Playing in an open pairs at a regional tournament,
I get dealt my usual:
10976 985 K76 J53.
This isn't the sort of hand which helps one win pairs
events, but it could be worse. RHO deals and passes,
as do I and LHO. Sadly, but not surprisingly, partner
opens 1 in fourth chair. RHO overcalls 2,
and I get to pass. For now. LHO passes and partner,
of course, reopens with a double. That leaves me with
a problem. My choices seem to be 2 and 2.
Partner probably has diamonds, but I really don't want
to be in a 3-3 fit, so I try 2. This has the
additional benefit of concealing my weakness. Perhaps
the opponents will not be able to defend well not knowing
their combined assets. If I am to get doubled, however, I'd
rather be in 2 so that I could run to spades.
Since partner rates to have a very good hand, however, the lash seems
unlikely. I'm more afraid of partner's bidding again.
Not this time. LHO doubles very quickly. Perhaps I ought
not have deliberated between my choices, but bid 2
more confidently. Oh, well. She leads the 4 and
I don't know why partner didn't open 1NT, but this isn't
the time to worry about it. And 1NT rates not to do so
well, either. It'll take guessing diamonds (there's really
only one way) and the heart hook. That seems unlikely, but
In 2 doubled, East wins the first trick with the A
and continues with the 7. I'd like a red suit shift, so
I play the 5 and J under the first two tricks.
West wins the second trick with the K and shifts to the
2. It looks like East has AQxxx and West Kxx.
The double places the spade honors on my left, so East should
have one of the K and Q, but probably not both.
If LHO were an expert, I'd consider ducking the heart to my
nine, but few players would consider playing low from the J-10,
so that probably won't work. Having an exit card might be helpful,
too, so I try the Q, though without much hope. It loses
to the king and a heart comes back. Neither defender knows who
has the 3, so I win the A and continue a third
round, figuring they'll probably play diamonds or a fourth
round of hearts. Hearts turn out to be 3-3 (she DID lead low
from J102, rats!) and West considers her next play. She
eventually exits with a diamond, dummy's J winning the
trick. Diamonds look to be 3-3, too, now, as each defender played a
low one. That makes spades 4-2 only. I think I see a plan.
I cross to the K and ruff my third club in dummy. The
A stands up, so East is known to be 2-3-3-5 exactly.
I don't have any real choice but to continue with a red winner.
East ruffs this with the 8. I'm glad he has that card.
I overruff and get overruffed with the queen. That may or may
not be a true card, but when West exits with a small trump (by
forcea high one is hopeless), I exclaim, "oh, cool. I've
never seen one of these before," and play low from dummy. East
wins the J and I claim the last two tricks on my first smother
play. The position was:
East has to play a club and I ruff low. If
West overruffs, I overruff with the A
and win the last trick with my high trump.
If he underruffs, I win the last trick with
the trump ace.
Even though I could have felled the J by
playing high at trick 11, that wasn't the right
play. West could have held KQJ2, in which
case, my spot would have won the trick.
I manage to get out for down one, -100. That doesn't
look like a good score, but
it turns out that with the red suit honors where
they are, 1NT was going down two or more across the
room and -100 was slightly above average!
Copyright © 2001 Jeff Goldsmith