Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Squeeze

So, with not much better to do on Christmas Eve, I was playing against some friends online when this hand came up. As usual, I overbid a little, and partner put me someplace dangerous.



After I had upgraded my 18 count, I had to justify myself by making 6NT. The lead was the S9, 3, J and I won with the ace. Basically I needed something to work for me. Based on the lead, I was fairly sure my RHO had the SQJ, and if the club honors were split, I was very well placed for either a squeeze or if they were 3-3 then it would be easy. The other option was the heart finesse. The heart finesse was obviously 50%, and the club position was interesting. 3-3 clubs with the honors split makes it easy. 3-3 or 4-2 clubs with the honors with LHO makes it easy. 5-1 clubs presents squeeze options. If the clubs are split and 4-2, then I only have trouble when LHO has four, since I can pick up 2-4 clubs. Anyway, I figured this rated to be roughly 70%, and clearly a better line.

So, I played the Jack of clubs and let it ride, losing to the king. Back came a diamond, which I won in hand, and led a club to the 8. When that held, I cashed the CA pitching a heart from my hand. Next I ran the diamonds except for 1 and cashed the SK, coming down to this end position:






When I cash my last diamond, there are two possibilities:

1: LHO has the HK. On my last diamond, LHO will be squeezed in Clubs and Hearts. If they pitch a club, I have a club winner in dummy, and if they pitch a heart then I win the last 2 tricks with the HA and HT without a guess.

2: RHO has the HK. On my last diamond, LHO can safely pitch a heart. Now once again, RHO either has to bare the HK or pitch the SQ. Either way I have the rest. What if RHO bares his HK... How do I know? Well, since I know LHO has 1H and 1C remaining, if the HK doesn't show up when I lead a heart up to dummy, then I know that RHO has bared the HK. I'm not exactly sure how to classify this one... 3 suit showup squeeze maybe? Either way, it was fun and looked good for all the specs ;)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Been gone soooo long, sorry!

I keep saying that I will keep this blog updated, and I keep being too lazy to do so. I'm fed up with myself and this must stop. I'm gonna try to start talking a little bit about my travelling that I do. I suppose I'll start with San Diego, and hopefully update more after Orlando+Myrtle Beach etc...

So, San Diego. I left on Thanksgiving Day, and it's a weird feeling to be travelling during the daytime, and the airport is completely empty! I flew American, which means that I have to lie about my age when I travel, since under 15 has to fly as an unaccompanied minor, which means I have to pay $100 and cannot take most connecting flights. I paid my fees for the first bag (ugh, I <3 Southwest), and went on my way. After making some phone calls in Tampa, I boarded the plane, with an aisle seat, and slept. My connecting flight was in Dallas, where there were several bridge players on my flight... after all, who the hell flies from Dallas to San Diego at 5PM Thanksgiving Day?! Both flights were nice, but the closest thing I had to thanksgiving dinner was the Chicken I grabbed for lunch.

Upon arriving at the playing site around 645PM, I tried to check in, only to be informed that people who are under the age of 18 cannot check in alone... So I grabbed a friend walking by, and asked them to be my "guardian" for my hotel room. This worked well, and I was checked in by 710PM... I decided to look around and see if there was anyone interested in playing the evening session. I bumped into a friend about 5 minutes to game time, ordered a little something to eat from the bar, and sat down to begin playing... I knew the tournament had begun as I was eating my food while playing cards. No other game is that... insane =)

After starting with like a 46% game, I didn't exactly feel great. I went to bed, and began the LM pairs the next day with Andrew Gumperz. We had an excellent game (59%) in the afternoon, but had a total disaster in the evening, and we didn't Q. It was a real disappointment, since I knew both Andrew and I were good players, and were a pretty strong partnership. We were both so ridiculously tired though, that there was no possible way we could do well. I missed his signals and he missed my bids, we were a comedy show. We played the "consolation" A/X pairs the next day, and were 2nd overall in that, which was a nice showing.

Then came the open BAM, my partner for the BAM was Mike Levinson, who is completely blind, and has to have his cards read to him before every board. It was quite an experience, but we did very well, eventually finishing 29th in the BAM. He was an amazing player (both physically and mentally) and great person. Our team was Andrew Gumperz, Richard Reitman, T-C Yang and Pat Galligan.

