Main     Match 7L53 by Richard Pavlicek    

Goldway Memorial Challenge

This was the 26th in a series of monthly challenge matches on OKbridge. Billed as the "Goldway" series, it has been a popular feature since it began in July, 1997. In this edition, world champions Bobby Levin and Paul Soloway took on my son Rich and me in a 34-board* match. The match was hosted by Tony Reuss (alias Tuna) and watched live by hundreds of spectators. The deals were played earlier in the week by other OKbridge members to determine the comparison results. Scoring was by IMPs.

*Actually 36 but two were thrown out. Paul misclicked on one, allowing us to make a game that was routinely down; and on the other he did not see Bobby's opening bid and passed with 8 points. In each case we did not get the "undos" started in time so the results were recorded; but since they had nothing to do with bridge, the only fair thing was to junk them.

Writing up these deals brought out some deep emotions, not from the match itself but in memory of Bobby Goldman. His untimely death last May left a void in my heart, as I'm sure it did for everyone else who knew him. I had the pleasure of being Goldman's partner in a National many years ago and only wish that more could have rubbed off. He used his great knowledge of the game not to exhibit superiority but to help me, as he did many others. A true class act.

NorthSouthWestEast
Richard PavlicekRich PavlicekBobby LevinPaul Soloway

BoardContract/resultScoreIMPsNSEWParIMPsNSEW
11 H West +1-110+0.040.040-500+990
24 S South -4-200-1.210.041.21-100-393
33 NT East -2+100+2.432.471.21-110+5143
44 S North =+420+2.154.621.21+420Tie143
51 S South +3+170+3.938.551.21+140+1153
63 NT South +1+430+3.7112.261.21+140+7223
73 NT West =-600-6.0912.267.30-600Tie223
85 D West =-600-1.2912.268.59-660+2243
96 S East =-1430-2.0412.2610.63-2220+13373
103 S East -1+50-0.0912.2610.72+100-2375
113 H West =-140-1.0212.2611.74-140Tie375
126 S East -1+100+8.9121.1711.74-650+13505
133 NT East =-400-0.5221.1712.26-430+1515
142 D West +1-110-0.3521.1712.61-400+7585
154 S North =+420+8.5929.7612.61+140+7655
163 NT West -1+50+2.5132.2712.61-140+5705
171 NT East -1+50+0.5432.8112.61+120-2707
184 C North -1-50-0.5532.8113.16-100+2727
193 NT East -4+400+9.2342.0413.16-130+11837
203 D East -2+100-1.5342.0414.69+140-1838
213 NT East -2+200+1.8943.9314.69-140+8918
226 NT South +1+1470+4.5148.4414.69+2220-139121
235 D North =+400+7.1555.5914.69+400Tie9121
243 NT West =-600-1.0855.5915.77-660+29321
254 H South +2+680+0.2655.8515.77+650+19421
264 H West +1-450-0.6555.8516.42-450Tie9421
273 D South -2-200-4.3155.8520.73+90-79428
281 NT North +1+120+1.7757.6220.73+140-19429
294 S South =+420+0.6758.2920.73+420Tie9429
301 NT East +2-150-2.5258.2923.25-110-19430
313 NT East -1+100+2.5560.8423.25-130+610030
324 H× North -3-500-7.9060.8431.15-100-910039
333 NT East +1-430-6.8160.8437.96-400-110040
343 NT West -2+200+8.6469.4837.96-630+1311340

34 avgFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North2762749531074282335782102181878881878837593950935550615615641553
South2743509471056282341791102181878281878237243956912532615612635541
West332474100011413033657471103826850818856411842591226679650647626703
East247300110012353324157211091826856821859412942471250682644650624703
Deal11291397400045061200145630414235164416471638165079098232219724442524252425262500

To DateMatchesWonLostTiedBoardsWonLostTied+IMPs–IMPsIMPs/bd
OKB IMPs33008647390167119+0.56
Par IMPs330086422321273115+1.84

86 avgFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North29435195010852953487801028827827824828396441781101597664650622572
South299351103511623103797421100827822824823394741691095593662647620570
West30641299911352943587501083830829824834397341811081606598609637672
East321420101611623003557401095830835828836398741601103609598613636672
Deal12201534400045431200144030124306165716641652166679768371223024052521251925152486

F=Freakness  G=Generic  P=HCP  R=Rev points  C=Controls  Q=Quick halftricks  L=Losing tricks  Y=Playing halftricks
lf=Longest fit lm=Longest fit make bf=Best fit bm=Best fit make H=Highest make (31=1C, 45=3N, 49=4S, 65=7N)
O=On-lead highest make  B=Best scoring make  M=Notrump make sm=S make hm=H make dm=D make cm=C make


Bobby
West
1 H
Richard
North
Pass
Paul
East
Pass
Rich
South
Pass
Board 1
E-W Vul
S J 10 8
H 6 2
D K Q 8 5 2
C Q 10 2
Trick
1 N
2 W
3 W
4 S
5 W
6 W
7 E
8 W
Lead
D K
C A
C K
D 10
S A
S 2
D 9
S K
2nd
3
2
10
H 3
8
10
6
J
3rd
4
3
4
2
5
Q
H 5
4
4th
H 4
7
H 8
7
3
7
5
6
W L
1 0
2 0
2 1
3 1
4 1
5 1
6 1
7 1
S A K 2
H K Q 5 4 3
D
C A K 9 8 6
TableS Q 9 5 4
H 9 7
D 9 7 3
C J 5 4 3
S 7 6 3
H A J 10 8
D A J 10 6 4
C 7
NS +0.04  NS 0.04 EW 01 H West +1-110 Par -500NS +9NS 9EW 0

LeadddSJS8H6H2D8D5D2CQCTC2DK2345678
Make8889999910111199888888
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North218912891081083737765482
South421013448121081083737765582
West7131922710319911911515118788511
East103400105911911515118788511
Deal1416404812162945191919198888252626252626

A rather peaceful start. Rich judged well to pass out Bobby's 1 H opening. Had he balanced with 2 D, I have no doubt that Bobby and Paul would reach 5 C, a sound game that makes with routine play.

Against 1 H we started a forcing defense, shortening Bobby's trumps. He tried to cash two clubs, and when Rich ruffed and continued diamonds, Bobby played to ensure his contract by using dummy's entry to ruff another diamond. With spades 3-3 he secured an eighth trick. Note that if we did not force him to ruff, he could retain trump control and win nine tricks.


Bobby
West

3 C
All Pass
Richard
North
Pass
Dbl
Paul
East
Pass
4 C
Rich
South
1 H
4 S
Board 2
None Vul
S Q 5 3 2
H K 4
D Q 9 8 7 4
C 9 6
Trick
1 W
2 W
3 S
4 S
5 S
6 S
7 E
8 N
9 S
10 E
Lead
C K
C J
H J
S A
S K
D 3
S J
D 9
H 6
S 7
2nd
6
9
7
10
C 2
5
9
2
Q
3rd
8
10
4
2
3
Q
C 5
K
K
4th
Q
S 8
5
4
6
A
Q
10
A
W L
0 1
1 1
2 1
3 1
4 1
4 2
5 2
6 2
6 3
S 10
H Q 7
D J 10 5
C A K J 7 5 3 2
TableS J 7 6 4
H A 8 5 2
D A 2
C 10 8 4
S A K 9 8
H J 10 9 6 3
D K 6 3
C Q
EW +1.21  NS 0.04 EW 1.214 S South -4-200 Par -100EW +3NS 9EW 3

LeadddSTHQH7DJD5CJC7C5C3CK2345678910
Make999999101010109999666666
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North33791179898944441649883
South42131345713898944441649883
West71011133271510101010464617944410
East10910449810101010464617944410
Deal1515404512123045181918199090332626242426

We were treading on thin ice here. Bobby's weak jump overcall was hefty, although probably the right strategy with Paul a passed hand. I made a dubious negative double on skimpy values; Paul extended the preempt, and Rich pushed to 4 S comforted by the known spade fit.

After the H J held at Trick 3, I don't care for Rich's choice to cash both top trumps. This allowed Paul to win the D A and lead the S J to smother Rich's nine and force the queen, and then later draw dummy's last trump — down 4. If Rich cashed only one top trump and led a heart, he could get out for down one, a plus position since 4 C is cold their way (and also 3 NT, though tough to reach). But this was only a small loss; no double, no trouble.


