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On the Avignon bridge… (Le Bridgeur Magazine n°889 – December 2014)

 

jerome750_en

Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur n° 889 on 15 December 2014.

In tournaments played with MP scoring, it is often preferable to play 3NT than an average slam in a minor, especially if you play better than the “field”.

In partnership with the founders of Bridge Collège (Vanessa Reess and Wilfried Libbrecht), I attended the Avignon festival and there I saw an interesting deal during the open game.

Here are my hand in South and my partner’s hand in North:

S Q 10 2
H A 5
D A K Q 5 4 3
C 6 2

NSEO_en

S A 8 5
H K 8
D J
C A J 9 8 7 5 3

 

SN
RombautLibbrecht
1C1D
2C2S
3C3D
3NT

All in all, the 6C contract is correct but in tournaments played with MP scoring, it does not seem to be a good contract despite rather maximum hands. By the way, I would like to emphasise that the probability necessary to bid a slam is not as clear as it seems. When IMP scoring is used, the calculation is simple. Whether a slam is made or defeated, you get or lose as many IMPs. Therefore you should bid it as soon as the probability of success is over 50%. In tournaments played with MP scoring, it is very different, especially if you play in a quite heterogeneous field and if you are known to be stronger than the average field. Indeed, staying at 3NT for instance will often lead to a score above the average because you will often take one trick more than the field or those who will stop at the 5-level in a minor.

Let’s go back to our deal. I am really happy to play 3NT. What would you have done on the heart queen lead? There is a big communication issue to set up both the diamonds and clubs. Seeking to keep an entry to cash the diamonds, you are obliged to take the first trick with the heart king and unblock the diamond jack. If you want to set up the clubs, you must use the hold-up play. Let’s imagine that West takes with the queen and return hearts. You cash all the diamonds and then, disregarding the case of the bare king-queen, you end with the club finesse to take 12 tricks.

Please note that in reality, East had the bare queen and you had to content yourself with 10 tricks except if you changed your stand (i.e. throw-in squeeze against West in the black suits). 3NT+2 meant 80%. 6C failed and you scored 13% only.

 

Here are the four hands:

S Q 10 2
H A 5
D A K Q 5 4 3
C 6 2
S J 7
H Q J 10 6
D 9 8 7 2
C K 10 4
NSEO_enS  K 9 6 4 3
H 9 7 4 3 2
D 10 6
C Q
S A 8 5
H K 8
D J
C A J 9 8 7 5 3