Business Trip

I'm in the Bay Area for a business trip. There's a regional the weekend afterward, and it has been a stressful week, so I choose to stay over for a few days and play bridge.

The first day of a two-day pairs game is of rather mixed quality. We are having fits and starts, when I pick up in third seat

 S:Q9863 H:9 D:AK8 C:J852
Partner opens a 10-12 NT at favorable, and RHO intervenes with 2C:, showing an unspecified one-suiter. I bid 2S:, natural and non-forcing, LHO bids 3C:, partner competes to 3S:, and everyone is content. The opening lead is the C:K, and I see
S: KJ74
H: Q107
D: Q732
C: A4
S: Q9863
H: 9
D: AK8
C: J852
3S:All Pass
I guess RHO's suit is hearts. Perhaps I ought to have invited game; we appear to have only three top losers. All I need to make ten tricks is 2-2 trumps or 3-3 diamonds. With all the opposition bidding, it would not surprise me, however, that neither of those was the case.

Obviously, I need to win the first trick. I don't really want to get my C:A ruffed. Drawing trump is clearly the first order of business. RHO rates to have the trump ace, and if he has another club, he can win the S:A and get a possible trump promotion, so I cannot afford to start trumps with an honor from dummy. I very much doubt he has eight hearts, so an overruff of my hand is unlikely.

I lead a small trump from dummy to my S:Q. Mildly surprisingly, LHO wins this. More surprisingly, he doesn't continue clubs, but shifts to the H:5. I guess he doesn't want to set up my C:J. I duck the heart in dummy, and RHO wins the H:J. He continues with a second heart. I ruff as LHO follows with the H:3. I draw another round of trump, and somewhat surprisingly, LHO shows out. I have luckily avoided a trump promotion.

What's going on? Clubs are obviously 6-1. Hearts are either 3-6 or 2-7. Trumps are obviously 1-3. So LHO is either 1336, in which case, I can draw trumps and claim, or he's 1246, in which case, I can probably squeeze him in the minors.

There's no reason not to ruff a heart now to get the count. If LHO follows, I can just claim, so I do and he pitches a club, confirming that he is 1246. He's down to three clubs and four diamonds, so as I draw the last trump, he's trump squeezed without the count in this position:

S: J7
D: Q732
C: 4
D: J1054
C: Q109
S: 10
H: 8642
D: 96
S: 9
D: AK8
C: J82
If he pitches a club, I just duck a club, win the diamond, and ruff a club. If he pitches a diamond, I can just run diamonds and claim. He chooses a diamond, and it's all over quickly. Beer.

The endposition was pretty but unnecessary. I could have transposed it to a simple squeeze by drawing trump and ducking a club. LHO exits with a diamond. I win in hand, ruff a club, cross back with a diamond, and cash my last trump. LHO is simple squeezed in the minors.

Copyright © 2009 Jeff Goldsmith