I was on a roll now, but didn't have a partner for the Blue Ribbon Pairs. Sunday night however, Jenni Carmichael posted that she was looking for a partner, so I wound up playing the Mini-Blues with her. We did well the first day, despite both being very tired and borderline sick. The second day however, turned into what I would call the worst thing that has happened to be at any bridge tournament... No, we didn't come in 2nd. I had to stop playing after the 2nd round of the first session. I had terrible Vertigo, and was delirious. My blood pressure was like 70/30, and I was going downhill fast. My roommate came back to the room to find me asleep on my bed. He knew I was supposed to be playing then, and so he woke me up to ask me what happened. From here it's a blur for me, but according to him, I was incoherent and hallucinating. He called the paramedics, and I spent the night in ICU at a local hospital, where they managed my blood pressure and kept a watch on me.

I woke the next morning, and began rearranging my trip and seeing when my father could come in. He flew in that afternoon from Chicago, and stayed with me. I was feeling insanely better, but still didn't know what exactly I had. It wasn't until a little later that day I found out that I had Swine Flu. I had no previous problems, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks. 0 to 60 in a few hours. My blood pressure had stabilized, and it looked like I might be able to get out of the hospital within a few days.

Friday was a good day for me. I was able to eat solid foods again without trouble, and I was able to walk again, which felt quite nice. I was discharged Friday night, and my father and I checked into a Residence Inn, our home for the next 5 days until I could fly home.

The next few days were relatively uneventful, I spent all my time in the hotel room, and my father spent most of his time washing his hands. He must have washed them about 10 times every hour, but needless to say, he is well, and never got sick. Even though he spent several days isolated in a room with me, amazingly he was fine. I spent some time trying to walk around more, and was pleased that I was able to walk much better than the previous days.

Our final day in San Diego was a welcome one. I'm not usually glad to come home after a bridge trip, but I was thrilled to finally be going home after what happened to me. The plane ride was nice, and unfortunately I flew American back. If I had flown Southwest, I think I would have worn my mask, and coughed the entire time while people were boarding... I'd have the whole row to myself!!

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm home and well, and back on BBO. My next trip will be to Myrtle Beach, then directly to Orlando for the regional there. After that I'll be going on a family cruise and then back home. More on that later (I promise!!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

(Yet another) Blog

I have another blog I created for System Notes with Sean. Both of us are admins and will post system related info when available, the new blog is at:

Feel free to read, post comments and ask questions. We are completely "renovating" the 1C responses, and will have another system notes avaibable after.

For everyone's benefit I will leave up the old system notes also, and continue to update them with most changes, however the new ones will be what we will currently be using. More on that when I finish them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adam Kaplan - Sean Gannon System Notes: Online!!

Here is a link to a webpage I will keep updated of Me and Sean's notes, anyone can view it, and it has some very interesting/useful material... Such as the 1D-2H Size Ask, our system for interfering with a strong club, Hitchhiker over 1NT, many relays and much much more :)


Friday, August 28, 2009


Sorry for not updating this in... well, forever. I just got back from Turkey on Tuesday, and spent a few days in NY before returning home yesterday. In Turkey, we spent 2 days touring around, visited some bazaars etc, and then played about 9 days of bridge... Quite tiring over periods of time. The USBF sent 2 teams... USA Blue (Justin Lall, Jeremy Fournier, Matt Meckstroth, Kevin Dwyer, Kevin Fay, Jason Chiu) and USA Red (Me, Cameron Shunta, Alex Hudson, John Marriott, Owen Lien, Zach Brescoll), USA Blue got off to a flying start in the Swiss, winning every match, they squeaked by in the Quarterfinal by 1 IMP, but lost in the Semi-Final to Italy. They won the playoff for the bronze medal against the Dutch. We on the other hand, failed to qualify in the swiss teams, so we played the BAM. After recovering from a 6.5/15 board session the first round, we won the Bronze in the BAM. Turkey was a success and I now have my BBO Star... what more could I ask for?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An update

OK, sorry for not updating this blog in like forever, I've been really busy, and I will continue to be. In fact, I will be home for about 2 or 3 days in the next month and a half. I will be in DC for the National Tournament, and may be on Vugraph the 2nd Friday... There is also a good chance I will operate vugraph sometime while I am there, so I'll try to keep everyone updated.

After that, I am headed home for a day, then I leave for NY, where I will spend a night, before going to MA for a few days for a relative's 80's birthday.

Finally I am going to be going to Turkey from NY on August 12th until August 25th. It is my first international tournament, and I'm really excited!