Bobby
West

2 C
3 NT
Richard
North

Pass
All Pass
Paul
East
1 NT
2 H
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Board 3
N-S Vul
S 10 7
H A Q 8
D Q J 6 4 3
C K 8 3
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 W
4 E
5 N
6 N
Lead
H 5
C 7
S 6
C J
H A
H 8
2nd
S 2
9
7
S 3
2
4
3rd
Q
Q
A
4
3
9
4th
K
3
4
K
D 5
D 8
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
3 1
3 2
3 3
S 8 6 5 2
H
D 9 8 5
C A Q 10 6 5 4
TableS A Q J
H K 7 6 4 2
D A 2
C J 7 2
S K 9 4 3
H J 10 9 5 3
D K 10 7
C 9
NS +2.43  NS 2.47 EW 1.213 NT East -2+100 Par -110NS +5NS 14EW 3

LeadddSKS9S4HJH3DKDTD7C9H523456
Make7988777777787777
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North2112133471188883838865883
South42792281188883838866883
West7116923712999941461077559
East21151656713999941461077559
Deal1515404712152947171717177984182625262624

Bobby was aggressive here, jumping to 3 NT after a Stayman sequence. He hoped his long club suit would provide the punch, but luck was on our side with the club finesse losing.

Rich led a heart despite the 2 H bid because of his good intermediate spots. Note the choice to lead low (fourth best) as opposed to the normal jack lead. This is often a winning strategy to avoid suit blockage when an opponent is known to hold four cards. Of course, it can sometimes backfire miserably (see Board 33).

At double-dummy I should win the H A and shift to a diamond (down two) but this was far from obvious, so I played the H Q to inhibit a holdup. I also had high hopes that the clubs would be dead (Paul's doubleton) which was not to be. Paul could have escaped for down one by simply running the C J, but he chose to lead low to the queen which held; then, not sure of the situation, he returned to his S A to continue clubs — down two, since we now had the S K to cash as well.


Bobby
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Richard
North

1 NT
2 S
4 S
Paul
East

Pass
Pass
All Pass
Rich
South
Pass
2 H
2 NT
Board 4
E-W Vul
S 10 9 6 2
H K 10
D A J 10 6
C A K 2
Trick
1 E
2 S
Lead
C 10
S 3
2nd
J
K
3rd
4
2
4th
2
Q
W L
1 0
1 1
S A K
H J 8 7 3 2
D 9 3 2
C 8 5 4
TableS Q
H A 6 5
D Q 7 5 4
C Q 10 9 7 6
S J 8 7 5 4 3
H Q 9 4
D K 8
C J 3
NS +2.15  NS 4.62 EW 1.214 S North =+420 Par +420TieNS 14EW 3

LeadddSQHAH6DQD7D5CQC7CT2
Make1010101010101010101010
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North1015176771210101010494921810787
South4578118810101010494921710777
West2189349886862830043656
East4210102271086862828043656
Deal118404412143138181618167779212326262526

We got to a good 4 S here that some pairs missed. Rich had an interesting decision after transferring to 2 S. A simple 3 S invitation looks rather normal, but he chose 2 NT since he had scattered values and a lousy six-card suit. Neither mattered, of course, since I had a clear acceptance for the game in spades. I suppose some Souths took a conservative view and passed 2 S.

There was nothing to the play, just needing a normal 2-1 trump break.


TopMain

Bobby
West

Pass
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
1 D
Pass
Rich
South
1 S
Board 5
N-S Vul
S A 6
H 6
D 9 8 7 3 2
C K 10 9 4 3
Trick
1 W
2 S
3 N
4 N
5 S
6 E
7 E
8 S
9 S
10 E
Lead
H J
H 2
S A
C 3
S Q
D K
D A
S 10
H K
D 10
2nd
6
5
2
5
J
4
S 5
H 3
8
3rd
4
S 6
3
A
D 2
5
6
D 8
C 4
4th
A
9
4
2
K
3
7
8
S 9
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
4 1
4 2
5 2
6 2
6 3
S J 4
H J 10 8 5 3
D J 6 5
C J 8 2
TableS K 9 8 2
H 9 4
D A K Q 10
C Q 7 5
S Q 10 7 5 3
H A K Q 7 2
D 4
C A 6
NS +3.93  NS 8.55 EW 1.211 S South +3+170 Par +140NS +1NS 15EW 3

LeadddSJS4H8H5H3DJD6CJC8C2HJ23456.. 8910
Make999999999101099999991010
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North6871033712797944441679878
South68151856417797944441679878
West21440011575752530054454
East1014154561375752530054454
Deal1517404712142847141414146974162426242424

Note how Rich handled his major two-suiter. Many players would use Michaels, but we play this shows either a weak hand or a hand too strong for an overcall. Hence, with an intermediate-range hand like this we begin with an overcall. Usually there will be more bidding, then Rich would bid his hearts. Oops, not this time. Paul was not going to reopen with length in spades and shortness in hearts.

Just as well. We stayed low on this misfit that caused trouble at some tables. After a heart lead, Rich ruffed a heart in dummy and then played trumps like he went to the pre-game Hand Record Party. Seriously, leading the S Q was clearly the percentage play with Paul having opened and marked with spade length from his passout of 1 S. This made nine tricks routine, and Rich had 10 when Bobby pitched a heart, not knowing that Rich started with five.


Bobby
West

Pass
Richard
North

3 NT
Paul
East
Pass
All Pass
Rich
South
1 NT
Board 6
E-W Vul
S 7 4 3
H Q J 9 8
D K 9 7
C A Q 6
Trick
1 W
2 S
3 E
4 E
5 W
6 S
7 N
8 N
9 S
10 N
Lead
H 6
D 10
S 8
S 5
H 4
H 7
H J
S 7
C 4
C A
2nd
8
4
6
10
9
10
S 9
Q
8
3
3rd
2
7
2
K
5
Q
D 2
A
Q
7
4th
K
A
3
4
A
3
D 6
C 5
2
9
W L
1 0
1 1
1 2
1 3
2 3
3 3
4 3
5 3
6 3
7 3
S K 2
H 10 6 4
D Q J 6 4
C J 9 8 5
TableS Q J 9 8 5
H 5 3 2
D A 8 5
C 3 2
S A 10 6
H A K 7
D 10 3 2
C K 10 7 4
NS +3.71  NS 12.26 EW 1.213 NT South +1+430 Par +140NS +7NS 22EW 3

LeadddSKS2HTH4DQD6D4CJC9C5H62345678..10
Make889999991010109910101010101010
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North0412123489797943451587988
South04141567810797943451587988
West1078119776762929046444
East2178229876762929046444
Deal39404312143434141514157274152426262424

Rich chose to open a 14-point notrump (systemically this showed 15-17) based on his three tens, which was certainly reasonable, although a pedestrian 1 C might have been wiser with 4-3-3-3 shape. But who can argue with success.

Rich was also double-dummy in the play. After the passive heart lead, Rich had eight sure tricks and needed either a diamond trick or his long club to secure nine. He correctly started diamonds (I like his lead of the 10) and Bobby made a good play in ducking. I must admit I would put up the king because, if the diamond lost to the queen or jack, the obvious spade switch would give me no more time to mess with diamonds. But Rich let it ride, losing to the ace. Lucky! Bobby later was squeezed in the minors for an overtrick.


Bobby
West

Pass
2 D
3 C
3 NT
Richard
North

1 D
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Paul
East

2 C
2 H
3 D
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Board 7
Both Vul
S K 10 8 2
H J 4
D K Q J 2
C 10 7 2
Trick
1 N
2 N
3 E
4 E
5 W
6 N
Lead
D K
S 2
C A
C 3
S Q
D Q
2nd
3
A
8
J
K
4
3rd
5
3
4
Q
H 5
6
4th
8
4
2
7
6
9
W L
0 1
1 1
2 1
3 1
3 2
3 3
S Q J 7 4
H 10 6 2
D A 9 8
C Q 9 4
TableS A
H A Q 8 5
D 7 4 3
C A K 6 5 3
S 9 6 5 3
H K 9 7 3
D 10 6 5
C J 8
EW +6.09  NS 12.26 EW 7.303 NT West =-600 Par -600TieNS 22EW 3

LeadddSKSTS8S2HJH4D2CTC7C2DK23456
Make91199910109999999999
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North1010102381086862934046453
South10441110686862934046453
West04992297810810464617969810
East42171979515810810464617969810
Deal66404212153238161616167580172624262626

After my light third-seat opening, Paul and Bobby bid well to reach the normal game contract. Bobby's 2 D cue-bid strikes me as a tad weak — I would just raise to 3 C, but Paul would bid again (probably 3 H) and the same 3 NT would be reached.

