Thursday, 26 March 2015


This week was a big one for the Hillhead team, with both a semi-final in the Jackie Josephson (a handicap cup competition) and our final league match, which would decide promotion. We won both, and after a slightly tense evening waiting for the scores from other matches, we did enough, and will be back in the first division next season, which some in our team find intimidating, but I'm very much looking forward to it. I also played in the West Distict Congress on Saturday and Sunday with Norman and Adam. I'm not going to say much about that, apart from that Adam was remarkably understanding when I revoked to let through a doubled part-score when playing at table 1 of the Swiss Teams on the Sunday... a very useful feature in a partner! (not that I intend to make a habit of it...)

With the league season winding down, I'll be trying to figure out how to make sure I continue to get my bridge fix over the summer, and at some point this month I'll have to work out whether or not I'm playing in this year's National League.

Just one board from yesterday's league match. I played in 4♠ after the auction above, and the defence got off to a reasonable start with two ♦ tricks and a ♦ ruff. West now switched to a small ♣, and as I've pretty much got no chance if the finesse is wrong, I ran this to my ♣10. Now what? I think basically it's about guessing the ♠ suit. I got this wrong, playing a club to the 9, ruffing a ♣, and playing two rounds of ♠s from the top. I figured that W was less likely to have played for a ruff if he had the ♠Q. However, I did know that he had fewer ♦s that his partner, so maybe playing him for greater ♠ length than his partner was correct, but this was exactly balanced out by what I knew about the ♣ suit. In any case, no-one else managed to make the game, apart from the pair who got a helpful ♥ lead, and our 1500 point margin was enough for us to secure promotion to the First Division next season.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Men's Teams 2015

I played with David Wiseman in the Men's Teams on Sunday. Our card was nothing to be proud of, and our team-mates seemed mostly relieved by this, as they were, if anything, even worse than us. We were deservedly comfortably at the bottom of the table. Congratulations to Mike Ash, Alex Adamson, Finlay Marshall and Patrick Home who won the event (narrowly beating Derek Sanders, Stephen Peterkin, George Plant and Peter Moss). 

Here is the last hand we played of the evening.

Having passed as dealer, (he might have opened if we were playing Acol, but probably not, as the rebid is potentially awkward), David understandably got excited when I opened 1♥, and even more excited when I bid a conventional 3♥, showing a non-minimum opener with a shortage in ♣s. After checking all the keycards were there, we didn't really have any system available to find out what could be done with the third round of ♠s, so David just decided to go for it. 

John Murdoch led a small ♣, and everyone followed to everything when I ruffed out the other suits, N pitching a ♣ on the second round of ♥s, so I was down to this ending. The missing cards being ♠Q98632 and ♣KJ. 

What next? Do you play off the last round of trumps? (I didn't, and I think this was a mistake - if either defender started off with 4 ♠s, they'd be forced to pitch one now, which gives you a big clue as to where the Q is). If you don't (or if you do, and both defenders pitch ♣s), which way do you play the ♠s? 

I played ♠ towards the ♠K next, and John played the ♠9. Does this tell you anything? 

There were 29 IMPs on the line on this board, as they had failed to bid even the small slam at the other table. Those 29 IMPs were worth more than 13 VPs (we were playing 4 board matches, and this would have converted a 20-0 defeat into a victory)... what are the clues? Is it any better than a guess?