Buzz for September 2009

At the 2009 summer NABC our district director, Rich DeMartino, was elected ACBL president for 2010. Good luck, Rich. I suspect you'll do very well.

Since my last NEBC news column in May, our NEBC has held regionals in Sturbridge in June and in Nashua over Labor Day. Both were excellent. Although I could only attend a couple of days of these events, I participated in one deal in the Nashua Sunday Flight A/X Swiss which I can't get out of my mind, not just because it decided overall places, but because I thought the defense interesting. Suppose you sit East:

       D-J75       East
       C-AJ4       S-10
 North    East    South    West
 1C(a)    P       1NT(b)   P
 2H(c)    P       2S(d)    P
 3C(e)    P       4NT(f)   P
 5D(g)    P       5NT(h)   P
 6H(i)    P       7S       P
 P        P
 (a) Strong, 16+, any shape.
 (b) Strong, 15+, any shape. This superpositive
     response limited other positives to 14 points,
     and took control of the hand.
 (c) Transfer, showing five+ spades.
 (d) Accepts spades.
 (e) any semibalanced hand, most often some 5332.
 (f) Keycard 1430.
 (g) Three key cards.
 (h) Shows the other two keys and the SQ. Asks for
     a grand slam, or specific kings.
 (i) Heart king, no minor suit kings. 

West led the deuce of trump, and declarer played SQ, SJ, S6 to SA, and then SK. Partner's spades were S2, S4, S8. You don't get to see who plays the S9 before having to make three difficult discards on these four rounds of trump. You know South holds SQJ, red aces, and at least two out of three of HQ, DK, CK, and perhaps all three. Declarer's shape is concealed, and might be anything with adequate spades. Pick three discards before reading on.

Winning discards, if they exist, are hard to find. Perhaps you're squeezed in three suits. For the record, East discarded a club and two hearts, which was not a success. Declarer's hand was S-QJ6 H-AQ653 D-A4 C-K73.

I admit I'd have got this wrong, but in a different way. West followed up the line in trump, and I'd interpret that as suit preference for clubs, and so I'd have thrown three clubs. When declarer next ran three clubs, I'd stop trusting partner and throw my hearts, and thus concede 2210 a different way. With the diamond king, West wants to give 'middle suit-preference.' I suggest the order S2, S8, S4, saving the S9 for last.

I never saw partner's discards - he was dummy. At the other table, North-South made 1430, so if you discarded diamonds, you swung 26 imps versus the real-life results.

Gain points yourself, at the North American Pairs in Sturbridge MA in October, or our Masters Regional in Waterbury CT in November. See the calendar page for details.