Notes for the Bridge Prize Tour Individual held in Secaucus NJ in August 2003.

© 2003 Adam Wildavsky.

Hand Records -- hands 1-18

Hand Records -- hands 19-24

The setting:

56 players paid the $100 entry fee to play in the Bridge Prize Tour Individual in Secaucus. Two sessions were held Wednesday afternoon and evening to qualify 32 pairs for Thursday morning’s final. There was no carryover into the final. That was lucky for me -- I was the 31st qualifier!

Top on a board was 7, average was 84. I scored 99.5, or 59.23%. That was good enough to tie for first with David Chechelashvili. We shared the first and second prizes, which meant we won $3000 each. Full results were once available at the Bridge Prize Tour site but they seem to have been pulled.

I'll go through the boards in numerical order, not the order in which I played them.

Board 1

W  N  E  S
1C P  1H  P
1S all pass

I sat East.

From a few boards experience in the qualifying rounds I judged North a sound bidder but not a confident declarer. I thus made a conservative pass, which worked well when partner took 8 tricks after a diamond lead. Game is in fact quite difficult to make our way. The scores were all over. Three EW pairs took ten tricks in spades, three went minus, and one pair scored +120.

+100 was worth 3 matchpoints.

Board 2

W  N  E  S
      1H P
P  X  P  1S
P  4S all pass

I sat South.

The H6 lead went to the K, A, and ten. I dropped the ten because I wanted to make it easy for East to continue the suit. When he did I won, unblocked the DA, ruffed a heart with the S9 and played a diamond pitching a club. I was able to ruff another heart high, pitch dummy’s other losing club, and make an overtrick.

+650 was worth 5.5 matchpoints.

Board 3

W  N  E  S
         P
P  2H 2S 3H
all pass

I sat West.

Partner started with the A and K of spades. I discouraged by playing the 2 and then the 9. He got the message and switched to clubs.

+100 was worth 4 matchpoints.

Board 4

W  N  E  S
P  1N P  2C
P  2S P  4S
all pass

I sat East.

I led the C6. Declarer won the CJ and for some reason cashed the DA. I could see no harm in dropping the DQ but that may have cost us a trick. Declarer now played a club to the Ace and tried the SJ, covered by the K and A. Concerned about a diamond ruff he now cashed the SQ, felling my ten.

-650 was worth 1 matchpoint. We got that much only because someone bid 3C over 1N with my cards and went for 800.

Board 5

W  N  E  S
   P  P  P
1N P  2D P
2H all pass

I sat South.

This was my worst mistake of the session. West hesitated before bidding 2H, so I suspected he had a good heart fit. Had I doubled I have no doubt West would have taken the push to 3H. We took our five tricks against 2H after a diamond lead -- declarer endplayed us so that he didn’t need the S10 onside.

We didn’t get a zero because one pair was -140 our way and another somehow managed -170.

-100 was worth 2.5 matchpoints.

Board 6

W  N  E  S
      P  1S
2H 3C P  3D
P  4S P  P
X  all pass

I sat West.

I led the DA, before the rats got at it. Our score was average, though the board was not flat. NS could have made 3N on the lie of the cards, but single dummy 4S is a better spot.

+100 was worth 3.5 matchpoints.

Board 7

W  N  E  S
         1N
P  3N all pass

I sat East.

This was my first board of the morning. Partner led the HJ. Declarer won and led the DQ. I knew he must have solid clubs to be attacking diamonds so I could see a squeeze in our future. Ducking the diamond would work poorly if declarer held four spades to the KJ so I won and continued the HQ. If dummy held a higher heart spot I’d have had to return a low heart instead of the queen, but as it was it looked like I could defend the position so long as partner held the J third or fourth of spades.

Not all of this occurred to me at the time, and on the run of the clubs I didn’t pitch my spades soon enough to make sure partner kept his. After he pitched a small spade it was all over for us.

Two pairs played 5C -- no one reached the cold 6C. I confess I’d have bid 3N over 1N with the North hand.

-690 was worth 1.5 matchpoints. -660 would have been worth 4.0.

Board 8

W  N  E  S
1N 2H 3N all pass

I sat South.

Partner led the HA -- I just sat and followed suit.

+50 was worth 6 matchpoints.

