Ross Taylor

After 14 matches – day 3 Penticton CNTC

We lost our first match of the day by 13 imps. On the first board out, my RHO decided to bid a Michaels 2 clubs (no one vul) over Keith’s 1 club opener. I was sitting in the weeds with J93 A1032 AJ52 K6. Penalty doubles ensued; they ended up in 2 Hearts doubled – Keith made the expert lead of a heart from xx in hearts rather than his god given AKQ of spades – and when the smoke cleared declarer was down 5 for +1100. A great start to the day.

Dummy was 108765 QJ987 8 Q4 opposite 42 K4 Q10763 10872

A few hands later I decided to show him what a Michaels Cue Bid really looks like. I had 5 KJ983 KQJ65 A9. RHO opened 1 spade; I said 2 Spades. LHO passed, and Keith bid 3 Diamonds. (Perhaps even some experienced partnerships would get the meaning of this wrong)

I inferred Keith had a reasonable hand with clear diamond preference and also support for clubs – since if my second suit was clubs, we would now be at the four level.

The other available bid was 2NT – asking me to say which minor suit I had.

So I decided game in diamonds would have a play, and I simply bid 5 diamonds. It did have a play – but…………..

Keith’s hand was AJ1096 75 104 K1083. He was pretty sure I had diamonds – so he meant his bid as pass or correct to 4C. Anyway, they led a club, and he won the king in his hand and finessed the heart jack – losing to the ace. Back came a spade. He flew up with the Ace; played King and ruffed a heart (they were 3-3 yay!) and played the diamond ten from his hand. His LHO won the Ace and played another spade. If Keith can just get away with ruffing the spade low in dummy, he would draw trumps and claim.

But spades were 6-5-1-1 around the table; diamonds were 2-4 against; and down 1 was probably a just result.

3NT is the best contract here, and was bid at the other table for a ten imp loss for your heroes.

We did some small good things in this match too, but the penultimate board was a kick in the nuts. I held Jx 9x A972 AQ1094. My options are to pass (don’t like it)bid 1NT weak (don’t like it though it has preemptive value) or to open one club, planning to rebid 2C. I liked this best, and opened 1C.

No one vul, my LHO bid 3 diamonds preemptive. Keith made a negative double; pass by RHO to me. I felt I had a pretty easy pass here. Yes I had a squeamish feeling in the pit of my stomach but I have seen hands like this pick up an occasional +500 if the opponents are frisky and the breaks were bad – and I wasn’t expecting that. Down 1 or two would be fine.

Strike 1

Dummy tabled with 2 tricks. Dummy had A974 K7643 5 863

Strike 2

Declarer had kinda wound us up with a rock for his bid. He had 105 QJ KQJ10643 K2

So there was no way to beat 3D X and we were -470.

My only real alternative to passing 3D X was to bid 3NT – which I don’t think is winning bridge – nor would it have been successful – it would have been down 4 for – 200. Sometimes all you can do is tip your hat to the opponents.

Anyway, a few imps on either side of the ledger elsewhere led to lose by 13 imps.

Next match up was against one of the pre tournament favorites – Keith and I sat down against Darren Wolpert and Jurek Czyzowicz ; at the other table was Kamel Fergani and Nick L’Ecuyer against our own Messrs. Smith and Thurston. Dan Korbel and David Grainger were sitting out for them, as were John and Herve for our team.

We strung together ten good boards – and we needed all of them to win by 7 imps. We bid a grand slam in about ten seconds. Keith opened 1 spade, and I held AQJx x AJ10xx Kxx. I responded 3D which shows at least 4 spades; at least five diamonds, and game forcing values.

Keith launched into RKCB, and after I replied 5 spades, he bid 7 Spades. I knew this was a claimer before the lead was made.

Keith had Kxxxx AK KQxx Ax – and indeed it was a wrap. We picked up two imps when Kamel and Nick played in 7 D at the other table – which was well done actually as the hand in front of Keith’s opened a Multi 2D – so they had to brush that aside and bid their grand salami.

We got lucky on a later board when I held KJ9 KQJ742 43 A3. Keith opened 1 diamond; I responded 2H. (Showing long strong hearts and a GF hand – alternately it could show diamonds and hearts and a game force) Keith rebid 2S; I rebid 2NT. Keith rebid 3D and I was not sure what to do next. I could rebid hearts; but I already had shown 6 good ones and I did not have the ten or even the nine of hearts extra. So I bid 3S; rather than hog into 3NT.

Keith now bid 3NT and I was done.

The opponents did not get their clubs going in time, and with the favorable fall of the heart 108 doubleton, I romped home with ten tricks – cutting down the loss on the board to 1 imp – when 4H made 5 with the same favorable heart lie.

3NT is not a terrible contract – but on this day – it was fated to go down, while 4H makes. (The king of diamonds is fourth onside; the spade queen is also onside; clubs are 3-5 with Kxx in LHO hand and QJ9xx in RHO’s hand.)

The wildest hand of the match occured near the end. I held K K109832 Q542 K8

Jurek on my right opened 1 club; and I overcalled 1 heart. Darren passed, and Keith cue bid 2 clubs – usually promising heart support. A new suit bid by Keith would not have been forcing in our methods though – keep that in mind.

Jurek passed, and I showed my second suit with a 2 diamond bid. Now Darren came alive with 2 spades; Keith bid 3 spades; and Jurek bid 4 spades (!)

I knew we were in a forcing pass situation, and I had no clear opinion what to do, so I passed this around to Keith who bid 5 diamonds. Jurek passed, and I passed – trusting Keith to have huge diamond support and secondary heart support.

But Darren was not done yet – he bid 5 spades; I forget which one of us doubled, but that is where we played. Keith led the Ace of spades; felling my stiff king. Dummy had

QJ85 6 KJ8 AQ953

Keith now cashed the Ace of hearts and we waited in time for the club king and down 1and +100. Darren had started with 10976432 J754 void 72

This seems like a par result as we can make 5 diamonds vulnerable. However at the other table our boys bought the hand in 4 spades doubled on their combined 14 HCP, and this could not be beaten and we made +590 over there for a 12 imp win on the board.

I have heard a few stories about this hand – including high level doubled spade contracts making overtricks when the Ace of diamonds was led !!!

Our next match was against Paul Janicki’s team and finally we fired on all cylinders at both tables and won this one by 29 imps for a near blitz.

I have not checked the scoreboard today and don’t plan to for a while – we were in a hole at the beginning of the day, and we still are – if we start to win a few matches, we can get back into the hallowed top 8 teams.

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

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