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A long break

From this blog, but not from bridge!

December saw the National Handicap Teams Championship and the Youth Teams Championship. Reasonably successful in both, though I played very vastly different roles. Finished 3rd in the consols while captaining for the Handicap Teams, and finished 4th playing as the 5th player in the Youth Teams. 4th was a prize finish, though there were only 4 trophies so I was more than happy to let my teammates keep them.

My last game at SCBA was nearly a month ago. Since then, I haven’t played much at all. Why? I have still yet to finish 3 books (okay, one of them is a website) which I feel is essential for improving my level. Besides, there’s more to life than just bridge haha….

Well, I can say it was a good break. Shall resume bridge-playing soon, though I still have yet to finish 10% of the 3 books.

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Some thoughts

I started a thread on BBO forums a month ago, asking people why do they play bridge. The responses I received have mainly strengthened my own beliefs.

So why do I play? Firstly, Bridge took over the place of chess in my life, which used to be the choice of intellectual entertainment. Bridge has the added advantage of a more social element, and a quicker pace of play. And why did bridge take over chess in my life? I was improving faster, and learning better bridge, whereas I was always struggling in chess.

So what are my aims? To improve continuously and become a better player and partner. Simple as that. So, I should never consider myself as the finished product.

And of course, most importantly, to have fun. What’s the joy of playing if one doesn’t have fun? I’ve experienced it that at certain times with chess. I do not wish for it to happen with bridge.

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Team Match

I haven’t been updating again. Danen has been busy with stuff for the past 2 Fridays, so we chose to play last Thursday morning when both of us were on off/leave. And on Saturday I played the double 8 senior pairs with Mr David Chew. More on those in another post.

Last night we managed to play 2 8-board team matches. The first was Danen-Me, Jychee-JP vs Romulus-Desmond and Peiyi-Samantha. The second had a roughly similar lineup, except Danen was replaced by Andre and Samantha by Kelvin Ong.

The first board saw a 11-IMP swing.

Dealer N
Vul
Scoring Imp
Lead 5
AKQ62
82
85
KQ72
JT
J965
K92
T853
874
Q74
AQJT64
9
953
AKT3
73
AJ64

At my table the bidding went:

West North East South
  1 p 2 
p 3 p 3NT
p p p

2NT was at least 3 card support, 10-12 or 16+, 3S showed a minimum hand and 3NT was to play.

I received a heart lead, to the Q and K. I then cashed 5 spade tricks (they broke 3-2) and 4 clubs, ending in hand leaving only AT3 in hearts. West (Romulus) discarded 2 hearts on my spades, so when I played hearts from the top that was 13 tricks.

Things proceeded differently at the other table:

West North East South
  1 3 4
5 5 p 6
p p p

This went one down for a 11 IMP Swing.

A slam-game swing occured on board 5:

Dealer N
Vul N/S
Scoring Imp
Lead
T93
984
QT532
K5
QJ4
A6
AKJ6
9872
K
KQ532
84
AQJT4
A87652
JT7
97
63

At our table:

West North East South
  p 1 p
1NT p 2 p
3NT p 4 p
4NT p 5 p
6 p p p

1NT was forcing, 2C was 17+ or clubs.

After asking about the auction, I thought for a while about the lead. I finally decided on the Ace of Spades, which turned out to be the only lead to not give an overtrick.

At the other table, Peiyi sitting South decided to interfere with 2S:

West North East South
  p 1 2
X p 3 p
3NT p p p

9 Imps to them.

The next board was a double game swing:

Dealer E
Vul E/W
Scoring Imp
Lead
K7643
A
AKJ865
9
T2
K6532
Q432
43
J95
QJT74
AKQJ6
AQ8
98
T97
T8752
West North East South
    1 p
4 X p 5
p 5 5 p
p p

At my table, the auction was a bit confusing. Perhaps I should have doubled. As it was, the play was consistent with the bidding.

I lead the T of diamonds to the J and ruffed. Ace of clubs followed, then K of clubs, which partner made the mistake of not ruffing. Now declarer discarded his spades and the contract was made.

At the other table, the bidding proceeded similarly until the X. Samantha bid 4S instead of X which was passed out. This made for a double game swing.

