Monday, December 8, 2014

What the hell is a Providence?

I traveled to the North American Bridge Championship in Providence RI, not expecting much from the city. Providence? What the hell is a Providence? I went for the bridge, baby!

I'm happy to say I was quite pleased with Providence. There were so many interesting restaurants that were charming, had interesting menus, and had tasty food. Deciding where to eat each each evening was an adventure, for sure. (For my favorite fancy restaurant, click here. For my favorite non-fancy restaurants, click here or go here.) Everything was walkable.

The ACBL web site quite accurately stated this: "You will find that Providence is a terrific city with all the amenities of a major city but still has the charm and friendly atmosphere of a small town." Well, there you go.

Okay, a bridge problem. You know the drill. I say, "You hold:"

9 5 2 10 8 3 A 10 3 5 4 3 2.

Left-hand opponent opened 1, partner overcalled 1, and RHO bid 1NT. You passed, and LHO raised to 3NT. Now you have the 'you hold' and the bidding. What do you lead?

My partner, Sandy McCay, was on lead and realized declarer most likely held the K, so my suit was headed by (at most) the queen-jack. Therefore, I must have some values on the side. She led the 9. (She said later she chose spades over hearts because the 10 would be confusing and she wanted to lead something high enough to encourage me to shift. You gotta love a partner who makes life easy for you.)

Her choice was a spectacular success. Here are all four hands (actually board No. 10, rotated to make South the declarer):

I won, and shifted to the Q which held. I led another diamond, ducked to the 10, and on the ace, I deposited the jack, just to be sure, ha. A spade back to me to cash two more diamonds resulted in down three.

Plus 300 for the good guys was an 86% board. Yes, there are layouts where this might not have been a good lead, but I admire a partner who has the nerve to do what she thinks is right.

Did you go to Providence? Do you agree with me? Did you make the unimaginative diamond lead? If so, stick to good restaurants, and leave the bridge to Sandy.


  1. In theological terms, providence refers to the gifts of the deity. I guess you "lucked" out! :)

  2. Hope you're back safely in Florida! Thanks for your comment today. Those vultures were amazing. Wish I had taken more and better photos of them.

  3. Hi Dave. Hope you're staying warm these days! Sheesh! Florida isn't supposed to be like this. Appreciate your comment on Florida Fotos!

  4. What did you do, bring back New Hampshire weather with you? If you go to Eustis, go on a warm day 'cause it can get cold what with the wind blowing off the lake!

  5. Glad you had a good time up there Mojo. Providence has gone through quite a renaissance since I left many years ago and has become quite a place for good food outside of seafood and Italian. I can't say I miss the weather up there all that much.

  6. @Lak: Notice that a diamond is the only lead to give it to declarer. After the hand was over, dummy made a disparaging remark. Yes, it could have been wrong, but I admired pard for leading what she thought was right, vs. the "safe" lead.

    @Neophyte: Let's see. RI weather or FL weather. Hmm, lemme think about it. I choose Florida!

  7. I had a good time in Providence too. Admittedly, it was a bit more familiar to me, but I didn't really know the downtown area and all those restaurants.

    Do you have any agreements about what double by you would mean? Does it mean lead my suit or don't lead my suit? Or something else? In any case a great, if slightly lucky, lead. A heart would still set it (only 8 tricks on top) but it wouldn't be such a good result as +150.

  8. @Phasmid: The diamond is the only lead to give it to declarer (i.e. a club works, too, for down one). I think a double demands the diamond lead, what do you think?