The play was interesting. When my D K held, I could not be sure of the exact layout (we play attitude on a king lead, so Rich could have held a doubleton). It was also obvious I could not beat the contract with the diamond suit alone. So I switched to a spade. This simplified the play for Bobby, as he could now develop a second spade to ensure nine tricks. Had I continued diamonds to drive out the ace, Bobby would lack the entries to work on spades, so he'd be forced to play on hearts. The heart finesse loses, of course, but he would still survive when my jack drops doubleton. Nonetheless, some players must have botched this considering our 6 IMP loss.


Bobby
West

1 D
3 H
4 C
4 S
Richard
North
Pass
1 H
Pass
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
Pass
1 NT
3 NT
4 D
5 D
Rich
South
Pass
2 H
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Board 8
E-W Vul
S A 10 9 5
H K Q 6 4 3
D 4
C J 6 4
Trick
1 N
2 E
Lead
H K
D 6
2nd
A
8
3rd
8
Q
4th
C 2
4
W L
1 0
2 0
S K 6 2
H
D A K Q 10 3 2
C A K 8 2
TableS Q J 4
H A J 10 7
D 7 6 5
C 10 9 5
S 8 7 3
H 9 8 5 2
D J 9 8
C Q 7 3
EW +1.29  NS 12.26 EW 8.595 D West =-600 Par -660NS +2NS 24EW 3

LeadddSASTS5H6H4D4CJC6C4HK2
Make111111111212111212121111
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4210123471195952323023522
South04330011395952323023522
West711192279320911911555525111081111
East04882210791191155552511981111
Deal1121404512153141181618167878252625262626

Bobby and Paul conducted a fine auction to stop in game, avoiding the temptation to bid a poor slam. Bobby showed keen judgment; after making several slam tries, he respected Paul's decision. I know there are many players out there with a devil-may-care attitude who would just take a shot a 6 D, but this exhibits little partnership trust. Ideally, one would prefer to play 3 NT instead of 5 D, but Bobby could not realistically give up so soon.

There was nothing to the play. Exactly 11 tricks were available since there was no way to avoid a club loser.


TopMain

Bobby
West

4 H
4 NT
6 S
Richard
North

Pass
Pass
All Pass
Paul
East
1 NT
4 S
5 H
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Pass
Board 9
Both Vul
S K
H 9 6 3
D 9 5 4 3
C Q 9 8 3 2
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 N
Lead
C J
S 4
C 9
2nd
4
3
K
3rd
2
Q
6
4th
A
K
5
W L
1 0
1 1
2 1
S A Q J 10 9 7 2
H Q 10 7
D A
C 5 4
TableS 6 5 4
H A K 4
D Q 8 6 2
C A K 7
S 8 3
H J 8 5 2
D K J 10 7
C J 10 6
EW +2.04  NS 12.26 EW 10.636 S East =-1430 Par -2220NS +13NS 37EW 3

LeadddS8S3HJH8H5H2DKDJD7C6CJ23
Make1313131313131313131313131312
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4255119885852222000154
South10671110885852222000154
West7101317445161013101365653513131088
East041616687111013101365653513131088
Deal1216404512143143181818188787352626222624

After Paul opened 1 NT, Bobby chose the practical way to bid his slam-going hand. While it is possible the partnership could be lacking control in hearts or clubs, an attempt to be overly scientific might direct the killing lead. Four hearts was a Texas transfer, then 4 NT was Roman key-card Blackwood. Holding four of the five key cards, the slam was routinely bid.

Paul's decision to finesse spades here is interesting. If the C J were a singleton and he lost to a stiff S K, he would be defeated; so it seems right to guarantee the contract by winning the S A. But this is a moot point. Taking the normal percentage play in spades might win a single IMP many times, while costing the contract only very rarely; so it may be the right play after all — I'm not going to attempt a mathematical analysis. Ironically, playing safe would have netted the overtrick as the cards lie.


Bobby
West

Pass
Pass
3 S
Richard
North

1 H
2 S
All Pass
Paul
East

1 S
3 C
Rich
South
1 D
2 H
3 H
Board 10
None Vul
S K 9
H K J 8 6 2
D K 8
C 10 7 4 2
Trick
1 S
2 S
3 N
4 E
5 E
6 N
7 S
8 E
9 W
10 W
11 S
Lead
D A
D 7
C 4
S A
S 2
H 2
H A
S 7
D Q
C 5
D J
2nd
2
5
A
5
6
4
5
D 4
H J
7
3rd
8
K
6
4
J
10
8
Q
C 9
J
4th
9
10
3
9
K
3
S 3
H 6
3
Q
W L
0 1
0 2
1 2
2 2
2 3
2 4
3 4
4 4
5 4
5 5
S Q J 4
H 9 7 5 3
D Q 5 2
C 8 5 3
TableS A 10 8 7 3 2
H 4
D 10 9
C A K J 9
S 6 5
H A Q 10
D A J 7 6 4 3
C Q 6
EW +0.09  NS 12.26 EW 10.723 S East -1+50 Par +100EW +2NS 37EW 5

LeadddS6HAHQHTDJD7D4CQC6DA2345678..1011
Make910999999999999999998
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North331012337108108104855209410107
South45131445714898943551533994
West045500105999944501629325
East66121656615999944441629325
Deal13184047121430441719171992105361625252321

My 2 S bid was a relay game try (an artificial asking bid) and Rich's 3 H showed a minimum with no concentration of secondary values. So, my game ambitions went down the drain, and we sold out when Bobby competed to 3 S, an accurate decision since 3 H would make.

Paul could have made 3 S if he guessed the doubleton C Q, but this is easier to do when looking at all four hands. There was no way to take the successful spade finesse, so he gave up a spade trick to create an entry to dummy. Curiously, our defense of establishing the D Q worked to our advantage (not that we knew this, of course) as the contract hinged only on the club finesse. If Paul had to contend with his fourth club as well, he might have just cashed the A-K, rather than remove dummy's ruffing power and risk going down two.


Bobby
West
1 H
2 H
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
1 NT
3 H
Rich
South
Pass
All Pass
Board 11
N-S Vul
S Q 8 7 5
H A J 7
D J 9 2
C J 3 2
Trick
1 N
2 E
3 N
4 W
5 S
6 W
7 N
8 E
9 W
10 S
Lead
S 7
H 6
D J
H 5
S 2
H 3
D 2
C 5
C 9
D Q
2nd
A
8
3
7
H 2
A
K
4
3
3rd
10
10
5
9
5
S 6
7
A
7
4th
3
J
A
K
4
D 6
4
2
K
W L
1 0
1 1
2 1
2 2
3 2
3 3
4 3
5 3
5 4
S 3
H Q 10 5 4 3 2
D A 4
C A 10 9 6
TableS A J 6 4
H 9 6
D K 10 3
C Q 8 7 5
S K 10 9 2
H K 8
D Q 8 7 6 5
C K 4
EW +1.02  NS 12.26 EW 11.743 H West =-140 Par -140TieNS 37EW 5

LeadddSQS5HAHJH7DJD9D2CJC3S72345678..10
Make999101099991010999999999
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North04992210688883739777483
South3311133361188883739777483
West66101444613810810464615659510
East10101133810810810464615659510
Deal1013404712123040161816188385222624262626

Bobby and Paul stopped just in time. I'm not sure why Paul chose to respond 1 NT (forcing) instead of 1 S — perhaps they were playing Flannery (I don't know, it never came up) so that Bobby could not have a minimum opening with 4-5 in the majors. In any event, his next raise to 3 H was a bit pushy considering the dubious C Q and being nonvulnerable (I would pass).

I found the best lead of a spade, then later I switched to diamonds to attack dummy's entry. (Note the lead of the D J to cater to declarer having A-8-x). Lacking entries to dummy, Bobby was unable to take the normal percentage play in clubs (two finesses), but he guessed it right anyway, playing me for the jack.


Bobby
West

3 S
4 S
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
1 S
3 NT
6 S
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Board 12
Both Vul
S 8
H Q J 8
D K 5 3 2
C A 10 9 8 5
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 N
4 S
5 E
6 W
7 W
8 E
9 W
Lead
H 6
C J
H 8
D 8
H 7
D A
S 3
C 6
S 5
2nd
2
2
5
Q
4
2
8
3
D 3
3rd
Q
4
9
K
S 2
H 10
A
S 9
4th
A
A
3
S 6
J
10
4
5
W L
1 0
1 1
1 2
2 2
3 2
4 2
5 2
6 2
S 9 5 3 2
H 3 2
D A Q 9 7 6 4
C 4
TableS A K Q 7 6
H A 10 7 5
D
C K Q J 6
S J 10 4
H K 9 6 4
D J 10 8
C 7 3 2
NS +8.91  NS 21.17 EW 11.746 S East -1+100 Par -650NS +13NS 50EW 5

LeadddSJS4HKH9H4DJD8C7C3H623456789
Make11121211111112121212111111111111111111
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4210123371285852326041545
South04551111685852126041445
West666923711911911545924911897
East612192268320911911545924911897
Deal1624404812152849171617167785242624252624

Another slam; well, almost. Bobby chose to make a limit raise with his shapely hand, and Paul bid 3 NT (forcing) as a "trump cue-bid" and slam try. I don't use this method, but note how it conserves room for partner to cue-bid clubs if he held the ace. Bobby discouraged with his poor trumps, and Paul ended the auction in slam as he intended all along. (The purpose of 3 NT was to explore a possible grand slam).

