Posts tagged ‘bridge’

I Finally Did It!

It’s taken me 8 months (though I wasn’t playing for much of that), but I finally found one.

My first squeeze play →

Bridge and Stuff

Jim called me up again the other day, and we played bridge both today and yesterday. It’s quite obvious that I’ve gotten rusty (before yesterday, my last sanctioned game had been with Jim back in August). We took second-to-last and dead last, both with 41% games, though today’s game played better than it scored. Our defense was rock-solid (with one horrible, stupid, blatantly notable exception in which I doubled our opponents’ game-level contract, and although we could easily have set them by two tricks, they ended up making it). Our offense was mediocre, but our bidding was pretty good, I daresay. We’re trying out some new things in our conventions, however, which are working out alright. Both today and yesterday, we played a control-showing step response to two clubs, which is actually quite clever (imo, better than the point-showing step response which I swore by back in sophomore year). Today, we also used a forcing 1NT (the perfect response to Sheri’s insistence upon weak jump-shifts – I have to show this to more people even if we don’t play 2/1) and upside-down attitude carding (statistically better than regular attitude, but more confusing. For instance, you now show a doubleton by playing the high card first if you’re on lead but the low card first if you’re following suit). Now, I need to get Jim to learn Puppet Stayman and Raptor Notrump, and we’ll be playing exactly what I want to play, except possibly for a different discarding system. Jim lent me his copy of Hand Evaluation by Mike Lawrence, which I look forward to reading.

A Notable Hand From Tonight →

At the moment, I am on Bridge Base Online, watching the final match of the Cambrose Trials in Ireland. I don’t completely understand the bidding (for instance, I play that opening 2S shows 5-11 HCP and 6 spades, while at least one of the four partnerships plays that this shows a weak hand and 5-5 in spades and a minor). However, the hands are fascinating and the play is incredible. Also, I’ve got BBO logging all of these hands. I think I’ll rig them up and have people play them this coming Thursday. What fun!

Sony Rootkits and a Cool Bridge Hand

It appears that Sony and First 4 Internet have attempted (rather poorly) to defend themselves over the rootkit issue. That doesn’t change the fact that this stuff isn’t mentioned in the EULA and is still nearly impossible to remove. I’m going to be quite surprised if this doesn’t turn into some kind of class-action lawsuit. It’s absolutely despicable.

So, with the Fellowship application hanging over my head, I’ve got ridiculous amounts of work, and I’m barely sleeping. So guess what I do? That’s right. I install Bridge Base Online through WINE. It’s amazing! I have to get more time, a regular partner (perhaps Carl and I could play some more, even though he’s in Cambridge for a year…), and play. In the meantime, I kibitzed what are apparently some of the world’s greatest players, including Jeff Hand who became the World Master of the World Bridge Federation about the time I was born. In particular, I saw one incredible deal:

East opened 2 Clubs, showing not necessarily clubs, but a damn good hand (I play 22+ HCP or the first 9 tricks, but this person apparently plays it a little lighter). South overcalled 3 Clubs to show a weak hand with long clubs and interfere with the partnership that had the majority of the points. East cuebid 4 Clubs to show a club void, support for any other suit, and game-going values. North, seeing a 12-card fit and a side suit to run, jumped to grand slam. West justifiably doubled, since North/South could have at most 16-ish points between them. A spade lead would have set the contract, but West lead a heart (which makes more sense than a spade from West’s perspective), and the contract was cold. Declarer ruffed the opening lead, drew trump, cashed the ace of diamonds and ruffed a low diamond. When the King fell, declarer could run the minor suits to take all 13 tricks. It was really incredible to see this come up randomly and then watch 4 world-class players handle it.

Right. Back to my essays… :-P

Hot damn!

This evening, Jim and I played bridge for the last time this summer. It was my one last chance to become a Junior Master before school started. Well, I’m pleased to announce that I made it! Our 54.5% game landed us 3rd place in the C stratification and 4th over all 13 East-West pairs, and we each got 0.49 Master Points. I am now no longer officially considered a Rookie. Our game was nothing to brag about, but we certainly did well enough.

