Lucky Break

Playing in a regional pairs event, we visit the table of a pair who are very friendly and very inexperienced. They are playing for free as a fill-in pair. We are vulnerable and they are not. RHO opens 1C: and I hold
 S:AJ1062 H:75 D:10942 C:92
This is pretty normal for our favorable weak jump overcalls, but I'm very hesitant to preempt against this pair. After all, I expect 65% or more of the matchpoints anyway; why risk a disaster? After a short waffle, I preempt 2S: anyway, anti-percentage or not.

The auction proceeds reasonably normally. LHO leads the C:K and I see a useful dummy.

S: K53
H: AK84
D: A632
C: 85
S: AJ1062
H: 75
D: 10942
C: 92
Pass3S:All Pass
If I can pick up trumps and diamonds are 3-2, I can make this. Meanwhile, RHO overtakes the C:K, cashes the C:Q, and continues with a third high club. I no longer need diamonds to break, but I'm not real hopeful about picking up trumps. Looks like RHO is planning a trump promotion. I don't see how it will help to ruff this in hand, so resigned to a probable down one, I pitch a diamond. Surprisingly, LHO follows to the third round of clubs as I ruff in dummy. This looks as if it was a good start for the defense.

I suspect RHO has four trumps and was hoping to have his partner ruff with the six or higher, creating a trump trick. After all, he didn't know that his partner didn't have a doubleton club. If so, I can probably manage a trump coup. I have enough entries, so I can afford to cash the S:K now. Surprise! RHO shows out, pitching a heart. So that's why he attacked my trump holding—he thought his partner had four of them. Unlucky for them, and lucky for me, it looks as if LHO has too many trumps. I'll need some luck in the play, though.

I cash two rounds of hearts and ruff one low in hand. Both follow, so RHO is known to be exactly 0436. My only hope to make is that LHO has the doubleton D:K and fails to unblock, but these guys are not world champs, so it's possible. I cross to the D:A. No one drops the D:K, so I'm still alive. The position is

S: 5
H: 8
D: 632
S: AJ10
D: 109
It is tempting to cash my good heart pitching a diamond, but that is an error. Instead, I exit with a diamond. Happily, LHO wins this trick and plays a trump. I win and exit with my last diamond. LHO has to ruff his partner's winner and concede the last two tricks to my trumps. Making 3 for +140.

Obviously, the opponents lost their way a few times, but a double trump endplay is a rare and happy thing despite this imperfection.

The trap in the end position is interesting; the loser-on-winner play of cashing a good heart ruins the tempo of the double endplay; LHO ruffs it, cashes his good diamond, and exits with a low trump. Then I'm the one who is endplayed.

Copyright © 2005 Jeff Goldsmith