Hooray for Rich! He found the killing lead — a heart — after which Paul had no chance, losing a club and a heart. With a different lead, Paul could succeed on a crossruff.


TopMain

Bobby
West

3 C
3 NT
Richard
North

Pass
All Pass
Paul
East
2 NT
3 D
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Board 13
None Vul
S A J 9 8 3 2
H Q J 10 6
D 5
C J 10
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 W
4 E
5 N
Lead
H 5
D 3
C 2
S 7
H Q
2nd
4
2
J
4
3rd
10
Q
A
K
4th
K
5
4
A
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
3 1
S K Q 6 5
H 4
D Q 10 6 4
C 9 5 3 2
TableS 10 7
H A K 3
D K 9 3
C A K Q 7 6
S 4
H 9 8 7 5 2
D A J 8 7 2
C 8 4
EW +0.52  NS 21.17 EW 12.263 NT East =-400 Par -430NS +1NS 51EW 5

LeadddS4H9H2DADJD8D2C8C4H52345
Make101010101111111110101010999
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North669112271397973343336742
South68582281197973343336742
West3979127109879505122107498
East211920795169879505122106498
Deal1724404812152750181516168394252625222620

Paul chose to open 2 NT with his exceptional 19-count, the practical decision despite the weakness in spades. This led to the routine game after a Stayman sequence.

Rich found the best lead of a heart, and Paul had seven sure tricks assuming the clubs ran. Note his keen decision to play a diamond at Trick 2 rather than a spade. Either suit might provide two extra tricks, but the difference is that if the D Q lost to the ace, there is still a chance for a second diamond trick; not so in spades if the S Q lost to the ace. When the D Q held, he could now secure his game by establishing a spade trick. Note what would have happened with the careless play of a spade at Trick 2.


Bobby
West

1 D
2 D
Richard
North

1 S
All Pass
Paul
East

1 NT
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Board 14
N-S Vul
S K Q 10 8 6
H J 10 9 5
D 10 2
C K Q
Trick
1 N
2 E
3 W
4 N
5 E
Lead
C K
D 4
C J
S K
D 6
2nd
A
7
Q
A
9
3rd
4
Q
2
3
J
4th
9
2
5
5
10
W L
1 0
2 0
2 1
3 1
4 1
S 5 2
H K 8 3
D A Q J 8 5 3
C J 9
TableS A 9 7 4
H Q 4 2
D 6 4
C A 8 3 2
S J 3
H A 7 6
D K 9 7
C 10 7 6 5 4
EW +0.35  NS 21.17 EW 12.612 D West +1-110 Par -400NS +7NS 58EW 5

LeadddSKSTS8S6HJH5DTD2CK2345
Make99999910101099999
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North3311122471277773434437636
South2188339877773434447646
West45111234713898945451796697
East1010114489898945501796697
Deal109404312153142151615167984212526242526

Bobby got to play a peaceful 2 D after his light one-bid — a Roth weak two-bid — since the vulnerability forced us to be cautious. No big deal, since 2 S by us would be defeated (East gets a trump promotion with continued diamond leads). The cards lay favorably for them, and even a gross overbid of 3 NT would have made.

There was little to the play as Bobby took his nine obvious tricks, aided by the diamond finesse.


Bobby
West
1 NT
Pass
Richard
North
3 S
Pass
Paul
East
Pass
Pass
Rich
South
4 S
Board 15
E-W Vul
S K Q 10 6 5 2
H 5
D 4 3
C 9 5 4 2
Trick
1 E
2 S
3 S
4 N
5 W
6 W
7 S
8 S
Lead
H 10
H K
H 3
C 2
S A
S 4
H J
D K
2nd
A
Q
D 5
3
2
5
D 9
10
3rd
2
D 4
S 6
Q
3
9
D 3
C 4
4th
5
6
7
K
7
J
8
6
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
3 1
3 2
4 2
5 2
6 2
S A 4
H Q 2
D A J 10 9 5
C K J 10 7
TableS 9 3
H 10 9 8 7 6
D 8 7 6
C A 6 3
S J 8 7
H A K J 4 3
D K Q 2
C Q 8
NS +8.59  NS 29.76 EW 12.614 S North =+420 Par +140NS +7NS 65EW 5

LeadddS9S3D8CAC6C3HT2345678
Make999999999999101010
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North665812711999944441649644
South21161646713999944441649644
West33151755715898942451164798
East214522106898942451164798
Deal1311404612153145171817188689272026262624

We got lucky on this one. After Bobby opened 1 NT, it seemed right to take advantage of the favorable vulnerability so I jumped to 3 S to put pressure on the opponents. Alas, it was Rich with all the goods, and he wasn't in on the joke, so he raised to game.

After the favorable heart lead, I considered finessing the jack immediately, which might have been the only legitimate play to make 4 S. But it seemed so unlikely that Paul would have the H Q, so I resigned myself to being down one, not two. I won the top hearts, pitching a diamond. The fall of the H Q really didn't help as I couldn't get another discard with trumps out. But something strange happened. I ruffed a heart and led a club, preparing for a club ruff in dummy, and Bobby switched to ace and another spade. Now I was home, thanks to the ruffing diamond finesse.


Bobby
West

1 NT
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
Pass
3 NT
Rich
South
1 D
All Pass
Board 16
None Vul
S 7 6 4 3 2
H 5 3 2
D J 8 7 2
C Q
Trick
1 N
2 W
3 E
4 W
5 S
6 W
7 W
8 W
9 W
10 S
11 W
Lead
D 2
S Q
H 6
H 4
C 5
S K
S J
S 8
C 8
D 5
D 4
2nd
6
2
9
5
A
3
4
6
H 3
A
J
3rd
Q
A
J
K
Q
10
9
C 3
10
7
4th
K
5
2
A
2
C 9
D 3
C J
K
9
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
3 1
4 1
5 1
6 1
7 1
7 2
8 2
S K Q J 8
H J 10 7 4
D A K 4
C A 8
TableS A 10 9
H K 6
D 9 6
C 10 7 6 4 3 2
S 5
H A Q 9 8
D Q 10 5 3
C K J 9 5
NS +2.51  NS 32.27 EW 12.613 NT West -1+50 Par -140NS +5NS 70EW 5

LeadddS7S4H5H3DJD8CQD2234567891011
Make8888888888888888888
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North42330010687873232254574
South3912143461287873232254574
West10181968615887944441689868
East45793389898944441689869
Deal1216404512153042161616167676182626262625

After Rich opened 1 D, Bobby overcalled 1 NT (15-18) and Paul took a chance on game with his long club suit. (This was a bad day for running club suits.)

I led my partner's suit, and Bobby had seven sure tricks. It was clearly futile to work on clubs. His only real hope was to develop two heart tricks, which would require some luck or misdefense. Note his clever play of crossing to the S A and leading a low heart; this might have worked on some layouts, but Rich accurately played low. Bobby won the jack and continued hearts. Rich won and switched to clubs, knowing I was marked with the queen from Bobby's line of play. On the run of the spades, Rich discarded well, and there was no way Bobby could succeed.


TopMain

Bobby
West

1 S
Richard
North

Pass
Paul
East
Pass
1 NT
Rich
South
Pass
All Pass
Board 17
N-S Vul
S 6 5 4
H K Q 7
D Q 7 6 2
C A 10 8
Trick
1 S
2 W
3 S
4 E
5 N
6 S
7 W
8 E
9 W
10 W
11 S
12 N
Lead
S 2
H 3
S 7
H 8
D 2
S 9
H 5
H 6
S J
C 2
C 5
D 7
2nd
Q
7
8
2
J
A
K
D 5
C 8
10
3
10
3rd
4
10
6
4
K
5
A
9
C 9
Q
A
A
4th
3
J
K
Q
4
C 6
S 10
D 6
D 8
K
D 3
C 4
W L
1 0
1 1
2 1
2 2
2 3
3 3
4 3
5 3
6 3
6 4
6 5
6 6
S A Q J 8
H 9 5 4 3
D 4
C 7 4 3 2
TableS K 3
H A 10 8 6
D J 10 9 3
C Q 9 6
S 10 9 7 2
H J 2
D A K 8 5
C K J 5
NS +0.54  NS 32.81 EW 12.611 NT East -1+50 Par +120EW +2NS 70EW 7

LeadddSTS7HJH2DAD8D5CKCJC5S22345678..12
Make55555555665555556666
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North0411113488888840401288687
South10121245810888840401288687
West39792381187873333355756
East101011338987873333355756
Deal513404312153238161516157373152626262626

Bobby's ultralight third-seat opening stole the deal, which belongs to us, though I must admit I would have passed it out in fourth seat. Paul responded 1 NT and easily bought it there, as neither Rich or I even considered any action.

