Al The Plumber

Meck, Me & Meager HCP’s

Hi Folks!

Looking for a Louisville warm-up hand?  Here’s one that you might try.  Or it also should be SUITable if you want to stay nice and warm at home.  But first —

Have you heard about the recently announced online “Partnership Desk” program that is a mutual “undertaking” between the ACBL and the associated funereally adept federal govts of its members?

You may be familiar with the incredibly accurate govt estimates of many measurements that are stated as ranges.  An example is each politician’s gross loot.  Sometimes, it is expressed in exponential ranges (say in $’s) such as <104,104-105,105-106,106-107, >107, etc.  Well, I guess such types of data certainly are more than good enough for govt or ACBL work.

Like zillions of other web functions, the new whiz-bang procedure matches people or facsimiles thereof called bridge addicts.  I’m interested in hand-shaking progress so I filled out the form.  I supplied the requested “accomplishments” and “style” ranges as follows:

World Championships: <101

Master Points: 105-106

Bidding Exuberance: >10infinity+1

Amazingly, a few matches were close enough for the afore-mentioned govt/ACBL work.  One involved someone whose Bidding Exuberance range was “only” 10infinity-10infinity+1.  (Of course, some novice analysts believe that these ranges should NOT be ultra high for both pards.  Obviously, they have no concept of POWER BIDDING.)  Other than that our ranges matched perfectly!!!  This one was a guy named Meck.  Actually, he had a much longer name, but my brain is so cluttered w/ preempts, overbids, psyches, etc., that I didn’t have room for the rest of the letters.

Any statistics expert who is worth his weight in masterpoints can verify that all of this is a slam-dunk, and a grand one at that!  Naturally, or artificially, we were both eager to try out this system.  It happens that a friend of his named Rod something or other was also a great match.  I heard them say something about “Spare the Rod, and …”  Anyway, he played at the other table in a FL Regl Swiss T4.  At the end of another grueling iron player bridge-a-thon, this hand popped into existence:


North (Meck)

 A 7 5 4 3


 A K 7 5 2

 8 6 3

South (Al)

 K Q J 6 2

 A 10 9 8 3

 10 3



NS Vul. S dealer. IMPs (Big surprise!)


My recollection of the spots may be spotty, but once again, they are close enough for ACBL work.  Naturally, neither of you has the spade T, 9, or 8.



The bidding spun upward at the expected rate:

South West North East
1 4 5 Pass
 6  Float    


Strange game — this thing called bridge.  Some peculiar players don’t think 10 HCP is enough to open, even with other great alibis such as in this collection.  However, before the first round of bidding was over, I knew that Meck apparently mainly cared how spectacular my club(s) were.  There was a good chance that my HA would be great for discarding on my pard’s diamonds and/or spades.

Not only that, w/ merely 2 diamonds, I probably could set up his suit even if he was being exuberant again (e.g., no DQ, no super length, etc).

BTW, I could also see that apparently Meck only wants me to have Kxxxx (maybe w/ a Q and/or J for laughable duplication, maybe on rare occasions semi-so, if an 18-wheeler were needed to roll this thing home) in a suit & out elsewhere to open.  This guy really must be a great player!  So w/ probably 3-6 working points, naturally I bid slam, expecting (hoping?) that it would be gin.

The play:

[For what it’s worth: It appeared that our opps might have been Flt. B or C players.  I didn’t remember having played against them.  Probably I’ve played in enough non-Northern FL Regl events (even disregarding bracketed KO’s) to meet up w/ a lot of the rather frequent players – quite a few times in many cases.]

T. 1&2: W played CAK w/ E playing the 2 and then the 7.

Assume that they play standard defense w/o a way to ask for count at high levels.

What is your plan?

Oh yeah, one other thing before you start.  Reportedly, Meck swings a mean golf club, or actually a whole bunch that are in his bag of tricks.  He doesn’t seem to have those weapons at the table, but they might be in his car or hotel.  It seems advisable to make this thing by the book, or by hook, or by crook, or by even a menacing look.  Otherwise, you’ll be lucky to be playing even in “club” games.

What’s your plan, w/ some detail for eventualities, please?

Go to it!


Al the Plumber


PatrickMarch 11th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Can I give West seven clubs, despite the low-high by East? In that case, start with: Ruff, heart ruff, spade to king.

If everybody has followed suit, you should be cold. Lead ace of hearts (pitching a DIAMOND) and a heart; if West started with only two hearts, you can ruff, cash the AK of diamonds, and crossruff the rest of the hand (ruffing the club first). The point is that the top two diamonds will live. (If West had one heart and ruffs the ace, then diamonds should still be 3-3 and you’ll survive by overruffing and setting up the diamonds.)

If West has a third heart, you can ruff, spade to queen, heart ruff with ace, club ruff, last trump. In the end position, dummy has the AKx of diamonds and declarer has x of hearts and xx of diamonds. Presumably East was guarding both hearts and diamonds since West was either 1=3=2=7 or 2=3=1=7 (or maybe he had four hearts, in which case you’re ok too).

If West has three spades, I should be able to squeeze East in the reds as above.

If West is void in spades, I might be in some trouble. I’ll have to think about that one some more!

JeffMarch 14th, 2011 at 12:03 am

After club lost and club ruff, HA pitching a diamond, H ruff in dummy, S to SK in hand, D toward dummy winning DA, C ruff in hand. That’s six of seven tricks in, with lead in my hand and dummy holding SAxx and DKxx and my hand holding SQJ, HT98, and DT. Lead another diamond toward dummy.

All that I am focused on is leading toward dummy’s diamond honors so that if LHO is void in diamonds, he is not ruffing a winner. If I succeed in having all three of my high red honors as winners, then I hope to bring home nine ruffing tricks. I think it is right to have pitched a diamond on HA rather than a club because I know that I can ruff (or overruff a club in my hand, but not so sure about diamond ruffs in my hand)

PatrickMarch 14th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I don’t think leading diamonds toward dummy is any improvement; you won’t be too happy that LHO is ruffing a loser when it is the setting trick! You’ve already lost a club.

Allan StauberMarch 17th, 2011 at 3:20 am

Hi Patrick, Jeff & Others,

I haven’t forgotten about this hand. Due to all The Louisville Natls action, replies are coming in at a much slower rate than usual. I’ll comment after another day or 2.

Therefore, there also is still time for other players to demonstrate their declarer play expertise!


Al the Plumber

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