Upon returning from Turkey, I will spend a few more days to recover in NY, then will be home for about 2 days before I leave for the Atlanta regional! So, I will be insanely busy... I'm glad I have several suitcases.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Bridge Dictionary

Over this past weekend I have created a Dictionary of Bridge Terms (parodied of course). It's set up as a blog, and is located at:


Friday, June 5, 2009

The Three Suit Squeeze

Playing on BBO today with Jakob, I found the oppurtunity for a rare, but extremely fun techinque: A Three Suit Squeeze. It's not often that you are able to squeeze the opponents in 3 suits, since usually you need more than 1 suit to reduce and strip down their guards in several suits. However sometimes you find a position where you squeeze one opponent in 2 suits, one if he pitches, it's easy, and if he pitches the other, his partner gets squeezed in 1 of the same suits, and another one also. Here is the hand (Played in 3NT):

I received the 6 of Spade lead, which I ducked in dummy, RHO playing the 8 and I won the Ace. I led a Diamond to the ten, and RHO won, played a spade to LHO's King and the Jack of Spades back, won in dummy pitching a small heart from my hand, I now ran all my diamonds, and the position with 1 diamond to go from my hand, was:

When I play my last diamond from my hand, LHO can pitch whatever he wants, but RHO is stuck. He can be squeezed, or he can create a squeeze on his partner. If he pitches a club, my 9C sets up. If he pitches a heart, it at first doesn't seem so bad, after all, he still has the club guard. But when I now cash all my clubs, LHO can bare himself down to the Ten of Spades and the KQ of Hearts, but on my last high club, LHO is squeezed also. If he pitches his spade, my 9 is good in dummy, if he pitches a heart, because his partner was squeezed into letting go of a heart, dummy's 9 of Hearts is now good. Squeezes are so much fun!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Palm Beach Gardens - Part 2

Palm Beach was somewhat small for the morning sessions, and in fact 3 of the 5 morning sessions were cancelled. I played every session I could, in addition to playing some on BBO throughout the week. We won 1 Knockout and made it to the Semi-Finals of two others, then on Saturday, played a Bracketed Swiss Teams, where we played top bracket in the B flight. We had won our first 3 rounds by 13, 29 and 23 IMPs, and were playing the top team in the bracket, when this hand came up:

Much to my surprise, RHO opened 2C! We were Vul. and they were not, so this hand became quite a problem for me. I was kind of glad I was given 10 seconds to think after RHO's skip bid, but I really wanted more time. After some thought, I decided that 4S rated to put the Maximum amount of pressure on the 2C opener, who probably had tons of red cards. It also didn't look like it was going to go down more than 1 or 2, and at IMPs this is another major deciding factor. Over 4S, LHO doubled showing a negative hand, and everyone passed (also much to my surprise). I hate to sound easily startled, but it really shocked me when I saw both hands:

I received the King of Club lead, and unfortunately RHO ruffed, so I finished -1, which appeared to be an decent score, since the full deal was:
(Important Spot Cards Noted)

This layout is actually quite interesting, since East has absolutely no entry to West's hand. West's 8 of Diamonds holds the key to the hand... The solution to make 4H is to play the Ace of Diamonds and Queen of diamonds, then play a Diamond to the eight, now you only lose 2D and 1S, whereas if you do not lead up to the eight, North's seven becomes promoted... Sadly, our teammate was not watching the spots, and promoted the 7 of Diamonds for North at the other table, for a 6 IMP loss, however this is a perfect example of why even the littlest of cards are important! We lost this round by 3 IMPs, as a result of this board, however we went on to win the event handily after blitzing all the remaining matches. I finished the tournament 19th in Overall Masterpoint winners... With 52.95 points. My partner was Steve Wallis for the week, and we had a blast experimenting with precision stuff!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Palm Beach Gardens - Part 1

Sorry for not updating the blog for a while, I have been very busy. I was in Palm Beach Gardens at the regional tournament there for the past week, there weren't too many really wild hands, but one from the Monday Night session was quite memorable! The 2nd board of the entire tournament, playing with a very good partner, who however is playing precision for only his 2nd time, so we were going to have to work through that a little bit. I pick up my hand, in 2nd seat all vulnerable I hold:

So I of course open 1C, and partner makes the expected 1D response showing 0-7 HCP. Now I ran through a lot of options in my hand, but finally decided to bid 1430 for Diamonds, since all I really cared about was the King of Diamonds and the Ace of Hearts. It was a brilliant plan I thought... Partner denied any keycards, and undeterred I bid 6S and earned myself this beautiful dummy:

