Off to a Good Start
Playing a sectional Swiss, on the very first board,
I hold a hand of some interest. Partner deals me
K1098764 103 10 Q109
I note that I can't keep both the four tens and
the straight flush at Chinese Poker while partner
opens 1. I bid 1, and LHO overcalls
2. Partner bids 2. We play flexible
support doubles, but partner is very likely to double
here if he has three of them rather than bid 2.
My hand was promising for awhile, but now I can do
no more than retreat to 2. LHO contests with
3, and partner supports me to 3. That's
just what I wanted to hear; my hand improves drastically
with support, so I bid game. We're not vulnerable, but
we ought to have reasonable play for ten tricks.
LHO leads the A and I see:
On the A, I play small from dummy and
RHO contributes the J. I follow with
the 9, but LHO continues the suit anyway.
I win in dummy, RHO fortunately follows, and
I drop the Q. Maybe LHO will think his
partner has J10x.
It looks as if we have bid aggressively; we
have three aces to lose, I have to find the trump
jack, there's a potential heart finesse, and I have
to worry about a third-round club ruff. What's the
biggest danger? With clubs 6-2, I think the biggest
danger on the hand is that LHO will win the A
and give his partner a trump promotion with Jxx.
Is this more of a problem than the possibility of the
A's being offside? It's a tough call, but I
think the A is onside for two reasons. One,
RHO wouldn't be so fast to high-low in clubs if he
had the A, fearing it might go away on diamonds,
and two, LHO has bid to 3 on a moth-eaten six-card
suit. I'm pretty sure he has all three aces.
I have made my decision. I continue with two high
diamonds, discarding my club winner, and ruff a diamond,
as all follow. I continue with a small trump. LHO
flies with the ace, probably a singleton, and continues
with another diamond. RHO follows and I ruff. One minor
trap is left. LHO is almost certain to be 1246, so I
can't cash the K; instead I must lead a heart up
now. I do; I play a heart towards the K. LHO
wins the ace and continues another club. I ruff in hand,
and cross to the Q in dummy as LHO shows out. The
rest is easy: cash the heart, ruff a heart, draw trumps
and claim, making four, +420.
The rest of the match is interesting, but we win it on
this board. At the other table, they also reached game(!),
but didn't find the sequence of plays to make. The ten
IMPs we gained won the match.
We continue to win all our matches; the first one was
one of the smaller wins. Last week, we won all 7 matches,
but not by enough; we ended up 2nd. This time, we have the
event sewn up before the 7th match starts. Just to make it
fourteen matches in a row, we nearly blitz the opponents in
the last match. This is the first time I've ever won a
Swiss before the 7th match. I have won them several times
before the 8th match starts, but never after six out of seven.
It's amazing how often a good result on the
first board leads to a good day.
Copyright © 2003 Jeff Goldsmith