Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Bridge in Australia

Ray and I are heading over to Australia this October.  We will be in New Zealand first and that will be during the World Mind Games so I am not going to be able to watch much bridge online and report my slant on it.  I will definitely watch some of it though and I am sure I will have a comment or two.  But right after that we are headed to Sydney and Ray and I will actually be playing an event in their Spring Nationals. 

We are playing a two day Swiss pairs matchpoints.  I am guessing from the brief description that this is scored by matchpointing (across the field or a section)  and then the result of the match is turned into victory points. You are placed with another pair for each ten board round who has a similar victory point score.  It should be interesting although I am not expecting a great result for two reasons.  Ray does not like playing matchpoints at all.  I haven’t played matchpoints in ages and we haven’t played together except for a hand or two in several years.  In fact, Ray has mostly stopped playing bridge. 

I was heartened when after we signed up for this Ray took out the big black binder with our notes and started to read them.  We have agreed not to change our system drastically but both of us think we can do just a little bit better.  Our notes are nine years old.

Apparently tournaments in Australia are very social.  They are smaller and the you must pre-register so the organizers are well prepared for you.  I like that.  I have always hated the waiting around before each event at North American tournaments although the tournament directors here do a great job of getting things started.

We shall be meeting with lots of Aussie bridge players, teachers, and writers.  I am expecting to play against lots of strange conventions.  Ray and I generally play nothing against most of them and that works out fine.  Nothing means that we treat the bid as natural and just make our normal bid over it.  However, we may have to do more if they play something really unusual. 

I have started to think that simplest is best in systems anyway.  The most important thing is to remember what you play and have a failsafe if you get lost in an auction.  I have been reading some reports in Bridge World about major tournaments and it is amazing how often a swing occurs when an experienced pair gets lost in their system.  The last report I read involved an established expert pair who got to a grand slam off an ace when one partner was bidding keycard and his partner was responding to something else entirely.

What do I mean by a failsafe?  Ray and I have metarules.  These are rules that apply when you are not sure what an auction means.  When you have entered the undiscussed twilight zone.

Speaking of the twilight zone Ray and I played a few hands in the last couple and this auction came up:

West Ray East Linda
1H 1S pass 1NT
pass 2H?    

In this auction we play forcing and nonforcing Stayman over 1NT.  2H is obstensibly natural. But that made no sense in this auction What was 2H?  We are now outside our system and our metasystem.   I decided that Ray was asking about my spade and setting up a game force (as would 2D) but perhaps was also somewhat nervous about the quality of my heart stopper.

I held S A8 H Q93 D KQJ9 C K764

and so I bid 3D. Ray figured out that I had to be 2-3-4-4 (clever fellow).  He had the next decision.  He held S KQJ94 H 84 D A632 C Q5.   If we really were both on the same wavelength then perhaps he should have bid 4S although 3NT worked alright this time.

  S KQJ94  
  H 84   
  D A632  
West C Q5 East
S 62   S 10753
H AKJ765   H 102
D 754   D 108
C J2 Linda C A10983
  S A8  
  H Q93  
  D KQJ9  
  C K764  

As you can see a club lead is nasty.  West had to guess and he decided to play a spade.  That ended things pretty quickly.  4H can go down after three rounds of hearts.  I have to trump high and then finesse the S8.

Here is a hand where Ray got to use his beloved Exclusion Blackwood.  He held

S J10943 H A6 D void C AKQJ98

He opened 1C and I bid 1H.  He bid 1S and I bid 2D fourth suit.  He bid 2S and I raised spades to three.  Now was his moment.  He bid 5D.  I bid 5H one keycard.  What do you think he should do now?  He can’t asked for the SQ and he really needs it.  He bid 5S (fortunately in tempo) and I decided I had the right stuff.  I held S KQ86 H K10974 D AK53 C void and bid 6S.

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