Rich chose a passive spade lead, and Paul had five sure tricks. We could have held him to that: When Rich won the D K at Trick 5, he probably should shift to a low club, after which we could cash out for down two. The heart layout was ambiguous to Rich but could be deduced from the logic of the play. Nonetheless, Rich continued the passive spade attack and Paul now had six tricks, down one.


Bobby
West

Pass
Pass
3 H
Richard
North

2 C
3 C
4 C
Paul
East

Dbl
Pass
All Pass
Rich
South
1 S
2 S
Pass
Board 18
E-W Vul
S 3
H 6
D J 9 4
C A K 10 8 7 5 4 3
Trick
1 E
2 E
3 W
4 S
5 S
6 N
Lead
H A
S 2
D 3
H K
C J
C K
2nd
2
10
9
3
6
H 5
3rd
10
A
Q
D 4
A
4th
6
3
A
4
2
W L
0 1
0 2
1 2
2 2
3 2
S A J 8
H 10 9 8 3
D 10 6 3
C Q 9 6
TableS K 6 2
H A Q J 5 4
D K Q 8 2
C 2
S Q 10 9 7 5 4
H K 7 2
D A 7 5
C J
EW +0.55  NS 32.81 EW 13.164 C North -1-50 Par -100NS +2NS 72EW 7

LeadddSKS6S2HQH5DKD8D2C2HA23456
Make1010101010101011111010101010109
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North92181232515910910464613463510
South57101133711999941461046349
West047722106910910484820971083
East42151746516910910484820971083
Deal1834404712132748182018209494332626262525

Rich's 1 S opening was on the light side, but it was more appropriate than a weak two-bid at favorable vulnerability. This almost allowed us to buy the contract at 3 C, but Bobby gave due respect to Paul's takeout double at adverse vulnerability and competed to 3 H. Naturally, I pushed on to 4 C with my eight-bagger.

This contract was routinely down one when I wasn't inspired to take the first-round club finesse. The bidding made a stiff club with East rather likely, but it might have been the queen, so my straightforward play seemed right. (If it were possible to cash one top club first, then the finesse would be superior I think.) I would have expected a slight plus position here, since 3 H is cold (actually 4 H can be made with the correct diamond play, but this is double-dummy), but we drew a small minus instead.


Bobby
West
1 D
3 C
3 S
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
1 H
3 D
3 NT
Rich
South
1 S
Pass
All Pass
Board 19
Both Vul
S 8 4 3
H K J
D J 4 3
C 10 7 6 5 3
Trick
1 S
2 N
3 N
4 S
5 S
Lead
H 5
H J
S 3
H A
H 10
2nd
Q
6
2
S 10
3rd
K
3
K
C 3
4th
4
S 6
7
7
W L
0 1
0 2
0 3
0 4
S 10 7 6
H Q
D A K Q 8 7 2
C A K 8
TableS Q J 2
H 9 7 6 4
D 10 9 6
C Q 9 2
S A K 9 5
H A 10 8 5 3 2
D 5
C J 4
NS +9.23  NS 42.04 EW 13.163 NT East -4+400 Par -130NS +11NS 83EW 7

LeadddSAS9S5HAHTH8H3D5CJC4H52345
Make551010885599955555
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North215511106898943431547936
South66121456614898943431547936
West57181868516910910474714554107
East045500105910910474714554107
Deal1318404212153141171917199090291824262626

This was a funny one. After Bobby routinely opened 1 D, Paul chose to respond 1 H (passing seems right to me). This eclipsed Rich's long suit, so he decided to overcall on his four-card spade suit. Bobby had a great playing hand and jump-shifted to 3 C, then Paul was endplayed into bidding 3 NT with his spade stopper. Paul's aggressive bidding might have worked on a different layout, but not this time.

Rich led his real suit, and the sight of the first two tricks was like Christmas morning to young child. After winning the H K-J, I shifted to a spade (brilliant, huh?) and Rich cashed out for down four. This is the kind of score (3 NT, 400) that you have look at twice to realize it's not an ordinary result.


Bobby
West

1 C
Pass
3 D
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
2 H
All Pass
Paul
East
Pass
1 D
Dbl
Rich
South
Pass
1 H
Pass
Board 20
N-S Vul
S A J 7 4
H 10 9 8
D J 3
C K J 10 2
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 W
4 N
5 E
6 N
7 E
8 N
9 S
10 N
Lead
C 3
D 2
D 6
H 8
C 5
H 10
C 9
C 2
S 3
S 4
2nd
4
Q
J
A
H 2
K
H 4
S 5
K
3rd
10
A
5
7
8
3
6
D K
A
4th
A
3
4
J
J
Q
K
Q
6
W L
1 0
2 0
2 1
3 1
3 2
4 2
4 3
4 4
4 5
S K 8 2
H Q J
D A 9 6
C Q 8 7 6 4
TableS 9 6 5
H A K
D 10 8 7 5 2
C A 9 5
S Q 10 3
H 7 6 5 4 3 2
D K Q 4
C 3
EW +1.53  NS 42.04 EW 14.693 D East -2+100 Par +140EW +1NS 83EW 8

LeadddSQSTS3H7DKD4C32345678910
Make66677776677677777
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North10101033910999943431578967
South577912710999943431578967
West2112123381087873232255476
East2111125681086862732055466
Deal109404312143240171617167575172426262526

Rich's vulnerable overcall leaves something to be desired — besides tying the world's record for the worst six-card suit — but I guess he deserves some credit for not opening 2 H. Notwithstanding, the hand does belong to our side (3 H is cold) despite being outnumbered in HCP 23 to 17. Neither of us could realistically bid 3 H, of course, so we sold out to 3 D. Paul's double of 2 H was competitive (not penalty) saying, "I'm not sure what to bid, but do something."

Paul was doomed in 3 D on the foul layout and did the best he could to salvage down two. Rich led his singleton, and Paul immediately attacked trumps, playing ace and another when Rich split his honors. This left the diamond suit blocked, so we could never collect our three spade tricks. Had Rich played low on the first diamond, Paul probably would play the same; then a spade shift (queen or 10) would allow us to set him three.

This was a miserable hand for E-W, and Levin-Soloway did far better than most. Note how they avoided playing in notrump, where they'd probably win only four tricks after a heart lead.


TopMain

Bobby
West

3 C
3 NT
Richard
North

Pass
All Pass
Paul
East
2 NT
3 D
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Board 21
E-W Vul
S A 9 8 3
H 8 4
D J 10 7
C K 6 5 3
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 E
4 E
5 S
6 S
7 N
8 N
9 W
10 W
11 N
12 N
Lead
S J
H Q
H A
H J
S 10
S 4
S A
D 7
H 10
D 2
D 10
C 5
2nd
5
5
7
K
6
7
C 4
Q
C 3
J
C 9
Q
3rd
3
2
3
6
8
9
H 9
K
C 8
6
C 7
10
4th
K
8
4
C 6
2
C 2
Q
A
D 5
3
4
D 8
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
3 1
3 2
3 3
3 4
4 4
5 4
5 5
5 6
6 6
S Q 7 6 5
H 10 6 3 2
D A 9 8 4 2
C
TableS K 2
H A Q J
D Q 6
C A Q 9 8 4 2
S J 10 4
H K 9 7 5
D K 5 3
C J 10 7
NS +1.89  NS 43.93 EW 14.693 NT East -2+200 Par -140NS +8NS 91EW 8

LeadddS4HKH9H7H5DKD5D3CJC7SJ2345678..12
Make77988888879777777777
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North1089339975753030065445
South04882210875753030065445
West6126922711797942431177898
East45181957516797943431577998
Deal1121404512143144141414147373152624252626

Once again, "club notrumps" were fatal tonight. Paul chose to upgrade his 18-point hand to a 2 NT opening, based on the potential of his club suit. Then a routine Stayman sequence led to 3 NT. Oops. Strike that potential, as Bobby puts down a club void and Paul must contend with a hopeless task.

