Palm Springs '93 Barometer Answers

Jim Kaplan and I qualified for the barometer final at the Palm Springs Regional. There was a set of outstanding hands against strong opposition. Top was 14. I was North.
    Round 1: Flight B opposition
  1. S: A73
    H: J7654
    D: Q98
    C: J8
    S: 10842
    H: A108
    D: AJ5
    C: A96

    I opened 1C:, rebid 1NT over 1H: and got to play there. Opening lead was the D:4. Plan the play.

    Hop Queen from dummy and play a small heart to the ten. Win the club return and clear hearts. Today hearts are honor doubleton onside. Big win. I mucked it up and only made 1 instead of 2.

  2.  S:K85432 H:10 D:AQ92 C:A5

    2C:2D: (forcing to game)

    3NT. What's the problem? The problem is that partner has  S:Q10 H:AQJ932 D:x C:KQxx. Hearts plays a trick better than notrump when hearts break 5-1. Spades is terrible.

    End Round 1: Two averages, though I blew a couple of matchpoints on the first one. Lucky.

    Round 2: Unknown opposition

  3.  S:A6 H:Q6 D:AJ109 C:KQ862

    Dealer. What is your plan?

    I'd open it 1NT. It didn't go that way, luckily for us, because partner has H:AJ tight and has to play notrump from his side.

  4.  S:--- H:J984 D:QJ8654 C:AK10

    Both Vul, RHO deals and opens 2S:. What now?

    I doubled. They are booked for 800 when partner, who has a stack, passes. We only got it for 500 but that was only one extra matcpoint. 4H: is cold, but no one played there. I have no idea why, since we have 9 hearts, 25 HCP and are off three aces. 3NT is cold, too. RHO has a normal 3S: opening bid. Maybe my hand passed over that. Partner is  S:KQ1097 H:KQ1053 D:K2 C:J.

    End Round 2: Tow more dead averages, though we blew one more matchpoint on hand 4.

    Round 3: Jim Leary on my left, weak partner.

  5. A very interesting hand, but all roads lead to an average. Leary's partner misbid horribly, but they ended up in the normal 3NT from the wrong side. In the middle of the hand, partner had a choice of squeezing me or endplaying me. He chose the endplay. Leary made it. We got an average.

  6. Leary's partner butchers the play at trick one in this combination:


    He covered my 9-spot lead with the ten and lost to stiff King on his right. He could never recover the lost trick. 11 matchpoints.

    End Round 3: finally we are above average, but not on the board.

    Round 4: Unknown opponents

  7. Partner held:  S:KJ74 H:KJ D:A9753 C:A10

    The bidding began


    He passed. I'd do so, too. The winning call is double. They have to guess everything right to hold it to down 1.

  8. I held  S:K864 H:A D:AK53 C:AK103 as dealer. What's your plan?
    I'd open 1D:, jump reverse into spades and try to bid clubs. 2NT is 2nd best. Not important, though. Partner forces to a cold 6NT, which makes seven when hearts are 4-3. There is a club hook in reserve, too, so seven is over 80%. Pard has  S:Ax H:KQJ8x D:QJ10 C:J8x. How do we get to seven? How do we get to 7D:???

    End Round 4: A 12+ and a 6+ put us into 9th with our 2.8 carryover. The event is very close at this point. We have had six averages and two good scores.

    Round 5: Opponents are Ed Davis and his wife.

  9. I held  S:AKQ9 H:AK8653 D:Q C:A9. I opened 2C:. We are playing 2H: shows a double negative and partner found one. 3H: would not be forcing here. 2S: would be. What's your plan?
    I bid 4H:. With my hand exposed, the defense was harder and they only beat us 1. Partner held  S:x H:x D:Txxx C:QJxxxxx. 5C: is on.

  10. Wife errs. They play the 5-2 major after Ed opens 2C: (two in one round!) instead of 3NT. Both make five.

    End Round 5: A 10 and a 7+ keep us in our cozy ninth.

    Round 6: Alan LeBendig and Partner arrive.

  11. Partner held  S:Q76 H:62 D:AK108532 C:2, no one vul as dealer

    The bidding went

    Do you pass in 1st seat? Is 1NT sane?