I was kinda stuck, after all, I had no entries to dummy, and received a club lead. Luckily trumps split 3-3, but even then, there was only one hope... A squeeze creating an endplay. As long as the King of Diamonds is in the hand with the ace of hearts, and I read the cards correctly, I can make. So I ran off 5 spades, and all my clubs, making sure to preserve 3 hearts and diamond in dummy. On these LHO followed to all of the clubs, and pitched 2 small diamonds. RHO followed to 2 clubs, and pitched 2 hearts and 2 diamonds, leaving this ending:

On my last Spade, LHO can pitch a Heart or a Diamond, but RHO is in trouble. If he pitches a Diamond, I drop his now stiff king. If he pitches a small Heart, I exit with my Heart, and he's endplayed into allowing a Diamond finesse. If he pitches his Ace of Hearts, then I exit my Heart, and LHO is endplayed into either leading a Heart into dummy's good Jack, or leading into my AQ of Diamonds... Either way I have 12 tricks. As it was, RHO was not too imaginative, and pitched a small heart. Now I exited the heart, and took the diamond finesse to make 6, the full deal:

This was a complete top, worth all the matchpoints, and lots of bragging rights too! I'll have more from Palm Beach shortly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Magic in the Trump Suit (Part 1)

Today, searching for a problem hand to give a friend, I stumbled upon some fun play problems. The two I happened upon were on Vugraph in the Nordic Junior Championship Round 9. I was commentating the open room, where Declarer, an Icelandic Junior, went down in a makeable 7D contract by playing carelessly, the other room played 6S making with an overtrick for a 14 IMP swing. Had he made the contract, they would have won 9 IMPs instead. Here was the hand:

You receive the 6H lead, Plan the play.

This hand looks pretty easy unless Diamonds are 4-1. If diamonds are 4-1, you need RHO to have the 4 card Diamond suit, so you can lead through him, eventually finessing him out of his trump trick by ending in dummy at trick 11. This is called a trump coup. In order to successfully execute a trump coup, you need to shorten your hand to the same number of trumps as defender with long trumps. In addition to shortening your hand, you need to be in dummy at trick 11, in other words, you need to be able to lead through the defender with long trumps. Sometimes it will take a little foresight to shorten your hand successfully... This may mean making a play before you know about the bad split as a precaution, so that you have sufficient entries later.

Solution: Win the opening lead with the King in hand, play a trump to the queen and ruff a club to begin shortening yourself simply as a precaution, since anything but a 4-1 Diamond split will see the contract home. Now when you play another trump to dummy and receive the bad news, you will have sufficient entries to execute the trump coup. Now ruff another club from dummy, and play the Jack of Hearts, ducking from dummy, leaving this position:

Cash the Ace of spades from your hand, lead a spade to the queen and lead all your top hearts. North cannot ruff, because then he will give up his trump trick, so North must pitch. You also pitch when North pitches. You repeat this 3 times, pitching the rest of your spades from your hand, ending in dummy at Trick 11 to lead a trump through North, whose trump trick magically disappeared!

The full deal:

The key to the hand was a "what can go wrong" mentality. Ruffing a club before playing the 2ND trump from dummy gives you enough entries to shorten yourself and use this fun technique.

Monday, May 18, 2009

USBF Trials for Turkey - Sunday

We're in! The trials are over, and it was very close for us. We were leading the event for 3 rounds, then we played Bryan Delfs and Andre Asbury... We had several bad boards against them, and then we played Kevin Fay and Jason Chiu the last 2 rounds (it was a swiss movement with playbacks). The first round against them went OK, then the second round, almost nothing went our way. One of our last 4 boards was dreadfully interesting:



I'm not too happy to admit to being either one of the people in this auction, however I am guilty as West. I should have probably bid 2S instead of 3C, and looking back on this... 4S was absolutely awful. Kevin couldn't help doubling, and this was a quick Zero when we were -2.

