Double Cross

Playing in the Reisinger (Board-A-Match) against a pair of Italian world champions, I am declarer after a simple auction.
S: 10
H: K954
D: 92
C: AK9654
S: AK8432
H: Q32
D: K5
C: 73
2C:Pass2S:All Pass
The opening lead is the H:10. I have to lose two hearts, probably one diamond, and one or two trump tricks, depending on how spades break. They are probably not 5-1, or I'd've been doubled at this form of scoring.

The opponents play five-card majors and standard leads, so I know the H:10 is a singleton. RHO doesn't know; it may be a doubleton as far as he can tell. There appear to be two normal defenses. Either RHO can win the H:A and give his partner a ruff, get back with the D:A and give another ruff, or RHO can duck the first trick and sit back and wait. I much prefer that they perform the first defense. If trumps are 4-2 with the length on my left, which seems likely given the 1-5 heart split, that'll compress one of their trump tricks with my heart loser.

Aha! I can help them take the line I want. I play the H:K from dummy at trick one, showing RHO that I have three hearts. If the hand were different, that play might freeze the heart suit, but RHO will then know that his partner has a stiff heart and will take the two ruffs defense.

That's what happens, of course. When trumps do turn out to be 4-2, I make nine tricks, one more than I'm entitled to. I'd like to say it won the board, but our teammates' result rendered ours irrelevant. That doesn't bother me at all.

Copyright © 2004 Jeff Goldsmith