    Hell, no. I don't like the amount of defense on this hand, but this looks like a solid 3D: call to me. It'd probably end the auction. At the point in question, I'd bid 3D:. Jim did. It went all pass. 3NT is a lucky make on D:Jx dropping. (Partner has stiff Q.)

  12. The bidding goes by them 1H:-1NT; 2H:-Pass. 1NT was forcing.

    S: K106
    H: 3
    D: KJ965
    C: J743
    S: QJ84
    H: K6
    D: A108
    C: K965

    Partner leads the D:Q. What's your plan?

    Don't know. At the table, the winning defense is to win and return the D:8. Partner will ruff and return a club to your King for another ruff. That holds it to 3. Otherwise, they make 4. Tough call.

    End Round 5: a 5 and a 3+ put us back off the board. This was our first bad round. We must maintain concentration.

    Round 7: A flight A women's pair whom I can't stand.

  13. Partner held:  S:A9 H:AQ108763 D:--- C:Q983

    The bidding began:


    What's your plan?

    I'd cue bid 3S:. Lots more cue-bids later if pard has the C:AK, and either the D:A or S:K, I'd bid a grand. He doesn't; we stopped in six. Right.

  14. Partner held:  S:874 H:85 D:J843 C:AKQ2.

    Partner opens 1H:, you bid a forcing NT, he rebids 2C:. Over to you.

    I'd try 2S:, good club raise. On the actual cards, that gets us too high because partner bids game on his 16 count. Jim passed. Right. +110 won the board.

    End Round 7: Two tens get us back to 9th. Happy 9th.

    Round 8: Two foreigners, unknown country

  15. They reach the wrong slam after massive preemption. We double and collect 500 against air. We misdefended and failed to get 800, but that was only 1 matchpoint.

  16. You hold  S:10987 H:A10 D:5 C:AKJ1096.

    The bidding proceedes:

    Pass 4H:5C:5H:

    2C: was Michaels, 3D: was undiscussed. 2D: would have been non-forcing. 2S: would have shown diamonds and been forcing.

    What's your plan?

    I doubled and led a diamond. +200 is a win. You can do better. Double and lead a spade. You get 500 vs. air.

    End Round 8: These were friendly opponents. A 9 and a 12+ put us in 3rd place. It is very close. We are 4 matchpoints out of first, who is LeBendig, evidently due to our generosity.

    Round 9: vs. Steve Cohen and Ron Feldman

  17. You hold  S:92 H:108653 D:2 C:AKJ85. What do you do as dealer? Assuming a pass, the bidding continues:

    Pass1S:Pass1NT (forcing)

    You have no agreed methods.

    2C:, of course. They then worked out that clubs were not stopped and bid 5D:, down 1, rather than 3NT, down 1. We got a near top for that; again, I don't know why.

  18. You hold  S:AQ H:98532 D:K987 C:J9.

    The bidding goes: 1D:-1H:; 2NT-?

    3C: would check back for 3-card heart support. What is your plan?

    3NT. What five-card heart suit? I don't see one. Not with 30 HCP, I don't. 6NT is a lucky make.

    End Round 9: A 13 and an 8+ are good enough to put us into the lead. It is still very close, but we are the leaders.

    Round 10: vs. recent Flight B graduates

  19. They let me play 2H: making 3 for a 9+ when they can make 3C: or come very close. We are unlikely to go to 3H: with an 8-card fit and better defense than offense.

  20. Partner held:  S:K75 H:AK7 D:AJ52 C:AQ10

    Partner opens a 15-17 1NT. What is your plan?

    5NT seems right. Partner will quit in 6. 7NT is on a finesse (or stiff queen from 7.) It was off. We bid the grand. 4+.

    End Round 10: Disaster strikes. We get only 4+ on board 20 and drop to 3rd.

    Round 11: vs. Mike Passell and Gene Freed, who are one place behind us.

  21. You hold:  S:J10532 H:8 D:A7532 C:J5. Partner opens 2NT (20-21). What is your plan?
    I transferred to spades and rebid 3NT. 6D: is better than 50%, but not much. It makes on this hand. Partner passed 3NT.

