I will miss my partner!

My partner Elwynne will be going on a holiday shortly. We have been playing together now for more than 20 years, and Elwynne and I have established a measure of rapport in our post-mortems. Take 3 hands from this week for instance.

Hand 1

We got to 6NT in 4 bids after the 2NT - 4NT invite. West led the 9.

How would you play this?

Elwynne surveyed the two hands, assumed that the clubs would behave (any 3-2 or West with a stiff club) and counted 10 top tricks. Quick as a flash she won the lead in dummy and promptly advanced the 10. West won the king and persisted with another diamond. In dummy again, Elwynne finessed the J then cashed the ace.

Elwynne next played the A and K. When both followed, she claimed 12, spreading her hand. Her heart went on the 13th spade. I gave her an approving smile.

We received +13 IMPs when the datum on the board was +210.

(+990 - 210 = +780 = 13 IMPs.)

Hand 2

I was North and opened the customary 1. Then things went awry for me...

West    North   East   South
Pass     1H     2D      3D
Pass      ?

I considered what to do over her 3 bid. 3 showed a 10+ raise in hearts.

How would you proceed?

Obviously a slam depends on her having 2 out of the 3 missing key cards (ace, ace, and trump K) so without further ado, I went 4NT. I was prepared to subside in 5 if Elwynne showed one key. I was proud to have all bases covered. Alas...

But Elwynne responded 6! This showed one keycard + a useful void. Ouch. What now? I prayed fervently that her void was in clubs...

Her reaction at the end of the hand? A little stare with a wry smile with the comment "Sorry, I thought my void was going to be useful".
We all laughed.

We lost 9 IMPs. -100 -280 (datum) = -380.

The hand was over, discussions were over, and we proceeded to meet our new opponents...

Hand 3

We sat E-W on this hand, I was East.

West    North   East   South
 1D      1S     Dble   Pass
 3S     Dble     4C    Pass
 4D     Pass     5D    Pass
 Pass   Pass

The first 3 bids were standard and now 3S was unleashed. Was it an advance splinter (if so, agreeing what?) What exactly was it, as 2S was also available? In any case, it was forcing I concluded, and without a spade stopper I had a choice of 4C or 5C. I went a conservative 4C as I still was unsure of 3S. Now came 4D! Now what?

How would you proceed?

I imagined partner to make a slam try with the 3S bid showing implied long diamonds. But with xx in spades and xx in diamonds, I settled for 5D only.   Surely this must be ice-cold...

Elwynne won the club lead in hand with the queen and immediately advanced the 9 It held! Now 4 trumps followed (!) (she had but 4 diamonds, I mused) then the Q. Elwynne made all 13 tricks!

Result? +640 -660 (datum) = -20 or -1 IMP.

A lovely hand to discuss over a latte afterwards!

I will sorely miss her while she is away.

Posted May 2016