Cambs & Hunts Bridge
|Newsletter Number 40||30 April 2005|
|Editors:||Chris Jagger, 2 Wycliffe Road, Cambridge CB1 3JD, Tel: 01223-526586 and|
|Jonathan Mestel, 180 Queen's Gate, London SW7 2BZ, Tel: 01223-329671.|
|E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com|
|Web page: http://www.cambsbridge.org.uk/|
Items for the Web page should be sent to David Allen on firstname.lastname@example.org
The next newsletter is scheduled to appear on 30th September. Please try to get copy to us no later than 15th September. All contributions welcome!
This and previous newsletters can be found on the County Web page, whose URL is given above.
Congratulations to Suzanne Cohen on her marriage (to a non-bridge player!)
The County continues to perform well in the Tolle, obtaining bronze medals.
|In this issue we present the solutions to the "smallest impossible score" teaser and the double dummy analysis problems from last issue. John Phelps describes the enthusiasm and slight mystification one feels at one's first tournament. An ECL match demonstrates an extraordinary entry to dummy. Peter Burrows reports on the world championships in Istanbul and of course, there is the usual round-up of News and Results.|
What do you lead?
South declares 5, on the hand to the left, doubled by partner. What do you lead as West? South has bid hearts and clubs and shown a diamond stop, while North bid spades and made a slam try in hearts. To make it easier, we show all the hands. How can you make the contract as South on an inferior lead? See later for a full analysis.
Last Newsletter you were asked to analyse the following two hands on a double dummy basis. They weren't easy:
What lead sets the contract?
Declarer has two possible routes to an 11th trick to accompany 4 diamonds, 5 trumps and A. He can either ruff a 2nd heart in hand, or establish the 13th spade. The former plan requires entries to dummy, but the latter needs a late entry to hand. The key to the defence is to force declarer in hearts at just the right time.
It was shown last Newsletter that a dummy reversal is successful on a heart lead - declarer ruffs and leads a small diamond, establishing J as a second entry along with A, enabling him to ruff a 2nd heart, cash KQ and enter dummy to draw A.
So what other leads are possible? A diamond is immediately fatal. Q enables declarer to establish J, while a small spade to partner's K leaves partner unable to continue the suit. If he leads a heart the dummy reversal works as before, while if the defence play to Q and continue diamonds declarer can draw trumps, cash A, throw a spade on the diamonds and ruff the spades good, still having a heart ruff as an entry to hand. If East switches to a trump at trick 2, declarer wins in hand and leads a small diamond, and again the defence have the choice of forcing with a heart, permitting the dummy reversal, or exiting passively enabling the spades to be ruffed out.
So we are left with a trump lead. If 7 is led, dummy covers with 8, West must play 9 to deny dummy a free entry (else the play continues heart ruff, small diamond etc), but now declarer can later afford to overtake a club honour as another entry, as dummy's 6 suffices to draw the 3rd round of trumps.
Only the lead of J defeats the contract! Declarer wins in hand, and if he ducks a diamond, the defence continue diamonds. Declarer now ducks a spade to East, but now a heart force kills the late entry to the 13th spade. If South leads a spade at trick 2, the defence wins and continues spades.
I found this hand very hard to analyse.
Secondly, you were defending 4 as East below:
The bidding was
West leads 2 to your king. How can you set the contract?
It looks natural to return a trump, but it's not hard to see what will happen. Declarer plays off all 7 trumps and we are forced to keep Jxx else he can overtake K. If we come down to two red aces declarer cashes K and throws us in with a red card, and we have to give dummy the last two tricks. In practice, we would throw A keeping a low heart, hoping partner has Q10, but of course double dummy we know he hasn't.
So suppose we force dummy with A at trick 2? Declarer must immediately play AQ, throwing a diamond and then a third club throwing another diamond. If West throws Q on this trick, trying for a trump promotion, it is at the cost of a natural heart trick. So instead, we must lead a low heart at trick 2. This is the position after declarer cashes AQ:
If a diamond is led, East wins and plays A and another heart. Or on a third round of clubs, if South throws a loser West throws his last heart. East now leads A and if this wins a 3rd heart. West scores J via a trump promotion.
Note that we cannot afford to cash even one diamond before leading a heart, else in the diagram, declarer can get back to hand with a diamond ruff.
It might be possible to work all this out at the table, but I'd be very pleased with myself if I did.
So while we're in an analytic mood let's consider the hand from the front cover. The auction is something on the lines of
What's the best lead? Looking at all four hands, it's natural to choose a spade, but see what happens. AK are cashed, pitching a diamond, followed by a spade ruff, AK throwing a diamond and a club ruff and a spade ruff. South is now on lead in the following position:
Needing 4 tricks, South crosses to table with A and leads J. If 9 is allowed to score South exits with a loser and makes AQ by means of the endplay. So East does best to ruff with 10, but South discards Q. East exits with 2 and South wins with Q (NOT 9!) and leads a diamond. East must ruff high and South discards, making 11 tricks.
