Sensitive

Hi all

No inspiration and little material for stories this week. At Dombo there were several crazy games, lots of voids and 7+ card suits flying around, but there’s just not much to tell about that. So here’s a compilation from last week, a sensitivity theme.

North
KQ43
94
T86
KQ62

This is Hoek’s hand. He heard me open 1 (unbalanced), his RHO jumped to 2 (weak) and he showed his four card  suit with a negative double. Lefty raised to the three level and I introduced , again a level higher. Well, Hoek knows me a little by now, I have shape instead of points.

But what to do?

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
KQ43
94
T86
KQ62
West
976
KQJ753
QJ
97
East
AJT82
A86
954
JT
South
5
T2
AK732
A8543

I like Hoek’s arguments for bidding 4. You have not enough to raise partner to the game, but you do want to bid on if partner has extras. If I had an Ace extra I would have bid the same, and then we would have reached game. Not now, 4 was passed out, and the lucky break in trumps brought us ten tricks. Switching back to 4 may seem dangerous, it’s only a 5-3 fit, but in 4 they are losers just the same .

On the next deal my partner (Peter-Paul) had to play 6. Due to heavy interference in  and a little bit of insecurity we missed our best spot in 6.

North
QT98x
Kx
AKQxxx

South
A7xx
AQJT9x
Kxx

West led a . Peter-Paul took the lead in dummy (discarding a ), crossed to his Ace and back to the King. He tried to cash the other two honours, but East ruffed one of them. That and a inevitable  loser led to down one. So his plan would have worked out if either the would split 4-3, or a doubleton trump with the doubleton . The odds seem reasonable.

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
QT98x
Kx
AKQxxx
West
xx
xx
Txxx
J9xxx
East
KJ
8xx
AQJ9xx
Tx
South
A7xx
AQJT9x
Kxx

Here’s my plan: take the lead (discard a ), ruff a , ruff a , cross to the Ace of and ruff your last with the King. Now you have to get to your hand and the only way is to ruff another . Draw trumps then, and take the right decision in . It’s not particularly hard on this deal. It looks as if my plan is succesful if trumps are 3-2 (barring some extreme distributions). Nothing more. If one of my faithful readers has another view on this matter, feel free to react.

Everything In It’s Right Place

Hi all

Between the mummy and some Dead Sea Scrolls I found this dusty deal in my room. What I can remember is that I was unable to formulate a solid plan. I just started playing and finally ended up with ten miraculous tricks.

North
Kx
xx
Axx
KQTxxx

South
QJxxxx
KJ9x
KTx

North opened a weak NT and I ended up playing 4. When dummy hit the table (West led a ) I had nothing but vibrations and my gut, I saw no clear route to ten tricks. If I remember correctly I was busy with damage control instead of making. At first sight it seems there is just too much to do: draw trumps, develop and avoid losing too many tricks.

I took the lead in hand and crossed to the King of . Next a to my King and still no clouds to be seen. I exited with a small East taking with the Ace. After some thought East decided to cash the Ace and I ruff. A ruff brings down the Queen and I discard a on a high . West ruffs.

Huh? Yes, are 1-6.

West tries to give his partner a ruff but East has no trumps anymore. I’m in control now and claim ten tricks, losing two trumps and a .

North Dealer
EW Vul
North
Kx
xx
Axx
KQTxxx
West
AT98
T8xx
Q9xx
x
East
x
AQx
J8x
AJxxxx
South
QJxxxx
KJ9x
KTx

Did you spot East’s error? How can East put West on lead to play a second round of trumps?

Here’s how: if he had inserted his Queen he can duck the second round of , leaving West on lead with the Ten to play a killing trump.

I wonder how to summon this trance again where my subconsciousness takes over. These kinds of plans never work out when I’m paying attention or put a lot of sweaty effort in devising a plan.

Soaring and Crashing

Hi all

Last night pairs at Dombo, I played with Frank. About half the games we soared through the skies scoring top after top after top. Now in my deepest and darkest voice, the other twelve games were bottom low. Sometimes we went so deep down we could say hi to Kerberos in the underworld.

Here we soared.

West Dealer
NS Vul
North
4
AKQJ4
J4
JT762
West
JT973
98
AKQ83
8
East
K62
652
T7652
94
South
AQ85
T73
9
AKQ53

West
North
East
South
1
2
pass
41
pass
4
pass
42
pass
4NT
pass
5
pass
6
a.p.
 

