Dave’s Blog

  • Coffs Excitement

    Coffs Harbour is a wonderful venue for a congress and had its own share of excitement with hands like the one below. I was playing with Marlene Watts – never a dull moment! The pair who bid to this grand slam did very well to get there.

    Bd 16
    EW Vul
    W Dealer
    10 7 6
    4 3 2
    J 10 5 4
    Q J 4
     
    A Q J 5
    J 10 9 5
    A 9
    K 6 3
    [ 0 ] K 9 8 4 3
    A
    K 7 6 3 2
    A 10
      2
    K Q 8 7 6
    Q 8
    9 8 7 5 2
     

    W N E S
    1NT P 2 P
    3 P 4NT P
    5 P 6 P
    7 P P P

    A new suit at the 6 level asks for 3rd round control.

    Lead: K from South.

    Play: Declarer needs s to divide 4/2 or 3/3.

    Cash A & K on 3rd round of s. South pitches; ruff with 5. Cross to A; ruff another with J. Now cash A & Q; ruff a and play K, drawing the last trump = 13 tricks!

  • KISS in Gold Coast Teams

    I am a great believer in KISS – Keep it simple, stupid! Rather than an infinite number of conventions that I can’t remember (and when I remember, my partner doesn’t!), I prefer to work from general principles, along with a few agreements in specific situations. Sartaj Hans and I had discussed many hands over drinks at the pub but had only played together once (many years ago) before this year’s Gold Coast Teams. We had a brief system discussion after a game of tennis in Sydney. The hand below shows how the right descriptive bid, combined with sound bidding judgement, can lead to a very successful bidding auction (I was West and Sartaj was East).

    Bd 8
    Nil Vul
    W Dealer
    Q 10 7 4
    Q 6
    Q 7 6 5 4
    7 4
     
    K 8
    2
    A K 3
    K Q 10 8 6 5 3
    [ 8 ] A 9 3 2
    A 10 9 5 4
    9
    A J 2
      J 6 5
    K J 8 7 3
    J 10 8 2
    9
     

    W N E S
    1 P 1 P
    3 P 4 P
    4NT P 5 P
    7 P P P

    Sartaj found the perfect bid to describe his hand (4) showing a raise with shortage over my 3 call. The 5 response to KCB showed 0 or 3 Key Cards. I could count 13 top tricks with a ruff. There were only 13 open pairs who bid the Grand Slam.

  • Trump Coup in Manly

    I was sitting West, playing with David Wiltshire in the Margaret Smith Memorial Congress at Manly Leagues Club.

    Bd 8
    Nil Vul
    W Dealer
    Q J 6 3 2
    Q 9 8 7
    4
    Q 9 5
     
    5
    5 4
    A K J 9 8 6 5
    J 8 4
    [ 8 ] A 10 9 4
    A K J 10
    7
    A K 6 3
      K 8 7
    6 3 2
    Q 10 3 2
    10 7 2
     

    W N E S
    3NT P 6 P
    P P

    3NT was undiscussed but generally played as a solid 7 card suit. East, with 5 guaranteed winners, bid directly to slam.

    Lead: 6 from South. North play Q and declarer won A.

    Declarer was reluctant to take the finesse immediately as:
    – it might lose to a singleton
    – North may win and give South a ruff.

    Instead, David W cashed A and ruffed a . Now A and K, receiving the bad news that s were certainly not breaking! The only chance left was a trump coup, making sure that declarer has the same number of trumps as the defender.

    David Wiltshire crossed to hand at trick 6 with a to the Ace, ruffing another at trick 7. Then, he led a small to K and cashed J, pitching a from dummy. He ruffed his last at trick 10 (South pitched a ); went back to hand at trick 11 with K and had a trump coup position, as South was left with Q & 10, while West had J & 9. So only one trick was lost and the contract galloped home!

  • Dick Cummings Pairs success!

    I was sitting East, playing with Ian Thomson from Canberra.

