Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

A Game Of Decisions

Going into the semifinals my cold/bronchitis/asthma had gotten so bad that sitting up for any length of time was difficult.  Nevertheless I played one set against Germany before it became clear to everyone that I was not fit to continue playing.  I was not really much better the next day so Ray decided to spot me in for one set which turned out to be number 6.  When we started this set we were about 33 imps down.  We needed a good win but it seemed something we could achieve.  We gained a few imps, not nearly enough and we lost.  I felt at the time that we could have won.  I was still feeling quite sick and it wasn’t until today that I had a good look at the 16 boards we played.  As I suspected there were enough imps available at our table that we could have the match if we got more of them right.  There were two deals that accounted for most of the deficit.  Both these deals illustrate the way that the many decisions you make in a bridge match affect the outcome.  The first one is a simple decision to open or not to open.  Your hand is

  K J 7 4 3  A 10 5 2 J 9  Q 7

With everyone vulnerable it goes pass, pass to you.  Do you open this hand in third chair?  Decide.

If you opened then you will have an easy job of beating 3NT.  The hand will probably be played be West so you will be on lead.  Even if you lead a heart you will get in on the  Q and see the stiff A in dummy and find the shift.  If the hand is played the other  way partner is on lead and will lead a spade.  You can find the spade shift anyway but it is much harder.

Here is the whole hand. 

K J 7 4 3
A T 5 2
J 9
Q 7
Q T 8 2
J 6 3
T 6 4
K 3 2
K Q 8
A K Q 8 7
J T 9 5
9 6 5
9 7 4
5 3 2
A 8 6 4

Without a spade opening South led a heart.  West won and ran the J.  North has to switch to a spade now but looking at the Q10xx in dummy it was a tough decision!  So in the end making the decision to pass the hand cost 12 imps.

The next decision seemed a bit bigger at the time.  This is one of the high level decisions you face on a competitive hand.  You have

  A J 10 J 10 7 6 5   K J 9 6 5

This is the auction

East    You    West    North

Pass    Pass    3         4

4            ?

Do you press on to 5 pass or double.  Think.

If you chose to bid 5 then you push the board.  This is what happened to us.  However if you double you will collect 1100 and win 10 imps.   Here is the whole hand.

Q 5
A K Q 8 7 5 3
Q 8
A 7
K J T 9 7 4 2
4 2
T 4 2
8 6 3
9 6
A K 4 3 2
Q 8 3
J T 7 6 5
K J 9 6 5


Well if you got them both right you would have finished within 8.7 imps of winning.  However there was more than that available at our table in a number or smaller swings.

We did of course have some good boards.  We had three numbers which were good wins for example.  But still looking back on it a few decisions made differently would have allowed us to win. 

Ray and I were chatting to Glen Holman formerly of Toronto who is now playing on the amazing South African team that dethroned Italy and is fighting hard against USA 1.  Glen was talking about the 100’s of decision that you make in a bridge match and how all your years of playing and experience help you to make the right one.  He talked about how his partner who was a professional had so much experience well we amateurs have it much tougher.

Go Glen go!  Go South Africa!!!!

This was a wonderful experience.  I loved every minute except when I played the very sick first match against Germany and when we walked out of the last match and I knew we had lost when a friend cheered the German players

I thank the original team that first asked me to be captain and then allowed me to play.  I also thank my partner Pamela who was a wonderful partner, played her heart out, put up with the having to change partners at the last moment and just did her best.  Pamela you were a real trooper.

I know that Canada can win this next year.  We are so close.  There really aren’t many teams much bettr than us.  We just had to put out 6 good players and work hard.

A little sponsorship would help too.




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