When you get good cards, you’re obligated to get the most out of them

Tina “Gimme Some Cards!” Pirelli likes to have good cards dealt to her, but in bridge, that also imposes the obligation to bid them right and get the most out of them.

Tina achieved the first goal at the Tuesday luncheon meeting of the PBP Bridge Club, as she and partner Pieter “Cy the Cynic” VanBennekom got most of the good cards, but not the second one, as they failed to make a Game and a Slam that were there for the taking.

Still, they took the session by a total score of 2,000 points to 400 as they won the only completed Rubber, two Games to none, with a 4 Spades contract played by Tina and a 3 No-Trump one played by “Cy.”

Tina and “Cy” also got the only Game in the second unfinished Rubber when “Cy” made a 4 Spades contract, but with two overtricks. That Game should have been a Small Slam. Tina had 21 points and opened only a Club. After “Cy” responded a Spade, she said 2 Clubs. “Cy” then mentioned a second suit at 2 Hearts and Tina responded 2 No-Trump, after which “Cy” raised to Game in 4 Spades.

Tina missed no fewer than three chances to indicate the extra strength of her hand. She should have opened 2 No-Trump, after which “Cy” (which his 9 points and a void in Clubs) would immediately be looking for a Slam fit. She could have given a second-round jump to 3 Clubs instead of just a simple raise to 2 Clubs. And after “Cy” bid 4 Spades, she could still have asked for Aces. But, all three chances were missed and “Cy” had no reason to beleive that Tina had more than a minimum opening.

In the other co-featured hand of the day, Tina misplayed a makeable 3 No-Trump contract when she failed to unblock three good Diamond tricks in dummy. She had Ace-Queen doubleton in Diamonds in her hand while the dummy had King-Jack-10-9-8 in the suit. She thought she was happy to win the first Diamond lead in her hand with her lowest Diamond, the Queen, only to see the happy smile disappear from her face very quickly when she realized she’d never be able to get back to the dummy to collect the rest of her Diamonds.

Lesson learned: If you’re trying to run a suit, unblock it by playing the high cards from your short side first. She should have taken the first Diamond trick with the Ace in her hand, then overtaken the Queen from her hand with dummy’s King to run the rest of the Diamonds and make her contract with an overtrick instead of going Down One.

Making the Slam and the Game would have meant a 2,700-point margin instead of the 1,600 that the winners got. The session was a great reminder that bridge is all about how you play the cards you get — not just getting the cards.

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