So what is the best lead? You guessed it - a diamond sets the contract, by denying declarer the late entry to table. I did in fact lead a diamond against 4X at the table, and declarer misplayed the hand to go one off. Afterwards, I apologised to partner for my poor choice, not realising I'd found the only lead to prevent the overtrick! If only partner would stop doubling with such feeble trumps.
An unlikely entry - Anon
We've all defended hands where dummy is packed with winners but is completely entryless; then out of the blue, we're forced to give it the last trick, usually to declarer's surprise and pleasure. In a recent Cambs-Suffolk ECL match I was stunned by the most unlikely entry I have ever seen. See if you can predict which of North's cards will provide an entry at trick 9...
I led 2, which dummy won with 9, partner showing an odd number, marking declarer with a 2-4-5-2 shape. Chris Chambers of Suffolk now led a low spade to the Q and K which I ducked. I won the spade continuation and cashed AQ, declarer throwing a diamond. I now led 6 to show partner I held no honours in the suit. Dummy covered with the 8, partner put in the 10 and declarer won with Q and led 7. I covered with 9, dummy played the J and partner won with K and switched to K. Declarer won with A, grinned widely, and led the 3 to dummy's 5 while we followed with the 4 and 2 amid general hilarity. Dummy was now high!!
I'm sure I could have defended better, but in some ways I'm glad it happened the way it did. Declarer afterwards commented that this had fulfilled one of his lifelong ambitions.
In 1991, when the Bermuda Bowl took place in Japan, I was in Tokyo on business. One of my Japanese colleagues lived in Yokohama, just ten minutes from the venue, and he offered me his flat for the duration so that I could spend some time kibitzing. However, my schedule did not allow me to get away at any appropriate time, and I did not see a single deal. In 1994, when the bridge Olympiad took place in Rhodes, I was on holiday in Turkey, just an hour away by boat. My pre-arranged meetings with friends in the area did not gel with the timing of the ferries, and yet again I was unable to get to see any play. In late 2004, I was in Istanbul to coincide with the Olympiad. It was third time lucky, and I have some intriguing deals to report.
In the early stages it looked as if the "Delight" in my title might be justified in more senses than one. The English Open team was outstanding in the round-robin but unfortunately, they lost in the first knock-out round. Meanwhile, the English ladies also qualified for the second phase, and eventually took the bronze medal after losing to the eventual winners in the semi-final.
Istanbul may have seen the start of a sea change in the power-structure of international bridge. Both the Russians (winners of the Ladies' championships and bronze medallists in the Open) and the Chinese (semi-finalists in both events) achieved significantly better results overall than anyone could reasonably have forecast. The Turkish hosts also did well, reaching the knock-out of both main events, and beating USA in the Open round-robin by 33 IMPs to 9.
I was particularly impressed by Russia's Victoria Gromova who scarcely put a foot wrong on the boards I watched. Possibly she felt she had to put one over her husband who had been one of the bronze medallists in the Open. The penultimate board of the first half of the final showed the Russians in a more belligerent mood than their opponents.
2 was a Multi and North backed her judgement that West's suit was spades. East might have bid 4, which could have back-fired badly had the Multi been in hearts, but at the vulnerability strikes me as the lesser risk.
At the other table, West again opened a Multi, and East backed her judgement that partner had spades, not once, but twice:
The double of 2 was negative.
[The usual way to play the double is to show a desire to compete in spades. If partner's suit is hearts, she will pass. That principle could also have been applied on the first auction, the double instructing partner to pass or bid on, according to which major she held. If you play that way, however, you will miss out on some large penalties. (ed)]
The defence took their four obvious tricks and that was 11 IMPs to Russia (maybe someone should have doubled).
Japan missed a neat inference on a deal from their quarter-final against China in the Open:-
In the closed room, East opened a rather offbeat 1NT, declaring 4 after a transfer. South cashed A and switched to Q. Declarer played small from dummy, and North missed his chance when he too played small (perhaps South would have made things easier for partner if he had switched to a smaller club, but neither was expecting the 1NT opener to have a singleton). Declarer won the next trick, drew trumps, and gave up a diamond to score 420. At the other table:-
North led 8, declarer won and took three rounds of trumps, ending in hand. Next he led J and ran it to South's Queen. South cashed A and led Q for the King and Ace. North cashed K for one off. The commentators were critical of declarer's line. They argued that the opening lead revealed that North did not hold both top spades, so that South almost certainly had a singleton honour. In that case, West can get home by playing a club after drawing trumps to sever the enemy communications. Then he gives up a diamond, and loses just one trick in each side suit. Essentially this line was found by Jenny Ryman, playing with her mother for Sweden against China in the Ladies' quarter-final.
