Few hands are interesting just during the bidding;
almost always a good hand has some points during
the play. Once in a while, however, one can play
or defend the hand before the opening lead!
Playing in a home team game of reasonable standard,
at both red I am second to speak with
5 8742 K52 A9532
Dealer passes, as do I. Third hand opens 1,
and my partner overcalls 3. We play a variation
of The Overcall Structure, so 3 is a Roman Jump Overcall, showing four or more
hearts, five or more diamonds, and 5-7 AKQ losers.
At the 3-level, partner will nearly always have ten or more
cards in his two suits, usually 5-5. RHO cue bids 3,
obviously a good spade raise, and I have a problem. This is
a tactical situation, because I know my LHO is pretty much
going to bid 4 if he has room. I have no idea yet
what we should do after that, so instead of taking unilateral
action, I simply bid what's in front of my face, 4.
It seems likely that we can make or get very close to that
contract, so let's see what everyone else has to say. If
it comes around to me, I can judge whether to bid on or not
Opener, as expected, bids 4. Big suprise. The
opponents have a probable 10- or 11-card spade fit.
Partner, however, does something unexpected; he bids
5. That's natural; he probably has 5-6 or 5-7
in the reds. RHO passes. After a little thought, I
pass 5. I think we'll probably lose one spade
and one heart trick. It's possible that we can make
a slam, but I think we'll be at best on a finesse,
and we might have no play. Playing diamonds may avoid
a diamond ruff in a heart contract, so 5 seems
safer than 5.
I guess the five-level doesn't belong to LHO's opponents,
because he isn't done yet. He tries 5, which is
passed around to me. I have a third bidding problem.
All this after passing in 2nd seat?
Can we make 6? Maybe. Probably not. It looks
like diamonds are not breaking very well. That probably
won't matter, but Jxxx might cause some handling
problems. I still think we'll have to lose a spade and
a heart. If partner were void in spades, I think he
would have bid 6 on his own, having found out now
that we have a double fit. Can they make 5?
Partner is probably 1561 or maybe even 1471. They probably won't
make on a club lead. Declarer is likely to be void in diamonds,
so he has at least two clubs. We ought to be able to manage
a club and a ruff and a heart trick. It's possible that
declarer is 8203 and will be able to pitch his own heart
loser (if he has the A) on a club, but that also
seems unlikely. Seems to me that if I can get partner to
lead a club, we'll beat 5 one trick. Can I get him
to do it? Yes! I double 5. Partner knows I know
he probably has a singleton club. (I hope he's not void!)
What can I have to double? I can't have a lot of trumps;
I must have the A and can see a way to beat the hand.
It turns out that partner has x AJ10x AQJ10xxx x.
He leads a club, gets his ruff, and cashes the A.
Declarer disgustedly claims the rest, being void in diamonds.
Looks like I didn't need to double. Partner would have
probably led the A, to which I can contribute the
deuce. He'd then know to shift to a club and get his ruff.
I am still happy I doubled. Partner may have led a diamond.
This way he had no problem.
Turns out we can't make 6. We can make five, so we
have obtained exactly par! At the other table, 5 was
not doubled and the A was led. Making five.
Copyright © 2004 Jeff Goldsmith