    Bd 12
    NS Vul
    W Dealer
    J 9 4 2
    J 10 7
    7 3
    K Q 9 6
     
    A 7 5
    Q 8 5 3
    A 6 5 4 2
    2
    [ 12 ] K Q 3
    A 2
    K Q J 8
    A 7 4 3
      10 8 6
    K 9 6 4
    10 9
    J 10 8 5
     

    W N E S
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 2 P
    3 P 4NT P
    5 P 6 P
    P P

    Ian Thomson and I usually blast slams without much bidding style. However, a bit of science helped us get to this one!

    I responded 2 as East, which is an inverted minor raise, showing 11+ points. Ian now bid 2 – showing a minimum opening hand. Yes, many players would not have opened his hand! My 2 bid asked for shortage and the 3 response showed low shortage (s). This was great news opposite my club holding. Bidding the slam gave us 85% on the board.

  • Terrigal Holiday

    Terrigal Excitement!

    This hand was in Session 3 of the duplicate on Monday 16th September.

    Bd 4
    All Vul
    W Dealer
    10 8 3
    9 8
    A 10 5 3 2
    J 7 4
     
    A K J 5 2
    A 10 7 2
    J 6 4
    10
    [ 4 ] Q 9 7 6 4
    K 3
    K Q 9 7
    Q 5
     
    Q J 6 5 4
    8
    A K 9 8 6 3 2
     

    W N E S
    1 P 2NT 5
    P P X P
    P P

    There was plenty of scope for a variety of contracts. East’s 2NT bid was the Jacoby Raise (4 card support and opening values plus).
    South, with 7/5 shape and a void in Spades, made a practical bid of 5. Neither East nor West was inclined to take the push to the 5 level and East decided to double.

    What is the best line to make 11 tricks?

    West led the A, which was ruffed by declarer, who then drew 2 rounds of trumps and crossed to the A. He led a small Heart from dummy, which East won with K, followed by the K – ruffed by South.

    Declarer now played Q – West took the Ace, but there were no more tricks for the defence.

    Note: to defeat 5, West has to lead a small Heart to East’s King at Trick 1; East returning a Heart to the Ace and a third heart can be trumped with East’s Q.
    East/West can make 11 tricks in Spades, but East with Qx of Clubs, is concerned about 2 quick Club losers.

  • David’s teaching tour of Canberra and Cooma

    David teaching Canberra

    The last weekend in June, David (and Anita) put on their winter woollies and headed to the Canberra Bridge Club for a series of three lessons, attended by up to 60 people per session. Much to our surprise, the weather was actually quite balmy in Canberra, although it was “nippy” when David continued onto Cooma for a further two lessons at the Monaro Bridge Club. Topics included How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Defence; Bidding Decisions after Pre-empts and Talking to Your Partner in Defence.

  • Courage or lunacy?

    A brilliant lead!

    This hand was against Peter Rogers (North) and Steven Burgess (South) in the 1996 Australian Playoffs. I was sitting East, playing with Ted Chadwick.

    Bd 4
    All Vul
    W Dealer
    A K 9 7 2
    A Q J 7 2
    6
    Q 8
     
    8 6 3

    A K Q 10 9 8
    9 7 6 4
    [ 4 ] J
    9 8 5 4 3
    J 7 5
    A J 5 3
      Q 10 5 4
    K 10 6
    4 3 2
    K 10 2
     

    W N E S
    3  4 5 5
     P  P P

    Burgess figured that all his honours were working, so soldiered onto 5.

    What do you lead?

    Most people would put the A on the table and the contract would make.

    Ted led 9; I overtook with the J and considered why partner had underled his AKQ. I returned the 3 for a ruff (suit preference), which Ted ruffed and duly sent back a to my Ace for a second ruff – 2 down.

    The underlead of the AKQ was risky but was the only way to defeat the contract.

  • The Trojan Horse in Adelaide ANC

    Youth players win Australian Butler Pairs in Adelaide!

    Justin Howard and Peter Hollands rode to victory in a gruelling competition over 6 days. Each pair played a 12 board match against the other 19 pairs who had qualified for Stage 2. I was sitting South, playing with Liz Adams.

