Maritha Pottenger

These hands were from the La Jolla Unit Game on September 23, 2018.

Hand #7

The bidding went: 1 by South; pass; 1 by North; pass; 1 by South; pass; 2 by North. Kent Hartman “pre-balanced” with 2 in the East seat. The defense slipped slightly and we made nine tricks. Since N/S make 2, it was important that he did not sell out. This is a classic matching “balancing” auction, not wanting to allow the opponents to play with a fit at a low level. Partner will usually have 3 or four spades on this auction, but it takes nerves of steel to bid that 4-card suit at the 2 level.

Five out of 19 east-west pairs played in 2. Two pairs were down 1; one pair made 2; two pairs made 3.

Hand #4

West: 103 10874 Q652 QJ3

East: QJ92 AKJ2 A8 A95

Everyone was vulnerable. The auction went: pass by West; pass by North; 1 by East; 1 by South; pass by West; 1NT by North; Double by East (showing a BIG hand—probably 18 to 19—and desire to compete); 2 by South and double by me as West. I could have trotted out 2 since I did have four of them and it seemed likely that partner had four hearts on this auction. However, I felt it likely hearts might break badly on the auction (as they did), and the penalty double seemed our best shot for a plus. [Double Dummy we make 3NT on our 24 HCP, but we were never finding that contract.]

It sounded like Declarer had either a singleton club or a singleton heart, so we would have a tap suit. I led the Q and found K8742 in Dummy. When my queen held, I continued with the J and partner played the 9 as Declarer played the 10, so time to switch. I switched to the 10 (from 10874) catering to the possibility of four hearts in Kent's hand. My 10 won as partner played the 2 and Declarer played the 9. I continued with the 8 to partner's J and Declarer ruffed. When all was finished, Declarer was down 2.

We were the only pair defending 2*. [This continues the record that Kent and I hold of having at least one, often more, bidding sequence and result that is not duplicated at any other table.] One pair defended 2* for the same 500 to E/W. Several E/W pairs were going down in a 4 contract.

The full hand was:

Hand #22

East: K64 J987 QJ96 J5

West: AQ873 AQ Q87643

This hand was good example of the power of Losing Trick Count (LTC). East passed and South opened 1; I was West and overcalled 1. North passed and partner raised me to 2. South rebid 3 and I jumped to 4—having a 4-loser hand by LTC. The lead was the singleton the 2. After cashing two top clubs, RHO tried the A which I ruffed. I need to ruff a club on Dummy to establish my suit, but don't want to create a trump promotion situation opportunity, so I cashed two high spades first, ending in my hand, and before playing a low club. LHO ruffed with the J as I discarded a heart from Dummy. LHO played another diamond. I played the Q from Dummy and ruffed out RHO's K. My clubs were good to discard losing hearts from Dummy, so I never needed to risk the heart finesse even though it was odds on to work.

Out of 19 tables, 6 pairs bid the spade game, and an additional two pairs sacrificed at 5 (presumably over 4).