IMPs AND MAKING YOUR GAMES PLUS A SLAM

Maritha Pottenger

There were several wild hands at Adventures on August 23, 2018 in the Swiss Teams.

Hand #25 demonstrated the importance of just focusing on making your game when playing IMPs (Swiss Teams). You held: 964 AQ10975 4 QJ3. Partner opened 1 and RHO doubled for takeout. You bid 1; LHO passed. Partner bid 1 and RHO now passed. With your 7-loser hand, you jumped to 3—showing invitational values. [You are not forcing to game with your 7 losers because this could easily be a misfit hand with you having a singleton in partner's opening suit and the possibility of RHO having four hearts.] Partner raised to game, upgrading her hand because she had three quick tricks and felt that you would be well-positioned in terms of hearts and clubs and she MIGHT be well positioned in diamonds over the West hand.

The lead was the 2 and you are looking at:

AK85 63 AQ98 975

964 AQ10975 4 QJ3

You have two sure club losers, and will need to finesse for BOTH heart honors to be on your right with the Take-out Doubler. However, if hearts break 4-1, which is quite likely on this auction, you will lose a heart trick as well. So, you have to do something about your losing spade. You will have to risk the diamond finesse even though you only have a singleton. (Even if the diamond finesse loses, your slow spade loser can go on the A, so this is really a “no risk” play) If the diamond finesse loses, you'll have to hope for 3-2 hearts with the KJx on your right.

RHO false-cards with the A and returns a low club. When your Q wins, you know that East (RHO) started with the AKx(x), despite the false card. At trick two, you should try a diamond to the Q. When that wins, play a heart from Dummy, putting in the 9. RHO follows with the 2, but LHO plays the 8, making the 4-1 break more likely. Return to the K and play another heart. RHO plays the 4 and your 10 wins. Cash the A. Enter Dummy with the A and discard a spade loser on Dummy's the A. You lose only two club tricks and one heart trick, and score up your game.

Hand #6 was interesting in terms of slam bidding. East opened the 3-loser hand 2: AK863 AKJ54 A4 A—just your everyday 23 HCP with two great suits. Partner bid 2 (waiting). 2 by opener. 3—second negative by responder which is doubled by North for the lead. 3 by opener—even with your “three loser” hand, if partner does not have a fit for EITHER of your suits, game may not be feasible. Partner raises you to 4, promising four hearts.

How lucky do you feel? If partner has as little as Qxxx (or five baby hearts), 6 should be assured because partner is known to have two or fewer spades, so you can ruff your spade losers in Dummy. You bid 6. The J is led and Dummy produces a beauty:

7 Q10862 1098 8653

AK863 AKJ54 A4 A

You win the club and play one top spade and ruff a spade. Then pull two rounds of hearts, ending in your hand and ruff a third round of spades. Return to your hand with the A. Cash the K, discarding a diamond loser from Dummy. Your good fifth spade allows you to discard Dummy's last diamond. You ruff your low diamond on Dummy and claim 13 tricks!