On top

Our good results in the second division continue. Last Sunday, we beat Onstein 4, in second place and one of the favorites for the title by 71 imp’s, or 25-3. I wasn’t awake on the first board though.

After 1-p-2, I overcalled 3 and that closed the auction, even though the 2 bidder thought for a long time in the pass-out seat. Club lead to the ace and I dropped the king to create an entry, Q back, king and ace. A spade back to the J and a club to the dummy. Now it is your turn?

The key to the hand is, of course, the trump suit. At the table, I thought too much about the break in tempo by the 2 bidder in the pass-out seat. The opponents play some sort of Bergen, so 4 trumps are impossible. That suggests that he has lots of values, say QJx/Kxx/xxxx/Axx or similar. Not quite a limit raise, but definitely a hand to consider another move. I took a heart finesse, wrong, down 1.

Stupid, of course, if RHO really has that hand, his partner would have opened in 1st seat with not more than 2 aces and perhaps another jack. That is never an opening bid, so the K should be over there. The correct line of play is, of course, to cash the A. The K will drop and you make the contract. Fortunately, the other table was allowed to play a spade contract making 11 tricks, so we still won 3, instead of 7.

After that, all the scores went our way, with the biggest gain on this hand. You hear your partner open 1NT and your first choice is if you want to show this hand as invitational or game-forcing? Suppose you decide for invitational. Your partner will show a maximum 1NT in response with some fit in both minors. Now what?

At our table, my RHO decided to go for invitational, then pass 3NT. Not a success, not only are you cold for 6, but the opponent on lead has an obvious heart lead and the opponents can pick up the first 5 tricks in that suit.

At the other table, my teammate decided for game-forcing and, when the fit was discovered, showed shortness in hearts. That was great news and 6 was quickly reached for 14 imp gain.

The second match of the day didn’t go that well. We tied, losing a lot of points on this hand. RHO opens 1, LHO 2, 3 by opener, LHO asks for aces, the trump queen and looks for 7 by asking for side suit kings, with RHO showing 3 keycards, the Q and no other kings. LHO then signs off in 6 and you are on lead with the hand on the right. It looks like declarer must set up the diamonds, so that suit is out. A club lead is not very attractive either, declarer may be forced to run this to Qx or put up the Q in dummy. Trumps will never create a defensive trick. That leaves a heart...

Not a success: the opponents have nicely missed their 4-4 fit in heart fit and the lead sets up the suit and declarer’s 12th trick. Note that 6 is a much better contract, on any lead but a diamond, declarer can afford to give up a trump and cash spades discarding diamonds. A ruff is his 12th trick. Our teammates did a lot better by bidding 6, unfortunately without ever mentioning diamonds. Our opponent thought that a diamond lead was now safe. -14 imp’s.

Still 15 VP and 40 for the day, doing better than all the other teams. Scores after 7 rounds:

6 matches to be played. We are well ahead but still have to play Star, Lindeboom and Onstein 3. To be continued in February.

Henk Uijterwaal 2019