Full Speed Ahead

Playing in a regional pairs event where everyone has at least 1500 masterpoints, we come to the table of two internationalists, well-known for their lightning-quick play. We reach 3NT on an uncontested auction and I see:
S: AQ874
H: 43
C: K43
S: 92
H: A765
D: 10854
C: AJ8
West leads the H:K and I see that 3NT is not cold. I have only seven tricks off the top and they have found my weakness immediately. I shall duck a few hearts and see what happens. On the first heart, East follows with the 2, but on the second one, he pitches the D:2. Surprise! West had H:KQJ1098 and failed to bid. That doesn't bode well for the spade finesse, but I shall need to get spade tricks to make this, so I win the second heart and play a small spade to the Jack, Queen and King. East wins and exits a low diamond to dummy; West following with the beer. I'd like to play the other spade from my hand, just in case West began with S:J10x, but I can't believe that she'd not play low from that holding. Could she have a stiff Jack? If so, I should play low to my Nine and set up four sure spade tricks. She didn't play the S:J in tempo, though, so I think she really has J10 doubleton. I don't want to damage my entries yet, so I cash the S:A. Fortunately, both follow, but with low cards. I continue with a high spade and East wins while West and I pitch hearts. East continues with another diamond and I follow low and West pauses.

Since bridge is played at blitz speed at this table, she must be showing out, but, to be sure, I ask ``are you out-showing?'' She nods and I claim on the double squeeze. We have time to get a Coke.

In the hallway, I note to partner that a club shift by East would have broken up the endposition. Perhaps he should have played more slowly.

Copyright © 1993 Jeff Goldsmith