Bridge: 7 No Trumps baby!

Brag alert!

Bid and made last night. And we were the only pair who bid it.

Could you show us the hand you held and the bidding sequence? Would love to see it.

Going from memory, partner had Sx HATxxx DAJT98 Cxx and I (sitting North) had SAKJx HKx DKQx CAKxx. Bidding was three passes to me and I opened 2C, partner responded 3H. Putting him with at least 6 hearts I went to Blackwood 4NT and after his bid of 5H I went 7NT. There was no need to ask for Kings! The opening lead was a small spade which helped. I squeezed the opposition in hearts and spades for the final trick.

At some tables South opened 1H and North went straight to 4NT. Really I’d prefer a sequence of 1H - 1S - 2D - 4NT etc rather than assume partner has 5 hearts.

Seems like kind of undisciplined bidding to me, given that you’re off three queens and don’t know the diamond situation based on the bidding (did your partner really have six hearts or just 5?)

Then again, I recently accidentally made a 6C-X slam with 18 HCP between my partner and myself. I was aiming for a sacrifice, but made when my partner showed up with the A and AK of the two suits in which I had a singleton and doubleton respectively, AND a void in the opponent’s suit.

Congrats!

My biggest triumph was when partner and I were both long in a different suit, playing against people who were also long in the other suits. They both tried to steer the bidding to their respective suit for a long time (they must both have had 6 apiece of them) before settling on 5NT. We of course redoubled and took the majority of the tricks.

Off to the Game Room.

Do tell.

I knew we had all four aces and all four kings. Blackwood can’t check further. I expected partner to have six or more hearts, not five, so that suit was expected to run.

x
A10xxx
AJ1098
xx

AKJx
Kx
KQx
AKxx

?? I don’t even see how you make 7NT with these cards. I count 3 spades (at most), 2 hearts, 5 diamonds, and 2 clubs. Was the QJ hearts doubleton for the 13th trick? Not a slam I’d want to be in, needing both the spade finesse and the QJ doubleton of hearts.

The only other play I can see is trying to pull off a squeeze, hoping the defenders drop enough hearts before running them…but a good defender would likely see that coming. Maybe a deep finesse to the 10H (and the spade finesse working)?

The lead was a small spade which gave me the spade finesse.

I didn’t need the HQJ doubleton: I ran the diamonds, squeezing the other suits and made four spade tricks.

From the Nationals in Washington last month:

Both vul.

I am sitting East. South deals:

I hold:

S: K, 10, 6, 4
H: 8, 5
D: A, K, 4, 3
C: A, J, 6

S: Pass
W: Pass
N: Pass
Me: 1 NT (15 to 17)

All pass.

Opening lead is spade 3 and partner puts down:

S: 8, 7 ,5
H: Q, 7, 6, 3
D: Q, 9
C: 10, 7, 5, 4.

Hmmmm…

I cover the spade 3, with the 5. North plays the Jack.

Now what?

You have four tricks on top and 19 HCP between the two hands. Assuming the lead is a standard 4th highest, you must win the opening lead. That’s 5 tricks. You appear to have three spade losers, and the opener holds SA. From the lead, I’ll tentatively put SQJx HAJxx with RHO and SAxxx HKxx with LHO. RHO is the danger hand. So, cross to dummy with DQ and play a small club to your Jack. If LHO wins and starts on spades, your S10 becomes good. If RHO plays CK or CQ over your club lead, cover it and play the CJ to make two club tricks in dummy for tricks 6 and 7.

I love Bridge threads, though I haven’t played recently and I’ve probably played under 1,000 hands in my life. I did once bid and make 7C, when my partner opened 1C and I had a number of clubs with about 20 points. Being inexperienced I launched straight into Blackwood, and it worked. The funny thing was she had to play the hand, having opened with my suit! We might have been able to make 7NT but I didn’t even think about that at the time.

Not to rain on your parade, but 5NT is a horrible place to end up and is a bit of an error on your opponents’ part. One of the few bridge tips I can remember is that if you have a misfit, it’s usually best to stop bidding ASAP (in the absence of other cues) to limit the damage. In particular, there’s no point in continually rebidding your longest suit, as it doesn’t give your partner any more information.

A year or so ago, I opened, there was an overcall, and my partner jumped to 5D. As I had the other three aces, I put him up to 7D. He had kittens - we were playing in exalted company - but he made it with ease. We got an average score - the contract should have been 7NT.

