I wasn't ill, I wasn't tired, I wasn't preoccupied with other things. I wish I was all these things because then at least I'd have an excuse for my frankly atrocious play on the first afternoon of the U25 Trials held at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club in London. Everthing was wrong, but these two boards were the wrongest of the lot.
What is a takeout double?
Playing against Sushi and Phil in the first round of the marathon twenty two round tournament I hold the following hand:
|Q 7 6 4|
|A Q J 5|
|A Q 8 2|
E/W Vulnerable, East Dealer
I'm about to make a takeout double when I realise that my singleton isn't a spade and so have to pass because no other action appeals. The bidding continues:
E/W Vulnerable, East Dealer
I have another little think (very dangerous). I've got a singleton in the opponent's suit and four card support for all unbid suits, so I make a takeout double. Do you see the problem with this reasoning? Having stopped myself from making a takeout double on the previous round I completely ignore myself this time and make one anyway! I always thought spades and diamonds were too similar in appearance!
Partner inevitably bids 3 and it floats, amazingly enough. He plays in a 5-1 fit and it goes 5 off for -250. Only 6 IMPs out - but I deserved more like 16 IMPs out.
Spot the worst mistake
This board should become a classic of Poor Bridge. I may have set a world record for most mistakes on a single board.
|Q J 9 2|
|K Q 8 6|
|A Q 9 8|
|K 8 6 4||7 3|
|4||J 7 3|
|7 5 4 3 2||A Q J 8|
|J 10 6||5 4 3 2|
|A 10 5|
|A 10 9 5 2|
|K 9 6|
N/S Vulnerable, North Dealer
I start off by not knowing which suit to open (1 is best) and open 1. Partner gives me a good raise in hearts showing invitational values or better. I have no slam interest (why not?) but do wish to accept partner's game invite. So I jump straight there. Unfortunately I forgot what suit I had opened! My 4 is surely a splinter (although partner thankfully takes it for a trial bid). Partner now gets excited. He has a nice fit for me and values to spare so he brings in Mr Blackwood. I'm still under the impression that I had opened spades and tell partner that I only have 1 keycard (the K makes it two if hearts are trumps). Partner then signs off in 5 and I alert it because it's asking for the Queen of trumps. Luckily I remember what trumps are just in time and pass it out (I think the opponent's might have something to say if I bid the slam after this auction). So we end up in the right suit at least.
As you can see 12 tricks are cold because the J 10 drop in three rounds. I try my best to make only 11 though. On a spade lead, 12 are cold but you have to guess if West is squeezed in spades and diamonds or if the diamond finesse is on. My ludicrous spade bid inhibited this, though, and I should have an easy ride by playing a diamond and ruffing two small diamonds in hand before drawing trumps and cashing my four clubs. Instead, though, I decide to draw trumps first. I play on clubs, noting with pleasure the lucky break (I was awake enough to notice it) and then quietly accept 11 tricks. However, the A is on the right side so 12 tricks fall into my lap. Why take a 100% line when a 50% line will do!
And what was the cost of all this nonsense? +1 IMP! Yes, despite the depths of my bidding and declarer play, nobody bid the slam and nobody else found even the most basic line to make 12 tricks. This is the future of English Bridge!
Anyway, I may not have had an excuse but at least that day got me into Poor Bridge of the Week!