When you bid aggressive, better declare well – by Milan Macura

The third week of December attracted over 1,500 players: 661 in MPs and 867 in IMPs.

A great indicator of the popularity of weekly exclusive tournaments is that more and more players mark them as their favorites: 743 players in MPs and 887 players in IMPs.

Are we going to reach the 1,000 theshold over the New Year?

MPs results

IMPs results

Analysis of the last board of the IMPs tournament

Analysis of the most interesting board


MPs results

Playing solid bridge could get you over 60% easily.

I have scored 65.32% and the lowest score was on board 5 – 40.21%, where I chose to play 4♥ on a 6-1 fit instead of 3NT. Both contracts can score 10 tricks.

14 players scored over 70% and Klaus (DE) got an impressive 88.59%. The silver medal goes to Pierre (FR) with 76.24% followed by sol30 (FR) with 76.19%. Jirka and Nulda (CZ) got to the top 10 and are leading my friends’ list.

General ranking
Milan’s friends ranking

IMPs results

There were very close fights for the victory in IMPs.

A lot of players had the same score around 30 IMPs so every trick could secure the victory.

In the end Carpio (SP) won with +35 IMPs followed by Augusto (FR) with +34 IMPs. Ivan (HR) and PE (SE) share bronze with +31 IMPs.

If I had guessed the last board right, I could have scored +31 IMPs too, but +19 IMPs still mean 4th place on my friends’ list behind Thomas (FR) and Luc (FR).

General ranking
Milan’s friends ranking

What will be your decision on the last board?

You get the following hand and your opponents reached 4♠:

You don’t get such a hand very often so pass is not an option.

To make a game, you need only a good fit in either minor and shortness in the other minor.

You have 2 reasonable options: bid 5♦ and hope the ♦Q drops and that your partner will cover some clubs or you can give partner the choice with 4NT to show both minors.

There is no clear rule you can follow in these situations. You have to make the right decision based on the actual layout. Partner can have ♣Kxxx and 6♣ will be a reasonable slam whereas 5♦ will depend both on club and diamond breaks.

Even if there is a big disproportion in the length and quality of the suits, I chose to bid 4NT and let partner choose. To my surprise, partner chose diamonds. If she has doubleton ♣K, slam is almost guaranteed. With ♣Q or singleton club, it will have a reasonable chance.

If this would be one of the first boards, I will not gamble and pass in 5♦. But since I needed a big swing to get to the top 3 of the tournament, I chose to gamble and bid 6♦.

Here is the full board

Partner had a wrong king and one down doubled was for -3 IMPs instead of +9 IMPs if I decided to stay low.

The most interesting hand came on board 2

Big swings can come any time, even if you hold a quite boring hand:

If you pass on second seat, your LHO opens 1NT and you are facing a decision if to reopen the bidding in vulnerable.

For a passed hand, it looks great, but it still has 8 losers. 4441 hands are very often very tricky because except the losers on the high cards, you need to establish all three suits. Very important is to have the middle cards to increase the chance of establishing the length winners.

I decided to reopen 2♣ as Landy to show both Major suits. Normally, it should be minimum 54, but I am passed hand so I don’t expect partner to get crazy without reasonable values. And that is exactly what happened. Partner jumped to 3♠. What now?

What kind of hand can she have? She could bid 2♦ to ask for the longer one and then invite to game by raising spades to the 3-level. That will be a standard approach with 12-14 HCP. Therefore I expected partner to be unbalanced with a good spade fit and hoped for a red singleton. In that case, I can crossruff the hand and the 10 tricks seem to be very close. And in vulnerable games, I tend to be very aggressive.

How do you declare 4?

North hand is not what I had expected, but at first sight, we only have two heart losers and one club loser. But can you get rid of 2 extra heart losers in South or the club losers in North?

The ♦10 lead is more likely from a doubleton or length than from a 3-card suit. That means you cannot use diamonds as entries to ruff two clubs in South or two hearts in North, draw trumps and cash the last diamond at the same time.

Let’s do some math:

  1. You have 4 diamonds winners and 4 spade winners. If spades split 3-2, you get only one ruff. Therefore you need to score only one extra trick.
  2. HCP analyses: we have 23 HCP together and West showed minimum 15 HCP. That means he should have both ♣AK and ♥AK and either the ♣J or the ♥Q or both.

Based on the calculation, West should give you an extra trick if you draw all his diamonds and spades and let him in. He has to cash either the heart honors or the club honors. If he plays ♥AKQ, you ruff the third round in North hand and your ♥J will become a winner.

If West cashes the ♣AK, you ruff the second round in South and establish the ♣Q. In both cases, the last trump on the other side is the entry for the established winner.

In reality, West opened 1NT with only 14 HCP and a 6-card club suit. But since North hand was hidden, West jumped with the ♣A and tried to cash 3 heart tricks. The plan still worked.

Videos of Milan Macura’s tournaments

MPs tournament video

Subscribe to be notified directly when my next video is online! Click on the button below:

IMPs tournament video

You can find all the boards of the IMPs tournaments in the video I posted on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget to Subscribe to so you don’t miss my next Exclusive tournaments analysis.

And if you didn’t know it yet, know that I challenge 5 of you at the end of each IMP tournament video!

My previous exclusive tournaments analysis are available here.