|To Bid or Not To Bid, That is the Question|
|Wednesday, May 20, 2009|
Congratulations to Adam Kaplan and his partner Cameron Shunta for qualifying for the World Junior Championships to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in mid-August. As I eyed Adam’s play, I marveled at how far this 13-year-old has come since I first played bridge with him over six years ago. I don’t know how much I have influenced him, but by all standards Adam is a force to be reckoned with. For details on the qualifying session, go to usbf.org and follow Adam’s play. Click on mtvesuvius, Adam’s moniker on Bridge Base Online (BBO).
It was just an overcall
If you play against opponents who use a Big Club system, bid judiciously or you may be looking at a -800 or worse result. To wit: with both sides red, in first seat, I held: S-AQxxx, H-x, D-Kxx, C-AKJx, and I opened 1 Club. LHO had an opening hand and decided to show it by bidding 2 Hearts. Adam plunked down the red card and RHO fidgeted before passing as did I. Adam lead a low spade and the rout was on. My ace-queen sat over dummy’s king so I won the queen and cashed the ace-king of clubs as Adam discarded two low diamonds. A diamond ruff, a spade to my ace, and a club ruff gave us the first six tricks, Adam was sure of two trump tricks with the king-jack and I scored the DK for a nifty +1,100. Adam had six hearts and a club void and LHO had six hearts with the ace-queen and the ace-queen of diamonds. As he sheepishly put his hand back into the tray, he said to his partner, “It was just an overcall.”
The first Youth North American Bridge Championships for players under age 20 took place in Atlanta in July of 2008. Adam and his five partners (Owen Lien, Zachary Brescoll, Bradley Sevcik, Jourdain Patchett, and Jesse Stern) won the Swiss Team Championship. The following hand illustrates why. In first seat, red, Adam held: S-Kxxx, H-Kxxx, D-AQx, C-Ax and opened 1 NT. LHO passed and Brad bid 2 Hearts (spade transfer). After Adam bid 2 Spades, Brad invited by bidding 3 Spades. It didn’t take Adam long to bid the game. LHO, who held a 14-count hand, was on the horns of a dilemma on the first lead. He knew his partner must be broke so he aggressively led a low diamond which rode into Adam’s queen-ace combo. Adam won the queen and led a low spade, LHO playing the jack which was won by dummy’s queen. A diamond to the ace was followed by the CA and a low club led to dummy’s K-J combo. LHO hesitated ever so slightly but it was enough for Adam to finesse the jack, cash the king to discard a heart, and throw LHO in with a spade to the ace. LHO did the best he could by taking his HA but that was it. Plus 650 was worth 7-1/2 out of 8.
You told me how to play it
In a sectional in first seat, both red, I hold: S-AQJx, H-KJx, D-Axx, C-Axx, and I open 1 Club. Adam bids 1 Spade and RHO starts to reach for the bidding box, then passes. I support spades and Adam bids the game. RHO leads and as I table the dummy, Adam’s eyes light up. Adam wins in his hand and leads a spade to my ace. A spade to his king
Sincerely, Jim Somma
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