We were in Memphis. It had already become humid and the ACBL had invited
Caltech to play for the Intercollegiate Bridge Championship, while, down the
road, the real fight was happening, the fight to select the United States
bridge team. It was the first session and we were playing against RPI,
my alma mater and the co-favorites with us, when I dealt this hand,
a good one, but not the kind of hand that lends itself to action, at least
not at first.
AQJ52 J542 --- 10762
I had to pass and leave the fight to the others, though I hoped to get in
it again someday and fully expected them to be waiting for me.
``1NT,'' LHO said.
``10-13,'' he answered.
When the board got back to me, partner had passed and RHO had bid 2.
I chose not to act, and was happy about it when LHO bid 2.
Partner passed and RHO bid 2NT, which was too high for me. Evidently,
it was too high for all of us, and we played there.
Partner led the 3. Looking restless, dummy placed his hand on
the table. I liked the looks of that one. I'd've bid 3NT and hoped to
make a vulnerable game, something worth the effort.
Declarer played low. But not without a bit of thought. He played as if
he thought he were being fooled, and he was. I played the Jack and it won.
What is going on? Partner must have the AK and declarer has gone
wrong at trick one. We can beat this hand. We have four heart tricks and
three spade tricks, but we have to take them. And take them fast, because
diamonds will run since partner can't have that Ace. Will it be that easy?
No. Partner can't tell what to do after he wins four heart tricks and I
have to help him. I do. I play the 5, and play the Four under
his third heart. When I played the 2 under partner's fourth heart, he sat
up and looked around; they were all watching him. He smiled. The 10
hit the brown table with the confidence of a young man in Paris. He had
read my heart card order as suit-preference, what he needed to know. It worked.
We had seven tricks before they did and we scored 200.
| K9 |
| AQJ52 |
Our teammates came back, scorecard clutched in hand, worrying that there was
little chance that we would triumph. On this hand, they won 660 for our side
by reaching 3NT from our dummy's point of view. The defense had the cards to
prevail, but they couldn't find their way. 860 was 13 IMPs on the way to a
first-round lead in Memphis in May. It would not be enough.
Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith