Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One of these days

Playing bridge in the Memphis Sectional Tournament this past weekend, we still had a chance to win the Swiss Teams on Sunday when we sat down to play the last round. We were matched against Glen and Brian, two up-and-coming players who represented District 10 in the North American Pairs at the Detroit NABC last March.

This was one of the deals (hands rotated and spots approximate):

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

The auction was Pass, Pass to Brian (South) who opened 1, Precision. West, my partner, bid 2. It was passed back to Brian who bid 2NT. North raised to 3NT.

West led the 10. I discarded a heart and declarer won the queen. He exited with the 4 taken by the queen. West could now tell I most likely had six or seven hearts, so he shifted to the 10. Brian won and led another low club, taken by the K. Another heart was led, I played the 9 and declarer ducked. At this point a club or a diamond shift by me would set the contract. I was in la-la land, however, and led a heart to clear the suit. Time and again we hear that to win, you have to maintain your concentration. Easy to say and easy to forget.

Brian took full advantage. He won and cashed his two high spades, then led the 2 to the ace. This was the position:

10 9
9 8 ---
--- Q
7 3 K
--- J 10
A 9

When he cashed the J, I was squeezed. Declarer had his original eight tricks plus one in whichever suit I unguarded. One of these days I'll learn how to play this dumb game.

The good news is that we won 1 IMP on the board -- our teammates made four! At the other table, declarer cashed three rounds of spades and the player in my seat (a many-time national champion) discarded two clubs!

The tournament used BridgePad wireless scoring devices for the pairs games. They worked great and just about everyone liked them. Don't ask how much they cost.

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