He is hopeless, hopeless,
client sleeping through the midnight Swiss.1
Playing with an inexperienced partner who fancies himself an expert,
I watched in some amusement as he found himself with a
difficult decision playing IMP pairs.
2NT suggested a possible save in either minor, but due to the
great disparity in the suits and the possibly that the final
contract might be 4, a 3 bid is a lot better.
Regardless, partner gets high marks for enterprise. Many other
players would be cowed by the opponents' strong auction.
2NT at least has the benefit that if the worst befalls, we have
two possible suits in which to play, but if I were to bid 3
and get viciously doubled, would he be willing to stay there?
Should he? Fortunately, that decision did not come to pass.
Partner found the lead of the Q, sensible
because if we are to beat this, I shall need to have a quick
entry or two and he has the trump Ace. Declarer won the first
trick in hand and immediately led a small trump, which our hero
correctly grabbed with the Ace. What now?
In a strong partnership, at least one of my cards to the first two tricks would
be suit preference and would suggest to partner the location of
my entry. At matchpoints, holding declarer to ten tricks might
well be a good score. Woeon this hand, partner was not watching
my cards, but fortunately, we were playing IMPs so he had a strong
clue to the correct play.
Declarer, when he gets in, will have six spade tricks, three heart
tricks, and at least one ruff for ten tricks. Any tricks that we
shall get must be got right away. If my card is the A, then
we shall take two aces and a ruff, but we shall not beat the contract.
If, however, I have the A with not more than three of them,
we have four tricks and beat the contract. So, it must be
right to try to get a plus score and continue diamonds. In real life,
I held A10x and Qxxx, so a diamond shift creates
down one. Nice lead, partner!
The story has an unhappy ending, though. Partner ``was afraid to
underlead his diamond honors,'' though I was truly worried at the
table that he had underled his A! Unlucky, partner, to find
the singleton King in the dummy.
1Paraphrased and stolen (with apologies) from Paul Simon
Copyright © 1995 Jeff Goldsmith