The next one Jason declared well and the 3rd one I misplayed in 1NT... We needed a top on the last board to qualify. We had the opportunity:



2H Doubled made with an overtrick, which was enough to make us Qualify to go to Turkey!! I was not so worried about the trials itself, I was way more worried about the form of scoring. Having to play Matchpoints was tough for me, since my system and everything about how I play is so tailored towards IMPs. The qualifiers are in bold below:

  1. Justin Lall-Jeremy Fournier 171.76
  2. Matt Meckstroth-Kevin Dwyer 168.66
  3. Kevin Fay-Jason Chiu 156.39
  4. Alex Hudson-John Marriott 155.93
  5. Owen Lien-Zach Brescoll 155.56
  6. Adam Kaplan-Cameron Shunta 148.98
  7. Michael Lieberman-Alevtina Asarina 148.14
  8. Andre Asbury-Bryan Delfs 147.73
  9. Dan Wolkowitz-Peter Zoogman 146.16
  10. Robert Glickman-Sam Katz 145.46
  11. Monica Guo-Argenta Price
  12. Brad Haas-Blake Haas 129.68

For the hands in detail:

Session 1:
Session 2:
Session 3:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

USBF Trials for Turkey - Saturday

Yesterday was the first of wo days of the USBF Trials to go to Turkey in August, I played with Cam Shunta. We had a shaky first session, and had a couple fixes... One where the opponents had a misunderstanding and wound up in 3NT +3, where everyone else was in 4H +2. Unfortunately the trials were Matchpoints, so we got some Zeros on boards like that. The first session we were at 10th, then we and a strong 2nd session, which felt like at least 65% or more... Turned out it was only 55%, so we are going in to today's final session in 6th place. They are sending 2 teams: The top 6 Qualifiers, so that's our goal today. We had a few good boards yesterday... One of them we fixed our opponents, on an amusing misunderstanding:
(Hands Rotated)


1C was strong, 4C was intended as just to set trumps and initiate cuebidding... Cam took it as minorwood. I then took 4D as a cue, and "cued" 4H, which he took as a Queen Ask. He now "showed" the K-H and the Q-C which pushed us too high, since at this point I figured out what he was doing... I confidently bid 6C which I hoped was on a finesse. Well, I was somewhat happy when I saw dummy... I got the Ace of Heart lead, and a Diamond switch... So now all I needed to do was get the Club situation right. I figured that LHO had to have the King of Spades, otherwise he would have switched to a Spade, I also saw the King of Diamonds on my right at Trick 2. When I led the Jack fo Clubs from my hand, LHO hesitated for about 2/3 seconds... Not enough to judge the situation on, especially online. I also thought that LHO might have only bid 1H with Kx Axxxxx xxx Kx or something, so I decided to fly ace after about 4 minutes, and I think that was the first correct guess I have made in ages... But it was a good time to guess well, and I guess all's well that ends well... Even slams off 2 keycards.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adapting Conventions to Precision (Part 2)

A few weeks back, I was thinking about how useless standard Jacoby 2NT is when playing precision. Even Swedish was not much of an improvement, since it still was made for hands up to like 20 HCP. So over the course of the next few days, I devised a structure for Jacoby that fit perfectly with a precision system. Since 1M openings are limited to 15 HCP, with this structure you can show your HCP range within 1 point, and show shortness or the lack thereof and all below 4M. So, here is another improvement for all you precision players:

1M - 2NT:
3♣: 10-11 HCP or 8-9 HCP with Distributional (5-5+) opener
-----3♦: Asking
--------3♥: 10-11 HCP with No Shortness
--------3♠: Distributional Opener (5-5+) 8-9 HCP
--------3NT: Relay Asking 5 Card Suit
-----------4♣: 5♣ + 5M
-----------4♦: 5♦ + 5M
-----------4♥: 5oM + 6M
--------3NT: 10-11 HCP with ♣ Shortness
--------4♣: 10-11 HCP with ♦ Shortness
--------4♦: 10-11 HCP with oM Shortness
--------4♥: 8-9 HCP 6+M-5+m
3♦: 12-13 HCP with Shortness
-----3♥: Asking
--------3♠: ♣ Stiff
--------3NT: ♦ Stiff
--------4♣: oM Stiff
--------4♦: Stiff in Both Minors
--------4♥: Stiff Minor + Stiff oM3♥: 14-15 HCP with Shortness
-----3♠: Asking
--------3NT: ♣ Stiff
--------4♣: ♦ Stiff
--------4♦: oM Stiff
--------4♥: 2 Stiffs
3♠: 12-13 HCP without Shortness
-----3NT: Asking
--------4♣: 5332
--------4♦: Side 4 Card Minor (22)
--------4♥: Side 4 Card Other Major (22)
3NT: 14-15 HCP without Shortness
-----4♣: Asking
--------4♦: 5332
--------4♥: Side 4 Card Suit (22)
4♣: 12-15 HCP with ♣ Void
4♦: 12-15 HCP with ♦ Void
4♥: 12-15 HCP with oM Void

