Thursday, 4 December 2014

Jackie Josephson Cup: Maccabi vs Team Rowan

Being a 1st Division Team we got a bye straight into the third round. I was hoping we would be playing a lower division team to boost morale, but unfortunately we got drawn against another 1st Division team - Bonnington from Maccabi. This was the same team we played last year, and narrowly beat with the benefit of our 1500 point handicap from being in Division Two (report here). This time we're both in Division 1 so it was a straight shoot out, and we got shot out the cup with a trouncing.

Me and Anna rushed there straight after work only to wait half an hour for the hosts to turn up, and never really recovered from that psychological blow, combined with the fact that they were much better at bridge than us. In the first half I had a couple of makeable 3NTs, which I tried my hardest for but fell one trick short each time. Although I don't think I could have done much more there was so much potential for error in defence the +100s the opponents were collecting were surely good scores for them. In fact me and Anna seemed to be getting all the cards, but not many points.

Then I launched Anna into a very tricky 6♥ which she didn't like much and guessing everything wrong went three down. Amazingly it made for Bonnington at another table for a combined 1730 point swing, expensive at aggregate scoring.

The deficit at half time was about 2000 points. "That's nothing." I told captain Jill, "we'll make that up easily." Instead we went backwards. I made three individual blunders that each cost a game swing, and the opponents couldn't believe their luck. They robbed us blind on this hand:

No one vul
W deal
♠ x x x
♥ A x x
♦ A T x x x x
♣ J
♠ J 9
♥ K J T x x x x
♦ x
♣ Q J x
♠ A K 8 x
♥ Q x x
♦ x x
♣ x x x x
♠ Q T x x
♥ -
♦ K Q J x
♣ A K x x x

This was really the auction. Anna opened a standard Weak Three and I topped her up to Four. South bid a mad 4♠. At the end of the hand he explained that "I couldn't let them play in 4♥". "Why not double?" said his partner.

Anna lead a Diamond, and after inept defence 4♠ made. What a tragedy.

After this I was on the tilt, and made a very light raise then opened a five card weak Two which fooled the opponents into going down in a cold 3NT. "I'm on a roll." I thought, and sacrificed in 5♥x, going five off for -1100.

At one point I doubled the opponents three times in a row, with varying success. This last one was a terrible double, which reaped an ill-gotten reward:

All Vul
E deal
♠ K J x x
♥ A
♦ A J x x x
♣ x x x
♠ Q
♥ Q T x x x x
♦ Q x
♣ A x x x
♠ A T x x x x x
♥ J x x x
♦ -
♣ J x
♠ x
♥ K x
♦ K T x x x x
♣ K Q T x

I decided to pass the East hand rather than opening 3♠, in case we had a Heart fit (which we did). South opened 1♦ and Anna made a simple overcall. My plan as East was now to bid Spades then support Hearts later, but when North bid 1♠ I leaped to 4♥ straight away. North now bid 5♦, and reasoning that the Spades were splitting badly I doubled. North said later he thought about redoubling, and maybe he should have.

Against 5♦x Anna lead her ♠Q., and North covered with the ♠K and I won the ♠A. I now know that both declarer and partner are out of Spades, but thought it was worth a shot and returned a Spade. Declarer rashly discarded a Club, so Anna ruffed the Spade and cashed the ♣A for one off. Hooray! South then said that was the worst play he'd ever made. Then he realised that actually after my Spade return he'll still go down unless he ruffs with the ♦K and finesses trumps. After that he felt a lot better.

In the end Team Rowan lost the match by about 5000 points, so we're out of the cup. Gives us more time to focus on the league.