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Bridge at MIT (3/28/02)


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Bridge at MIT
The MIT Draper Labs Bridge Club is where I go to play bridge on most Tuesday nights. It usually draws around 18 tables and has an interesting array of players. Skill levels vary from local experts to players who usually play in a novice game to players who have never played takeout doubles. There are people who play simple 2 over 1 or standard american, as well as those who play polish club, MOSCITO, K-S, Roth-Stone, or homemade systems such as the recursive diamond. The multi can be used as well as suction and other gadgets that many other bridge clubs frown upon. It is where one can see much of the different variations in the world of a bridge in one room. Rarely is there a flat board, and +1100 against air is not always going to be a cold top.
For my very first entry into the world of writing about bridge, I will write about a hand from this past Tuesday's game at MIT, where my partner Shawn Samuel and I had everything going our way as we ended up with a 72.6% game.

Board 13
Both Vul
Dealer N

S  JT973
H  T5
D  KT8432
C  -

S  A85
H  KJ2
C  T8542

S  K6
H  AQ9643
D  9
S  Q42
H  87
D  J765
C  J763

I held the West hand, and North opened 2D preemptive. My partner doubled and South bid 3D. I bid 3NT (I did not think the hand was strong enough to make a responsive double then correct partner's major suit to NT, which would show a hand too strong to just bid 3NT) and North continued on with 4D. My partner thought for a while and then bid 6H, and it was my turn to think.

The first option that went thru my mind was 7H. Many people play that they never raise partner's jump to 6 to 7, but this was an unusual auction. Not knowing if 4H or 5H were forcing (or asking for a diamond control) and not wanting to make an ambiguous cuebid of 5D, my partner's 6H just said that he was willing to try 6H opposite a normal 3NT from my hand. But I had much more than a normal 3NT bid as I had 3 keycards and heart support. However, North who had opened the bidding with a preempt had bid again, which probably meant he had some weird distribution. North could very easily have a club or a spade ruff.

Therefore I decided against bidding 7H, but now had to consider bidding 6NT at matchpoints. However, I could not count 13 tricks in notrumps, so I rejected bidding 6NT. Doesn't make sense? Well, I knew from my club length that there might be 13 tricks in hearts by ruffing the fifth club good, and that without a lightner double (which would surely happen at the 7 level), the opponents might not get their ruff and we can score 13 tricks in hearts as opposed to only 12 in notrumps.

So I passed. North now made a lightner double passed back to me. Do I run now? Not a chance, as I felt that this ruff would be the only trick my opponents were getting. I thought about redoubling, which I would do without hesitation at IMPs, but decided +1660 must be a very good matchpoint score as I was not sure I could get +1700 against 7D. +1660 was indeed a top board as the cards lay, with some pairs going down in the very good grand.