Sunday, 7 August 2016

Blyth Valley Bridge Club #2

This week Anna and I were on our Summer Holidays in Suffolk. We were also here for Easter holidays, and in fact that was the last time that the two of us played together at a bridge club. On Tuesday we returned to Blyth Valley Bridge Club, and were greeted again by the friendly locals. Several people recognised us, and I was impressed that the scorer Ron knew that we'd come first last time we were there (read my report here).

We weren't at all worried about the results, just happy to be out and about playing bridge together. Perhaps because of this relaxed attitude we did quite well, and even the boards where we could have done better still seemed to get a good result. For example, on one I raised Anna's 2♠ to 3♠ just in case she might want to bid game. She didn't, and went one off in 3♠, but this was still an OK score as others were going off in 4♠.

Twice we got a top score for making 4♥+2, which shows the benefit of not bidding a risky slam; making 6♥ would have got us no more matchpoints. For example this deal, with no one vulnerable:

♠ A x
♥ J x x x
♦ T x x x x
♣ x x
♠ x x
♥ A K Q x x
♣ K Q J x x x
1♦ 1♥

East opened 1♦ and Anna has a tough decision as South. Other possible bids are double (strong hand), 2♣ (longest suit), 2NT (showing Clubs and a Major). Instead she decided to show her good five card major with 1♥. When I showed a bit of support she went straight to 4♥, and played there. On the expected Diamond lead she could draw trumps and lose just the one trick in Clubs.

What helped our relaxation was that the baby (being looked after by Nana) was doing OK. I got more or less hourly updates, and had to excuse myself to look at my phone between rounds. A trial run earlier in the week had not gone well, so to demonstrate the little monster really was OK I was sent a photo message of her smiling.

In general we all played quite briskly. One exception was where I was very slow on this deal:

♠ A Q x x x
♥ x x
♦ x x
♣ Q T x x
♠ K T x
♥ A T x x x
♦ K J x
♣ A x
- - 1♥

Two questions:
1: What would you have bid as North on the second round?
2: How would you play 3NT on the lead of the ♥K?

Anna was faced with the bidding decision, and decided to stretch a bit and double, which showed 10+ points.

I therefore played the hand in 3NT. On the ♥K lead I figured that West had a lot of Hearts (and Diamonds) so the Spades were probably not going to be breaking. I wanted to finesse East, but didn't have any entries to do that. So I ducked the ♥K, and ♥Q, and West now reluctantly lead a Spade for me. That now gave me five Spade tricks along with two Aces, up to seven tricks. I didn't want to cash all my Spades in dummy yet as didn't know what to discard, so played another Heart for West to win and be endplayed. She cashed the ♦A and played another Diamond round to my ♦KJ giving me my eight and ninth tricks.

At the break I went to check with the babysitters, while four teas and four biscuits were collected. After I got back I was left with the last one, but it was a Honeycomb Club so I wasn't too disappointed.

In the second half I lost my concentration a bit, and at one point Anna sat down at a new table as East, and I sat down North. We still played fairly well though, and sometimes managed to steal the odd trick for a good score. I can only think of one time I definitely bodged, when the trump suit looked like this:

♠ K 7 4
♠ Q J 8 ♠ A
♠ T 9 6 5 4 2

South was declarer with Spades trumps. He lead up a small Spade, and I eagerly played the ♠J, which went to the King and Ace. Clearly I should have played low, then (if declarer still played the King) we would have got three trump tricks.

Here's a photo when I asked everyone to show me their cards so I could write about it on the blog (then decided not to include that hand):

At the end we left promptly to go and see how the baby was, walking through the village of Walberswick and getting a little ferry in the rain.

It was another very enjoyable afternoon at a friendly Club.