I may post some other systems and things later on, but I don't have too many other significant improvents on a precision system that I have come up with... I'm playing the junior trials this weekend, and we will be using these systems... I'll have more on that when the time comes...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Adapting Conventions to Precision (Part 1)

Today I was talking with Cam Shunta about our system over a precision 1D opener, and I had recently been given a system over 1D where 2H shows a 10-12 Bal. w/o 4 Card Major and opener could bid his hand accordingly or decide where to play the Notrump... with 2S being a relay to 2NT to right side the contract. I then told him that I have developed a relay using 2S, but since we are playing precision it really didn't do much good... We started playing around with ideas, and he came up with a brilliant one: Use 2H as a size ask, so that we could still get out in 2NT with the ugly 11 opener opposite a 12 count. Everything followed from there... We could now also put slam hands into the 2H bid, since with a balanced 19 count, you need to know whether partner has the balanced 11 or the maxed out 15. I figured out a basic structure, which I will add to later on, and everything fit beautifully! So, for all you precision players out there, here is the structure:

1♦ - 2♥ -
-----2♠: 10-11 HCP
--------2NT: Signoff (10-12)
--------3♣: Stayman (18+)
--------3♦: Signoff (10-12)
--------3♥: 5+♥ (18+)
--------3♠: 5+♠ (18+)
--------3NT: Signoff (18-19 HCP)
-----2NT: 12-13 HCP
--------3♣: Stayman (18+)
--------3♦: Signoff (10-11)
--------3♥: 5+♥ (18+)
--------3♠: 5+♠ (18+)
--------3NT: Signoff (12/18)
-----3♣: 14 HCP
--------3♦: Stayman (18+)
--------3♥: 5+♥ (18+)
--------3♠: 5+♠ (18+)
--------3NT: To Play (10-12)
-----3♦: 15 HCP
--------3♥: 5+♥ (18+)
--------3♠: 5+♠ (18+)
--------3NT: Signoff (10-12)
--------4♣: Stayman (18+)
-----3♥: 5♥ 6+♦
--------3♠: Size Reask (18+)
--------3NT: Signoff with Double ♠ Stopper; 2♥ and 3♦ (10-12)
--------4♣: Cuebid (18+)
--------4♦: Minorwood (18+)
--------4♥: Signoff (10-12)
--------4♠: Kickback 1430 (18+)
--------5♦: Signoff (10-12)
-----3♠: 5♠ 6+♦
--------3NT: Signoff with Double ♥ Stopper; 2♠ and 3♦ (10-12)
--------4♣: Size Reask (18+)
--------4♦: Minorwood (18+)
--------4♥: Cuebid (18+)
--------4♠: Signoff (10-12)
--------4NT: 1430 for Spades (10-12)
--------5♦: Signoff (10-12)

Most of this is self explanitory, however there are a few clear advantages at Matchpoints and even at IMPs. First of all, you can stop at 2NT in many auctions where it would otherwise be very difficult... In addition to getting to 3NT whenever you have the values to be there, with no guesswork. It also gives you a scientific way to ask about size below 3NT when you have a slam invitational hand. Along with all this, 2H is a bid so rarely used anyway, that it's not much of a loss, and a big gain. Responder's NT ladder with no 4cM also changes: With 6-9(Bad 10) responder bids 1NT. With (Good)10-12 responder bids 2H. With 13 HCP responder bids 2NT (With 10 opener passes, and anything else, opener bids on). With 14-17 responder bids 3NT. Finally, with 18+, responder starts with 2H and rebids accordingly (I have yet to define the 4C-4NT bids in many auctions, and I will put them in when we figure out what they should show.) This is one of a few system modifications that we have made to accomodate limited openings, more to come later.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Wild One

Yesterday I played 2 sessions at the club with Steve Wallis. We met an hour or so before the game to discuss the system we were going to be playing... Precision. We finished our discussion, and began playing, and had a 65% game. We then went to the St. Petersberg bridge club for the owner's 60th birthday... We began playing that night against the owner and his wife, and they bid 2 slams the first two boards, and we set both. Then they began cuebidding on the 3rd board, and stopped in 5, which made 6 on a finesse. Our first 8 boards seemed to be all tops, and then we got this board:

What would you open the south hand?

I was West... and of course didn't double. Defending 6C Undoubled give us a 4 on a 6 top. It's been a while since I've seen a 10 card suit.

