The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, March 02, 2003


I played a lot of bridge last week, considering that there were no tournaments in town. I played Tuesday at the club with Eric, and we finished second (a third of a board out of first). Thursday I played with George and we won handily. Friday I played with Sherry while Eric played with our friend Joel, who used to be one of our bridge crowd when he was at Stanford but moved away to Ann Arbor in 2001. And I played a few random hands at my friend Jon and Beth's house on Friday and Saturday.

The Friday night game is a barometer. There is a full set of boards for every two tables; on each round the odd table plays the odd board first and the even table the even board, then the tables swap boards and play them. The matchpoint scores from the previous round are posted on a big whiteboard on the side of the main playing area. The director also posts several of the leading pairs each direction and their scores.

We sat North-South and Joel and Eric started as our East-West opponents. They had two unfortunate results, playing 3N from the wrong side because they play weak notrumps, and then a trump lead picked up the suit for Sherry and allowed her to make five. This put us on the "leader board", tied for first. Bridge being a zero-sum game, our friends had achieved the "anti-leader board" and were tied for last.

Sherry and I had some spectacular results and some disasters. Here is my favorite board:

As dealer I held SQJT8xx HATx DCKQ8x. I opened 1S and Sherry responded 2H -- not game forcing, just 10 or more points. I raised to 3H, which showed extras in our methods.

Sherry then bid 3S, which I took as spade support. Now I really liked my hand and cuebid 4C. Sherry came back with 4N. We don't play Blackwood; in a cue bidding situation 4N shows slam interest but nothing obvious to cue bid.

This suited my hand very well. I figured she had spade and heart values and shot the spade slam. LHO led a diamond and here was the dummy:

SA HKQJxxx DQ9xx CJ9

Obviously Sherry thought 3S was a cue bid. I ruffed and led a spade to the ace, all following. What would you do?

I led the jack of clubs and overtook with the queen. This held and I led the SQ. LHO won and RHO followed, so I was cold as long as he did not play a club back. He thought for a while and returned a diamond. I blew it up, pulled two rounds of trump, and threw my club losers on hearts. Making six! This was a tie for a top; I assume the other 980 was six hearts, which really should not make either as hearts are 3-1.

Sherry and I were on and off the leader board at fourth and third place. I kept a look out for Joel and Eric but they did not appear. Our last round was a disaster and we fell to 6th (out of 12 tables). Meanwhile, Joel and Eric won! The East-West race was very tight and with one round to go, third place was only a quarter board behind first. Joel and Eric had a huge last round to overtake them all.


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