Cooperation is the key to success by Milan Macura

Once again we reached the thousand line with 1,085 players in IMPs and 767 in MPs.

MPs results

IMPs results

Cooperation is the key to success


MPs results

I have made the top 3 list: Jacques (FR) with 82.69%, Colin Deheeger (FR) with 80.37% and Elena Garcia (ES) with 74.58%. With one total zero, I finished 348th with 50.89% and didn’t manage to get to my friends’ top list. Colin won with a big margin in front of MagellanZ with 72.55% and shaymin (HR) with 70.81%.

With one total zero, I finished 348th with 50.89% and didn’t manage to get to my friends’ top list. Colin won with a big margin in front of MagellanZ with 72.55% and shaymin (HR) with 70.81%.

General ranking
Milan’s friends ranking

IMPs results

It seems that the boards were quite flat since no one scored more than +35 IMPs. But it was not true, by hitting the jackpot with 3 very aggressive/lucky slams, it was possible to score around +50 IMPs.

In reality, no one guessed everything right when I finished the boards on the live stream. Nico6278 (FR) and Daver50 (US) were the best with +35 IMPs, Trijeron (CZ) was third with +34 IMPs. Shaymin (HR) got to the top list and is second on my friends’ list. The rest of my friends did similar as I did – no slam, but still +23 IMPs due to solid play.

General ranking
Milan’s friends ranking

Bridge is a partnership game and you have to cooperate with partner to do well!

Partnership agreements and cooperation determine who wins or loses in bridge. Unfortunately, we cannot persuade the computer to be on the same page as us. I am looking forward to the future when we will be able to train our own artificial intelligence and teach it our standards and conventions. Until then we have to adjust to Argine and learn from the bad/good boards. Here are some examples from this week.

You get a nice 5-5 hand with 15 HCP and 5 losers. You open standard 1♠, partner responds 1NT (non-forcing) and you rebid 2♦. West doubles for takeout and East bids 2♥. I decided to bid one more time to show my full distribution and strength. West as well as North passed over 3♦ but East pushed one more time to 3♥.

What now?

In MPs, +200 for 3♥x -1 will surely be a top score. But with good values opponents can make 3♥ and in that case we want to push into 4♦, which should be down one at worst. Passing is an option but +100 or -140 can be a very bad score so you want to do something. It is your partner who should decide what is better based on his hand. I have already showed 5♠5♦ and extras so a double at this position cannot be penalty.

Unfortunately, partner thought otherwise and passed with the following hand:

It must be clear to North that with a 5-card diamond fit and no defensive tricks, opponents will make 3♥. 4♦ is a clear bid and if EW go to 4♥, North should even push to 5♦. At least now I know that 3♥x +3 is 1,330 points – expensive lesson.

Double is cooperational (partner, do something smart based on your hand) when:

  • The person who is doubling already showed the distribution.
  • Both partnerships fight for a partscore, sometimes even a game, and you don’t know whether to overbid or let opponents play.
  • Partner is reasonable and can evaluate his hand well and think logically – this might be the main point before you try it.

Here is another example from the MP tournament. As South, you hold:

After three passes, North opens 1♦ and East overcalls 1♠. You decide to support the diamonds instead of bidding 1NT and the right-hand opponent bids one more time. What now?

Our partnership is a bit stronger and opponents are in the best contract. You don’t have a clear bid but your distribution is pretty limited: you cannot have 4♥ since you didn’t double the first time, you don’t have 5♣, otherwise you will bid 3♣ or 2♣ instead of 2♦, and you don’t have 5♦, otherwise you will overbid to 3♦.

The only reasonable choice with this hand is a double that shows a maximum hand and asks partner to decide what is best. On this board partner decided to overbid to 3♦ with the following hand:

Some people may pass, some will bid 3♦. For making 3♦, you need the ♣K or the ♦A in the West hand, which is a reasonable chance. 2♠ goes only one down, which is only +100 if you double instead of +110. If North had the ♥A instead of the ♠Q and the ♥Q, he would pass and we would collect +300 for 2♠x -2.

Another cooperational bid is Splinter

Splinter is a jump to the 4th level in a new suit and shows shortness in the bid suit, a 4-card fit and enough values to make a game. Look at the following hand:

You open 1♥ and partner responds 1♠. With only 5 losers, primary values and a 4-card fit, you have a great hand for Splinter.

It describes the hand well and partner can react based on his strength:

  • With a minimum hand (only 2 tricks), he should sign off in 4♠.
  • With 3 useful honors, he should re-invite to a slam by showing a control in the next following suit.
  • With 4 potential tricks, he should push into a slam.

This was North’s hand and Argine signed off in 4♠. 6♠ were making because the ♦A is with East and hearts and spades split so you can discard a third diamond on the established hearts.

Consider these hands. What would you do after 4♣ as North?

I will cuebid with 4♥ to show an interest in the slam if partner has a maximum: ♠AK, ♥A, ♦AK.

Same with this hand. I will bid 4♦ as a cuebid. This hand can potentially cover 3-4 losers depending on partner’s hand. If North is still not sure, he can invite one more time with 4♥.

This hand is strong enough to ask for the key cards. If partner shows 3 out of 5, I will go into a slam.

This hand is not strong in shape but has values. You cover 3 losers for sure and with 3 key cards, the slam should have a decent chance or be laydown.

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