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Subject: Ain't Life Grand? rss

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Brian Bankler
United States
San Antonio
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"Keep Summer Safe!"
I head over to the Club for the Holiday party. Free food, free game. I don't have a partner lined up, but its still free food and I'll play or kibitz depending on who shows up.

As I'm munching on the first plate of desserts it turns out that an expert has double booked so there is a strong player that I've played with before needing a partner. We quickly agree to a card so I can attack the dessert table some more.

Even better, I win a raffle for a free play with an expert player (much stronger than myself). The game is now officially just a bonus.

It's going somewhat average-plus-ish. We get fixed by our late opponents because the director sits in to get us started and he probably gets the hand right they'd get wrong. But we get gifts to balance.

Then I pick up this hand:

S: Kx H:Axxx D:Kx C:AKJxx

I open 1 Club, partner bids 1 Heart and I have a choice. I decide on 4 Hearts. I may be a point light, but I have a fifth club and lots of controls. I think 4H is the right bid. As added protection, even if we are too high (or partner's continuation gets us too high) the LOLs we're playing against may mis-defend (against slam that's not as likely).

Partner bids 4 NT, and I bid 5 Hearts, showing two "Aces" (including the King of Hearts as an ace) and denying the heart queen.

I figure partner will pass, but he bids 5 NT, showing all the "aces" and the heart queen.

I remember the card we agreed on. His bid asks me to show specific kings, so I bid 6 Clubs, to show the club king.

Then I quietly kick myself. I have all the remaining kings. I should have bid 7 Hearts, (or, maybe, 6N) to convey that I'm Roy Orbison. ("Anything you want, you got it.") Hearing that, partner may be able to convert to the higher-scoring matchpoint 7N that should be cold (if he bids it) and a tie for top.

Partner bids 6 Diamonds, saying "This is the one I want."

I could bid seven hearts now, but that wouldn't show the spade king. Can I recover? I think so. I bid 6 Spades. This clearly won't be passed. Partner frowns (as well he should) and 'corrects' to 6 NT. I now re-correct to 7 Hearts.

I hope that if 7N is cold partner can figure it out, but as I've misbid....

Partner passes.

7N is cold, but after my auction partner didn't want to risk it, and I don't blame him. If I had bid 7H directly we'd have gotten there, and (surprisingly) would have been the only table out of 26 to bid it. Perhaps my 4H was an overbid after all.

Still, getting to the grand is -- in this mixed field -- well above average. At least a few pairs don't even get to the slam, and only about 20% of the field bid a grand.

Later, we are on the other side of it of a grand-slam potential hand.

I hold

S:JT8 H:Q9xx D:Tx C:J9xx

and listen to this auction:

1D 1S
1N 4C* (*Ace asking)
4S* 5C** (*2 aces, ** King ask)
5H* 6N (*1 king)

RHO paused for a bit after 6N. She clearly was contemplating the grand, so they have all the aces and kings. Partner leads the 9 of diamonds and dummy tables the following hand:

S: AQ9xx H:Kx D:Kx C:AKx

Dummy then says "I had a very good hand."

I respond "It's better than you know." Because just the once the hand I've listed is not a typo (with only twelve cards) but the actual hand she put down.

It's better than she knew because she has a sixth spade stuck behind the 9 (it's the seven). With six spades (assuming a 3-2 break, which there is) two ace-kings, declarer only needs a single queen for the grand to be there, or the heart jack and the working finesse.

Everyone else notices the sixth spade now, and dummy is gnashing her teeth.

Declarer listens to this banter and plays low from dummy, I play the three and declarer .... plays the 9! Dummy about falls out of her chair. It takes partner and I second to realize that we've won a trick.

It turns out declarer is 1=3=5=4 with a stiff spade king, but with spades 3=3 she makes, although she counts and recounts spades to ensure they break 3-3. Given that declarer had a stiff spade, Grand was not a great bargain, although it makes.

We "earn" an average because of the the undeserved trick.

At the end of the day these two boards help counter some of the mistakes, but we only do well enough to scratch, not win. But I'm not bridge, free food and a raffle won...
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