The play from Sunday night was quite steady, with very few swings. There were, however, three that got away – three games were made at both tables, and all three could have been set. I am going to focus on two of these hands, where third hand had to make a key decision early, but first, take a peek at board eight:
There were two big swings on Monday night, and both hands featured interesting elements. Let’s start with a pushy game contract:
With no one vulnerable, partner opens two diamonds in second seat, and you close the auction with a jump to three notrump. West leads the club seven, five, ten, and your king. Plan the play.
My short answer to the title question is – NO. I want you to concentrate on landing your contract, or setting theirs, and not to waste energy on overtricks. Still, bridge is a game of probabilities, and we have to assess the potential gains and losses of every action. What is that overtrick worth? What are the risks? Look at two simple examples: Read the rest of this entry »
This week, I will focus on two play problems.
Experts seem to get their straight guesses right most of the time. Why? What makes them better guessers than you, or me? Are they just really lucky? Obviously not. In virtually every guess, there is some tiny inference in the play, or the bidding, to tilt the odds one way or the other. Experts see these inferences, and a surprising number of complete guesses become certainties. Boards 7 and 13 were both such sure guesses. Read the rest of this entry »
We are all system nerds – we love conventions and gadgets, and we really want to play the very best system out there. I understand. I am as guilty of this as anyone, but, really, your choice of system is not very important. The difference, in IMPs per match, between an ordinary system and the very best Meckstroth-Rodwell behemoth of a system is quite tiny. Matches are won through bidding judgment, through card play skill, through better opening leads, through lucky finesses. Meckstroth and Rodwell could take us on, playing 1950’s Goren standard, and they would crush us. Read the rest of this entry »
As you know, I like to focus on questions of card play, which is a good thing, because I could really go crazy about some of Monday’s bidding. Twice we held a nine count, two aces and a jack, nonvulnerable, opposite a 1NT opening. What is that worth? I usually invite with nine, particularly white. But not all nines are equivalent. Read the rest of this entry »
Two hands from Sunday appealed to me. Board 1 involved tricky decisions in the bidding and play. These are subtle enough that I am still not sure what is best, and I have stared at the hand for some time. The other hand was Board 8, where the best move was clearer. We will start with that: Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s start with a very simple question – what do you need to make a slam? The answer is pretty simple. Lots of winners, not many losers! Winners, and potential winners come from our strength, high cards and fit. Many new players, as soon as they sense enough strength to consider a slam, get excited, bounce up and down in their seat, and in the auction, they bounce up to four notrump, check on key cards, and decide from there. This is very, very wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
There was not a lot of action in the match Monday night. There were only three significant swings. I’ll focus on two of those. The first was a six IMP swing, which could have been rescued by better defense. Take West’s seat defending 1NT: