The USBF Womens Trials Part 2
By Board 93 of 96 Sprung’s lead had been reduced to 8 imps and I think by now we all realized that there were going to be more twists and turns in this exciting finale.
Strong two club auctions can be challenging. One way of responding to this opening is to show controls. It worked really well for Moss on this deal.
Radin opened 2♣ in second chair and Deas responded 2♠ which apparently showed exactly two kings in their methods. Radin rebid 2NT showing a strong balanced hand. If partner was interested in major suits she could certainly find out about them. But Deas with a 4-3-3-3 seven count just bid 3NT. Radin now surprised me by carrying on with 4♠. She was trying to suggest to partner that she had a good hand for the auction with a good spade suit.
I suppose that knowing partner has those two kings Radin really doesn’t need much more to make 6♠. It must have seemed like it was worth a try in case partner had something more. The only thing Deas had “extra” was three spades but with 4-3-3-3 she had shown all she had. 4NT seemed the best contract from her hand.
If Deas had the same hand with the ♥J replacing the ♥2 then slam has decent chances. Assuming the spades aren’t terrible you have eleven tricks once you concede the ♥A. You have quite a good chance of bringing in a third heart trick. You have the diamond finesse to fall back on and in a spade contract there is a chance of ruffing out the club queen and jack. Would Deas have continued on with that ♥J? Perhaps. Deas and Radin did very well to both explore for slam and reject it. Radin had no trouble making ten tricks.
In the Closed Room Sprung opened 2♣ and when Glasson bid 2♦, game forcing, she decided to show her spade suit. There is something “suity” about this hand with two doubletons and I understand why she did this. It seems to me you may lose a possible heart fit though. I understand that a 2NT response can lead to different problems though.
Glasson raised spades showing some cards. While she didn’t have a complete minimum for her 3♠ bid, she also didn’t have much in reserve. At this stage it is hard for the partnership to work out if they have enough extra to make slam.
Maybe the serious or not serious 3NT should apply to this auction. 3NT is not really a possible contract so with a minimum for the auction so far Sprung could bid 3NT (not serious) and Glasson would have easily signed off in the spade game. I hadn’t thought about this auction before but it does seem like a good use of this gadget. What do you think?
Sprung cuebid 4♣ and Glasson 4♦ and then came Blackwood. Maybe another choice was for Sprung to bid 4♥ over 4♦ assuming it shows a heart control (rather than asking for one). If she does and Glasson bids 4♠ she can honor the signoff.
The problem here is that slam is really quite close and it is very hard to know if Glasson has the right stuff or not.
How good is slam? Ignoring the low risk of a problem in the spade suit you need the ♥A onside and you still have to dispose of the fourth heart though there are several possibilities for that. On a good day you make it (and probably end up on a plane to Lille).
6♠ down 1 was a loss of 12 imps. Had the heart suit worked for Sprung it would have been a gain of about 13 imps. A 25 imp swing. Of course the odds were for the Moss team to gain imps since slam was less than 50% but … in close matches for big prizes Lady Luck does have her sway.