1. Fitshowing
2. I control and

Frank ruffed a in dummy and claimed twelve tricks. Easy.

Here we took a plunge, head first.

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
KQ
KQ82
84
AK765
West
986432
JT965
T3
East
T75
A
J6
QJT9842
South
AJ
743
AKQ9752
3

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1
pass
2
pass
2
pass
2
pass
21
pass
3
pass
4
pass
4
pass
4NT
pass
5
pass
5
a.p.
 
 
 

1. Fourth suit forcing

When I look at the auction now I see stress and insecurity. Let’s see what went wrong. With almost eight tricks in my hand I should do more than just a timid 2 after a two-over-one, a 3 bid is certainly justified. After Frank’s reverse I had too much power I had not shown yet, but I could not repair anymore. And when I asked for Aces I didn’t get the information I wanted/needed. If Frank had asked for Aces his picture about my hand would have been complete and he might have been able to pick the right spot in 6NT.

There was no little voice in my head saying 5 is worth zilch in pairs, only dead silence. Luckily it wasn’t a complete zero for us, because one pair went down in 6 on an enemy cross ruff.

Skillful

Hi all

Hoek and I practiced our team skills last Tuesday. During summer the field is too random to play just solid matchpoint bridge. You have to kill some palooka’s to score above average, else other people will do and leave you empty handed. There is a dangerous downside playing soft opposition, you don’t get put to the test. And that can lead to a comfortable laziness. Hoek and I were invited to show our skills in a teams match against strong opponents.

Hoek wasn’t afraid when he bid a vulnerable game on the following deal. His reasoning was clean and clear as always, when I have four trumps and bring a significant number of tricks I bid game. So true, but they didn’t bid it at the other table.

South Dealer
EW Vul
North
A64
42
J9854
T52
West
KT832
AQ875
3
43
East
95
JT63
Q62
AKQ9
South
QJ7
K9
AKT7
J876
West
North
East
South
1NT
21
2
4
a.p.

1. Landy, showing both Majors

At both tables slam was reached with the following hands:

North Dealer
–┬áVul
North
KQ865
AKJ52
A62
West
J73
T763
9853
J4
East
A42
84
KQJ76
953
South
T9
Q9
AT42
KQT87
West
North
East
South
1
pass
2
pass
3
pass
3NT
pass
???

North produced a masterbid with 4 and slam was reached. I don’t know how they bid slam at the other table, but I really like 4 here. It is a well timed bid that should make your partner smile for the rest of the evening.

The rest of the boards were kinda flat, so there was little room to score. In the end, due to a defensive error and a few scattered imps we lost the match by 10.

Competitive Decision

Hi all

On Friday Dennis and I tried to shine at BCO (pairs). One of the first games I’m in 3NT, I screw up badly. Developing my opponents suits is generally spoken a bad thing. A game later I double my opponent in 4 (via some insecure Ghestem sequence). She was holding a solid 6-6 and dummy brought some usefull cards too. Two overtricks were possible but she might have felt sorry for me. I’m very familiar with these kind of nights, it’s a struggle for points.

South
93
K76
AQ5
K8653

Vulnerable against not I open 1NT (12-14). Suddenly everybody has something to say.

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
1NT1
2
double2
3
pass
pass
4
pass
???

1. 12-14
2. Takeout

What the hell? Dennis picks my five card suit. What kind of hand does he have?

A takeout double doesn’t promise a strong hand, we agreed Rubensohl for that. No, a competitive 34/43-0-6 (maybe an offensive 34/43-1-5) fits his bidding better. But what to do? I still have five trumps and an Ace, but it’s value is near worthless opposite a void. I’d be happy to trade my honours for the Ace of . No, my hand contains too many losers and too little power for game, I decide.

West isn’t done bidding yet: 4. Passed to me.

I crumble. I have no idea what to do. Let’s bring out Larry Cohen, maybe he has some ideas. It looks like there are 21 trumps together (11 + 10 = 21 trumps). I estimate points are divided about even. I’m holding about 1.5 defensive tricks and can account Dennis probably for the same amount. This brings me nowhere, I still don’t know what to do.

