How Many Tricks?
How many tricks do you think declarer
will take on this layout?
I am playing in the Spingold and am heavily
behind before playing a board. This is in
stark contrast to yesterday's match, where
we were 12 IMPs up before any of us touched
a card. One of the opponents' cell phones
went off. We could use about five of those
To my left is an obnoxious but very good young
pro; to my right is a client. I have very little
(Edgar Kaplan would have said, "no aces, no kings,
no singletons, no voids equals nothing"),
but am constrained to bid once and buy it there.
When I asked the first question above to a group
of friends, I got answers from six to eleven.
Eleven seems a bit much, but I forgot to state
that there were no revokes. The median seemed
to be about nine, which seems pretty hard to
reach to me. Of course, they weren't assuming
things had gone badly.
The opening lead is the 9. I win the
A and take a club "finesse." RHO wins
the Q and continues with a second diamond.
I win with the Q and LHO follows. I probably
won't be in my hand very many more times, so I take
the opportunity to lead a heart to the K.
If RHO gets in, she'll probably give her partner
a ruff rather than play a trump, and that'll be
just fine for me. The K holds, so I try
clubs again. RHO hops up again, this time with
the K, and without much thought, gives
her partner the expected diamond ruff. This
does not bother me at all, as I still have the
king for later. LHO cashes the A and
goes into the tank. Cool. Hearts are 3-3 or
there'd be another heart on the table lickety-split.
It looks as if LHO is roughly Kxxx A10x 9x AJxx.
I'm going to make this! I have one spade, three hearts,
three diamonds, and a club ruff for eight tricks. I
wouldn't have bet on coming close when the hand
After a 2-minute delay, LHO exits with a small spade.
He has to have the K for his opening, right?
Checking her hand: that'd give her the K, J, J,
and KQ at least. Ten points and she might not bid
2, particularly with only four of them. I'll
play for the overtrick. I duck in dummy, and as expected,
my Q scores. I ruff a club, cash the K
and A as RHO follows, and claim with two trumps
(carefully stating that I know RHO has the last trump).
So the group was more or less on target.
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Goldsmith