Jim Leary's Cat's Grandmother
Bridge players sometimes say, "that contract was so
cold that my grandmother would have made it." Probably when
the phrase began, said grandmothers had died before
Contract was invented, which I suppose is the point.
Jim Leary used to say that his cat could have made it, and,
of course, his cat had been dead for ten years. This hand is
so easy to make that Leary's cat's grandmother would have
made it. But I didn't.
Playing in a regional Swiss, we have started slowly,
so we need some good results to get back into the hunt.
At favorable vulnerability, I pick up a pretty normal
strong notrump and get to a routine 4 contract.
The first double was DONT, showing some single-suiter.
4 was a transfer, and the second double was
lead-directing. A heart lead might be bad, but a
minor suit lead through my hand might be worse, so
I elect to play the game from my side.
I get a not-very-suprising 10 lead. RHO
wins and returns the 8. It seems likely that
clubs is LHO's suit, so I win the A and ruff
a heart. I cross to hand with a middle spade, and RHO shows out,
pitching a low club. As I ruff my last heart, LHO
shows out, pitching a club. I draw the last two
rounds of trumps ending in dummy. It's time to
reconstruct the hand. LHO clearly has six or seven
clubs, three spades, and two hearts. He has,
therefore, one or two diamonds. I exit with a club
to find out which; RHO follows to this. That means
LHO has 3-2-2-6 shape exactly. After a little
thought, he exits with a club, giving me a ruff and
discard. This is the position:
I ruff in dummy and discard a diamond. All I need
to do to make 4 is to avoid two diamond losers.
The obvious plan is to finesse the Q, but LHO
has shown up with exactly 4 HCP so far. He is vulnerable,
has a moth-eaten suit, and has no singleton. He
has to have the K; even that makes his intervention
a bit on the ridiculous side, but a 4-count seems impossible.
So I lead a low diamond and insert the 9. It loses
to the 10, and another club comes back. I ruff and
confidently cash the A, picking up a small one and
the J on my right. I have to lose the last trick
for down one.
Not surprisingly, we lose 10 IMPs on this board. We
never gain any momentum and slowly fade from the race.
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Goldsmith