Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

A Small Victory

I really like playing with Isabelle.  We try to work hard in our practices but somehow it is always fun too.  Our practice Tuesday evening was no exception.  I was reminded of Sabine’s book – I love this game.  It always seems that there is something interesting and something to learn.  Things are never dull at out table for long.


Board 3 brought the first real swing of the match.  You have an agreement that you open light preempts when not vulnerable.  In first chair you have

S AQJ8754 H 84 D 107 C J10.

You are not vulnerable against vulnerable.  Is this too good to preempt?  Should you open 4S or pass?  I chose to open 3S.  Isabelle had S 93 H Q10 D AK98532 C KQ.  As you can see 4S is on a finesse for the trump king.  As it turns out the finesse is offside and we mad exactly 3.  Since I got a diamond lead I didn’t even take the finesse which is just as well since there is a diamonds ruff.  Since this game is at best 50% and there is less chance than usually for defensive error if the finesse is wrong. I am not unhappy to miss this one. 

Board 7 brought a triumph of sorts.  Here’s how it went down.  I held S Q1032 H K93 D J83 C K87 as South, all vulnerable.  The bidding went:

West    North    East    South


Pass     1S         DBL      2H*

Pass     2NT       Pass     ?

* constructive 4 card raise

We are playing 2 things in the auction that I am just learning.  Over the double we are playing transfer advances which is why 2H is not hearts.  2NT is part of a system called Nagy game tries which combine long and short suit approaches.  It suggests that Isabelle does not have short suit since she would likely bid that suit as a game try instead.  My response is supposed to be the lowest suit I would accept a game try in, which is clearly clubs.  Is this a good hand for the auction?  I thought so.  Despite the soft values my honours figure to be well placed after the takeout double.  I have good spots but I am 4-3-3-3.  I decided that I wanted to be in a vulnerable game if she was making a try of any sort.  But since she probably has a flat hand and I certainly do maybe 3NT would be the spot.  This is not a bid in our system but I made it anyway.   Isabelle has no problem with these at the table inventions and took it correctly as an offer to play and there we landed.  Here is the whole hand


  S AKJ84  
  H K103  
  D Q9  
  C Q52  
S 765   S 9
H 762   H AJ54
D K10753   D A42
C 43   C AJ1096
  S Q1032  
  H Q98  
  C K87  


On the natural club lead this hand has a lot of chances, Isabelle played it very well and as it turned out we did make it.  Clearly 4S has no play.  However I admit that even vulnerable, 3NT is not a good contract.  You be the judge did I overbid?  If I had responded 3C would Isabelle have bid 4S I wonder. Perhaps you think Isabelle is being a bit aggressive on the hand.  But then again you can’t argue too hard with success.  Bill Milgram put it well.  You don’t win matches by avoiding games but by getting to bad games and making them.  Bid boldly, play safe is our motto.

There is a chapter in a great bridge book I was reading lately by  Danny Kleinman and Nick Straguzzi called Human Bridge Errors.  This is Cthonic, the bridge computer’s attempt to help us humans play bridge better than our cell phone.  The chapter is called Lose Lips Sink Ships.  The idea is that sometimes when you bid you help the opponents out.   All vulnerable I held

S VOID H A9742 D A10 C AQJ942.  I opened 1C and Isabelle bid 2C limit raise or better in clubs.  Jeff Smith bid 3S.  At this point I was sure I wanted to be in slam.  Vulnerable for his bid Jeff had to have most of the spade suit which meant that most of Isabelle’s points had to be useful.  In fact her hand is unlimited and if she has the HK we might even have more.  I bid 4D to try to induce a heart cue bid and settled for 6 when Isabelle bid 5C.

Her hand was

S 97 H QJ D KQJ2 C K10873

and I was soon able to claim.

Right now we are working on our multi defense.  So far we are trying out a compromise system that starts off like this in direct chair

DBL   general takeout with an emphasis on the majors, balanced 19+ or any very strong hand

2H     Takeout of hearts

2S      Takeout of spades

2NT    15-18

All 3 level bids good hands and good suit but Natural

4C     Clubs and a major

4D     Diamonds and a major

With a weaker overcall you pass and bid later.  I don’t like the ambiguity in the four of a minor bid and I am not sure any of it is sound. 

The triumph mentioned in the title – we won the match.  It felt quite nice since on our previous attempt despite playing quite well we scored badly.  Its not always about the score but I did enjoy the little victory.


Jonathan FergusonNovember 15th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

I agree you did VERY well to avoid 4 Spades on that hand (the one with the hand diagram) and played very well throughout the match.

Still, our defense was egregious and 3NT had no business making either.

lindaNovember 15th, 2007 at 11:43 pm

I agree. We are too high and 3NT should not make if the defense stays on track. Still. matches are sometimes won by making hands like these. Meckwell have shown us that by putting pressure on the defense on hand after hand, you can be successful. Perhaps this hand is not the best example but our philosophy is to be very aggressive in the game zone. So warning opponents – your defense better be “in the zone.”

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