I feel a little weird writing this, but the best part about the night, in my opinion, was that I made fewer mistakes than Jim did. He was responsible for both bottom boards that we got, while I blame myself for only one of the second-from-bottoms. Strangely enough, we didn’t do anything especially well; our best boards were almost all mistakes by our opponents.

So I at least got one of my goals. We didn’t use Smolen, nor did I pull off a squeeze play (though I almost endplayed someone into handing me a bath coup. However, he saw what was going on and got out of it).

15 more Master Points until I’m a Club Master.

0 for 9

One of my goals for the summer is to become a Junior Master at the bridge club. Since the last time I wrote about bridge, I’ve needed about a third of a Master Point to get there. Sadly, try as I might, I can’t seem to do it! Jim and I played together this past Thursday at the club. Thursdays they have a 49er game (for people with less than 50 Master Points) and an open game (for people with more). Since Jim has 180 or so, we were in the open game, and got a 3-way tie for 2nd out of 4 partnerships (there was a winner, and everyone else tied; it was kind of weird). It was my first IMPs game (slightly different scoring system), so I was thrown off a bit. Still, no dice. Jim and I then played in St. Paul on Sunday and came in slightly below average out of 14 or so tables. Finally, we played tonight. We had been doing OK but not great, and I thought that we could certainly get points in the C stratification. With 31 of the 32 boards scored, we were tied for 3rd in C, which gets half a Master Point. However, that last board came in, and bumped us down to 4th, which gets nothing. This entry is called “0 for 9” because at each of these games, there are 3 things I’m trying to do: successfully use Smolen Transfers (we’re playing them, but the situation hasn’t come up to use them yet), successfully pull off a squeeze play (I’ve found 2 situations where I tried, but I messed up one and got a bad trump split in the other), or become a Junior Master, which still hasn’t quite happened. Argh! We’re giving it one more shot tomorrow, and I fear that will be the end of bridge this summer. I’d really like to be 1 for 12 in my goals here (preferably 2 for 12, but I can’t be picky at this point). There were at least 3 boards that I should have played better this evening, including 2 cold slams that I considered bidding but shied away from in the end. Well, we’ll see what tomorrow holds, I guess…

A memorable hand from this evening →

Quick addendum about bridge: my favourite hand of the night

On one hand, I pick up a hand with Ace-Queen-Jack-fifth in both spades and clubs, and open 1S. My left-hand opponent overcalls 2H, and Jim passes. I think to myself, finally! a chance to use Mel’s Complete Count! (Mel Colchamiro invented MCC as an approximation to determine when to continue bidding after opening a 2-suited hand with no help from partner and interference from the opponents. The situation almost never comes up, but when it does, you get pretty confused and worried trying to decide whether to bid on). However, before I could get that far, my right-hand opponent bid… 3C. She had 5 clubs, and I had another 5 of them, finessing the crap out of her! I quietly passed, and the opponents worked their way up to 3NT, at which point I doubled. Jim lead the Ten of spades, and I saw that Dummy had the King of clubs and Nine of spades (note that I had the Eight) but Declarer had the King of spades. However, she held up on the first trick, and took my Jack of spades with it on the second (Jim had continued with a low spade, showing a doubleton, and Dummy played her Nine). We then went through six red tricks, and Jim started to look pretty worried about my double. At last, Declarer let the Jack of clubs ride around to me, and I claimed the remaining 5 tricks with my Queen-Ace of clubs and Ace-Queen-Eight of spades. We got a score of +500 for the hand!

That was one of our two top boards. We also took three second-from-tops and two more tied-for-second-from-top. Our worst boards, however, were merely fourth-from-bottom. Hot damn!

