Playing in an open sectional Swiss, we have won all our matches save one. We lost that by one to the only vaguely decent team we have met. Despite that, we are quite a bit behind them. This match, we are playing another reasonable team.

We are vulnerable against not. LHO deals and opens 1D:, and I hold  S:KQJ H:QJ74 D:AQ1093 C:J. That diamond opening isn't good, but things look up when partner overcalls 1H:. RHO passes, and my only raise available is 2D:, so I make it. LHO doesn't double (good!), and quite surprisingly, partner jumps to 4H:. Even more surprisingly, RHO chimes in with 4S:!

What's going on? What hand can RHO have not to bid 1S: and now bid 4S:? There is none. I guess he chose not to bid originally, because he has a lot of spades and very few high cards. I have no idea if LHO psyched his opening or chose not to double 2D: because he wasn't sure he wanted a diamond lead. He's not going to get one unless it is a singleton, I suspect, and since partner will get pitches on my spades, I think we can make a slam unless we are off two key cards. If I bid Blackwood now, partner can't bid above 5H:, so the only question is if I'm safe at the five-level. I think so; partner hardly has only one key card for his leap to 4H:. But it wouldn't surprise me if we were off the black aces. So I check, and I get nailed. Partner bids 5S:! How can that happen? I have the H:Q! He must have seven hearts and feels that he should show the queen himself, since he thinks I have three hearts. Joy. I have had this happen before, but never when I had four trumps and wasn't prepared for it. With only three trumps, I might well not have risked this' happening. Well, I can't play anything below 6H:, so maybe one of the key cards we are missing is the trump king. If so, it'll surely be onside. I bid the slam without much confidence. Nobody doubles. That's not a clear sign, but I can hope. The bidding has gone

All Pass

Not surprisingly, RHO fires out a club. Partner wins with the ace (good!), ruffs a club, and takes a heart finesse. It wins, and he claims 12 tricks immediately. This is, not surprisingly, a sizable swing, enough almost to blitz the match.

Looks like this time the opponents were nailed.

We blitz the last match, but we are never able to catch the leaders. Even if we had beaten them (can anyone find two IMPs?), we would not have passed them.

Copyright © 2011 Jeff Goldsmith