When to play on a 7-card fit – Milan Macura’s Exclusive Tournaments – December – #2

We had over 1,000 players: 480 players in the MP tournament and 560 players in the IMP one.

MPs results

IMPs results



MPs results

With wild boards, it was possible to score both high and low if you didn’t make the right decisions. This week I belong to the bad decision makers – scored only 45% due to 2 bottoms.

Ivan (HR) has beaten last week‘s highest score with 82.65%, followed by Michael (DK) with 77.09% and Louis (CA) with 76.97%. It was difficult to get on the friends’ list since all 11 top players scored above 67%.

I am very happy for Zuzana (CZ) who is a still a junior and scored 76.62%. The rest of the players are standard leaders and prove bridge is not game of luck but skills although you need some luck to win the short tournaments.

bridge mp results milan macura exclusive tournaments december 2
Top 11 ranking of the MPs tournament
bridge mp results milan macura exclusive tournaments milan friends december 2
Top 11 ranking of the MPs tournament – Milan’s friends

IMPs results

Boards in the IMP tournament were quite flat and a lot of players made the same decisions in all the boards. I have scored plus on each board but it was not enough to get to the top 50 with +19 IMPs. Once again, I am presenting the scores when I have finished the live stream.

The best players with +30 IMPs (+31 at the end of the day) were Lucie (CZ), Michael (DE), geoxis (FR), Denis (FR), Tadeusz (UK) and Hanoi (CL). The rest of the top field was only one IMP behind.

Top 11 ranking of the IMPs tournament – General
Top 11 ranking of the IMPs tournament – Milan’s friends

To win the IMP tournament you had to make the right decision on board 6

You get the following hand. How do you evaluate it and what is your approach?

hand 1

You have 15 HCP, a semi-balanced hand and a 2-suiter. The standard bidding should be to show both long suits and the 15-17 range and let partner decide which contract is the best. With only 5 losers (5 missing top honors), this hand can be considered a maximum and is more suitable to play in trumps. Here is how I divide the strength of the one-level opening:

  • Tier 1 – minimum of opening: 12-14 or 7 losers
  • Tier 2 – opening + extra: 15-17 or 6 losers
  • Tier 3 – maximum of opening: 18-20 or 5 (4) losers

In order to determine which contract is better (NT vs. trumps) with your hand, you can do a test of HCP vs. losers. If your hand, based on the above split, has more losers, it has a higher potential in trumps. If your hand belongs to a higher tier based on HCP, it is better in NT.

This hand is in tier 3 so I don’t mind to bid reverse 1♦→2♥ if partner responds 1♠. Argine tends to bid reverse with stronger hands (17+ HCP), but the strength is based on total points (HCP + distributional points). Be careful about upgrading your hand too much only based on distribution. You should be always ready to play 3NT opposite 9 HCP if you reverse.

I have decided to open 1♦, but the LHO overcalls 1♥ and partner bids 1♠ to show 5 cards. RHO passes. What do you bid now?

bid 1

Here are possible bids and Argine’s description:

1NT = 12-14
2NT = 18-19
3NT = 16-20 with 7 diamonds
2♦ = 12-16 unbalanced
3♦ = 15-17 with 6 diamonds
2♥ = 18+

The only bid which fits Argine’s description is 2♦ and that is what I have chosen in the end. But I had the feeling that I was underbidding the hand. And, indeed, I did. Partner bid 2♥ to ask for the stopper and I jumped to 3NT to show the stopper and some extras.

bridge desk 1

3NT was easy to make after a small club lead. West led ♣6 and your ♣J scores a trick – you have 5♦, 2♣, 1♥, and 3♠, altogether 11 tricks. 3NT +2 scored +1 IMP. 54 players reached 6♦ which is unbeatable with this layout. After the ♣K lead, you draw trumps and discard the ♣4 on ♠Q. Then you lose the ♥A and ruff two small hearts in North hand.

most played contracts 1

Here are the sequences showing how you can reach 6♦.

For making the slam, you need diamonds 2-2 or spades 4-2 if diamonds split 3-1. Based on that, you want to reach the slam. Most people reached 6♦ after a 1NT opening, but if you decide to open 1♦, it is still possible. The last example is my suggestion for an upgrade to 3♦. No player chose that option in the game.

The next interesting board comes from the MP tournament

You are holding the following hand. Do you open with these 11 HCP? If not, what do you do as South after the sequence below?

hand 2

You don’t have a stopper in clubs to bid 3NT, you don’t have a 5-card major to bid 3♥/♠, 4♦ might not be enough and 5♦ will be based on a finesse if partner has two clubs.

I chose to bid 3♥ but I was ready to play 4♥ on a 7-card fit.

When to play on a 7-card fit

  1. You need a good 4-card suit to be able to draw at least 3 rounds of trumps.
  2. If you are going to be shortened, the player with 3 trumps has to trump opponent’s winners.
  3. You need to have quick tricks after you draw trumps – often you are not left with any trumps to have a control in opponent’s suit.

Here is the full board:

bridge desk 2

After a diamond lead, I scored all 13 tricks. Even if opponents play 3 rounds of clubs, I will still make with an overtrick, which will be close to a top score. 4♥ +3 scored for 95.40%. After the 1♦ opening, 10 players reached a slam and West didn’t lead a club to beat it.

most played contracts 2

Videos of Milan Macura’s tournaments

MPs tournament video

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My previous exclusive tournaments analysis are available here.