Just Another Push
Playing in the first round of a regional Swiss, I get
dealt a pretty good hand.
The bidding is uneventful, but the final contract is
far from cold. The opening lead of the 3 is
good news and bad news. The bad news is that they have
found my weak spot immediately. The good news is that
diamonds appear to be 4-4.
RHO wins the K and returns the 6 to his
partner's queen. LHO cashes the A and leads his
fourth diamond to RHO's 10. I have discarded
one heart from dummy and two clubs from my hand.
RHO continues with a small heart. I could finesse now,
but there's no rush. I win the A, unblocking the
J from dummy, cash the A
(a Vienna Coup), and run the clubs. Nothing exciting happens,
so we come down to
Now I can either finesse the 10 or play someone
for having been squeezed by starting with the K
and Q. Which shall I try? I think it is pretty
clear to drop the Q. RHO didn't know I have
the 10, so he'd surely not play a heart away
from the queen unless he was going to be squeezed
anyway. I lead a heart to my A and
win the last two tricks; LHO started with both the
K and the Q.
When we return to our teammates to compare scores,
they seem pretty happy. They say they were very good
except that they let a game make on the last board
by leading a heart. Obviously, they mean this hand
(why didn't my opponent lead a heart from Qxxx instead
of a diamond from AQxx?), so I reply, "I got a diamond
lead, but it is just another push."
The defense could have beaten 3NT by shifting to a spade
at trick two. That is far from obvious. I didn't play
the J from dummy at trick one, so once
RHO played a second diamond, they no longer had any
chance to prevail.
Copyright © 2006 Jeff Goldsmith