Playing matchpoints in a mixed but not awful field, I open
a 15-17 notrump and quickly find myself in 2.
The opening lead is the 4, 3rd and lowest. I'd like
to get a quick diamond pitch, and if this was from one honor,
there's a good chance I can, so I play low from dummy. RHO
puts up the J, and I win. I cross to the K as
LHO follows with the 2, then cross back to the A.
No one drops anything interesting. I'd prefer that LHO doesn't
cover the club so that I can pitch both diamonds on clubs and
reduce the chance of a trump promotion, so I try the 9.
He doesn't cover, but he does follow, so I pitch a diamond.
Unfortunately, he didn't cover for a good reason: he didn't
have it. RHO looks at this somewhat surprising trick and
cashes the A. Everyone follows, and he continues
diamonds. LHO plays the K, and I ruff in dummy. That K
may be a true card, or it may be from KJ. Let's take stock.
LHO has four clubs and probably two or three diamonds. If he
has three trumps, then he has three or four hearts. If he
has two trumps, he has four or five hearts. RHO didn't seem
to consider playing a heart instead of a second diamond. That
means either trumps are 4-1 or he has some ugly heart holding,
from Qx up to Kxxx. I'm inclined to believe the latter, so
I cross back to hand with a high trump and cash the club.
LHO, as expected, follows each time. RHO follows to the spade
and pitches a diamond on the club without much apparent thought.
It seems to me that LHO has the last trump and is either 3334
or 3424. If so, and as long as he has at least one heart honor,
I have an overtrick available. Can RHO have both heart honors?
He's shown up with the A and the QJ. Five more
points in hearts makes 12 with no real defects, so LHO has a
heart honor, possibly both. The position is currently
In case LHO has a third diamond, I ruff the diamond in dummy
and exit with the last trump. As expected, LHO wins. He exits
with a small heart to the queen and my ace. I play another
heart and LHO concedes nine tricks.
The whole hand was
As the cards lay, two heart tricks were always there
for the taking, but this line would have worked if hearts
were 3-3 or if LHO had had both honors.
Copyright © 2013 Jeff Goldsmith