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TALES OF AKARANA

PLENTY OF FUN WITH POINTLESS HANDS.

Welcome back to stories of a night’s bridge at the Akarana Bridge Club. After a gap of two months, it was nice to be back. It felt like a good practice for my first up-coming Rubber Bridge match in the National event as along with other West players, I averaged 8.25 points per hand over the 28 boards. It was just as well we were playing Teams!

You can get a lot of enjoyment from so little. On two successive hands, I held very little indeed as the only thing that prevented them from being Yarborough’s was the presence of a “10” in each case. Let’s relive the excitement of Boards 16 and 17.

After the joy of seeing partner make 2Heart-small on Board 15, I picked up the following on Board 16:

Spade-small 10743

Heart-small 764

Diamond-small 86

Club-small 9632

Ruffing value and a sort of honour! However, we will observe the bidding through the eyes of the North player, Peter Hensman. He held:

Spade-small A5

Heart-small QT93

Diamond-small T2

Club-small QJT74

and made what might otherwise be a rather mundane board rather exciting. He saw and took part in the following sequence:

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

2Diamond-small

 

 

 

 

Pass

2Spade-small

Pass

2NT

 

 

 

 

Pass

3Club-small

Pass

3Spade-small

 

 

 

 

Pass

?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2Diamond-small was a Standard 2 way Multi while 2Spade-small showed game interest in a heart game if partner had a weak 2 in that suit but less than an opening hand. 2NT was 20-22 balanced and after Peter’s 3Club-small enquiry, his partner, John O’Connor, showed a 5 card spade suit. What would your next bid as North be?

You might think that 3NT would be a good idea but Peter had other ideas. Over to Peter:

“29 – 31 HCP total!  What to do?  Those 2 10’s look good.  Good club suit, possible diamond ruff.  Rather than make a decision, let’s investigate. Bother.  Hasn’t simplified the decision much.  In session 1, there were 3 slam contracts with only 30 HCPs which we didn’t find. Is this my chance to redeem myself?  Heart in mouth 5Spade-small invite bid which partner took to 6Spade-small.” These were the four hands:

Board 16
West Deals
E-W Vul
A 5
Q 10 9 3
10 2
Q J 10 7 4
10 7 4 3
7 6 4
8 6
9 6 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q 9
J 8 2
J 9 7 5 3
A K 8
 
K J 8 6 2
A K 5
A K Q 4
5
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 2 
Pass 2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3  Pass 3 
Pass 5  Pass 6 
All pass      

 

East led the Club-smallA and thanks to John’s singleton club (how mean!), Peter’s contract was still alive. With hearts 3-3, it all came down to the Spade-smallQ. It was in the hand Peter needed but appeared a round too soon from his point of view. In Peter’s words: “That miserable Spade-smallT in West’s hand proved the setting trick.”

“Where was the excitement in all this for West apart from being the spoiler” you might ask? With North surely marked on the bidding with a three card spade suit, the disappointment of partner not producing the Spade-smallQ on the first round of the suit turned to pure elation when he produced it one round later, when the contract had from the West seat seemed cold!. Bridge is full of such feelings of disappointments and moments of pure elation!

Interestingly, only a club lead defeats 6Spade-small. On any other lead, the club will disappear on the 4th round of hearts after three rounds of spades. Peter was unlucky that the East hand rather than the West one was on lead. West could shut his eyes and select a card at random! A club would not be obvious. Ruefully for Peter, 6Heart-small cannot be beaten though that was a pretty tough contract to find.

So, if you think West had it easy on the above board, what about on the next one? You will soon have an important decision to make, despite holding:

Spade-small 62

Heart-small T976532

Diamond-small 93

Club-small 86

A “10” and three doubletons. Wow!

West

North

East

South

 

1Spade-small

x

4Spade-small

Pass

Pass

x

xx

?

 

 

 

 

With neither side vulnerable, you were prepared to sell out to 4Spade-small. Would you stand partner’s penalty double? That’s not the question as John used the blue redouble card. What now? How many heart tricks will the defence take? What is the score for 4Spade-smallxx making? (880..I know from past bad experiences!)

Well, I was “a mouse” in the tried and true “man or mouse” expression… but the bidding was not yet finished, even then! These were the 4 hands:

Board 17
North Deals
None Vul
K J 7 5 3
K J 4
K 10 6 4
9
6 2
10 9 7 6 5 3 2
9 3
8 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
A 8
A Q
A Q 8 5 2
A 10 3 2
 
Q 10 9 4
8
J 7
K Q J 7 5 4
West North East South
  1  Dbl 4 
Pass Pass Dbl Rdbl
5  Pass Pass 5 
Pass Pass Dbl All pass

 

John did not send back the double of 5Spade-small. All four of East’s aces were cashing to record 300, an improvement on the 200 East-West would have gained from 4Spade-smallxx. Meanwhile, 10 tricks was the maximum number West could score in the 5Heart-small game.

I think I would be a runner from the redouble next time I held the above hand too, even though the decision this time was wrong.

So, plenty of different emotions from those 2 “powerhouse” hands. It’s great to be back!

Richard Solomon

Peter and John are two players who really enjoy their game and are no slouches, either. They will be one of the pairs representing Auckland-Northland in the Senior event in the Inter-Provincials. Be warned!  

 

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