Good thoughts.

When my partner and I played in Washington, we were having a run of good luck. With the exception of poor play in the Gold Rush Knockouts on Friday, we were at least scratching in every event. Twice we came in second place in side pair games and we got good gold points on Saturday.

On Friday night we played in the Midnight Cappelletti Knockouts, which were hosted by a son of the bridge great player Cappelletti in remembrance of his brother who had recently died. Nearly everyone had a beer or carried a bottle of something. It was a Swiss game and we were paired with a nice couple of older ladies who were a bit stunned by all the alcohol.

As luck would have it, we were up against the Cappelletti family team foursome in the first Knockout round. They were nice folks, obviously a bit tipsy, and absurdly good bridge players. We were destroyed. My only high point was to bid a 3 no trump game on a long club suit and a prayer. It made, and was not bid at the other table. Despite that, we were sent packing. I went to bed but my partner hung around and ended up doing caddy duty from the hotel bar for the remaining players who were buying rounds for everyone.

Anyway, the deal I posted above was from a side Pairs game played Sunday morning, our last session before we had to leave and go back home. At the very first table I made a misplay that cost us our game bid. Partner was chagrined, which probably led to his extreme misplay at the next table. Opps made their unmakeable game…doubled. Now we knew we had two bottoms. At the third table we did poorly as well. This was obviously going to be a bad way to end our four days of bridge. So, tired and irked, we agreed after the third round to throw caution to the wind, bid crazy, and just have fun at the remaining tables.

This strategy seemed to help, and we had some moderately good boards before the hand I posted above.

Heh. I’m only a Bronze level competitor here in Scotland. My Bridge playing is quite schizophrenic: I play in an intermediate, social, group one evening a week where we generally come top or second, but I also used to play with national-class players, and we were happy to not come bottom. Unfortunately, I’m between partners for the latter group.

This was the full deal:

South

S: A, Q, 9, 3, 2
H: J, 10, 2
D: J, 7, 6, 2
C: 9

West (partner)

S: 8, 7, 5
H: Q, 7, 6, 3
D: Q, 9
C:10, 7, 5, 4

North

S: J
H: A, K, 9, 4
D: 10, 8, 5
C: K, Q, 8, 3, 2

East (me)

S: K, 10, 6, 4
H: 8, 5
D: A, K, 4, 3
C: A, J, 6

Three passes to my No trump, and then passed around. I still do not understand why North did not bid.

In any case, I won the spade Jack with my King and took stock. I had five top winners and probably a club and maybe another spade. Those were the seven tricks I needed. However, what if they took their many winners before I could set up mine? I could imagine unhappy scenarios where multiple heart losers would be a huge problem.

So on trick two I led a heart to my Queen, trying to look like a guy working to set up his hearts. South put up her Jack and I ducked, South winning. South next cashed her spade Ace and there was a long pause when her partner showed out. She finally played her Spade Queen and after more hesitation followed with a club, my Ace taking North’s King. I crossed to the diamond queen and led clubs. All North could do was win the trick and cash his heart winners and thus I made my contract.

The defense was poor, but I like to think my heart lead at trick two helped them screw up.

The happy ending is that we finished top team for the entire game, won little plastic bridge drinking cups as a prize, and went home feeling on top of the world.

2 Hearts is cold for N-S on a spade/club cross-ruff unless someone leads trumps. Presumably the bidding would go 1C - x - 1S - Pass - 2H - All Pass. You get 3 diamond tricks, a club trick, and possibly a heart trick.

Yep.

Defensive errors are so easy to make. I think correct defense on my 1NT was hard. Still, you gotta bid with that hand in the North seat.

I played another hand in Washington where my opening of 1 club was passed around. We had 18 high card points and 5 total clubs between partner and I, but somehow the contract still made. Can’t find the hand record now, alas.

My favorite 7NT anecdote:

Dealer bids 2NT, there’s a pass, CHO says, “You’re light, Sam.” and bids 7NT.

Opponents (lacking humor) call over a tournament director, but at this point the only possible decision Sam could ever have to make in the rest of the bidding would be whether to redouble, and the opponents aren’t doubling.

Sam did, in fact, open a 19 HCP hand as a 20-21 2NT, and with CHO’s 21 HCP 7NT was cold. He later claimed his hand was particularly ‘shapely’ as an excuse for his 2NT overbid, and his embarrassment while making this lame excuse made the story much funnier when I heard it.