  22. They find a defense to beat 4H:, which I would have made on a squeeze if they didn't destroy a menace. Freed is the one who had to find the good play, and it was oddly still worth an 8. They can make 4S:, but no one can get there vul vs. not expecting to go down a bunch. The same luck that put me down was what lets 4S: make.

    End Round 11: Two 8s move us up to 2nd. It's a dogfight, but we're in the hunt.

    Round 12: Unknown opponents

  23. Partner finds the killing trump lead and I fail to blow the defense vs. 4S:. +100 is worth 12. The kibitzers (we have a bunch by now because the other events are over and Passell just came by) think I was brilliant, but my play was easy. Another lead would do as well; we just have to avoid giving up a trick on opening lead and then stay in the boat to beat this. There is a line to make the hand, but our defense and lack of bidding made a more obvious one look like it would have worked better, but it didn't.
    (The defense in question is failing to cover the dummy's S:10 in this layout:

    S: 1095
    H: A985
    D: AK85
    C: Q4
    S: Q87
    H: K1032
    D: J963
    C: 65

    Declarer needs to ruff a club.

  24. S: J9743
    H: 96543
    D: A8
    C: A
    S: K86
    H: A10
    D: K10432
    C: KQ9

    3H:All Pass

    1NT was 15-17. 2C: showed either diamonds or both majors.

    I led the C:K. Dummy won and played a trump to partner's Jack, declarer's King and my Ace. Now what?

    Diamond, right away. I blew it and continued trumps. They made five, but should only make 4. 1 matchpoint is at stake. I am so lucky. No one ever noticed that there was a lead out of turn. I have no idea why. I must have the bidding wrong or something. Maybe I swapped the hands to make the defensive problem harder (easier?)

    Did you notice that I've led out of turn?

    End Round 12: A good score and an average leave us in 2nd, less than 1/2 a matchpoint from 1st.

    Round 13: vs. Kay Schulle and Jill Meyers

  25. I held  S:J85 H:--- D:K10765 C:KQ1096.

    As dealer I passed (do you?) and the bidding went:

    MeKay Jim Jill
    PassPass 1C:2H:
    3H:* Pass 3NTpass

    Pass. That's what I did. We are cold for 7 of either minor, but how do we get there? If Jill had bid only 1H:, I'd bid 3D:, a fit bid, showing diamonds and clubs. Slam is easy now. 6NT is cold too. Pard has  S:A7 H:A432 D:AQ9 C:A432. 3NT doesn't seem right with a draw to a wheel in two suits.

    * limit raise or better in clubs. Do you agree with 3H:? What now? What would you have done if they had only bid 1H:?

  26. The Big One

    S: K1065
    H: Q83
    D: K643
    C: 86
    S: AQ94
    H: AJ9
    D: Q1097
    C: A3


    Kay, West, led the S:J and I drew trumps in three rounds, ending in dummy, West beginning with a doubleton. On the third round of spades, West contributed the H:5, which, in their methods, is encouraging in hearts. Being agreeable, I played a heart to the Jack, which lost to the King. She returned a heart and I played a third round, East showing out this time and playing the C:5, requesting a club shift. Being agreeable, I cash the C:A and play another club. East won this with the Jack. West followed with the Nine and Ten on the first two rounds. After a little thought (half a second is an eternity for this pair,) Jill exited with the C:Q. I ruffed in dummy, pitching a diamond from hand while West played the King. This looked to be a true card, especially considering the previous spots. I continue with a diamond to the Queen, which holds, and the D:10, which gets the last small diamond from West.

    What now?

    I don't know. Convince me, please. I got it wrong.

    End Round 13: The first board was an average, but I got 2+ for going down in four spades. Making it would be an 11. We lost the event by 8.46 matchpoints. Worse, we dropped all the way to fifth. Getting the last card right on board 26 was for the event and was worth 24 masterpoints. Ouch. This is two barometers in a row that I had a single card decision for lots of points. Each time I got it wrong.

Jeff Goldsmith,, Feb. 12, 1996