Monday, September 7, 2009

Twice in a Row???

Boards 14 and 15 in Round 3 of the Quarterfinals could have been better handled by USA 2 if they were using my two-way strong opening style.

On the first, the USA 2 Opener held AQxxx-x-A-AKQxxx, and his partner held K10xx-Jxxxx-KQx-J. After a Precision 1C opening and a 1S response (artificial, showing hearts), intervention of 2D caused Opener to bid 3C, Responder a practical 3NT, Opener 4C, and Responder 5C. This was fortunate to make, as a spade lead, heart return, and second spade ruff sets 5C. As it was, USA 2 scored up 440 for the game, losing 11 IMPs when the lay-down spade slam was missed.

In my methods, Opener starts with 2D, planning to rebid 4S to show a hand with 5S/6C and about two losers. In practice, however, Responder would immediately set trumps as spades and show extras, bidding 2NT. No diamond intervention would matter.

On the very next hand, South for USA 2 was dealer with KQJx-v-AKJxx-AQxx. Partner held xxx-xx-xxx-J9xxx. The opponents, admittedly, had a freak heart contract that made five (A-QJ98xx-Q9xx-Kxx opposite 109xxx-AKxxxx-x-x). USA 2 ended up defending 4HX, collecting -690 for a one-IMP loss when USA 2 at the other table was forced to the five-level.

I am not sure what the auction was, but in my methods, Opener starts with 2D. A three-loser hand with no rebid problems. He intends on checking first for a spade fit and, if none is found, bidding 3S to show both minors (and hence three-suited with short hearts).

If second seat overcalls hearts, North will double (whether "bust" or "support -- three-card spades) and fourth seat will blast hearts, after which Opener simply bids 4NT for the minors, and at least the 5C contract is reached. Whether 6C would be bid or not is a judgment call, but the 1-IMP loss here would either be a push or possibly a 4 IMP gain.

Two boards in a row, with 12 or 15 IMP's at stake at the highest level of the game. Still, USA 2 is up by 3 IMP's at this point.

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