Things went downhill after this board. I found myself in a tough position two boards later, and made a very bad bid:

Partner opened a 13-15 1NT and RHO bid 2S. I couldn't double. I couldn't tank then pass. I had to do something. I didn't want to commit to game, or 3NT. I finally figured something out. If I bid 3C, then maybe, just maybe partner would realize that I was in such a bind and bid 3 of a red suit, which I could pass. Sadly partner foiled my plan by bidding 3NT with his 2443 hand. We can only make 3 of either red suit, but without negative doubles, it's nearly impossible to find.
I couldn't do anything right it seemed... I was on lead 14 times last night. I led the right card twice, and gave up an overtrick/the contract at least 5 times. Despite all that we still managed a 50% game that evening.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just a Nice Auction

I was playing a few days ago with Andy Hung and we had agreed to finish after Board #12. I look at my hand for the last board and see a nice 24 count:


The opponents pass throughout, I opened 2C and Andy bid 2D waiting and GF. I bid 3C, he bid 3D. I bid 3NT, he bid 4C, I bid 4D, he bid 4S, I bid 5H and he bid 7C. It's nice when you can claim a contract without playing to the first trick:


The next time we played we couldn't finish on such a high note, but Andy did finish with a really tough 3NT... :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Few Good Stories

I have so many amusing stories from at the table play. Most of them involve big numbers, but some are just plain funny or ironic. I have always been amused by how some people can be so brilliant away from the table, and yet make fools out of themselves when at the table.

The first one comes from Gatlinburg this past year in the Zip KOs:
All Vulnerable at IMPs, my partner dealt and I held:


I was playing with my father, and he opened 2H, RHO passed, I passed and LHO reopened with a double which was passed back to me. I should have let this go, and accepted my -800, however I chose to try to rescue with a XX. Over my XX, my father held Qx KJ9xxx xxx Qx and saw nowhere good to go... and passed. 2H Redoubled quickly went for 1600, and needless to say, I was in bed early that night. This brought about a new adage that I do not recommend you follow: "When in doubt, pass an SOS Redouble"

My next story was actually published in the bridge bulletin about a year back. I am known in the area for making unmakable contracts, several years back I was playing in a local sectional with Jim Somma, who is one of my local partners. On the ride to the event, we had discussed Minorwood for minors and Kickback for hearts, and I didn't think much of it. We started playing, and the 3rd board in, we change for the next round and sit down to play two ladies. I picked up Kxx AT9 AKQxxx x and opened a strong club. Partner bid a natural and GF 2C, I bid 2D and he bid 4D, which he thought was Kickback, I thought was Minorwood... We eventually wound up in a confidently bid 7NT, and my LHO thinks for a moment before passing and leading a diamond. I see this dummy:



Somehow partner was convinced I had lots of things I didn't have... Anyway, I won the opening lead and led the Queen of Hearts, covered with the king. I proceeded to cash all my red suit tricks, and LHO was squeezed!! My 13th trick was the 8 of clubs, and on that, RHO played the Queen of spades, I played the king, and LHO turned over the ACE!!! She glanced at her partner and said simply: "Gee, I guess I should have cashed this".

The next one is from a Regional in Palm Beach Gardens, where me and Jim were playing in a Knockout Match. Our very first board, I open 1C strong and he bids 7NT. I had 15 HCP with 5-5 Majors and he had 25 HCP. The very next board I open 1C again and he bids 2C, which we had changed to a transfer to Diamonds. I accepted the transfer, he bid 2NT, showing 2 of the top 3 honors with 5D, I bid Minorwood (4D) and he bid 4NT which I comfortably passed. My RHO who was on lead turned to me and asked "Were any of those bids natural?" and I replied a calm "No". She eventually chose a small heart from K98x, I held AQJx and Jim had Txx. It was the only lead that lets 4NT or even 3NT through. How sweet it is.

Finally, the next morning in Palm Beach Gardens, playing in a side pairs, I opened a strong club and LHO turned to my partner and asked "What's that?" he informed them we were playing a strong club, and she then proceeded to ask "How do you know that?". Jim bid 1D and my RHO asked what it meant... I answered that it was Negative 0-7 HCP, and RHO said "Are you sure?" and called the director on me, saying that I was guessing what my partner's bids meant, even after I answered yes. LOL. We of course took 3 tops off these people, but it's amazing what fools they can make of themselves.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Classic Beer

Today, playing online with Doug Dey, I saw an opportunity to build up my bank of alcoholic beverages that people owe me. I was declarer in 4H:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wisdom Gone

Well, the procedure was a breeze, and the aftermath is really the hard part. I'm currently on 3 different medicines... An extreme painkiller, a swelling reducer and an antibiotic. I'll be somewhat tired and stuff for the next couple days, but overall I'm doing pretty well. I will probably just play bridge (badly) tommorow, watch some TV, and rest... Starting tommorow I can have some other things other than a breakfast shake, so I am looking forward to that. Anyway, I'll probably be posting more hands tommorow...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ugh. Wisdom Teeth.

