The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Last Sunday Sherry and I played bridge at a sectional in San Francisco, near the Zoo, with our friends Eric and Scott. The event was a "bracketed Swiss". The field was divided into brackets of 8 teams with the same relative experience. In each bracket all the teams played each other. We were in the third-most-experienced bracket, or "Flight C".

We had an embarrassingly slow start and had 30 VP's (out of a possible 160) at the break. Here is a hand I held in that first half:

Sxxxxx Hxx DJ9xx Cxx

Sherry dealt, vulnerable versus not, and opened 2C. RHO bid 2H and I passed. LHO raised to 3H. Sherry bid 3S over this. I raised to 4S, and now LHO bid again: 5H.

Partner doubles. Do you pull or pass? If you pass, what do you lead?

I passed (I think I would pass no matter what, but when Sherry made a very slow double it became automatic). I led a club, which was not a success as it picked off Sherry's Kx and our diamond tricks ran away on dummy's clubs. If you pull, you go -200 and push the other table. If you lead a diamond, you beat the contract one. If you lead anything else, lose 11.

Evan Kirchhoff and his friend Mary were curious to see what a bridge tournament looked like, so they watched us during the fifth round. On one hand I did something which I had never done before or seen done: I opened a notrump and bid a three card suit naturally!

I held SKQx HKJxx DAKxx Cxx and opened 1N (15-17) at none vulnerable. Sherry bid 2C Stayman, asking for a four-card major. RHO doubled to show clubs. I bid 2H, and LHO showed club support by bidding 3C.

Sherry now bid 3D, which was natural and forcing. I assumed this showed four spades and an aversion to notrump. Well I certainly didn't want to bid notrump either, and thought a 4-3 spade fit might play well. I feared that bidding 4C or 4D would make it too hard to play spades. So I bid 3S! Partner raised this to four, holding:

SATxx HAQx DQTxxx Cx

LHO led a diamond and the spade jack dropped doubleton, so I made all the tricks. 6D is frigid. (Maybe partner could have bid 4C over 3S? I would then bid 5D and then she can bid the slam.) Missing the slam didn't matter; at the other table my teammate did not double and the opponents rested in 3N, down one on a club lead.

We picked up 52 VPs in the final three rounds to finish third.



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