The Fives of Spades

Playing in a local duplicate against average opposition, I pick up with both sides vulnerable:
 S:A742 H:KQ742 D:QJ C:Q4
We are playing the Flannery convention whereby a 2D: opening bid shows 11-15 high card points, 4 spades, and 5 hearts. This hand certainly qualifies, so I open 2D:. LHO passes, and unexpectedly, so does partner. RHO happily bids 2S:, so perhaps I shall get to play in a major after all, but LHO tries 3C:. Partner thinks better and doubles, and RHO retreats to spades, which I double, ending an eventful auction.
I lead the D:Q, partner's suit!
S: 8
H: 9853
D: 97
C: A108653
S: A742
H: KQ742
C: Q4
S: J10
H: J5
D: A10862
C: J972
S: KQ9653
H: A10
D: K543
C: K
On the diamond lead, partner plays the 8 and declarer wins the King. She cashes the C:K, the H:A (where is partner's double?), and plays the H:10. I play low, letting partner win the Jack. He shifts to the S:J, Queen, Ace. My D:J is overtaken and partner cashes the Ten and Six, declarer following. Partner leads the D:2, ruffed with the Six and overruffed with the Seven. I have saved the H:7 and partner ruffs it with the Ten. Declarer overruffs with the King, cashes the Nine of trumps and claims holding the 53 over my stiff Four. Down two. ``Sorry partner, next time I'll have the Five of spades so that we can get them for 800.''

The very next day finds me in another duplicate against inexperienced opposition. I am South; West deals and opens a weak 2H: and partner doubles. 2NT would be artificial in our methods, so I bid a very aggressive (perhaps foolhardy) 3NT.

S: A9532
H: 8
D: AQ9
C: Q965
S: 86
H: AJ107
D: 1042
C: K1073
West leads the H:K, and I pause to take stock. This is not a very good contract, but I have two heart tricks, one spade, one diamond, and three clubs if I can get the clubs right. The diamond finesse would give me eight tricks, and I might be able to manage an endplay for nine, or possibly the double finesse in diamonds might be working. For the moment, I have nothing better to do than to start clubs. The C:3 is covered by the Jack, Queen, and Ace. At least clubs have come home. East fires back the H:2 to my Jack and the Queen. West continues with the D:3. I try the double finesse, playing the Nine, but East wins the King and shifts to the S:K. I follow and West drops the Jack as I win the Ace. All of a sudden, I see that this time the S:5 is where it belongs. They both follow to the diamonds, and I cash the clubs ending in my hand leaving:
S: 953
H: ---
D: ---
C: 6
S: 10
H: 96
D: J
C: ---
S: Q74
H: ---
D: ---
C: 8
S: 8
H: 107
D: ---
C: K
On the last club, West is triple squeezed. The spade would have been best if I had only the Seven and not the Eight, but, happily, he pitches the D:J. The S:8 completes the circle. East must overtake the spade or West will be forced to lead into my heart tenace. When he does, he has to lead from his S:74 into my S:95, and I make the hand with three club tricks, one heart, two diamonds, and three spades. ``Thank you partner. That spade Five was an awfully good card.''
Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith