Teams and Coffee – The perfect way to start the day

I logged on BBO this morning as usual to enjoy my coffee while reading the BBO newsfeed and kibbing friends. “Hi, TM?” popped up on my screen a few minutes later. Being a yellow I get lots of team match invites (not as often as stars, but still – I don’t have to work too hard to find a game). “Why not?” I thought, so I accepted.

8 boards, barometer on – perfect for a quick warm-up to start the day. I’m partnering a friend from Turkey who often sets up matches on BBO. We play 2/1 standard, nothing fancy.

Board 1, I am dealt this pretty collection of reds:



I decide this is worth a 1 opening (white vs white) – no doubt bad influence from my junior friends who got into my head and made me consider opening hands that would make Goren turn in his grave. Bidding proceeds as follows:



Apparently my partner thinks I actually have an opener. I am torn – shortness in spades makes me think he might really have a trump stack, but 1) he did not bid a number of NT, which makes me less confident in his spade tricks, and 2) we surely have a fit in minors or hearts! I can’t pass so I invent a 4NT bid asking him to pick a minor.

Double! Partner hesitates a little than passes it back to me. Again, I have to guess what his pass means. Does he really have spades stopped and is willing to play in 4N doubled? Or he’s just passing the ball to me because he has no idea what I’m doing.

I bid 5, showing my fantastic side-suit, partner corrects to 5 and we play in 5 doubled. I am dying to see how bad I screwed up. The view of dummy makes me all happy inside:



Down 1 is a push as other table reached a less exciting:



Next board is an 11 IMPs swing when team mates reach a borderline slam at the other table, while our table plays game.

Nothing exciting happens in board 3 (a push) other than the fact that while looking up on the screen I suddenly notice my friend is gone and I am partnering a star player instead. “Hi, p! When did you pop-up here?” He doesn’t seem to think I’m funny and grouchily replies “I came when I was invited.” Ouch! I really have to work on my people skills!

We quickly agree on 2/1 udca and proceed to Board 4.



So my partner has a decent hand with spades and minors. Blinded by our potential double fit in minors and that lovely suit texture I bid what no one should ever bid at that vul: 4!

Pass to my partner who freezes for a few minutes and I can almost feel him looking for his heart pills. Or maybe he wants to raise to game, who knows? He passes eventually, righty doubles and we play there:


Click NEXT in the diagram to follow the play

After playing clubs and when the spade Ace holds – phew! I know West’s hand so I eliminate hearts and throw him in at the end for a trump return. All that Bridge Master practice was worth it! Another swing for us: 13 IMPs with the other table in 2 making. We’re leading 24 to 0 and there are only 4 boards left.

Can we lose now? Of course, because this is what happens next:



As dealer I briefly consider opening this magnificent 11 HCP but not wanting to upset Goren again I pass. Partner opens 1, which makes me fall in love with my hand even more. I show a limit raise over opp’s 1 overcall but it seems this is not our hand after all as opponents confidently bid up to 4. Partner ignores their blitz bidding and doubles.

What should I lead? Partner can’t be 4-4 in majors with 3 diamonds (that would mean opps are playing in a 7 card fit!) so he has at least 4 diamonds. I choose to lead the ♠K, afraid that the A might blow a trick. I win the trick, partner encourages with the ♠3 (we had agreed udca) and I see Jx in dummy. Can West have Kx? Better let him play diamonds himself. I continue with the ♠Q, declarer wins the A and proceeds to make the contract:


Click NEXT in the diagram to follow the play

Darn! There should be a Bridge Master for defense as well!

We lose 13 IMPs and I ask partner what was that ♠3 at trick 1. Turns out it was count. Very helpful, thank you very much! I really couldn’t figure out whether West had 6 spades or 4 without that signal.

Board 6 is another push, then comes Board 7:


Click NEXT in the diagram to follow the play

This time there is no defense we could possibly come up with to set the contract. Another -7 IMPs for our side when the other room plays 5x-2.

The score is now 24 to 20 and we’re playing the last board. I’m wondering if we will actually win this match or manage to lose 5 IMPs in the end.

Luckily last board is a routine 3NT where we make one trick more than the other table so we win by 5 IMPs! Yay! Time to get back to work 🙂