and 10th tricks. This line was remarkably simple but is relatively hard to spot for most people.

Result: 84.78 %
Running Average: 76.42 %

Board 10: I pick up this lovely collection: 98632 982 -- 87642. I know, I can't complain, I've been hit with the deck this whole tournament. LHO opens 1 and partner overcalls 1N. I have an easy bid of 2 which is a transfer to spades. LHO has not said his piece and is there with 3. Partner bids 3 which ends the auction. He receives a diamond lead and his hand is QJT5 KQ3 AQ32 A3. Wow, what a great hand. Perhaps in this auction a 3 bid should show a maximum with 4 trumps, and 3 should just be competitive. On a diamond lead partner plays carefully and just loses 1 club, 1 heart, and 2 spades. He never touched trumps until the very end.

Result: 84.78 %
Running Average: 77.25 %

Board 11: I pick up Q854 82 KT976 Q9. Partner opens 1 and RHO makes a takeout X. Josh and I play transfers here starting with a 1N bid. Most top players are playing this treatment lately and I highly recommend it. Anyways, I can bid 2 showing a constructive raise or 2 showing either diamonds or a diamond lead directional raise. I could also bid 3, a fit jump. A fit jump shows an invitational hand so I reject that bid. If the Q had been in diamonds I would like the fit jump. 2 looks superficially best but I am worried about never being able to show the 4th trump. If I bid 2 and then 3 later in competition partner will have no inference about my 4th trump. I choose 2 to show the constructive raise and LHO doubles. This is the downside of transfers here. If I had been able to bid 2 LHO could not double to show hearts. Partner bids 2 showing no game interest and RHO competes to 3. I bid 3 with 4 trumps and a side 5 card suit which is passed around to RHO. He surprises everyone by doubling, ending the auction. We are not vulnerable so even down 1 should be ok. Partner actually has a great hand in context; AKT93 76 A8 J874. Diamonds are 3-3 and spades are 2-2 so partner has no trouble making this, losing 2 hearts and 2 clubs.

Result: 100.00 %
Running Average: 79.32 %

Board 12: Wow, last board and we have a shot for a rare 80 % game. I am dealt T A7 872 AKT9842. I open 1 and partner responds 1. 3 could work out very well if clubs run, but I opt for a simple 2 rebid. Partner bids 2, natural and non forcing. I have exceptional clubs so I bid 3 ending the auction. A heart is led and dummy is KJ963 K864 K63 6. This is not a typical dummy for this auction, but I agree with Josh's bidding. I win the heart lead in my hand and immediately lead a spade. When they duck, I infer from the lack of diamond lead on this auction that the opening leader had the ace of that suit. Also, he may have flown with the ace of spades if he had it. With only these two minor clues to go on, I let my ten ride and it loses to the queen. I win the heart return in dummy and lead the spade king, pitching a diamond when they play small. This loses to the ace, ouch! They cash the ace of diamonds and eventually get a club, so I am held to three. The diamond ace was onside as I had thought. Many on this hand actually bid and made 3N, and many in 3 made an overtrick.

Result: 26.09 %
Final Average: 74.88 %

So, we ended up right around 75 %. Not bad, although the last board was a disappointing way to finish. We took a lot of risks, got lucky a few times and got all the cards. These things on top of playing well can lead to huge games, as evidenced by this tournament. A lot of the decisions made in the bidding would probably have been different in a two-session event. I think in a half-session event (12 boards) the risks taken were very reasonable even if they do not always work out. We actually won by 12 % so even if something had gone wrong we would still have been able to hold on.

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