It Doesn't Take Much
One of the fascinating aspects of bridge is that
it's an imperfect information game. Since the
opponents don't know your cards, sometimes magic
can be made of nearly nothing.
Playing the finals of the North American Swiss
against one of the world's top-rated women players,
neither team is doing well. She even tried to get
us to withdraw before the match started. No dice.
I am East:
Partner leads the 5. Declarer inserts the
Q from dummy, and I win. No, declarer ruffs
this. That's a bit of a surprise. If she has no
clubs and doesn't have spade support, she has a lot
of diamonds. Uh, oh. She rattles off the next few
tricks in quick succession. A, heart ruff,
club ruff, heart ruff, A, pitching the Q.
Then she pauses for thought. I'm right there with her,
though; she obviously has 2-4-7-0 shape. I have pitched
a club on the high heart ruff in dummy. Eventually, she
plays a spade from dummy. I'd better not play low. If
I do, partner will win the Q and never think to
lead to my king. So I fly with the king. Partner thinks
about this for a little while, making me sweat, but eventually
ducks it. All I need from partner to beat this is the singleton
9, but perhaps even less than that will do. I continue
with the high club. Declarer pitches her last spade away and
partner discards as well. I continue with another club and
she thinks for a little while and ruffs high. My 10
becomes the setting trick. Partner only had the trump
deuce but it was good enough!
As an aside, declarer really ought not have got this
wrong. Partner is known to have three clubs and six
hearts. Because he forgot to play the Q under
my king (bad partner, bad!), he has to have at least
three spades. That leaves no more than one diamond.
Ruffing with the 9 is clearly the percentage
After that hand, I remarked, "wow...we promoted your
singleton trump deuce!" to partner. That's a pretty
tough promotion to peform successfully, but it wasn't
even the best that tournament!
Playing the the finals of the national Board-a-match,
everything is going just right. All my swindles are
working and the opponents just can't seem to do anything
right. If we'd only had a reasonable game in the afternoon,
we'd be able to win this thing. A nationally-ranked expert
is on my right and I hold:
KQ3 K86 A2 J8763
The bidding progresses strangely.
My partner is a famous expert known for his imagination
in the bidding. Perhaps too much imagination. This time,
however, I know what his double means. It announces a
void somewhere. Obviously, that's clubs. I lead the 8
with confidence that they are getting massacred. Dummy hits
and I see:
As expected, partner ruffs the first trick and underleads
his A to my Q. I continue with my lowest club,
showing the A. He continues with a diamond and I
win and give him another ruff. This time, I give suit
preference for a spade and he underleads again. I continue
with a fourth club and declarer ruffs with the trump queen,
which promotes my K. Down four obviously wins the
board. What's fascinating is that this time, we managed to
promote partner's trump void!
Copyright © 2002 Jeff Goldsmith