Yes, it’s another bridge entry…

Sunday, much to my surprise, my old bridge partner Jim called me up. He had been suspecting that I’d be back in town sometime soon, and was wondering if I’d like to play with him again. This was really touching, since we had only really played together 3 or so times before, and I hadn’t told him when I’d be back in town! So I was thrilled. We went to the Tuesday game, which is really large because they charge a little bit extra, award a few extra Master Points, and donate money to some sort of charity/fund thing. There were 15 tables there! Jim and I played surprisingly well – I counted 1 big mistake that I made, 2 games that got away from me without me understanding what was going on, and 1 small mistake that Jim made (there were other things we could have done better, but they were pretty small). The coolest part about the evening was that we had absolutely no misunderstandings – certainly we made a couple bad bids, but we at least communicated what we were trying to say. This apparently paid off – we took 2nd place! That is to say, 2nd place over all 15 East-West partnerships (we beat every life master sitting there), and 4th out of all 30 partnerships present. In our stratification(which is only the people with less than 50 Master Points), we took first among the East-Wests and 2nd among everyone. We had an incredible 60.1% game (for you non-bridge types, 50% is perfectly average, less than 35% is abysmally embarrassing, and no one ever breaks 75%. A 100% game would mean that, on every single board, you got the best score in the room). This is the first time I’ve had a 60% game, and only the second time I’ve broken 55%, so I was absolutely psyched. Jim quipped that we should take the scoring printout and frame it on the wall. We were given a whopping 1.76 Black Master Points, bringing my total to 4.70. I can almost certainly make Junior Master by the end of the summer (that takes 5 Master Points total). This weekend, there is a larger Sectional tournament that awards Silver Master Points, but I’m going to be in Wisconsin at the time. Boo!

I think the reason Jim and I do so well is that we understand each other almost completely. Bridge partnerships are built on trust and understanding at the bottom, and good performance on top of that. Jim is only a Junior Master and I’m not even that yet, but we can actually communicate with our bids and discards, and this information allows us to each do our parts better than if we only had a vague idea of what was going on. I think this is why Sheri and I did OK but not great – we have pretty good performance, but we are a bit weak on the understanding and severely lacking in trust, and that was pretty frustrating. I wish I could find someone like Jim out in California.

On an unrelated note, I spent today hanging out with Hansford, who is doing an REU up at the U of M. We went canoing on Lake Calhoun (and Lake of the Isles and that one next to it and even up to Brownie Lake), which was pretty cool. Hansford had never been canoing before. He then came over for dinner and we hung out and played Set and Xactika and stuff. It was pretty low-key, but a lot of fun.

Double, double, toil, and trouble

As promised, here is a hand we played this evening at bridge club, as copied down by Andrew’s computer. Andrew was North, Kai was East, I was South, and Carrie was West. Kai opens with 1D, and I double (a classic example of a Takeout Double). Carrie passes and Andrew bids 1S. Undeterred, Kai bids 2H, which I double (this time it’s a Penalty Double). Carrie passes, and after a pause, Andrew passes as well. Kai gets scared and runs to 2NT, which I am happy to double (penalty again), and then Kai continues to 3D. At this point, I lose my confidence, and pass. Andrew, however, does a Penalty Double of his own before everyone passes. In the end, we took 1 spade trick, 2 diamonds, 1 club, and 3 hearts (one of which is a ruff), and another trick somewhere (I don’t remember if it was another heart ruff or another spade, but there was something else in there) for a total score of 800. Had we bid more and doubled less, we probably could not have made game, let alone grabbed 800 points. It was a lot of fun to bid – I’ve never made 3 doubles in a row before.

Last night, Sherri and I went to Bridge Etc for their last game at that location. It was the biggest turnout they’ve had in as long as anyone can remember – there were 11 tables! While it was a lot of fun, we took dead last, with a 36% game. Sherri hadn’t gotten much sleep last night, and was only semi-coherent. She and I are also not yet used to each other’s bidding styles (over the summer she played with a really good player in Oregon, and picked up a lot of bidding conventions I’m not used to). Not only that, but we’re both used to having more agressive partners, so neither of us bid as high as we should have. And then on top of all that, we both made some stupid, stupid mistakes. Still, it was fun. Afterwards, I stayed after to help Tom move some of the stuff to Mudd (remember that they’re coming to Mudd to play every Monday starting the day after tomorrow). We now have 3 more tables, 16 chairs, and a complete set of 36 trays. \/\/00T! Before now, we’ve been using the only consecutive 8 we have, and we have to stop and shuffle every 8 hands. Now, we can shuffle a bunch at the beginning and then play through the whole night.