X-Clubs Play 33

Teams play can be much more interesting and exciting than any match point session. That is because matches can be won or lost in just one hand, with big swings possible when either team fails to make their game or slam, or when one team is in slam and the opponents only in game. This deal was played in a slam at both tables in two of our matches and could have resulted in a big swing one way or another and a big win for either team. There were six matches in progress but only in two matches was the slam bid. More interestingly, in one match, both declarers made but should not have. In the other match both declarers failed, as indeed they should have. Another interesting thing was that it was in the top of the table match that both declarers were allowed to make the slam by less than adequate defence. But at least both declarers gave it their best shot and gave the defence a chance to go wrong.

Board 20 from Tuesday 11/10/22
Dealer West All Vul

AQJ542
A3
65
A75
87
QT75
QJ92
Q92
96
J64
T873
K863
KT3
K982
AK4
JT4

X-Clubs Play 32

Declarer play is not just a matter of following basic tips, but also about timing and thinking ahead. Every trick counts in a match point session. Many declarers failed to get the most out this hand in what should have been a very easy 4S game. Most did manage to make their game but some even failed to do that. Only a few made the overtrick that was there to be made without the help of Deep Finesse. All that was required was a knowledge of how to finesse and how to organise your play so that you take the finesses when it suits you.

Board 20 from Thursday 6/10/22
Dealer West All Vul

AQJT6
6
AQT8
AQ4
987
T5
J764
K762
42
KQJ8743
9
JT9
K53
A92
K532
853

X-Clubs Play 31

Do you have trouble with big hands? I regularly hear explanations of “19+”, “22+”, “19-21” etc, for both a 2C and a 2D opening, without any real indication of just what the bid means or what its purpose is. Board 6 provided a great example of how difficult (or easy?) it can be to bid big hands to the correct spot.

Board 6 from Friday 19/09/22
Dealer East EW Vul

A72
K74
J652
Q85
QT8653
53
87
J32
K
AT986
AKQ
AK76
J94
QJ2
T943
T94

X-Clubs Play 30

This one is about opening leads and defence. Any partnership, and I stress PARTNERSHIP, that can develop a good understanding about opening leads, signals, and working on the plan that has been set in motion by the opening lead, will regularly score about 6% more than their counterparts in any one session. That is my estimate, based on the fact that you will be defending half the time (yes, the good, more aggressive pairs will be defending much less often!) and not all defensive situations will require more than very basic defence and no real thought or imagination. Is a regular score of 58% in your sessions better than 52%? You decide and if you have a partner you can work with, take defence more seriously and don’t just put it in the too hard basket.

Board 2 from Monday 19/09/22
Dealer East NS Vul

T
KT2
AT97
KQJ54
AQ9
QJ97
J62
872
J8743
843
54
AT9
K652
A65
KQ83
63

The final contract nearly all the time was 3NT, usually arrived at when South opened 1NT and North raised directly to 3NT. What should West lead?

X-Clubs Play 29

I believe that this deal has been written up elsewhere but here is my perspective on it, aided by some of my own panelists.

Board 4 from Tuesday 13/09/22
Dealer West All Vul

KQ8653
75
T854
3
J7
984
J932
KJ87
A9
AKQJ
AK
Q9642
T42
T632
Q76
AT5

X-Clubs Hands 27

Unfortunately, Board 23 was not played at every club, so I can’t say just how many NS pairs managed to bid to this very easy 7NT. I say very easy because that is exactly what it should be. Let’s take a look.

Board 23 from Wednesday 9/08/2022
Dealer South All Vul

K8
K2
AK
AKQ9732
Q932
J7
986542
T
J74
QT654
QJT
J5
AT65
A983
73
864

X-Clubs Play 26

Sometimes Deep Finesse does manage to play a hand how it should be played and still get a much better result than most mere mortals. This deal gives us a very good illustration of that. Not one of our declarers made eleven tricks in a heart contract but the Deep Finesse way is not esoteric at all. Rather, any declarer who follows basic principles of play will probably manage to do what Deep Finesse can do, without stumbling on any ‘anti percentage’ lines that DF is well known for.

Board 8 from Tuesday 2/08/22.
Dealer West Nil Vul

87432
AQJ93
J6
2
KJ965
Q84
KT743
Q
K854
KT953
986
AT
T762
A72
AQJ5

X-Clubs Play 25

“Thou shalt not transfer” is one of my commandments. But there is an addition to that: “when it can be avoided if need be”. The unfortunate thing about this deal is that the NS hands were as they were. Had South had North’s hand and vice versa, the results would have been totally different for all EW pairs where West played the hand, be it in 3NT or 4S or a slam in either spades or No Trumps. But let’s take a look at the hands as they were dealt by a benign computer.

Board 8 from Tuesday 26/07/22
Dealer West Nil Vul

9765
AT987
52
98
KQ
642
K43
KQT43
AJT32
K3
AQ76
A2
84
QJ5
JT98
J765

X-Clubs Play 24

Many of your declarer problems will have no sure fire solutions, but you can always give yourself a better chance if you give the problem a bit of thought. As well as that, with a bit of ‘table presence’ and insight into your opponents’ behaviour.

Board 12 from Thursday 21/07/22
Dealer West NS Vul

QT853
A7
QT
AJ86
A6
9854
87632
95
J72
62
AK95
QT74
K94
KQJT3
J4
K32

Any Ideas?

You are South and dealer at match points. NS vul.
The bidding has been:

SouthWestNorthEast
1Pass2Pass
2Pass4Pass
PassPass

West starts with two top diamonds, the ace and king (East following with the 2 and 3 (standard signals). Then West shifts to the five of hearts. How would you continue from there, here is the layout of your hand and dummy.

Dummy (North)

K94
KQJT3
J4
K32

You (South)

QT853
A7
QT
AJ86

Any ideas to me please --- villyn@xtra.co.nz

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