Now for some light relief from Canada-Japan in the Seniors' event.
The unopposed auction proceeded 1-1NT; 3-5; P! East found himself playing in his splinter, partner obviously assuming that he was showing a fistful of clubs.
While dealing with the Seniors' event, I must mention that it was won by a team from the USA including Marshall Miles. Having greatly enjoyed his writings over many decades, I was slightly surprised to learn that this was his first World title at the age of 77.
During the final of the Ladies' event, as the tension on Vugraph mounted and the Russian team clung tenaciously to their slim lead, I suddenly realised that I was sitting in the middle of a large group of Russian supporters, including members of their Open team. When they realised I was listening to their comments with my skeletal Russian, they switched into fluent English for my benefit. As a result I soon had a number of new friends, with whom I stayed until the presentation of the trophy. This was filmed for TV, and although I have not seen the programme myself, I have been told that it features me in the midst of the Russians, clapping enthusiastically, shouting like a Banshee, and jumping up and down like a man half my age (or even less!). I have no recollection at all of doing any of that. It shows how easy it was to be caught up in the heat of the moment.
Back to the serious stuff. Board 1 of the Ladies' semi-final between China and the USA featured an interesting miss by both sides:-
A Multi was opened at both tables, and I suppose that the 2 overcall was routine. After that, West's decision was not easy. Her 10 is gold dust in the actual case, but there seems no way that she can know that. At least the Chinese West made an effort. At the other table, West bid 3NT immediately over 2, which I find extremely strange given her insecure heart guard.
Finally, I really enjoyed this sacrifice from the Pakistan-Italy quarter-final in the Open:
2 showed and , while 3 showed diamonds. 1430 to Pakistan. In the other room, the 5 bid came a round earlier:-
Here South had a much more difficult decision, I think, over his partner's forcing pass of 6. His double yielded only 200, and that was worth 15IMPs to Pakistan.
Thirteen was a lucky number for me and my partner at this year’s New Players' Tournament, held at Trumpington Village Hall. It was the first time I had entered a day-long event, and No 13 was our first hand. It was the first time, too, for many of the other 55 people who had turned up to compete, though my partner Andrew Hawthorn had taken part last year. Andrew and I had hardly every played together before and for this reason alone perhaps we needed a slice of luck.
A good start was particularly important, I felt –- and this came in Spades, or to be more precise, No Trumps, on Hand No 13. It was the first of 36 hands to be played. I was East, with Andrew West, and we had 11 points each. Andrew was strong in the minors and we ended up in 3NT. The ploy worked and, with a combined point count of 22, we secured a score of 600. Our cards were:
From that point, we both felt encouraged to continue bidding aggressively at every opportunity. The exception was Hand No 6, where we played in 1 and ended up with 10 tricks. We only had 21 points, but perhaps at this point, a better player will point out that points are beside the point!
After 18 hands and a fine buffet lunch came the opportunity to study the half-time scores, computer-recorded by the director David Harrison. Bill and Sue Sutton were in first place and Dennis and Valerie Beaumont second, with Andrew and me delighted to be fourth.
There were still another 18 hands to be played, though, and Andrew and I both felt the second session was less successful for us than the first. That said, Andrew bagged a score of 650 by making 5 on Hand No 5, and, on Hand 15, we gained 500 by taking the opposition 3 down in 4. Pity they weren't vulnerable!
Our biggest failure came towards the end, on Hand 7 (a lucky number?), when I was bamboozled in 3 against Rosalind Barden and Kay Hunt. North held 4 trumps and a void in diamonds and somehow I went 3 down:
So, with that hand still fresh in my mind, I was flabbergasted when Gladys announced the results shortly after close of play.
Dennis and Val, with a clear lead, deservedly won the trophy. Then Andrew and I, who thought we had slipped back badly during the second session, were handed bottles of wine as runners-up! Lazlo David and Pat Fletcher were third, while Bill and Sue, with another engagement almost immediately after the tournament on their minds, ended up fourth.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event, organised by the ever-patient Gladys Gittins, who was on hand to deal with any problems and keep the tyros on track. It was an excellent social occasion, too.
In the County Knockout quarter finals, JAGGER bt JACOBSBERG, MILMAN bt CARMICHAEL, MAY bt LARLHAM and JONES bt ABEL. In the semi finals, MAY bt JONES, JAGGER bt MILMAN, and in the final, JAGGER (Jagger, Mestel, Wightwick) bt MAY. In the County Plate first round, DE VRIES bt RILEY, RICHER bt LAST. In the quarter final RICHER bt DE VRIES, RICHARDSON bt COPPING, KENNEY bt CLARK, OAKFORD bt MAN. In the semi final RICHARDSON bt RICHER, OAKFORD bt RICHARDSON, and in the final OAKFORD (S Oakford, Stelmashenko, Howard, Campbell) bt RICHARDSON.
