APBF Captains Log 11 June

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APBF Captains Log 11 June

Tuesday 11 June

Today was not so encouraging for the Australian teams: the open team’s run of losses was finally broken in the last match but they now lie eighth.  The women slipped to fifth, despite two wins and a bye, and the Lusk team in the seniors dropped to ninth.  The stars remain the seniors team, which won all three matches and has increased their lead over Indonesia.  They are now starting to play the top half of the field so all matches will start to become a little tighter. Our team dinner was held at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, quite a tourist attraction. The restaurant is in Aberdeen Harbour, and you travel from the shore in a small ferry. Aberdeen is a twenty minute taxi ride from Causeway Bay, and they needed three to transport the team and its “supporters”. Of course, they had to order Peking Duck.

The open team had one of the funniest-ever bridge auctions in their match against Singapore: after two passes Andy Braithwaite opened a lead-directing 1C in third seat with JT96 J98 5 AK642.  His LHO doubled and Ian Robinson bid 1D to show hearts.  (A growing number of pairs are playing transfer responses to 1C and do so after intervention as well.)  RHO doubled to show that he had four hearts.  (This is designed to stop the opponents getting away with so-called baby psyches: bidding a major you don’t have after the opponents make a takeout double.  The most common one is to bid one spade after partner’s one-heart opening is doubled.)  Andy accepted the transfer, bidding 1H to show three-card support in a minimum hand.  Now LHO bid 2H, and that was the final contract.  Both sides had bid and raised hearts!

Unfortunately for Singapore the two-heart bidder intended his bid as a cue bid, but it should natural in case Ian’s response had been a psyche.  He held AKQ 64 AK98643 T, and thought his hand too strong for a one-diamond overcall initially and was, perhaps, uncertain whether two diamonds now would be forcing.

Singapore had the last laugh, though, as they won two IMPs on the board.  In the open room David Beauchamp held the strong hand and got to open 1D in fourth seat.  Ian Thomson responded 1H.  What would you bid now?  The hand was too strong for 3D and, not wanting to complicate the auction by bidding spades, David tried 3NT.  This showed good, usually solid diamonds, at most a doubleton heart and too many playing tricks for 3D.  Alas, the opponents cashed five clubs and the HA for down two.

Did you watch the seniors team play on vugraph?  If so you would have seen Avi Kanetkar make 3NT on the final board of the match.  He held – QJT8 JT97 KJT83.  What would you do after your partner, Chris Hughes, opened 1S, you responded 1NT, and Chris rebid 3S?  A few pairs passed 3S but that seems wrong to me.  While you have no spades, which could make communications very difficult, you have all the intermediates in the other suits.  If 3S were certain to make then bidding 3NT would be more risky but you’re as likely to go down in 3S as in 3NT – and the latter is game.  Avi bid 3NT and received a heart lead.  Dummy tracked with AQJ632 743 AKQ 9.  His RHO won the HA and returned a heart to the queen and king.  Now LHO switched to a club, won by RHO’s ace.  When the club back was won by LHO’s queen Avi claimed.  That was a pity as if his LHO returned a heart or a club Avi could have won in his hand, discarded dummy’s DAKQ on his good clubs, cashed his two winning hearts and then run his diamonds (playing for the D8 to drop).  Now he would have made all nine tricks in his own hand while dummy would have made none!  In addition, he would have won the last trick with the D7, the so-called beer card beloved of younger players!

The defence was not optimal but Avi’s RHO missed an opportunity in the auction as well as in the play.  He held KT974 A5 854 A75.  At both tables when the open team played New Zealand the players holding these cards (Ben Thompson and Michael Ware) doubled, asking partner to lead a spade.  While this doesn’t come with any guarantees, it is likely to be the most helpful lead for the defence.  So it proved, as this was a flat board: two down, -500.  Surprisingly, they were the only players in any field to find the double.

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