Years ago, in the early days of OKBridge, I was part of a team called The Overberries. The personnel changed from time to time, but three of the four were playing a set match on OKBridge recently.

Trumps have been breaking 5-0 and they've been doubling me repeatedly; it's getting tiresome. That doesn't faze me; I still am willing to open a piece of junk in third seat. Live and learn, I guess.

S: Q63
H: 743
D: AJ98
C: J76
S: KJ52
H: J52
D: Q10
C: KQ83
2S: PassPassDbl
All Pass
I get the S:10 lead against a contract I would prefer to play undoubled. My chances of avoiding down one look slender, and with trumps looking to be 5-1, this is a catastrophe in the making. What the heck, it's only matchpoints.

I duck the lead in dummy and win the first trick in hand. I lead the D:Q; I want it to be covered. After a few seconds pause, it is. I win and cash diamonds. On the third diamond, both opponents follow and I shuck a heart. On the fourth diamond, RHO luckily follows and another heart goes away. LHO discards the H:2 (upside-down), which is both good and bad. RHO has five trumps, as usual, but at least I got to score this trick. With nothing better to do, I lead a club to my C:K. LHO wins and cashes the H:A. I expect this to drop the stiff king, and it does. Another high heart allows RHO to pitch a club and me to score my trump deuce.

I'm up to six tricks in already and I have to get another trump trick. As long as another club cashes, I'm going to make it! Can that happen? Yes, it must. RHO has five spades, one heart, and four diamonds, so he must have started with exactly three clubs. Better still, I'm going to make an overtrick! I cross to the C:J and play another heart. RHO ruffs with the S:9, and I overruff with the S:K for my eighth trick. I exit with a high club, but, as known, RHO ruffs. He has to surrender one more trick to dummy's queen doubleton of trumps, so I score +870.

Not surprisingly, that's all the matchpoints. But it's only matchpoints.

RHO is uncharacteristically pensive after the board. He finally says, "I guess I need to win the S:A at trick one and shift to hearts. Tough play." We all agree.

Copyright © 2002 Jeff Goldsmith