A Session with Danny Miles

So here we are in Stratford, ON for another session of duplicate bridge. This time out, I've brought one of my favourite partners, Danny Miles. Unfortunately, he hasn't had much sleep or food, but he has had a frustrating day at work. I am fully prepared for a night of kamikaze results, but I'm not depressed because the field probably won't kill us for every mistake we make. It could be anybody's game.

I do not intend to summarize the entire game from beginning to end. However, here are some interesting decisions which I had to make, which could've worked out better for us.

Note: As a convention, during the bidding, I am sitting in the South chair and Danny is sitting North. However, in the play diagrams, the declarer is always seated South. Please to not be alarmed at my tendency to jump from seat to seat between the bidding and the play.

The first round begins and we're sitting against Andrea and Dee. On the second board of a 3 board set, I picked up:

Vul: None
S 8 7   H A K   D A 9 7 4 3   C J 8 3 2

Danny PASSES, righty PASSES and it's my turn. I ponder opening this motley crew a weak 1NT, which in our system would show a balanced hand of 11 to 14 HCP. But I'm not thrilled with the spade stopper, the inflexible hearts and my lack of spots in the suits I might develop. Besides, if I open ONE DIAMOND, nothing partner responds will embarrass me out of rebidding 2C.

So it is done. Lefty PASSES, partner bids ONE NOTRUMP which is PASSED to me. Ugh­ I'm embarrassed. What a decision. Danny has denied a 4 card major, which implies he has at least 7 minor suit cards. At least a fit in a minor suit is assured should I choose 2C like I originally intended. If this was IMPS, then I would bid 2C without question, but at matchpoints it is a different story.

If I can make 7 tricks in 1NT and 8 tricks in 2 of a minor, then it doesn't matter what action I take because they both score 90 points. But if I can make 8 tricks in 1NT for 120 points, then I'll need to make 10 tricks in a minor suit to meet the balance. Not fun. In fact, given the auction so far, the opponent's have two 8­card major suit fits and they haven't yet entered our auction! My guess is that partner is at his maximum or I caught lefty with a big hand with no good bid.

But how will notrump do? I would expect a major suit lead. A spade lead might give Danny an extra tempo, but he might only have one stopper regardless. Could it be worse on a heart lead? Lefty will get in eventually and fire a spade through­ curtains! Bah­ we're likely to go down in notrump against normal defense. I bid TWO CLUBS and hope for the best.

Danny takes preference to TWO DIAMONDS which ends the auction. Actually, the less the opponents bid, the less I like the probable outstanding distribution. The ACE OF CLUBS faces the table as well as the following dummy.