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This page is a repository for interesting hands. Such hands will normally appear first on the Home Page, and then be moved to this page. If you would like to write up an interesting hand, speak to Don Kersey.
Greg McKellar and I (Don Kersey) played in Bridge Week 2017, the Canadian Championships, in Winnipeg, from April 29 to May 7. In the CNTC (Canadian National Teams Championship), our team reached the quarterfinals, losing that match to the pre-tournament favourites L'Ecuyer. In the COPC (Canadian Open Pairs Championship), we won the Bronze medal for third place. Following are a few hands from the tournament.
I was East, and Greg was West. Our opponents had an ambitious auction: 4♣ showed 6 good clubs and 4 good hearts; 4♦ and 4♠ were cuebids, and the 5NT response to Blackwood showed two keycards and a void. North evidently decided that the void must be in spades, so the keycards were the club ace and heart king. So because of this misunderstanding, they reached a very poor grand slam which nevertheless was makeable. On opening lead, I decided to try to talk declarer out of the winning club finesse by forcing an early decision, so I led the nine of clubs. Declarer went up with dummy's ace, drew trumps in three rounds, then crossed to the ace of spades and ran the club queen, losing to my king for down one and a gain of 14 IMP for us.
On this deal from our quarterfinal match against L'Ecuyer, I was again East and Greg West; North-South were Nick and Judy Gartaganis, who were playing Precision, so the 1♦ bid did not promise diamonds. Greg's 2♦ overcall was natural, and I stretched a little to introduce my mediocre spade suit. Greg naturally jumped to the game, which needed some good luck. Judy led the club king, and I saw that the only chance was to set up the diamonds - this would require spades to be 3-2 and diamonds to be 3-3, so against a standard 1♦ opening, the game would have no play (either South would have four diamonds, or South would have four spades). Against a Precision 1♦ opening, though, there was a chance. I played a diamond, losing to North's king, ruffed the club continuation in dummy, ruffed a diamond, crossed to a heart, and ruffed another diamond, dropping the ace. Now I drew two rounds of trumps and played a good diamond, discarding a club as North ruffed. The defenders could cash one club trick, but then I had the rest, for +620 and 12 IMP.
In this deal from the first qualifying session of the COPC, I was still East and Greg West; we bid to our 4♠ game (this would have made 650), but South sacrificed in 5♥ which we doubled, so it was necessary to defeat this three tricks for 800 in order to get a good result on the board. Greg led the spade deuce (we play 3rd and 5th leads, so this meant declarer had two spades), and I won the ace and cashed the heart ace to take away North's only trump. Since I knew what needed to be done next, I played the spade jack to retain the lead. Now I switched to the diamond king, and Greg worked out that it was necessary to overtake the king with the ace in case I had a singleton; then Greg cashed the diamond queen and we had our 800 and a very good board (13 matchpoints on a 14 top).
This deal is from the second qualifying session of the COPC, and as usual, I was East and Greg West. I didn't like the idea of leading from any of my weak honour holdings up to the strong hand, so I decided to try leading dummy's suit, hoping this might be declarer's weakness. As it turned out, a low heart was the only lead to defeat 3NT, for another 13 matchpoints out of 14.
On this deal from the final session of the COPC, for once I was North and Greg South. In a sort of companion to the previous deal, Greg was on lead and decided that, in view of the weakness of his hand, the best chance for the defence was to hit my strength, and that dummy's heart suit was the likeliest shot. This time, the heart lead was not enough to beat the game, but it was the only lead to hold declarer to nine tricks, which was worth 7.5 out of 9 matchpoints.
On this hand from the Wednesday August 3 game, every South played in hearts, four times in slam and three times in game. Only three declarers took 12 tricks. The key to the hand is the play of the spade suit. Declarer can start the spades by leading the queen for a finesse against the king, or by cashing the ace and leading towards the queen-jack holding. The first line will take three spade tricks when the suit splits 3-3, or when the ten of spades is singleton or doubleton, or when East has precisely 87; this is about a 56% chance. The second line will take three spade tricks when East has the spade king, or the suit splits 3-3, or the ten of spades is singleton or doubleton, or the king is singleton, about a 78% chance.
Interestingly, as the cards lie, declarer can recover after choosing the inferior line in spades. Suppose the play starts with diamond lead to the ace, ace of hearts, heart to the queen, diamond ruff, and the queen of spades, East's king winning. East's only safe return now is a club honour. When declarer then cashes the spade ace and West shows out, declarer can run the rest of the hearts, and East will be squeezed in spades and clubs.
This was the most interesting bidding deal from the evening game on Wednesday July 20. When the bidding begins as shown, South is already heading for a slam, and it should occur to South that the singleton club may make a spade slam better than a heart slam. Indeed, on these cards, seven spades is easy to make, while twelve tricks is the limit if the slam is played in hearts. South should continue by bidding 3♠, confirming the double fit, and aiming to play any slam in spades. At the table, no North-South managed to bid 6♠; all the spade declarers were in 5♠, and all the slam declarers were in 6♥.
Is there any way to bid seven spades? Not playing standard methods, but this hand is a good advertisement for "6 Ace Blackwood", one of Eddie Kantar's inventions. When a partnership has confirmed fits in two suits, 4NT asks about keycards in both suits. So when South bids 4NT, North bids 6♣, showing two keycards plus both major suit queens! Now South can bid seven spades, which will make unless the spades split badly.