So we lost the first 8 boards 30-14, of which 24 came from these 2 boards.

We lost the 2nd 8 19-0, but the only big swing came from board 6:

Dealer E
Vul E/W
Scoring Imp
Lead
QJT
KQ84
AT8
K75
96
9762
9762
JT6
8732
AJT
5
AQ932
AK54
53
KQJ43
84
West North East South
    p 1
p 1 2 p
p 3NT p p
p

3NT+1 at our table.

West North East South
    1 1
p 2NT p 3NT
p 4NT p 5
p 5 p p
p

A wheel or two came off in JP and Jychee’s canape. 5S went down 2 so that was 11 imps out.

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3NT on 22 points!

This happened last Friday at SCBA when I was playing with Danen. I was sitting

Dealer W
Vul
Scoring MP
Lead 7
AJ2
KJ97
732
J93
QT843
A8
JT984
6
65
653
AKQ6
AQ82
K97
QT42
5
KT754

The bidding was terrible to begin with:

West North East South
p p 1NT p
2 p 2 p
3 p N  p
p p

Surveying dummy, the first thing that crossed my mind was to strangle partner =). But to the task at hand, how to make 3NT? Or at least limit the damage? I ducked the heart lead and received a diamond back. Then I led a spade, won by the A, after another diamond return, I led a spade to the T and K. The club finesse worked so I took a heart, 5 diamonds, 1 spade and 2 clubs.

Confused? I reproduced the hand from the hand record sheet. In reality, the W and E hands were exchanged when we played them!

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Hands from Bermuda Bowl

The Bermuda Bowl starts today. Pretty interesting match up for the first 3 rounds, with USA1 vs USA2 in the 1st round, followed by Italy vs Poland (!) in the 2nd, and now Italy vs China in the 3rd.

This happened in the USA1 vs USA2 match, Board 3

Dealer S
Vul E/W
Scoring Imp
Lead
Q2
AJ52
K2
T9832
T75
K74
976543
7
A964
T
AJT8
QJ54
KJ83
Q9863
Q
AK6

Both sides reached 4H. The lead was the 7C by West, ducked by East. The only way for declarer to make his contract is to take the first trick with either the K or A. Both declarers didn’t and went down.

The Italy vs Poland match was more exciting. Italy avoided an unmakeable slam in this board:

Dealer N
Vul E/W
Scoring Imp
Lead
A2
AK98752
Q32
J
63
J643
AJ98
643
KJT985
T
74
T952
Q74
Q
KT65
AKQ87

Bocchi and Duboin were on their way to the small slam in hearts, when Jassem (W) doubled a 4D cuebid, thus putting the Italians off who stopped in 4H. The Polish NS pair didn’t even smell any slam.

The commentators were saying that the double was wrong, with 2 tricks and opponents looking for slam, it is better to keep quiet and let them bid it, instead of interfering and giving them a hint that the lie of the cards might be unfavourable.

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Interesting hand from SCBA

Amazingly someone actually bugged me to update on BBO.

Actually due to some stuff happening lately, I am currently stuck in a state of ennui. (Not just restricted to bridge, I had totally no attention span to do anything today at all, even eating. Those who know me better might find more details on my LJ.) Hopefully this will pass soon.

Dealer N
Vul E/W
Scoring MP
Lead
J
QJ532
Q4
76532
8
T763
A952
6543
J2
Q92
T876
KQ72
AKQ73
KJ54
K3
AT

This happened on 7 Sep, a Friday night game which Andre and I won with 57.08%. This will be the last Friday night game of the year I am playing with Andre, as he is leaving this coming Saturday morning.

At our table, I sat North and wondered for a moment if I should open 2H. The factor that dissuaded me from doing so was the fact that EW were two U-21 team members who would be able to deal with the loss of space, and might even find a making slam. I thus passed and 3NT was declared by East, making 12 tricks.

After the session, my two opps and I were looking at the hand records with Poon Hua, when he told us he actually opened 2H on the North hand! Apparently he was allowed to play in 3H which gave a good score compared to all the 3NT contracts making.

A further interesting point is the hand plays better from East regardless of the denomination of the contract.

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