A Minor Goal
For a few years, I've had the minor ambition of
scoring 100 masterpoints at a regional tournament.
I've come close, but not quite reached that mark.
This year, in Reno, I'm at 94 and change going
into the last day's Swiss teams. We need to finish
fifth or better for me to reach 100. We were third
at the break, but suffered a reversal in the fifth
match, and are now back in the pack. Since there are
only seven matches today, we need to win both remaining
matches. Nothing much has occurred in the sixth match,
when at unfavorable vulnerability, I am dealt
AK93 AQ10984 3 83.
I am third to speak. Partner passes and RHO opens
3NT. No skip bid warning, no alert. I wait about
ten seconds, then ask if 3NT is 25-27 balanced.
"No, of course not, it's a solid suit with no
outside Aces or Kings." We play Ripstra in this
position, but I'm sure my partner doesn't remember
this agreement, so I try 4. LHO passes
quickly and partner huddles. And huddles. And
huddles. Out comes 6! That's a surprise;
a non-opening bid can raise a pressured overcall
to slam? Perhaps she has a club void and the
A so she knows that RHO has clubs. That'd
make her 4450 probably or she'd've opened. Could happen. While I'm
contemplating this, RHO doubles. I'm certainly
not running to 7, and redoubling seems
wrong, so I pass, as does everyone else. I await
the lead and dummy with some trepidation.
LHO finds the lead of the beer card (the 7),
and I see this layout:
Partner's leap to slam was rather bold.
Other adjectives might be more appropriate,
but less complimentary. She remarks, "I didn't
know how to make a slam try." 5 wouldn't
do? 6 is a good contract, however, and
it deserves more attention than I am paying it,
so I shift gears and concentrate.
What's going on? Obviously, RHO's suit is
diamonds. He must have a void somewhere,
probably in clubs. The danger on this hand
is a club ruff; we are lucky to have escaped
a club lead. To avoid any problems, I carefully
cover the opening lead. I don't want him to be
able to play the 2 on this trick. He
wins the J and shrugs and continues with
another diamond. I ruff high, draw trumps, and
take the marked club finesse. RHO shows out as
While the opponents argue about the lead, I
write down 1660 happily. That has to be a good
After the match, I find that our teammates are
+100 on the board. Surely they mean +200, so I
inquire. My teammate sheepishly admits that
he didn't double 6, but he played the
2 under the uncovered beer lead, so
his partner found the club shift. I mention
that this nice play was unavailable at my table.
18 IMPs wins the match big enough that we are back
in contention. We win the last match by a little
and manage second overall. That's enough to achieve
my goal. I've had a great week.
Jan. 2nd, 1998