Well, tommorow morning I am going to the dentist to get all four of my wisdom teeth pulled. My appointment is at 9:30 AM, and it should only take an hour or so, but the effects of the Anesthesia won't wear off for a while, so I won't be playing much bridge tommorow, or potentially Wednesday either... or at least not well. Anyway, I have the Trials for Turkey coming up soon, and I'll post more on that later.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

With Garozzo

Today I was asked by Valerie Westheimer to play with her in a match with our teammates as Benito Garozzo and Federico Primavera. I gladly accepted, and we started at 4:15PM today, I had made sure I didn't stay up past midnight last night so I had a brain. Anyway... We started playing and I was immeadiately put to the test with two tough hands.

The first one the auction went 1H by me, 1S by Val, 2C by me and 2H by Val. She was put in an awful position with A9xx xx KJTxxxx - and had to bid 2H once she committed herself with 1S. Arguably 1NT may be a better call with her hand, although it will often miss spade fits which may make game, when instead we are in a diamond partial. I liked 1S, but had a challenge in 2H, with my Qxx AKQ9x x Q9xx. I won the trump lead in hand and ruffed a club in dummy. I then led a small spade which RHO won with the king. Now, he made the mistake of returning the Jack of spades, which allowed me to win in hand, draw trump and lead a spade to my 9, making 3S, 5H, 0D, 1C Ruff... for an overtrick. Needless to say, this was a push, since they raised Spades with my hand instead of bidding 2C.

The second board of the 20 boards, I opened 1D on Ax Tx AQT9x Qxxx, LHO bid 2C and Valerie made a Negative Double. I opted for 2D which became the final contract. I received the Ace of Club lead and dummy held KQxx A9xxx 8 8xx. LHO then switched to the Queen of Hearts, which I won in dummy and played 3 rounds of Spades, all following, and pitched my heart. I then ruffed a Heart, and exited a club. LHO won, and returned the Jack of Spades, which RHO ruffed with the 6, and I overruffed and exited another club. Now LHO can hold me to 2 by cashing his last club, but instead led a trump, which I won in hand and exitted my final club and RHO ruffed perforce. Finally RHO had the Kx of Diamonds and I had the AT and finessed the Ten to make 3. Once again we only won 1 IMP, since they played 2C making 2 at the other table, but these small hands where I can salvage a plus score certainly are fun! In the end we wound up winning against Israel by 12, but it was a lot of fun, and I hope to do it again soon! Also, I promise I will start using handviewer shortly, which will make it much easier to visualize the hands, I just need to work out a few kinks with it...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Playing JEC

Me and several other Juniors (Cam Shunta "goon1407", Jakob Rohde "jakob_r", and Robert Stephens "rob88s") had the honor to play Jimmy Cayne today. We were down 20 after the first 3 boards, but recovered and were leading for several boards 29-24. Then Jimmy got to declare 4 hands in a row, where I started dropping defensive tricks like they were going out of style. It seemed that I couldn't guess anything right. In the end we wound up losing by 38 IMPs, which was respectable, but it could have been much better. On the first board I was put to a guess, and failed. Here was the hand: (8S lead. Opponents play Standard Carding and 4th best leads. What's your T1 play?)



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grand Slamming My Head Against a Wall

After you decided to open an agressive 2C, RHO bid 2S over partner's 2D. You continue to have a nice auction up to 7H. You receive* the 8 of clubs lead, plan the play:



I'll give the full hand in a day or two. *Edited Spelling

My First Post...

Hey Everyone, this is my first blog so you'll have to bear with me. I'm Adam Kaplan, I'm 13 years old and I'm homeschooled. I also happen to be obsessed with bridge. Most of my posts on this blog will be relating to bridge in some way. I will try to keep it updated with interesting hands and other happenings when I can. Since I am homeschooled, I am able to travel to a lot of bridge tournements and after I finish doing my schoolwork for the day I have a lot of time to devote to bridge, and am working on designing my own system. I'll post some hands shortly, enjoy!