Club hand this week.

This week’s Wednesday night pair game was replaced by a Swiss qualifier for the Grand National Teams. If you have never played in the GNT’s I suggest you give it a try. It is a grass roots event that starts at the club level. Qualifiers are invited to play in a District wide tournament that qualifies 1 team from each stratum to represent our district at the nationals.

I picked up a nice hand:

SpadeAKJT45 HeartK62 DiamondJ85 ClubJ

The auction went like this (opponents passing):

Me          Partner

1Spade          2Diamond

2Spade          3Spade

4Heart          4NT

5Heart          6Spade

We play serious 3NT when we have agreed upon a major suit. Therefore I could cuebid 4Heart to suggest a heart control and a minimum hand. 5Heart showed two keycards and denied the trump queen. The opening lead was a low club and this was dummy.

SpadeQ9 Heart94 DiamondAT762 ClubAKQ5

Annoying hand. If I had ClubJxx and Diamondx I would be almost cold. Try and set up the 5th diamond, if not, lead toward the HeartK

However, lets decide how to play the actual hand. At first glance I could pitch all my hearts on the clubs and then try and lose no more than 1 diamond trick. However that looks bad since I am missing the Diamond9 and I would not be able to draw all the trumps before running clubs to pitch my hearts.

The better line seems to be drawing trumps and leading a low diamond to the Ace. If an honor appears, I can discard 3 hearts on the clubs and claim, losing a diamond. If no diamond honor appears I can pitch 2 diamonds and 1 heart and lead toward the HeartK. This line works when there is a singleton diamond honor (2/5 x 28%) or doubleton DiamondKQ (1/20 x 68%). If dimaonds don’t behave, about 86% of the time, I will still make it when the Heart Ace is on my right.

Certainly good enough odds for a small slam. As luck would have it diamonds were 3-2 with no doubleton KQ and the HeartA was on my left. Down one.

I have been reading Jeff Ruben’s Expert bridge Simplified which provided me more information about probabilities than I ever wanted to know.