Ross Taylor

Choice of games

Got the juices flowing early this year. We are playing in the New Year Toronto Sectional at the gorgeous Royal York Fairmont hotel, in one of their magnificent ballrooms. Sorry tournament organizers, but cheaper locations in the boonies just don’t cut the mustard.

Friday was a one day KO event. Our team, Keith Balcombe and myself, playing with Ken Marden and Ian Coats, met the pre event favorites in the final. Robert Lebi, Daniel Korbel, Joel Woolridge, and David Grainger.

There were four slams bid and made in this short match, only one creating a swing. As is often the case, the match was won by the favorites in the trenches of bidding judgment, undertricks, and partscore bidding.

Early in the match, I picked up AKQJ9x   Q10x   Ax  xx.

White versus red, Keith opened 2H weak in first position. RHO passed, and what would you bid?

If your methods allow you to explore for a club control together with the AKxxxx of hearts, then fill your boots and go for it! If you can diagnose all that you may end up in a very light but effective small slam.

I eschewed science in favor of practicality, and jumped to game. But I bid 4 spades. David Grainger, at the other table, chose 4 hearts.


Dealer: NVul: EW

Robert/Ian Daniel/Ken        

x 10xxxx
AK xx
J9xxx KQxx
AJ9xx Qx


At my table, Robert cashed his heart honors and the Ace of clubs, and trusted his partner would furnish a spade trick to set the contract.

Not being able to peek so deep into Robert’s hand, I had no reason to take a first round hook of the spade 9, and thus went down 1 when spades broke 5-1. ***

At the other table, 4 hearts could not be touched, even with the poor spade break. 10 imps for the winners.

So was my 4 spade bid an error? Did I deserve to lose ten imps? I leave that to you all to tell me – I am too close to the hand, (and the result) to decide impartially. I felt I had the element of disguise going for me in bidding 4 spades – if it came down to a cash out situation, the defense would not know my hand.

But the result speaks for itself. And of a total margin, of 15 imps, this was ten of them.

***  Please dear readers – no Active Ethics comments – that was a joke – perhaps in poor taste


Mike CafferataJanuary 2nd, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I would expect 4H to be the better contract. There is always the chance of pitches with that great spade suit. 4s on this hand had no play if an early diamond shift could be found, even if spades had behaved

Dave ColbertJanuary 2nd, 2010 at 5:19 pm

It feels as though 4h is better. For one thing, there could be a heart ruff against you

Ross TaylorJanuary 3rd, 2010 at 3:11 am

The gallery has spoken – bidding 4 spades resulted in a deserved 10 imp loss.

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