Board 9

W  N  E  S
   1C P  2N
P  3N all pass

I sat West.

I led the H6 against 3N. Declarer won the HQ and led the CJ. He was hoping to lose a finesse to me -- I’d have to guess whether partner held 2 or 3 hearts. As the cards lie there’s no way to take more than ten tricks and in the fullness of time we came to a club, a spade, and a heart.

-430 was worth 5 matchpoints. Three pairs were -460.

Board 10

W  N  E  S
      1N P
2D P  2H P
4H all pass

I sat East.

I was playing with a strong declarer. Opposite a weak declarer I’d have tried 4H instead of transferring. There’s always a risk that partner would bid 4S, even though Texas is not on the convention card, but letting partner handle the dummy can also be a risk!

Partner won the SA, led a trump to the ace, and cashed three rounds of diamonds pitching a spade. Finessing against the D10 would have gained a trick but I don’t think it’s the right play. As it turns out the board was completely flat.

+650 was worth 3.5 matchpoints.

Board 11

W  N  E  S
         P
1S P  1N P
4C P  4D P
4S all pass

I sat South.

No one knew what 4C meant but we all suspected it was Gerber, and after the hand we learned that that was how West intended it. I could have doubled 4D but I didn’t want to help EW out if they were having a misunderstanding. I also wasn’t certain I wanted a diamond lead! Partner led the C10 and declarer won in hand, drew two rounds of trump, and played three rounds of hearts. When the suit split 3-3 he was able to get to dummy with a club and pitch a diamond on the fourth round of hearts as I ruffed in.

That looks like the best line to me. On a diamond lead declarer would be forced into the alternative line of taking a trump finesse -- on the lie of the cards that would result in the same 11 tricks. Other scores our way included -460, two -480s, and -510! -510 must have resulted from a trump lead. To score 480 I suppose declarer might win a club lead in hand and play three rounds of trump. If the defense doesn’t switch to diamonds they don’t take any more tricks.

-450 was worth 5.5 matchpoints.

Board 12

W  N  E  S
         P
1N P  2D P
2H P  4H all pass

I sat West.

This was my last board of the event. Yes, that’s the real auction. I don’t know why my partner chose that sequence, but we ended up in an aggressive game. North led a trump, solving one of my problems. I covered the 4 with the 5 and South put up the king. I won and tried a diamond finesse. That hurdle passed I led a spade to my king and North’s Ace. He returned the DQ, which I won with the DA. I led the HT in case South had started with doubleton A9. North covered so I won dummy’s queen. I didn’t want to rely on the CA being onside so I tried to strip the hand before putting North in with the H9. I played a spade to the queen and ruffed a spade. Now I cashed the DA. When everyone followed I pitched my last spade on the thirteenth diamond. North pitched a club so I threw him in with the H9. I was pleased the he didn’t hold the thirteenth spade, but I learned the club Ace had been onside all along.

3 pairs were in game, 5 in part-scores. One declarer took 11 tricks, two took 9, and the rest scored 10 tricks.

+420 was worth 5.5 matchpoints.

Board 13

W  N  E  S
   1H X  3H
4D P  4H P
4S P  5D all pass

I sat East.

I was tempted to jump to slam, but I decided I wasn’t strong enough.

+600 was worth 5 matchpoints. Three pairs went minus our way, one was +200, probably against 4HX, and one scored +620.

Board 14

W  N  E  S
      P  1D
P  1S P  2N
P  4C P  4N
P  7N all pass

I sat South.

Most of the field played 6N. One other pair reached 7, while one stopped in game. I don’t know why every pair didn’t have our auction.

+1520 was worth an unexpected 6.5 matchpoints.

Board 15

W  N  E  S
         P
1S P  2H P
2S P  3C P
3D P  3S P
4S all pass

I sat West.

I opened light and reached a thin game. North led the CA and switched to a trump. I tried the D9 and when that lost to the queen North played another trump. I took my heart pitch now -- I was concerned that if I took it earlier I might get tapped out. South pitched to ensure his trump trick and in due course I finished down one.

-50 was worth 3 matchpoints.

Board 16

W  N  E  S
1S 2D P  P
3S P  3N P
4S all pass

I sat East.