Cambridge 1 won the County League, followed by Saffron Walden 1. Division 2 is still open between Cambridge 4, Huntingdon 2 and Shire Hall. Division 3 has been won by Saffron Walden 2, with Huntingdon 3 second. And Division 4 is likely to be between Royston, Huntingdon 4 and University 3. The County had results 6-14, 11-9, 14-6 in the Eastern Counties League against Suffolk.
County Pairs Final
1. Rod Oakford & Jonathan Mestel
2. Ian Aldridge & Anne Hamilton
3. Niel Pimblett & Matt May
4. Alan Sparkes & Eric Campbell
5. Mike Seaver & Peter Bhagat
6. Alan Edwards & Lorraine Waters
7. Brenda Jones & Philip Jones
8. Ian McDonald & Tapan Pal
9. Roger Courtney & Robin Cambery
10. Derek Oxbrow & Peter Somerfield
County Individual Final
1. Gladys Gittins
2. Pat Cole
3. Mike Neverton
4. Audrey Stenner
5. Brian Copping
6. David Waldman
7. Peter Burrows
8. Kenneth Firth
9. Tania O'Farrell
10. Peter Last
New Players Tournament
1. Dennis Beaumont & Valerie Beaumont
2. Andrew Hawthorn & John Phelps
3. Laszlo David & Pat Fletcher
4. Bill Sutton & Sue Sutton
5. Peter Bramworth & Pauline Bramworth
6. David Fuller & Pat Fuller
7. Phil Day & Jayne Curry
8. Peter Grice & Ruth Katz
9. Sandra & Richard Quartermaine
10. Graeme Hansford & Alison Woolford
Jubilee Swiss Pairs
1. Fred Langford & Mike Lloyd
2. Cynthia Bull & Nicholas Bull
3. Chris Larlham & John Constable
Winners in the section under 10,000 local points:
1. Jenny Gleeson & Anne Read
2. Peter Beavan & Susan Hollingsworth
Ascenders first half: Dominic Clark and Eryl Howard
Ascenders second half: Annette Gerloch and David Man
Nationally, Cambridge A are through to Round 6 of the Nicko. Jagger/Jagger/Pagan /Wightwick are through to the final of the Hubert Phillips Bowl, and came 8th in the Crockfords final. Cath Jagger represented the English ladies in the Lady Milne, winning with a round to spare, and coming top of the Butlers overall. Cambridge University B reached the semi final of the Portland Bowl. Rod and Sue Oakford came 9th in the Portland Pairs. Stelmashenko/Oakford got to the semifinals of the National Women's Teams. Cambs came joint 3rd in the Tollemache Final. Jagger came second in the National Women's Pairs. Jagger/Pagan came second in the National Pairs Final.
Around the clubs
Who in your club is responsible for ensuring that your news gets passed onto the Newsletter editors?
Cambridge Club: The Wednesday venue has moved yet again, to the Indoor Bowling Centre, Logan's Way, Chesterton.
Smallest impossible teams score
Last issue we posed the question as to what is the smallest total which cannot occur when you compare scores with teammates in a team of 4 match. My instinct was wildly off here; I expected there to be some value well below 1000 which couldn't occur, but in fact every difference up to 7820 is possible. The answers are slightly different at Love All, Game All, or one side vulnerable, but this is the first total which can never occur at any vulnerability. So far as I know, no one has performed this calculation for Hubert Phillips scoring, where honours count. Do tell us the answer if you work it out!
Largest and Smallest rubber bridge scores
One of the reasons most players prefer duplicate to rubber is that it's possible in theory, though actually quite difficult in practice, to do well at duplicate while holding bad cards. In fact, if you think about it, it's possible to win an evening's duplicate without winning a single trick!
Whereas, at rubber bridge...well, the other day (honest) I played a rubber in the course of which our side only won 2 tricks - yet we just won the rubber by 20, without ever holding an ace or a trump honour! How was this possible?
And, believe it or not (you can always trust a Newsletter editor with some blank space to fill), in the very next rubber, every contract made exactly, undoubled, yet we lost by 7500.
How was this possible? (Don't forget about honours! I think 7500 is the maximum margin under the stated circumstances.)
The Logica Armchair Treasure Hunt 2004-5
Last December, Paul Barden devised a fantastically complex Treasure Hunt whose theme revolved around a bridge hand, which was itself complicated enough. Anyone interested in that sort of thing should look at http://public.logicacmg.com/~ath. The winning team included Alex Selby. The treasure is no longer in place, but was buried somewhere in the Cambridge area.