Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Exercise your body and your mind

I played at Bridge Base Online last night in one of the Bridge on Crack tournaments.

My partner and I bid to 6 on this deal:

J 10 4
K J 10 7 4 2
A K 9 8
K 9 8 5 Q J 10 6 3
Q 3 8 7 6
Q 6 5 3 9 8
7 5 2 Q J 6
A 7 4 2
A K 9 5 2
10 4 3

West led the 9 and I ruffed with the 4. I saw two lines of play.
1. I could run the J. If that wins, I can come to my hand with the A, ruff another spade, ruff a diamond back to my hand and draw the trumps. I can make it if trumps split. Even if they don't, I can make it if diamonds come home.
2. I could play on a cross ruff. Lead a diamond to the A, ruff a spade, discard a club loser on the K, cash the A K and guess how to get back to my hand to ruff my last spade loser.

I took line #1. Even if the heart finesse lost, I had plenty of chances to set up the diamonds (or take a ruffing finesse for the queen), and so this looked safer.

My line didn't work and I was down one. After the deal was over, I was annoyed to see that the other line would have worked.

I walk one mile at both my morning and afternoon breaks with two co-workers (Jim and Richard). Besides the exercise, this is a time for socializing. The subject of bridge invariably comes up. "You hold . . ." is heard often, and we can't wait to tell each other about a hand or ask the other two what would you bid with.

I told them about this hand, and Richard came up with a third line of play which, I have to admit, did not occur to me.

3. Ruff the spade and lead a diamond to the A and make the counter-intuitive play of a low heart toward dummy's J 10 !! You don't care who wins it. Win the return. Suppose it is a spade, don't ruff it, but win your ace. Then play a heart to the 10, ruff a diamond and draw trump. You have two entries left to set up diamonds. This line works when hearts split 3--2 and when diamonds are no worse than 4--2. If they win the heart queen and return a club (instead of a spade) win in dummy, ruff a diamond, lead a heart to the board, ruff a diamond high and pretty much claim.

Richard's line certainly wins the most style points. It probably is the highest percentage as well -- I haven't figured out the math. Maybe that's something for our next walk!

One pair bid and made 7 and 10 pairs bid and made 6. You can find out how they made the grand slam and view all the results here.

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