West’s 3S was an overbid, but it could have led to a top for us. The pull to 4S was not well judged -- we finished -300. While 3N is off five top tricks South would have had no reason not to lead a diamond and we’d likely have finished +600.

-300 was worth 3 matchpoints.

Board 17

W  N  E  S
   P  1H P
1N P  3D P
4D P  4H all pass

I sat South.

I cashed my spades.

Four pairs were +50 on our cards, probably against 3NT. One pair was -490, one -520, and one -1100.

-450 was worth 1.5 matchpoints.

Board 18

W  N  E  S

      P  P
1S P  2D P
3H P  3N P
P  X  all pass

I sat West.

East didn’t know whether Jacoby 2N applied by a passed hand (it shouldn’t) so she tried 2D. Now I was able to show my hand with a jump to 3H. North decided he might need a spade lead to beat the hand, but doubling an unlimited auction proved too dangerous. I had little choice but to sit. I had to trust my partner, Ann Raymond, since she’s also my partner in life!

In fact the double cost little. We scored one more matchpoint for +750 than we would have for +460.

+750 was worth 6 matchpoints (someone collected 1400 with our cards.)

Board 19

W  N  E  S
         P
4S P  P  4N
P  5C 5S P
P  X  all pass

I sat East.

We could have been missing a slam but I had no intelligent way of investigating. I was glad to see South reopen. 5S seemed like a big favorite and I thought NS might well double it. I considered redoubling but decided I might not get enough from 6C doubled -- North was capable of reevaluating his decision.

One pair scored 990 with our cards, so redouble would have gained a matchpoint if North sat. If he ran we’d collect 800 for the same matchpoint score.

+850 was worth 6 matchpoints.

Board 20

W  N  E  S
P  1H P  1N
P  3C P  3H
P  4C P  4H
all pass

I sat South.

Jim Linhart and I had what seemed like a normal auction to reach a normal game. Jim took a normal line, leading up to his hearts twice to make an overtrick. I don’t know why we scored a top -- I think some players must have bid 3N with my hand.

+650 was worth 6.5 matchpoints.

Board 21

W  N  E  S
   1D P 1H
1N P  P 2C
P  2H P P
2S all pass

I sat West.

I was not confident about bidding 2S, but it seemed too timid to sell out. It sounded like NS had found a 5-3 fit and even if it was a 4-3 I knew trump would be breaking.

North led the DK and I tried a straightforward line. I won and cashed the top spades. Then I played a diamond to North’s jack while South discarded the H6. This proved too difficult for North to read and he exited with a club. South tried to explain after the hand why he inserted the CJ but I still don’t understand. After winning the CQ I was confident the CK was on my left but I had no need to take the hook. I gave up a diamond and crossruffed the rest of the tricks, losing only to the high trump.

+170 was worth 6 matchpoints. Someone our way was +200, presumably on defense.

Board 22

W  N  E  S
      1C P
1S 2D all pass

I sat East.

My partner sold out to 2D instead of trying 2N or 3C or even double. This could have been a good decision, since with best defense we can’t make either of those contracts, and we should give up 90 in 2D. I led the CA and continued with the H4. My partner won and switched to a trump, apparently not reflecting that I could have led a trump if I judged one were called for. Declarer went up with the ace of trump, cashed the trump king, and played on spades, making an overtrick. A heart return would have held him to eight tricks.

-110 was worth 2 matchpoints. -90 would have been worth 3.

Board 23

W  N  E  S
         P
P  P  1D X
2D 2S 3D P
P  3H all pass

I sat South.

I thought my best option would be to show that I had short diamonds and wanted to compete and then let partner take things from there. This worked well in theory -- we found a 4-4 fit, partner bid over 3D, which would have made, partner held 3H to down one, and no one could double. In practice we didn’t get a great score. Only two other pairs went minus our way, one by selling out to 3D. We lost to the NS pair at a table where the board was passed out.

-100 was worth 1.5 matchpoints.

Board 24

W  N  E  S
1H P  1S P
3H P  3N all pass

I sat West.

My partner, Michael Rosen, judged well to bid 3N. On the lie of the cards it’s cold on any lead. South led a club and Michael won the king. He ducked a diamond to South. Michael could win any return and knock out the heart ace. With diamonds splitting he had nine tricks.

+400 was worth 6 matchpoints.


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