We won’t get very rich from +100 if we are cold a partscore and I don’t believe we will collect +300. I pass with more than just a little remorse.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
AQ7
T853
QT9742
West
K84
AQ2
JT9762
J
East
JT652
J94
K843
A
South
93
K76
AQ5
K8653

The King in dummy made my heart jump. We will surely score plus this game. I get a ruff too and we score +100. A large part of the field went down in 5. If you switch the King and King in East-West 4 is a big candidate to make.

Nuclear Fusion

Hi all

Last night at Dombo I played with Wim vd F. Solid bridge like always and we agreed some fancy 2-level openings: either a weak hand in the suit bid or 4-5 in the two suits above with opening values and not forcing. The consequences for your 1-level openings and responses are quite nice. But it only occurred a few times, not enough to give me a clear idea about it’s effectiveness/destructiveness.

Here’s a little gem. Take ten in spades.

North
Axxx
xxxx
Tx
xxx
South
K8xxx
Q
AKxx
KQx

East led a and I took stock. If trumps are 2-2 then this is easy. Can I cope with trumps not splitting? Yes, if the Ace of is favourably placed.

Can I get home if it’s offside? Yes. Here’s the full layout, I’ll walk you through.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
Axxx
xxxx
Tx
xxx
West
QT9
Jxxxx
xx
ATx
East
J
AKx
QJ9xx
Jxxx
South
K8xxx
Q
AKxx
KQx

You take the lead in hand and give away your Queen of . Let’s assume East persists in , you take it and cross to trump Ace. Now play a to your King, West takes his Ace. It looks like you have four inescapable losers now, two a and a trump. Watch carefully.

West returns a , you ruff it. You cash your King of trumps (maybe they are 2-2). Now ruff a , ruff a and cash the Queen of . The harbour is in sight already.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
x
x
x
West
Q
Jx
East
Q
Jx
South
8
x
x

When you play the last from South, West has nothing to gain by ruffing in the air, so a goes away. You ruff the last from dummy with your 8, West still has to follow suit. You put your loser on the table and both opponents claim it.

Let there be fusion. Melt together your losers.

In Sync, Out of Sync

Hi all

Last night at Star. Hoek and I are on a steady +20 imp per match. Not bad, but looking at the mistakes and several “Sorry, we have no agreements yet” it could have been so much better.

South Dealer
All Vul
North
A
QJxxxx
xx
xxxx
West
Txxxxx
Ax
xxx
xxx
East
KQJxx
x
Jxx
QJxx
South
x
KTxx
AKQxx
AKx

West
North
East
South
 
 
 
11
pass
1
pass
32
pass
4
pass
53
pass
6
a.p.
 

1. Unbalanced, 4+
2. Splinter
3. I have all controls, how about trumps?

No Ace asking, just thoughtfull and clear bidding. Sometimes I wonder about those Viking tools I spent so much time with developing and memorizing.

But we dug up more than just gold. Here’s a fine example of misunderstood dirt.

North Dealer
– Vul
North
Ax
Axxx
AQJxxx
J
West
KJxx
xx
xxxx
Qxx
East
Qxx
JTx
xx
Kxxxx
South
xxxx
KQxx
K
Axxx

Hoek (North) opened 1 and jumped to 4 when I responded 1. I had extras, the King of is certainly worth a lot, but I was afraid of more than one loser so I put a reluctant pass on the table. Thirteen tricks later Hoek and I had a small discussion.

A jump to 4 shows a solid suit with (at least) four , so that one is not possible. A direct jump to game shows a weakish hand with at least ten red cards. But you have way too much strength and first controls for that. So a slam invitational splinter remains. I guess we would have bid slam then.

Getting Away With Murder

Hi all

No more whining. Though my opponents did when this game was finished. I really got away with murder, me carrying a bloody knife on the scene of the crime. Anyone call CSI and NCIS?

South
AJT
K
AKJxxxx
Qx

After pass – 3 it’s my turn. Lots of ugly, ugly points, but with a very good suit. I cannot bid 4 because of Leaping Michaels’ and I’m looking at way too many losers for 5. No, the bare King of didn’t stop me in bidding 3NT, partner surely has something that combines into a stopper (I pray a little).

