Ross Taylor

Day 2 in progress – 2009 CNTC in Penticton

Bridge is all about judgment, concentration, temperament, and minimizing your mistakes – especially those of the unforced nature. In an event such as this, no one is perfect – we all have our trials and tribulations. Can you put it aside and get on with the next hand or next match – that is most important. Compartmentalize or wither !

So Keith and I played in the first two matches of the day. We won the first match by 21 imps – giving us a healthy 22 VP’s and vaulting us up to 3rd on the leader board.

Keith made a beautiful bid on the following hand – propelling us to 6H making for a 13 imp win!


S Q10
H AKQ107
C A75


H 9532
D 4
C 1096

(P) P (P) 2NT
(P) 3C (P) 3H
(P) 3S (P) 4C
(P) 4H (P) 4S (!)
(P) 4NT (P) 6H
(P) P (P)

My 3 spades was a mild slam try in hearts. Very mild. Keith cue bid 4C excitedly, and I said no thank you with 4H. I could have bid 4D “last train” to give him more encouragement without going past four or our suit. Keith elected to bid again – and bid 4S ! Looking at the AKJxx of spades, I realized Keith had taken his life in his hands, and must have a very fine hand indeed – he had essentially manufactured a bid to get this message across.

So being the grateful ox I am, I bid 4NT which is Key Card Blackwood. Keith ended the auction with a jump to 6H – there was no reason in his mind to provide the canned response. When the dummy came down, he thought we had missed 7H even. But with the hearts 4-0 offside six was the limit – and my condolences to any pair who did bid 7H on this hand – well done and too bad !!

At the other table, John creatively opened the bidding 1D ahead of the monster hand; monster said double, then Herve responded 1H – try getting to a slam in hearts after that start !!

Next match was against the strong team of Zyg Marcinski, Bryan Masymetz, Waldemar Frukacz, and David T. Willis. Dan Jacob and Larry Hicks were sitting out.

There were five double digit swings in this match – they got one more than us, so we lost this match by 7 imps, ending up with 13 VP. Now we have 117 VP out of a possible 175 VP and are in 6th place.

One hand I would like to take back was when I held 764 AQ986 Q42 J10. LHO passed and Keith opened 1D. I responded 1H, and Keith jump rebid 2NT – showing 18-20 in our methods. We have a very effective method for checking for a 5-3 heart fit at this point, and I chose not to use it.

We do love to avoid 4 of a major when we have extra high cards between us because often bad things can happen at the four level, whereas 3NT will still make. I thus bid 3NT, and caught Keith with only Qx of clubs opposite my J10 doubleton. We quickly went down 2 into our own + 420. Aargh !

I was wrong here to do this though. Perhaps if I had J10 of diamonds and Qxx of clubs it might have been a safer move – but here I know Keith has for sure at least 4 diamonds, and he would not have 4-4 in the minors or he would have opened 1C in our methods. So he has at most three clubs – so this was not a hand to get cute on.

When something like this happens, you feel foolish. But you must get over it – IMMEDIATELY – or your worries will for sure affect you in the subsequent hands.

A little later I made a very normal 1H overcall over 1C with 93 KQJ93 J1052 K6. However, this kept them out of their own 4-4 heart fit and they played 3NT. Had I divined to lead a diamond rather than my god given KH, we could have beaten that too – but no – we were – 460.

This was a double whammy as our teammates opened 1NT on my hand’s right – who no longer felt safe in overcalling at the two level. So he passed, and I think he got to hear his opponents climb up to 4H which was doubled and beaten 3 tricks for –800. So we lost 15 imps on that board – but no real errors on any of our parts – shit happens – deal with it !

On the last board of the match, I had a chance to win 10 imps if I could make 4 spades.


S 2
H AQ752
D Q64
C A986


S AQ109863
H 8
D J752
C 3

LHO opened 1C, Keith bid 1H, RHO said double (denying 4 spades) and I bid 1 Spade. LHO passed and Keith rebid 1NT. I jumped to 3S and Keith did well to raise to 4S on his stiff deuce of spades !

LHO led the diamond Ace , attracting the 8 (playing upside down signals) from East. I followed with the two. LHO shifted to the 2 of clubs. I won the Ace, and East played an encouraging 4.

I hoped there was no diamond ruff pending, so I need to focus on losing only one spade trick. If I have to dispose of my long diamond I suppose there is always the hope of a heart hook, or in some cases a heart – diamond squeeze.

So how do I play spades? They hadn’t revealed much of their hands to me yet. All things being equal, LHO is more likely to hold the SK than his partner, given LHO had opened the bidding. So I played a spade to the ten, losing to the doubleton jack. Shortly thereafter I went down 1.

When you are ” in the zone” you get those guesses right – so I am not there yet. Also, I could have tried something exotic and played the Ace of hearts, then the HQ after winning the Ace of clubs. When RHO fails to cover the HK, I could play LHO for that card and the Ace King of diamonds and bits and pieces. Then I could ruff the HQ; lead a diamond towards dummy’s queen, and eventually use the late DQ entry to hook RHO for the king of spades – a bit fancy – and in good company I would expect East not to cover the HQ anyway.

So we lost 6 imps when the opponents were only in 3S making 3, versus gaining 10 imps had I made 4S.

But you must soldier on – a couple of good things also happened for us, and our team mates, so we only lost the match by 7 imps and remain very much alive and well.

I didn’t realize how much time this blog would take me – and I doubt I can (or want to) maintain this pace of posting – so enjoy while you can!

If anyone would like to contact me directly I can be reached at

1 Comment

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