Nice Dummy

Playing in a regional swiss with a new and talented partner, no one is vulnerable when a hand to test one of his theories comes up.
S: 107
H: 7432
D: 10963
C: J42
S: J942
H: AJ10
D: 82
C: AK93
I hold the "big" hand and open 1C:. Partner thinks that it's almost always wrong to pass opening bids, even at IMPs, so he responds 1H:. I'm not in on the joke, so I bid 1S: and everyone passes. I have had better dummies than this one.

The opening lead is the H:9, obviously from shortness, to his partner's H:Q. That brings me down to three tricks, since my second heart trick is getting ruffed. There's nothing to do but to draw trumps, so I lead a small spade, inserting the S:7. It works, losing to the S:Q. I'm up to four tricks.

RHO cashes the other high heart, then returns the H:8 to give his partner a ruff with the S:8. That's a suit preference signal, but evidentally, LHO is unwilling to underlead his D:AQ. He continues with a small club to his partner's C:10 and my C:K. I exit with a trump to LHO's S:K. He thinks for awhile and cashes the S:A, drawing his partner's last trump, then continues with another club. RHO puts up the C:Q! I win, cross to the C:J, and discard a diamond on the good H:7. I have two good black cards left in my hand and I've already taken five tricks, so I make 1S:!

I suggest to partner after the match that I might have passed 1C:. He replies, "what would you have led against 3NT?" "Probably the C:K." "That's their 9th trick. If you led a spade, I could finesse the seven. That'd probably beat it." "Doesn't look like it. What should I pitch on four rounds of diamonds?" Our teammates arrive and are +400 on the board, having duly bid and made 3NT. I'm still not sure I'd respond to 1C:, but partner was certainly right this time.

Jeff Goldsmith,, September 23, 1998