    Bd 11
    Nil Vul
    S Dealer
    A K 10 9 8 7
    5 3
    Q 7 5 4
    3
     
    4 2
    K 9 6
    J 8 6 2
    A Q 5 2
    [ 11 ] Q 6
    A 10 4 2

    K J 10 9 8 6 4
      J 5 3
    Q J 8 7
    A K 10 9 3
    7
     

    N E S W
    1 P
    1 4 P 5
    5 P P P

    It looked like we had 2 Heart losers and a Club loser for one off in 5. West led A; East played 4 and ….
    West continued 2. To say that I was surprised to get a ruff/sluff at Trick 2 was an understatement. Actually, I was suspicious – why would a good player want to give me a ruff? Could it be that West had 4 trumps and wanted me to ruff on the table, shortening my trump suit and therefore unable to pick up his Jack to 4? Why had he not switched to something else (particularly a Heart?) Later, West told me that he was unsure whether East’s 4 was suit preference for Hearts.

    When opponents manoeuvre declarer into a particular line of play, it is rarely to Declarer’s advantage to comply. (My wife calls it contrariness but I maintain that it is wariness). So, I ruffed in hand – not dummy; cashed A – East showing out and then ran 10, which was not covered.

    Then I played two top Spades and drew trumps for 11 tricks – our only good board against the eventual winners. Beware of bridge players bearing gifts…..

  • When there is no ‘perfect’ bid – against Singapore

    Match (round robin2 round3) vs Singapore

    N E S W
    1
    ?

    West opened 1 – I was North with AQJ2 3 AQ74 AJ84
    What should you bid???

    Things to consider:
    – If you double what will your next bid be if partner responds Hearts?
    – Is 1NT a possibility?
    – How can you best describe your hand?

    At the other table my hand doubled – what should South respond with 9763 Q2 K8652 97 ?
    East/West bid Hearts and eventually the auction stopped in 3.

    However, I decided to overcall 1.
    Ian Thomson, my partner, raised to 2. What should North bid now????

    I chose 3NT and Ian wisely corrected to 4. Perhaps a better bid over Ian’s 2 bid, would have been 3?

    The full deal was:

    Bd 19
    EW Vul
    S Dealer
    A Q J 2
    3
    A Q 7 4
    A J 8 4
     
    K 10 5
    A 10 9 8
    J 10 3
    K Q 10 6 5
    [ 3 ] 8 4
    K J 7 6 5 4
    T 9
    T 3 2
      9 7 6 3
    Q 2
    K 8 6 5 2
    9 7
     

  • Teams of Three – Play the 5-2 Fit!

    I had the pleasure of playing as a Captain in the Teams of Three with Rod Dunn, Timothy Stewart and Ian Jamieson. It was a well attended event (48 teams) with teams drawing from a pool of experienced players as captains. Each member of the team played two matches with the captain and there was a jovial atmosphere throughout the day.

    All captains sat in the South seat.

    Bd 1
    Nil Vul
    N Dealer
    J 8
    Q 7
    A K J 8 4
    A K 10 7
     
    6 3
    10 9 8 5 4
    9 7 6
    9 5 2
    [ 1 ] A K Q 7 5 4
    2
    Q 10 3
    Q J 3
      10 9 2
    A K J 6 3
    5 2
    8 6 4
     

    N E S W
    1 1 X P
    3 P 3 P
    4 P P P

    I made a negative double, as I was unable to bid 2 initially – responder requires 10-11HCP to bid a new suit at the 2 level.

    When my partner jumped to 3, I decided that, with no spade stopper, the only prospect for game was in Hearts. My partner’s raise to 4 looks practical, as my hand could easily have a 6 card heart suit.

    Having reached the 5-2 fit, the only problem was how to play the hand!

    West led 8. East won 2 high spades and switched to a trump. I won Q, cashed the A and K and ruffed a Diamond in hand (noting the 3/3 break). I now played A and discovered that the trump suit was not breaking. I cashed my remaining high Hearts, pitching small clubs from dummy; crossed to dummy with A and played a top Diamond, throwing my remaining spade. West ruffed with 10. As West had no more Spades, dummy was high.

    Modern bridge theory is that a 9 card fit is desirable and an 8 card fit is possible but sometimes, a 5-2 fit is the best place to play!