Rich found a great lead with the S J, ducked to the king, then Paul established dummy's fourth heart. My discard of a club on the third heart warned Rich against that shift, so he continued spades and we cashed our spade tricks. In the end we were destined to get two more tricks.


Bobby
West

Pass
Pass
All Pass
Richard
North

2 D
4 NT
Paul
East

Pass
Pass
Rich
South
1 NT
2 H
6 NT
Board 22
Both Vul
S A 9 7
H A Q 6 5 2
D A Q
C 9 7 3
Trick
1 W
2 N
3 S
4 N
5 S
6 N
7 S
8 S
9 S
10 S
Lead
S J
C 7
D 5
C 3
D 10
C 9
C 10
H K
S K
S Q
2nd
A
5
3
6
9
K
D 4
7
4
10
3rd
2
J
Q
Q
A
A
H 2
5
7
4th
8
2
2
4
7
8
D 6
3
5
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
6 0
7 0
8 0
9 0
S J 10 4
H J 7
D K 9 8 4 3
C 8 4 2
TableS 5 3 2
H 10 8 4 3
D 7 6 2
C K 6 5
S K Q 8 6
H K 9
D J 10 5
C A Q J 10
NS +4.51  NS 48.44 EW 14.696 NT South +1+1470 Par +2220EW +13NS 91EW 21

LeadddS4HJH7DKD9D4C8C4C2SJ2345678910
Make1313131313131313131313131313131313131313
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North211617687127137136565351313121113
South101617466147137136565351313121113
West215511107828277000120
East043311114828277000120
Deal56404212163437151515157272352626262626

Now it was our turn for a slam. My 4 NT after the Jacoby transfer was quantitative (not Blackwood) to invite slam in hearts or notrump. Rich was "in the middle" but his good spot cards made it clear-cut to accept.

Bobby led the S J and Rich won in dummy to take the club finesse. He then took the diamond finesse and repeated the club finesse, and with everything friendly wound up with 13 tricks. I'm not sure I like the diamond finesse at Trick 3 because the club finesse might not be working (Bobby would usually duck the first time). I would play the H K and a heart to dummy, then repeat the club finesse; if it lost I might face the same predicament after a diamond shift, but this may not happen, and at least I wouldn't have created it myself. But nothing mattered here.


Bobby
West
Pass
Pass
Richard
North
1 D
5 D
Paul
East
1 H
All Pass
Rich
South
3 D
Board 23
None Vul
S A 9 7 6
H A K 2
D A K 9 5 2
C 5
Trick
1 E
2 S
3 N
4 N
5 N
6 S
7 E
8 N
9 S
10 N
11 N
Lead
C K
S 10
H A
H K
H 2
S 8
C Q
S 7
C 3
D A
S 9
2nd
A
2
3
5
7
5
2
K
10
H 8
H 9
3rd
6
A
10
S 3
D 3
6
7
D 8
D 5
4
D J
4th
5
4
4
6
J
Q
D 2
J
J
7
D Q
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
5 1
6 1
7 1
8 1
9 1
9 2
S J 5 2
H J 6 4
D Q 10 7 6
C 10 7 6
TableS K Q 4
H Q 9 8 7 5 3
D
C K Q J 9
S 10 8 3
H 10
D J 8 4 3
C A 8 4 3 2
NS +7.15  NS 55.59 EW 14.695 D North =+400 Par +400TieNS 91EW 21

LeadddSKS4HQH9H5H3C9CK234567891011
Make11111111111111111111111111111111111111
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North421820810516911911525219895117
South42572298911911525219895117
West04440011398983838854826
East71113162441698983838853825
Deal1519404712162943181918199090272625262625

Rich's jump to 3 D was inverted (weak), a dubious action with only J-x-x-x in trumps but reasonable with a singleton heart. These auctions are often competitive, and a direct barrage usually creates an advantage. I gave a fleeting thought to 3 NT, but this might be a disaster if Paul led a club; and further, my wealth of controls and lack of secondary values strongly suggested suit play. Could there be a slam? I didn't think so — I've seen enough of Rich's weak bids — so I just bid 5 D. Note that 3 NT would fail even though Rich held a club stopper.

My basic plan in 5 D was to pitch one of dummy's spades on my top hearts, then ruff a heart and one or two spades in dummy. The play went as expected, and when spades split 3-3 my position was cozy and I could consider the danger of a bad trump break. At Trick 9 I could also have succeeded by playing a diamond to the nine (a safety play), but my club ruff was just as safe and would not cost an overtrick, e.g., if Paul held a blank D Q. (Also note that if Paul had a doubleton club and overruffed, the rest of my diamonds must fall based on the hand count.) When Paul showed out on the first diamond, the ending was a lock.


Bobby
West

1 NT
3 NT
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Paul
East
1 H
2 NT
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Board 24
E-W Vul
S 7 3
H A 10 2
D 6 5 4
C A 10 7 5 3
Trick
1 N
2 E
3 E
4 E
5 E
6 E
7 E
8 W
9 W
Lead
C 5
H J
D K
D Q
S K
S Q
S 8
D A
H Q
2nd
K
6
8
2
6
4
10
H 10
A
3rd
4
3
3
7
2
5
A
C 8
K
4th
2
2
4
5
7
3
D 6
10
5
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
6 0
7 0
8 0
8 1
S A 9 5 2
H Q 3
D A 9 7 3
C Q 6 2
TableS K Q 8
H K J 9 8 7 4
D K Q
C K 8
S J 10 6 4
H 6 5
D J 10 8 2
C J 9 4
EW +1.08  NS 55.59 EW 15.773 NT West =-600 Par -660NS +2NS 93EW 21

LeadddS7S3HAHTH2D6CACTC7C3C523456789
Make111111111111111111111111111111119999
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North21810449885852121023235
South10340011685852121023235
West10121244810811811555525111011108
East45171846514811811555525111011108
Deal86404412143338161616167676252626262626

Bobby's 1 NT response was forcing — again with four spades (compare Board 36-12) so they must have been playing Flannery — and Paul solved his awkward rebid problem with a raise to 2 NT (I agree completely). Bobby had more than enough to accept.

I led my fourth-best club, and Bobby won the king. Despite the abundance of high cards, Bobby had no sure road to nine tricks (note that if Rich had the H A the contract would be set). Bobby could have (maybe should have) won 11 tricks by just leading and continuing hearts, but when the H J held he chose to take out a little insurance in case Rich erred in ducking the heart. He unblocked the diamonds and cashed his spades (which might have split to ensure the contract), then exited with a heart and of course I was endplayed.


TopMain

Bobby
West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Richard
North

1 NT
3 NT
4 H
Paul
East
Pass
2 C
Pass
All Pass
Rich
South
1 D
3 H
4 C
Board 25
Both Vul
S J 10 7
H 9 5 4
D J 10 6
C K Q 10 5
Trick
1 W
2 S
3 S
4 S
5 S
6 N
Lead
D 8
H A
H K
H Q
D 2
C K
2nd
6
6
10
J
5
A
3rd
7
4
5
9
10
H 2
4th
A
3
7
C 2
4
3
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
6 0
S K 9 6 4 3
H J 10 6
D 8 5
C J 6 3
TableS A Q 2
H 7 3
D 7 4
C A 9 8 7 4 2
S 8 5
H A K Q 8 2
D A K Q 9 3 2
C
NS +0.26  NS 55.85 EW 15.774 H South +2+680 Par +650NS +1NS 94EW 21

LeadddSKS9S6S4HJH6D5CJC6C3D823456
Make1111111111121312131313121212121212
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North0477121079119115363237711116
South9151822682229119115362237711116
West21561110797973131126007
East4510124571197973131126107
Deal1525404712162947181818188494241826232226

Rich showed fine discipline here. With his powerful two-suiter it is tempting to gamble on a slam (6 H or 6 D) after Paul's club bid — I might have spade control, or they might not lead a spade and he could get rid of one. But he chose the scientific route and honored my decision to sign off (for a change, ha-ha). So we stopped comfortably in 4 H. Alas, some pairs bid the poor slam and made it, so our score was barely average.

Bobby's diamond lead seems strange — at the table I thought surely it was a singleton — but only a spade lead would make a difference. Rich just drew trumps and had adequate diamond entries to establish a club for a spade discard.


