Saturday, 10 June 2017

Matchpoint Wednesday (unfortunately)

I played with Norman in the Matchpoint Wednesday tournament at the Buchanan this week. It's not part of the Winter Pairs, as we're about as far from winter as you can get, but it's still a club-wide matchpoints competition. 

 We finished third, with a score of about 62%, beaten comfortably by John Di Mambro and Douglas Mitchell, on 65%. Our card would have been much better at aggregate, as we had an 1100 penalty on a board where most pairs failed to bid game, and bid two making vulnerable slams, but that's not how you win at matchpoints... 

 I had a chance to make up most of the difference on this board: 

NS played in 3♠, as you might expect, and Norman led the ♥8. Declarer won in hand immediately set about drawing trumps, with a ♠ to the J, and I returned the ♦Q. I actually thought about my return for a few seconds, knowing that I wanted to somehow let Norman know that I could ruff a ♣, but eventually concluding it was too dangerous to return a low ♦, in case declarer had KTx (which was the case). However, what didn't occur to me until too late is that I can return the ♦J. If this is allowed to hold, I play the ♦2 next, and hopefully Norman can figure out something strange is going on in ♦s, and find the ♣ ruff now. It's maybe not quite so clear if declarer does cover the jack, but I think it gives the best chance. 

 Here's the board where we bid a slam that only three other pairs managed to get to: 

Norman opened 1♣ and rebid 2NT over my 1♠ response. At this point, I pretty much just bid 6♣ - I know we have a 9 card fit (we only open 1♣ with 2 if we're exactly 4432, so he would have supported spades if he didn't have 3♣s), and it's hard to imagine a 19 point hand that doesn't have pretty good play (or how I'm going to find out when Norman has such a hand). In practice, I messed around bidding checkback, and then realised that we play 4♣ over 3♥ as a cue agreeing ♥s, so blasted 6♣. I think I could have bid 4♣ over 2NT as some sort of slam try, but I don't think I was going to stop, so I should probably have just jumped to the small slam immediately.

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