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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Miss Lucy

Playing Intermediates #003 - What is the meaning of leading intermediates?

After West opens 1  and East responds 1 NT - Forcing, East/West must proceed carefully ... anything that can go badly in bridge, often does. DD (double dummy) East/West should reach 3 NT or 4 . After opening 1 , a jump rebid of 3  by West is only invitational (not forcing), East can Pass 3 . West should consider a jump-shift to 3  which makes the auction forcing and gives East a chance to bid the hearts. After 3  (6+ hearts, no fit in spades), West can decide on 3 NT or 4 (I like 4 ).

Leading from a doubleton is not typically a good lead, unless, one has 1st or 2nd round control of trump. So playing with Emma, one of our junior bridge players, the lead of the  7 is typically a discouraging lead (attitude towards clubs). Emma makes a world class play, ducking the  7 to declarer. Declarer leads the  J which I win with the  K (lower of touching honors) and lead the  2 (the echo), Emma now wins her  A and leads a 3rd club which I get to trump with my  4. I duck the next heart to Emma's  Q for down two (-2).

Emma plays with me in open games ... when people ask her how long she has been playing bridge and she answers "about two years" ... I love it! I am so proud of Emma (and all of our junior bridge players) - not many players with 2 masterpoints, regardless of age, could make this play.

The Black Kings

Playing Intermediates #002 - How do you play card combinations without the intermediates?

There is nothing special about this auction, after an opening bid of 1 NT, all pairs should reach the 4  contract. 

With the notrump opener (strong hand) on the right, North does not want to lead a king or lead away from a king, so the  5 looks safe. Analyzing the play of the hand, surely East/West will find their heart tricks so the contact seems to hinge on finesses against the two black kings (ominous). West wins the opening lead in hand with the  A (hiding the  K) preserving the  Q as an entry to dummy to take a finesse against the  K.

So how does West play on spades (card combinations 101), William Root (teacher, author, etc.) says in his book How to Play a Bridge Hand that "you cannot learn to play a hand (of bridge) until you learn to play a suit." Holding J8x opposite AQxxx (missing not only the  K, but also the  10 and  9) it cannot be right to lead the  J to finesse for the  K. If North covers the jack with the king then it is possible to loose 2-tricks to the  10 and  9 and in this textbook case South, in fact, holds  10976.

The correct play is small to the  AQ (lead up to honors) and if the  Q wins cash the  A, hopefully dropping the  K. On this deal the  K drops right away and East only loses 1 spade trick. Ok, so when this board was played in spades it was -1 (down one) three times and -2 (down two) four times and played in 2  two times. Down one for -100 was 4.5 matchpoints for 56.2% on this deal ... the big matchpoints were for the two part-scores (go figure).

Are Game Tries Alertable

Below I posted the Find the Jack deal where East/West, after finding an agreement in spades, East bids 3  ... so the question is "whether 3  is Alertable?" as some kind of game try. Yes? No?

The key is what are the partnership agreements regarding game tries ... as per Doug Grove/ACBL game tries come in three basic flavors -- long suit, help suit, and short suit. The first two are not Alertable; the last one is Alertable. A short suit is defined as two or fewer cards because anything longer is deemed a "suit".

If East/West are playing some generic version of help suit game tries or natural bid game tries (i.e., not short suit game tries) and holding  AKJ2 in clubs, 3  is not Alertable.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Find the Jack

Playing Intermediates #001 - This deal starts a series focusing on playing intermediate (body) cards of 7s, 8s, 9s and 10s.

Playing with Diana Mullaly we find ourselves in a 4  contract with a combined 21 hcp and respective shortness in hearts and clubs (24 shortage pts), not a really good contract (8.5 winners) but on the positive, lots of good 8s, 9s and 10s.  NTWC (not the worst contract) ever played.

When North leads the  4 (out of turn) Diana accepts the lead and makes me play the contract from West. (oh thanks!) This contract cannot be made unless the  Q is onside, so take the "opening lead finesse" to the  10 (huge card) and the  8 back to the  J.

Ok, things are looking up, if everything else goes well, I can ruff a heart in dummy and put two losing hearts on the  AK. So now is the time to make a play on spades (trumps). Most players focus on the missing  A, but the name of the game is find the  J and the  A will take care of itself. I have kibitzed Bill Wisdom (Salisbury, NC) many times and am always impressed with his play of intermediate cards of 7s, 8s, 9s and 10s. So, I lead the  9 from dummy - which BTW now deprives North of a diamond ruff - and when it holds, lead the  3 to the  10 picking up the  8 (leaving South with  AJ) and neither the K or  Q have been played yet.

Now  A, trump a heart in dummy with  4 and lead the  A (pitching a heart), then the  K. With the lead of the  K South is now 'en passant' South either pitches (in which case, pitch a heart) or trumps with  A (again, pitch a heart) or plays the  J (over trump, trump last heart) ... either way, I can now get back to dummy with a trump or diamond for 10 tricks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alerts after 1Nt Forcing

I often get the question, if after a forcing notrump (1NtF) does the bid of a minor require an Alert or Announcement ... the answer is no. The ACBL Alert Chart is very clear that Two-of-a-minor after a forcing or semi-forcing 1NT response is not alertable. Once the forcing notrump has been announced system responses may require the rebid of minor without the values or shape to make other bids.

click here ↓ for ACBL

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hilton Head Island Bridge

The HHI Bridge web log (blog) is all about bridge in the SC Low Country.
  1. Classes
  2. Workshops
  3. Technical
  4. Questions
  5. Youth Bridge
  6. Speical Games
  7. Tournaments
  8. Much more ...
If you have questions ...