Bobby
West

1 H
2 H
3 C
4 H
Richard
North

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Paul
East

2 C
2 NT
3 H
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Board 26
None Vul
S A J 7 4
H 7 3 2
D A J 9 5 4
C 4
Trick
1 N
2 E
3 E
Lead
C 4
H A
H 8
2nd
Q
4
J
3rd
5
5
K
4th
J
3
2
W L
1 0
2 0
3 0
S Q 8
H K Q 10 9 6 5
D Q 3
C A J 6
TableS K 9 6 3
H A 8
D K 6
C Q 10 9 8 3
S 10 5 2
H J 4
D 10 8 7 2
C K 7 5 2
EW +0.65  NS 55.85 EW 16.424 H West +1-450 Par -450TieNS 94EW 21

LeadddSASJS7S4H7H3DADJD9D5C423
Make1111111111111111111111111111
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4210124481297973237225273
South10441110697973237225273
West4514143471481181153552310811510
East3312144461281181153552310811510
Deal1210404412133144171817188592252426262426

Bobby and Paul bid accurately to the best game, carefully avoiding 3 NT which probably depends on the club finesse after a diamond lead. Bobby's third-round 3 C bid seems questionable to me with Q-x in both unbid suits, but considering the contract improvement it is enlightening. In this case, however, either game makes.

There was little to the play, as Bobby could laugh at my singleton club lead. He quickly drew trumps and claimed 11 tricks. (With just an overtrick involved, he assumed I had at least one of the aces so he could get to dummy to repeat the club finesse. If this were not the case, we would reject and Bobby would reclaim 10 tricks. This kind of settlement is common at IMPs to save time.)


Bobby
West
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Richard
North
1 S
2 NT
Paul
East
Pass
Pass
Rich
South
1 NT
3 D
Board 27
N-S Vul
S A K J 6 3
H K J 8
D 6 2
C A 8 3
Trick
1 W
2 W
3 E
4 W
5 E
6 W
7 S
8 W
Lead
C K
C 2
C 9
H 4
C 10
H 10
D K
H 9
2nd
3
8
4
K
J
J
A
8
3rd
5
Q
D 3
A
D 8
Q
2
2
4th
6
7
A
5
S 3
D 4
7
D 5
W L
0 1
0 2
0 3
0 4
0 5
1 5
1 6
2 6
S 9 7 4
H 10 9 6 4 3
D A 8 3
C K 2
TableS Q 10 8
H A Q 7 2
D 10 7
C Q 10 9 5
S 5 2
H 5
D K Q J 9 5 4
C J 7 6 4
EW +4.31  NS 55.85 EW 20.733 D South -2-200 Par +90EW +7NS 94EW 28

LeadddS9S7S4HTH6H4DAD8D3C2CK2345678
Make89999991099988777777
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North2116176771388883742777587
South667101271288883742777587
West2178339797973338365745
East101012237997973338365745
Deal118404712153041171517157080102624242424

We stopped wisely here in 3 D — note that 3 NT is hopeless with no entry to Rich's hand. Rich's 1 NT response was forcing (in our system it could be as much as 14 HCP) and I barely had enough to bid 2 NT, though some would disagree. Rich then bid his diamond suit, and I was happy to pass with my meager collection.

The operation was successful, but the patient died. Bobby found the killing C K lead, which was especially brutal when Rich ducked assuming he held K-Q. When the smoke cleared we were down two. Even if Rich won the first club, the best he could achieve is down one — even at double-dummy — so credit Bobby with the win. Even more frustrating was seeing that some North-South pairs bid and made 3 NT.


Bobby
West

1 S
Richard
North
Pass
1 NT
Paul
East
Pass
All Pass
Rich
South
1 H
Board 28
Both Vul
S A Q 8
H 10 7
D 8 7 3 2
C K J 10 8
Trick
1 E
2 N
3 W
4 N
5 S
6 N
7 N
8 N
9 N
10 W
Lead
S 9
H 10
S 10
C 8
C 4
C 10
C K
S 8
D 2
S 7
2nd
J
Q
Q
2
6
D 10
D 4
H 5
5
H 7
3rd
K
K
6
A
J
7
Q
H 2
K
H 8
4th
A
A
2
3
5
9
S 5
3
A
H 3
W L
1 0
1 1
2 1
3 1
4 1
5 1
6 1
7 1
7 2
7 3
S K 10 7 5 4 3
H A 6
D A 6
C 9 6 3
TableS 9 6
H Q J 8 5
D Q 10 9 5 4
C 5 2
S J 2
H K 9 4 3 2
D K J
C A Q 7 4
NS +1.77  NS 57.62 EW 20.731 NT North +1+120 Par +140EW +1NS 94EW 29

LeadddS6HQH8H5DQDTD5C5C2S92345678910
Make88988888888899998887
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North10101134810810810464615879710
South33141445613810810464615879710
West4511135571286862929056463
East3357008986862929056463
Deal1111404512142944161616167575152626262626

A routine auction allowed me to play 1 NT. (Note that 1 NT forcing does not apply in competition.) I actually considered jumping to 2 NT (limit, NF) but wisely took the conservative view.

Making seven tricks was easy, as the S 9 lead gave me three natural spade tricks by covering and finessing. I led the H 10 immediately, covered by all, and won the routine spade return. I didn't dare lead another heart for fear Paul would win and lead a diamond, after which I could be set if I guessed wrong. So, I cashed out. I actually won only seven tricks, but Bobby insisted I claim eight because of what happened at Trick 9: I led a low diamond, Paul took a long time before playing low, then I put up the king. Paul, of course, was not coffeehousing but his connection was lagging. Bobby, always a gentleman, knew I would otherwise have guessed it from the bidding.


TopMain

Bobby
West

Dbl
Pass
All Pass
Richard
North

2 H
3 NT
Paul
East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Rich
South
1 NT
2 S
4 S
Board 29
None Vul
S Q J 10 5 3
H J 2
D A Q 10 2
C J 9
Trick
1 W
2 W
3 W
Lead
H K
H Q
D 6
2nd
2
J
3rd
5
7
4th
8
6
W L
0 1
0 2
S 7 4
H A K Q 10 4
D 8 6 3
C A 7 4
TableS 8 6
H 7 5 3
D J 9 4
C 10 8 6 5 3
S A K 9 2
H 9 8 6
D K 7 5
C K Q 2
NS +0.67  NS 58.29 EW 20.734 S South =+420 Par +420TieNS 94EW 29

LeadddS7S4HTH4D8D6D3CAC7C4HK23
Make1010101111101010101010101010
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North331111237129109104949217107107
South041515577119109104949217107107
West2113145671286862830043636
East21120011486862830043636
Deal79404212163239171617167779212226262626

Bobby's double of 1 NT showed a one-suited hand. We play "system on" over a double, so I transferred to spades then bid 3 NT to offer a choice of games. Rich had no problem choosing spades with his four-card fit and worthless hearts.

They don't come much flatter than this — a laydown 10 tricks.


Bobby
West

Pass
Richard
North

1 H
Paul
East

1 NT
Rich
South
1 C
All Pass
Board 30
N-S Vul
S J 7
H J 9 5 4
D A 9 8 5
C 8 5 3
Trick
1 S
2 E
3 E
4 S
5 E
6 E
7 W
8 W
9 W
10 S
11 S
12 E
Lead
S 10
S Q
D J
D 4
H K
S 2
S 8
S 5
C 7
H A
H 3
C K
2nd
3
6
K
6
2
9
C 5
D 8
8
8
C 6
A
3rd
7
4
3
9
7
K
D 2
H 6
J
4
9
D 7
4th
A
J
5
10
5
C 3
C 2
C 4
Q
10
Q
D A
W L
1 0
2 0
2 1
3 1
4 1
5 1
6 1
7 1
7 2
7 3
8 3
8 4
S K 8 5 4 3
H 8 7
D Q 7 6 3
C 7 6
TableS A Q 2
H K Q 10 6
D J 10 2
C K J 10
S 10 9 6
H A 3 2
D K 4
C A Q 9 4 2
EW +2.52  NS 58.29 EW 23.251 NT East +2-150 Par -110EW +1NS 94EW 30

LeadddS6HAH3DKD4CACQC9C4C2ST2345.. 8910..12
Make67886668666776899899
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North10662210687873336365767
South2113145671087873136155657
West3357118987873440467675
East0416174671288883939968675
Deal68404412153237161516157276122325252524

We started the bidding, but Paul ended it with his 1 NT overcall. It is interesting that Bobby chose not to transfer to spades (I would). Indeed, 2 S by East is the best contract and cannot be defeated, while 1 NT can be set with the normal club lead.

Alas. Rich chose to be passive here and led a spade (this is reasonable at matchpoints but seems wrong at IMPs) and Paul won the A-Q. Surprisingly, Paul next led a diamond which allows us to get back on track — Rich could win and lead a club, or duck and let me win and shift to clubs. Alas again. Rich won and continued diamonds, so Paul had his contract and actually made nine tricks in the end. Note that if Paul led the H K early (instead of a diamond) there is no defense to stop 1 NT.


