Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Lessons from a not so good BBO Vugraph Match

Usually when you plan to watch a match on Vugraph you expect it to be very good and you hold it to a pretty high standard.  But these days many matches of lesser standard are broadcast on BBO.  Such was a match I commented on last night.  It was the first round of a Swiss qualifier and at the table I watched while neither pair shone

, one pair was particularly weak.

Still it is not a waste of time to watch and think about bridge and there were quite a few lesson hands in the 12 board match.  I am not going to name any names because I think the perpetrators of the worse errors were Juniors.  In Canada when a crime is committed by juveniles the names are withheld.  I do the same in this blog in that spirit.  One hopes they will do better in the future and one does not want to stain their record.

Here was the first hand.  I could see it coming.  Its board 1 you are East, second to speak with nobody vulnerable and this is your hand.

s Q
h J5
d A873
c J107643

North opens 1d precision style so it can be as short.  You sensibly pass and South bids 1h.  Your partner bids 1s and North continues with 1NT which is 11-14.  It would never occur to me to bid on this hand.  I don’t have a fit with partner.  I don’t have a lot of high cards and my suit is not robust.  What I am thinking about right now is whether to lead a spade or a club.  But you are young and so you decide to bid 2c.  I don’t mind this bid too much.  The sQ is likely to be a useful card and you have six clubs.  This is passed to North who bids 2h.  Now if you would consider bidding again smack yourself and go to the back of the class.  Our young hero found out that 3c doubled was not a good spot.  North did well to double 3c.  He held

s J632
h A64
d 104
c AQ98

To finish off the story partner held

s A9754
h KQ3
d QJ2
c 52

The hand should have gone down 2 but our young declarer was so flustered he went down 3.  A dull board had turned into a loss of nine imps.  Lesson: Save the heroics bidding for matchpoints.  It is really okay to defend some hands.

The next hand is quite an interesting one.  Sitting West, this is your hand

s Q107
h 1086
d AQJ62
c A6

You are West in third chair and you open 1d at favorable vulnerability.  North doubles and your partner bids 1s.  You raise to 2s and North bid 3h, clearly a very strong hand with hearts.  Partner bids 3s and North who will not be silence bids 4c when the bidding comes back to him.  He has a strong two suiter.  South gives preference to hearts.  You are defending 4h and partner leads the dK.  This is dummy

s 863
h Q74
d 107532
c 102


What is your play at trick one? Demerit points for anyone who did not overtake the diamond. Even if partner is leading from a doubleton overtaking and playing another high diamond cannot cost whatever partner’s hand is.  Somebody suggested that West should play the d2 to suggest a club switch.  Our West played the d6 (I like them?).  But that is silly.  East reasonably continued spades and the opportunity to ruff was lost when declarer won the stiff sA and drew trump.  Game making. –620.  The only good thing I could think of at this point for East-West was that the score was 1-1.  They had each made a serious mistake so they were not likely mad at each other.  Partner held

s KJ9542
h J9
d K
c 8543

I confess I would have bid 4s in the first place at this vulnerability but I think he was somewhat chastened by the previous hand.

Lesson: Don’t let partner make a mistake.  Take charge when you know what to do.

Lesson: At favorable vulnerability with a long suit fit with partner bid as much as you can initially

In case you think that these errors are too subtle how about this one.  Yes, this did happen.  This is an opening lead problem.  You are East and you are tied in errors 1-1 as you arrive at Board 3.  You are vulnerable against not.  North opens 1h in third and over 1s he rebids 1NT.  Your lead.

s 87
h KQ975
d 752
c A86

I think it is brave to lead a heart and not unreasonable and so did our hero.  But into this auction I confess I would lead a small one.  Declarer has a lot of them and a heart honor is likely to give a trick away.  It is true that if dummy has the stiff jack or ten then a high one might work but if I go this route I start low.  Anyway you lead the hK and see the singleton h6 in dummy.  Partner plays the h10 standard carding and you win the trick.  I suppose I should show you the entire dummy

s QJ64
h 6
d K10984
c 973

You have a rush to the brain and yes you continue the hQ, partner having started with the hA10. The rest of the story is too grim to tell.  Suffice it to say that despite efforts by everyone at the table (accept dummy) to throw tricks away declarer some home came home with his contract.

The match didn’t get any better and from time to time not to feel left out North decided to join in and chuck some imps.  If I wanted to write a Why You Lose At Imps book I could probably start by describing a match like this.

These matches are instructive but I wonder if East West who got drilled in the end felt that way..

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