The Palo Alto (CA) bridge club holds a unit Swiss once a month on Sunday afternoon. A nice sandwich lunch is served, followed by a 4-round Swiss.
For the July 10th game, Silicon Valley Youth Bridge (SiVY) arranged for experienced mentors to play with or watch junior players. Most of the junior teams played in the open section (there is a separate 499er game).
It was great to see so many young people playing. Also the hands (preduplicated across the field) were very interesting, so I will share some of them with you.
Our first match was against experienced local players, no juniors. Board 1 was our softest result. I held
♠- ♥AT5 ♦A85 ♣KJ97542
I dealt and opened 2♣, which in our strange strong club system shows 10-15 with either long clubs, or 5+ spades and 4+ clubs. My partner Scott Benson bid 2♦ (artificial ask, not necessarily strong) and my RHO cued 3♣.
This I doubled, Scott passed, and RHO jumped to 4♥ passed out. Even though RHO had a very strong hand -- ♠AKT93 ♥KQJ842 ♦74 ♣- -- we could beat it two double dummy, one on the ace of diamonds lead. We can also make six clubs!
Getting to 6♣ is probably not realistic, but we could at least not sell out to their game. I could have bid 4♣ or Scott could have raised me -- passing my double isn't very helpful. Fortunately teammates Anant and Ankur Rathi had us covered, pushing the result.
Board 3 made me sweat, if only a little:
They had a very long auction which included keycard, I've omitted most of it.
Scott led a spade, declarer ducked to my king. The spade return went to the ten, queen, ace.
Declarer cashed 5 rounds of trump, reducing me to - - QJ4 QJT. I was in some discomfort when she cashed the spade jack as declarer had cue bid clubs twice. But I decided that she know how to play and was experienced with advanced maneuvers like "ruffing losers in dummy", so I pitched a club. She did indeed hold AK tight of clubs, and we were +100 for a big pickup.
The final board of the match saw me with
♠A63 ♥KJ3 ♦A8432 ♣T8
My LHO dealt and at unfavorable opened 3♣, passed to me. I polled this hand (http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-13022/); pass and double are neck and neck. I chose double, and caught partner with 13 HCP including KQ4 of clubs. We were +400 for a 7 imp pickup.
The first match was a near-blitz. Our opponents for round 2 were teenagers Sarah Youngquist and Cornelius Duffie. I was very impressed with them. Kibitzing and making copious notes was the excellent Ed Barlow, who was celebrating his birthday that day.
On the first 3 boards they went down in partials, more through bad luck than anything else. Sarah tried to endplay me with a high trump in one contract; it didn't work because I had an exit card, but it was a no-cost play for her to try.
After Scott made 2♥ on board 10, I joked that perhaps we would get to play a 3 level contract before the match was over. And we did, 3N on board 11. This failed 3 tricks when Scott made a good lead and everything was offside; at the other table there was a bit of a defensive mixup and Ankur made it.
On the final board Sarah and Cornelius bid to the par spot, 5♦, after I preempted in spades. Our teammates got too high, but only a spade lead would beat it (I have KT96532 and Scott has AQ). No spade lead meant 11 imps and another near-blitz.
Our 3rd match was against local expert Don Nemiro. On board 13 Don had to lead from ♠A864 ♥72 ♦AJ982 ♣85 after 1♥ on his right, pass, 4♥, all pass. 1♥ was 10-15, possibly only 4 hearts if the hand had a longer side suit. 4♥ was of course wide ranging since we play a strong club.
He led a club, which seems reasonable, but unfortunately that was my canape suit:
♠T53 ♥KQ9853 ♦63 ♣A3
♠K2 ♥AJT6 ♦Q7 ♣K9642
I won in dummy, pulled a trump, crossed to the king of clubs, and was able to ruff the suit out for a diamond pitch. The ace of spades was offside so we won 9 imps.
Board 16 was perhaps the most interesting hand of the match. Try this unusual defensive problem from Scott's seat:
I led the ace of hearts. What's your pleasure, king or eight?
It sounded like declarer was 5-6 in the pointed suits, so unblocking the king seemed pointless to Scott. Unfortunately, West had missorted her hand just a tad:
♠AKQT73 ♥532 ♦KT93 ♣-
After ♥A, ♥K the contract romped home. At the other table suits were bid in a more comprehensible order, North led the heart ace, and South did very well to dump the king.
Fortunately we had one other pickup which enabled us to win the match 13-12. We had 48 VPs and would play another team with the same score for the event. There were other teams close to us (including our third round opponents) so another tight match might not get the job done.
We finished against Geeske Joel and Eric Mayefsky. Our first few boards were favorable. On board 22 Geeske held
♠Q3 ♥AT93 ♦QJT65 ♣J7
Her partner opened 1♠, she bid a forcing notrump, he jumped to 3♣, she preferred to 3♠, and he bid 3N.
Geeske now bid 4N which got them to slam -- Eric jumped to 6♠ which could be beaten only with a club lead from Qx. Not a great result for us, but then came The Michael Jordan Board, #23, which as my friend Michael Shuster will tell you is always full of excitement.
I held ♠9 ♥AT ♦KJT86 ♣KQ875. Scott opened 1♦, nebulous, and Geeske put it to me with 3♠.
This is a real problem for strong club players; Scott could hold as few as 1 diamond. I bid 4♠ and he tortured me with 5♥. Could anything be more loathsome? We had not discussed this auction and I did not want to bid anything that sounded forward-going for hearts.
Scott's possible hand types were 1) 13-15 balanced with 2-5 diamonds 2) any 4441 3) diamonds 4) 9+ cards in the minors. We can discard the 3) and 4). I decided, perhaps wrongly, that Scott should not have 4=4=1=4, and bid 6♦.
This worked well as Scott had ♠765 ♥KQ65 ♦AQ9 ♣A62. The spade ace was cashed and a club continued. He ran all the diamonds, squeezing his RHO in clubs and hearts. It turned out that the other table bid slams on both boards. The Rathis bid 6N (which cannot be defeated) and Roger Passal also bid to 6♦ after a 1N opener and ran the same squeeze. Tough game!
Our last board was a tight defensive problem:
2♥ showed an opening hand with at least 5 hearts and at least 4 clubs. 3♥ was a transfer.
Scott led ♥T, I won the ace (queen dropping) and returned a heart (to the king and 4).
Eric led a club to the ten to lead a spade down, me winning the ace perforce. It seemed likely he had AKQJx of clubs so I returned a second round to defuse the suit, hoping Scott had decent spades. He was able to ruff the club continuation and eventually we came to three trumps (Scott held KJ32) and the red aces to score +50. This pushed the other table, and we had a 9-0 win in a hard-fought match for the victory.
Plus... it's free!