Bobby
West
1 H
3 C
Richard
North
Pass
Pass
Paul
East
2 C
3 NT
Rich
South
Pass
All Pass
Board 31
E-W Vul
S K 7 6 2
H Q J 10 3
D Q 10 2
C 9 4
Trick
1 S
2 W
3 S
4 S
5 E
6 W
Lead
D 4
S 3
H 9
H 4
C 6
H K
2nd
A
7
5
6
5
Q
3rd
2
10
3
J
K
D 6
4th
3
J
2
A
9
C 2
W L
1 0
1 1
1 2
2 2
3 2
4 2
S 9 4 3
H K 8 7 6 5
D A 9
C K Q 10
TableS Q 10 8
H A 2
D K 7 6 3
C A J 8 6
S A J 5
H 9 4
D J 8 5 4
C 7 5 3 2
NS +2.55  NS 60.84 EW 23.253 NT East -1+100 Par -130NS +6NS 100EW 30

LeadddSASJS5H9H4DJD8C7C5C3D423456
Make89988888888888888
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North1089118975752529055553
South10672210775752529055553
West21121345711710710464613878810
East10141555712710710464613878810
Deal51404412133239141514157175132624262626

Bobby and Paul reached the normal game with their 26 HCP. In their methods Paul could not respond 2 NT (that would be a heart raise) so he was obliged to bid his mangy club suit first and then 3 NT after Bobby's raise.

Where there are eight top tricks a ninth can usually be found, but not this time. Rich found the best lead of a diamond; Paul won the ace and pursued his best chance of finding the S J onside. Note that this is better than hoping for a 3-3 heart break; and further, even if hearts were 3-3, the opponents may be able to set you with a spade switch when the S J is wrong. Nothing much mattered here. Rich toyed with him for a while with a heart shift, ducked, but Paul had no way to succeed.


Bobby
West

2 S
Dbl
Richard
North
1 H
Dbl
All Pass
Paul
East
2 H
3 S
Rich
South
Pass
4 H
Board 32
None Vul
S A
H A J 7 5 2
D Q J 3
C A Q 9 4
Trick
1 E
2 N
3 W
4 N
5 E
6 N
7 S
8 W
9 N
Lead
S K
D J
C 8
D Q
S 4
D 3
H 3
H 10
C 4
2nd
2
8
A
H 6
10
S 3
Q
J
10
3rd
6
5
6
9
J
A
5
C 5
3
4th
A
K
2
7
H 2
6
S 7
4
D 2
W L
1 0
1 1
2 1
2 2
3 2
4 2
4 3
5 3
5 4
S J 6
H K Q 10 8
D K 10 7 6 4 2
C 8
TableS K Q 8 7 4 3
H 6
D 8
C K J 10 6 5
S 10 9 5 2
H 9 4 3
D A 9 5
C 7 3 2
EW +7.90  NS 60.84 EW 31.154 H× North -3-500 Par -100EW +9NS 100EW 39

LeadddS8S4H6D8CKCJC6SK23456789
Make77787888777777777
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4218206751687873335365766
South04442211487873538575776
West669112361388883939968667
East8149132351688883939968566
Deal1826404812152749161516157477142526252525

Rich stepped off base here I think. After the Michaels cue-bid and 2 S takeout, I doubled to show a strong opening in hopes we could compete. When Paul raised to 3 S, Rich felt he should do something holding an ace, so he bid 4 H. Ouch. Bobby took a piece of that, and there I was. Rich does have a legitimate problem, but I feel a pass is correct at IMPs (I would double at matchpoints). Raising to 4 H on this auction with three small trumps just begs for trouble.

After winning the S A, I immediately took the losing diamond finesse and won the club shift (an obvious singleton). I thought I was up against a 5-0 trump break, so I continued diamonds. Argh! Paul gets a ruff with his stiff trump, though in retrospect there was nothing I could do to improve the end result (leading trumps from my hand is no good). The rest was an open book, and down three was the best I could do. Oh well. Next time I'll make Rich play these hands.


TopMain

Bobby
West

1 S
2 D
3 NT
Richard
North

Pass
Pass
All Pass
Paul
East
1 C
1 NT
3 C
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
Pass
Board 33
N-S Vul
S A 8 4 2
H 10 9 8 7 6
D J 10 3
C 4
Trick
1 S
2 W
3 E
4 S
5 W
6 W
7 E
8 W
9 W
10 E
11 E
Lead
C 3
S 5
S 3
H K
D A
D 5
D 7
D 9
C 9
C K
C 7
2nd
8
4
Q
A
3
J
2
S 8
H 6
J
Q
3rd
4
K
6
8
4
Q
K
C 6
A
H 4
S 7
4th
5
10
2
3
8
6
10
C 2
10
H 7
S A
W L
1 0
2 0
2 1
3 1
4 1
5 1
6 1
7 1
8 1
9 1
9 2
S J 9 7 6 5
H A 4
D A K 9 5
C 9 8
TableS K 3
H J 5 3
D Q 7 4
C A K 7 6 5
S Q 10
H K Q 2
D 8 6 2
C Q J 10 3 2
EW +6.81  NS 60.84 EW 37.963 NT East +1-430 Par -400EW +1NS 100EW 40

LeadddSQSTHKH2D8D6D2CQC3234567891011
Make9999999991010101010101010101010
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4257229986862828043634
South2110101281086862828043634
West33121456712797944491689798
East21131445710710710474917997109
Deal117404512153141151615167577172524262525

Bobby and Paul got to the normal 3 NT — not a great contract, but hard to stay out of with 25 HCP and two five-card suits. Bobby's 2 D was an artificial game force (two-way checkback), Paul showed his club length, and Bobby signed off in game.

Rich was not inspired here — more like perspired — as he found the lovely lead of a low club. As bad as it looks this time, it's not unreasonable; if he caught me with the ace, king or nine it would be a great start. But here it gave Paul an easy nine tricks, and he wound up with 10 when Rich later got endplayed.

Curiously, declarer can always succeed as the cards lie. After, say, the H K lead, declarer wins and plays spades twice, which leaves the defense cramped. If South clears the hearts, declarer has nine tricks (with a correct diamond guess); and if South defends passively, declarer can develop the spades since the heart blockage prevents the defense from running the suit.


Bobby
West

1 C
1 NT
Richard
North

Pass
Pass
Paul
East

1 S
3 NT
Rich
South
Pass
Pass
All Pass
Board 34
E-W Vul
S 10 8 7 4
H J
D A 9 7 6 3
C J 8 6
Trick
1 N
2 S
3 E
4 N
5 W
6 S
7 S
8 N
Lead
D 6
H 3
C 9
S 4
C 4
S A
D 2
C 8
2nd
4
9
2
3
6
J
10
H 5
3rd
J
J
5
2
10
7
A
3
4th
8
Q
J
9
A
6
5
Q
W L
0 1
1 1
1 2
2 2
2 3
2 4
2 5
3 5
S J 9
H A K 9 8
D 10 8
C K Q 7 5 4
TableS K Q 6 3
H Q 7 5
D K Q 5 4
C 10 9
S A 5 2
H 10 6 4 3 2
D J 2
C A 3 2
NS +8.64  NS 69.48 EW 37.963 NT West -2+200 Par -630NS +13NS 113EW 40

LeadddSTS8S4HJDAD9D3CJC8C6D62345678
Make1010101010101010101010109877777
StatsFGPRCQLYlflmbfbmHOBMsmhmdmcm
North4267229875752229034354
South2199449875752229034454
West331314466137979505022107988
East101213246117979505022107978
Deal106404312163040141414147279222622252524

After two routine bids, Bobby chose to rebid 1 NT with his awkward hand. This led quickly to the normal game and was lucky for us. If Bobby instead had rebid 2 C, Paul would bid 3 NT and have an easier time with Rich on lead.

This seems like a friendly deal with both minor aces onside and clubs 3-3, but "friendly" is in the eyes of the beholder. On the D 6 lead (fourth best) Bobby knew Rich had one card higher, and he properly ducked to ensure two diamond stoppers (note that playing the king or queen would be disastrous if Rich held the ace). Rich won the jack and shifted to heart, attacking declarer's communication. Bobby elected to win this in dummy and take a straight club finesse for his contract. Ouch. An alternative would be to win the heart shift in hand and lead the D 10 (ducked), then the S J, etc., but this offers no assurance of nine tricks either. Bobby's play was sound, just unlucky.


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© 1999 Richard Pavlicek