Thursday, May 9, 2013

Strangeness in Bridge This Week

Monday and Tuesday nights, I did 3 things that I’m not sure I’ve ever done in bridge.

Monday, Joel and I were playing imp pairs online against Bob Heller and Emory. I held something like xxx, AKQxx, x, Qxxx. The auction was something like 1-1-X-2; 2-P-4-P; P-P so I was on lead against 4 and selected the singleton diamond. Joel dutifully won the ace and led one back for me to ruff. Obviously he didn’t lead a high spot for a heart suit preference, but with a singleton in dummy, I took a chance that he had the J and led low from my heart honors for a second diamond ruff. It worked! Plays like that are so fun when they work, and that’s one of the few things I like about imps. When the opponents are in what seems to be a fairly easy game, you can take risks like this. In matchpoints, I probably would not underlead the hearts because I figure we may already be ahead of the field by getting the ruff.

Tuesday, playing with Emory, I held -, Axx, AKQJxx, AQxx and opened 1. Partner not surprisingly bid 1 and I jump-shifted to 3. Now he bids 4. I guess this is a splinter with club support, but wasn’t entirely sure. Not knowing what 4 or 4NT would mean here (there’s a reasonable case for both being natural), I tanked for at least a minute to mull over things. 5 exclusion to find out about the K might be what I want to bid, but since that’s partner’s long suit, I’m not sure of that one either. Clubs may still not be a great spot if his clubs are only Kxxx as a 4-1 split could cause problems. Eventually I decided to jump to the diamond grand. If p has short hearts, he has to have some diamond support. Worst case scenario for this bid is for p to have KQxxxx, x, xx, Kxxx. With that, a trump lead would leave me needing a ruffing spade finesse and 3-2 clubs, but 7 is a cold if p has Axxxx, x, xxx, Kxxx – I can always score 2 heart ruffs and pitch the potential 4th round club loser on the A. His actual hand included 6 wasted hcp in spades: KQJTx, x, xxx, KJTx.

Later that night, I picked up -, xxxxx, xxxx, ATxx and at favorable vulnerability saw it go 1-X to me. Some days I might try 1 or 2 but Emory doesn’t take such jokes well and settled for 3 as my way to preempting. It didn’t work as LHO has a 7 card spade suit (I don’t think anything would have kept him from bidding 4), but this is the only time I can remember raising partner’s minor with 4 card support rather than bidding a 5 card major.