Lefty kicks off with the Ten. This is the full layout:

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
xxxxx
Qxx
xx
xxx
West
KQx
T9
xx
AJTxxx
East
xx
AJ8xxxx
Qx
Kx
South
AJT
K
AKJxxxx
Qx

East ducked the lead and when the broke 2-2 I claimed the fastest nine tricks ever. East shrieked in agony that from a doubleton West should always lead the lower one and some foul language crosses the table. I wipe a little sweat from my forehead and write +600.

Twelve Diamonds

Hi all

So little time. My new job is like a dream come true, but it leaves little room for writing. I just have to beat the drums the right way and get used to the rythm. Here are two slams from Star:

East Dealer
EW Vul
North
xxxx
x
AJxx
AKTx
West
xx
KT9xxxx
xx
Qx
East
QJT
QJx
xx
Jxxxx
South
AKxx
Ax
KQTxx
xx

 

West
North
East
South
 
 
pass
11
1
dbl
2
3
pass
4
pass
4
pass
5
pass
6
a.p.
 
 
 

1. unbalanced (4+ )

Hoek wanted to get two messages across with one bid: his slam aspirations and his fit. But the resulting sequence doesn’t look really smooth. Certainly, it’s an excellent contract, even slightly better than 6. But still, there was no designated captain in the bidding, so grand investigation was impossible. If the EW cards are split something like this:
 

West
x
KT9xxx
xx
Qxxx
East
QJTx
QJxx
xx
Jxx
 

Then 6 is always down, while in 6 you can eliminate all suits and with a loser on loser play achieve a placing. The following ruff and sluff let’s you discard your other loser.

Another slam.

South Dealer
NS Vul
North
JT9x
xx
KQ8x
AKx
West
AKxxx
Jxx
xx
Jxx
East
Qxx
QTx
Tx
QTxxx
South
x
AKxxx
AJ9xx
xx

 
Hoek and I weren’t able to bid this bleeding edge slam on very minimal values. Too bad! But these little diamonds really make my bridgelife shine. If anyone sees a sensible way to reach slam (West will overcall), please, feel free to comment.

Werchter 2007

Hi all

I’m back. Back to the land of the living. It took some time to shift my gears down, going to the best festival in the world makes you live a little bit faster than regular. I’ve seen and heard so many things. I just cannot get the storm of emotions (butterflies!) under control to write a story. That together with my new job (yay!) leaves very little time to satisfy my faithful and beloved readers with stories.

But here’s a shot, some fragments of Werchter that are drifting through my mind right now. It’s impossible to give a top 5 (or any top list). There were so many highlights on the right moment, so in no particular order:

The Australian Pink Floyd Show
I’m not really into Pink Floyd. I’ve always thought it was too slow, I could not connect. Maybe you have some crazy ideas now about didgeridoos or kookaburras (at least I did), but these guys rock. It was a clean copy of the original Pink Floyd. And they did play all the hits. They finished with a bewitching "Comfortably Numb".

Tori Amos
My god! Did she charge her concert with powerful mysticism. The air was full of electricity. Breathless, she left the complete audience without breath.

Pearl Jam
Eddies eyes were like burning pieces of charcoal, they pierced through the audience. No soft or weak moments, they played like an oncoming train, nothing could stop them. I award them the best performance of the festival.

Metallica
Dennis and I really took the cherry from the Metallica-cake. When we approached their stage they started with Sad But True, One and Nothing Else Matters. Then, when we walked to another concert they served us Enter Sandman. Nice!

Peter Gabriel
He shook me. Peter took me in his arms and carried me around. Me happy. My eyes started to burn and my throat got really thick when he started "Biko". But there were too many 17 year old girls (am I really saying this?) waiting in line for Keane. That part of the audience could not really appreciate the old master.

Marilyn Manson
He had a day off, I guess. No, actually his concert was just plain shitty and uninspired. Booh!

Maxïmo Park
The leadsinger was kinda busy, moving all parts of his body while singing. They kept hitting the audience with attractive songs at very high speed. I’ll keep an eye on them, they will be big soon, very soon, very big.

Jason Mraz
Some singer songwriter from the US. Hey kicked off day two really early (something like 1.00 p.m.). But with just his guitar he played the audience. He was very good breakfast after the heavy night before.

Bloc Party
Go see! They’re worth every penny.

We spotted a t-shirt slogan that truly breathed our festival behaviour: The Liver Is Evil, It Must Be Punished! I can say we claimed a fair share in the overall beer consumption, approximately 500,000 liters of Stella.