Excess of zeal tends to make for some unlikely contracts. To make them, one must sometimes find the only chance. Playing IMP pairs red on white, I am South, East deals and we reach 4H:. We've both been bidding agressively, since we're in an 18-point game.
S: 983
H: A8
D: J742
C: Q542
H: KJ10954
D: 86
C: 3
Pass4H:All Pass
As to the bidding, I am not at all contrite, but I truly wish partner had a third trump. It's a shame that much of his high card strength is wasted, what of it there is.

West leads the C:K and when that holds, continues with a small diamond. East wins the Queen and continues the suit. West wins the Ace and continues diamonds. I duck, wasting the beer, and East contributes the King, which I ruff with the 9. They have set up my D:J for me.

What do I need to make this? I've already lost three tricks, so I need to find the trump Queen, successfully finesse against the S:K, and do something with the fourth spade. Yeah, right.

I have only one sure entry to dummy and I need to take two spade finesses. It must be right to play West for the trump Queen, finessing the 8 and gaining an extra entry. The fourth spade will either go on the D:J or I can hope that spades are 3-3. I lead a low heart to the 8, which holds. A spade finesse wins and another trump to the Ace fetches the Queen from West. I don't know how good West is, but I must consider whether the Queen is a true card. Since they were raised, clubs are probably 4-4. Diamonds are marked 4-3. If spades are 3-3, trumps are 2-3, giving East 3-3-4-3 shape. If the H:Q is a falsecard, then spades are 2-4 and East is 4-2-3-4. West seems like an unimaginative player. If he were up to a falsecard, he might've played the Queen on the first trick, hoping that I had KJ109x, to kill a dummy entry. I'm playing the hand for true cards; if that was a falsecard, he beat me. I ignore the good D:J in dummy, finessing spades once more. That passes off and I draw trumps: the Queen having proved doubleton. That means spades are 3-3, so I cash the S:A and claim.

The heart play at trick four was important. If I had ruffed with the four or the five, West could have defeated me by rising with the Queen on the first round of trumps, denying me a second entry to dummy.

Copyright © 1995 Jeff Goldsmith