Only The Dummy Can Say
Playing in a sectional Swiss, we are doing well, but one
team is still in front of us. They are arguably the best
team in the room, so when we draw them, they are the team
we need to beat.
With no one vulnerable, I deal and open 1
with A63 KJ74 A1092 Q2.
LHO passes and partner raises to 2. We play that
"standard," 6-9 with four trumps. RHO bids 2. I've seen
players' "prebalancing" bids before, so I try a very risky
double. I think it'd be a standout at matchpoints, but
at IMPs, this is probably unsound action. LHO gives it
some thought and bids 2NT. Both pass to me. I like 2NT
substantially better than 2, so I hit that, too.
Partner leads the 5. When dummy appears, I am
quite thankful we are not defending 2 doubled.
Declarer plays low from dummy, more or less marking him
with the singleton 8, and I win the J. I
shift to the 10; I'm not yet sure what's going on
on the hand, and I don't want to break either black suit.
Declarer thinks for 60 seconds before flying with the
K. Partner discourages. What??? I thought LHO
was an ethical type, but they are each denying the Q.
Something's fishy. Either LHO is sleazing or partner has
After another minute's thought, declarer leads the 8
and runs it. Looks like he has K108x and has guessed
spades. Then again, he has no entry to the board, so he
cannot guess them the other way. I like it that he has
no dummy entry, so I duck this trick. Declarer continues
with a small spade, and partner forgets to play the J,
letting declarer insert the 9. Declarer has reached
the table. For the last time, as I let him hold this trick, too.
He gratefully cashes the A, pitching a club, and continues
another spade, which I win perforce. Partner contributes the
J, so I had the suit right. Upon reflection, declarer
needed to lead low to the 9 the first time in order to
reach dummy, but it was a mixed blessing to get there, as we
Upon winning the A, I cash the K. Declarer
pulls one card out of his hand, then another, then puts that
one back. Eventually, he pitches a club. Partner discards
another diamond, so he was carding correctly the first time; it
was declarer pulling shenanigans in diamonds. Since we are now
playing double-dummy, this is the position as I am about to
cash the K.
On the K, declarer is triple squeezed. If he pitches
a diamond, I can cash three diamond tricks. When he actually
pitches a club, I shift to the Q. He wins, cashes his
spade, and exits a club. Since partner didn't pitch any clubs,
we run three clubs and take the last trick with the A
for down two, +300. Pitching the spade winner would have done
no better. I would shift to the Q and declarer would
eventually get thrown in with the fourth round of clubs to
lead diamonds from his hand, giving us two more
diamonds for seven tricks.
All's well that ends well, but I'm awfully glad we were not
defending 2 doubled. I don't think we would have beaten
it. We would not have won the match if so. And probably not
As an aside, if you ever find yourself in declarer's shoes,
having thought about the rest of the hand at trick two (giving
him the benefit of the doubt) instead of playing one of your
equals in proper tempo, play the queen. That lets the
opponents know the diamond suit, but to simulate holding KJ
by pausing inappropriately is not proper, so letting them
know the suit by your card is the only correct play.
Copyright © 2003 Jeff Goldsmith