Playing in a regional flight A pairs, we are having
a great session (it will turn out to be 68%). I'm in
second seat against stready performers
and pick up a strong notrump. The bidding
is simple and I see:
The opening lead is the Q. Despite 26 HCP
and a source of tricks, this hand is not cold. Since
I don't expect to score more than ten tricks, I hold
up at trick one. LHO continues with another high spade
and I win. It seems obvious to attack clubs first, so
I cash the A. LHO drops the K. That's
interesting. It'd be a great play sometimes to drop
the King from a doubleton, and in this case, it might
convince me to attack another suit (it will), but LHO
is not Garozzo, so I can assume that it is a true card.
If so, I have eight tricks, two in each suit. For now,
I need to avoid going down a bunch, so I must knock out
the A. I play a diamond to the King, which holds.
It looks like opening leader has the Ace. I want him to
take it right away; I'd prefer not to have three rounds
of diamonds played, so I continue with the Q from
dummy. Surprisingly, RHO wins this (good), and continues
with a third spade. It looks as if spades are 5-3, so I
shall try to duck a heart to RHO. Maybe hearts are 3-3,
so I'll have nine tricks. I lead the 3 from hand.
LHO contributes the 5. Good! I duck from dummy,
and RHO has to win. In practice, he wins the J.
That looks a little dire; I doubt very much he has three
hearts exactly anymore.
RHO pauses only briefly and continues with the
Q. That looks like an error, but we shall see.
At least it means spades are 5-3. It also means I'm
going to make the hand. I win in dummy and continue
with another heart. RHO now thinks longer and pitches
a club. I win the A, duck a club (yes, the K
was singleton) and claim nine tricks. He had no successful
play at this point, as the cards were:
On the heart lead, if he discards a diamond, I can
simply cash the J and duck a club, endplaying
RHO for my ninth trick. Discarding a club makes it
simpler; I can duck a club immediately, setting up the
The defense was not perfect, but I can always make the
hand if I guess correctly. If the defense continues
diamonds, I have to cash two high hearts and duck a club.
RHO can cash the thirteenth diamond, but then has to give
me a third club trick for my contract. The same can happen
if they duck two rounds of diamonds. I don't know if I
would have got it right or not if they had made it hard on
me, but I might have. At the point at which I thought the
heart continuation was an error, I am sure I would have got
it right; the fall of the QJ strongly suggests the
actual lie of the suit.
Copyright © 2001 Jeff Goldsmith