Playing in a cash prize matchpoint tournament, we are fighting for
first place when we reach the table of an ex-world-champion,
who is sitting West and playing with a strong partner. They
are hoping to win $2500, but it doesn't look good for them
at this point.
They bid game and we sacrifice white vs. red, so I am trying to hold down
| 1086 |
| 7 |
West leads the trump Ten. I have no play for the contract.
Against 4, most will lead hearts. If hearts are 2-2,
many will be beating 4, because the club ruff is easy
to find at trick three. 5 doubled is a good save,
though, if hearts are 3-1 and diamonds 4-1. Since a diamond
ruff is very likely, I win the first trick in dummy and draw
trumps ending in hand. Too bad; hearts are 2-2, so our save
is phantom. I suspect I shall still get a few matchpoints for
holding this to down one, but -300 is likely to be terrible.
What can I do?
The opponents are playing a natural system. That means diamonds
are certainly 4-1 or 5-0 since West had two hearts. He
doesn't know anything about the hand yet, though. If I can
convince him to take his A on the first round of
the suit and an honor drops, I'll win a trick by force. My
109 may be a threat for a single suit endplay-squeeze, too.
It must be right to try to get the A out. In order
to encourage this, I play the 6 at trick three. Joy!
West hops with his Ace, but it drops only the deuce. He shifts
to the 3. East wins with the Ace and continues the suit
and I ruff.
What is West's shape? East probably does not have AQJxxx,
so it appears that West is 4-2-4-3. I have him. I run off all
the hearts save one and watch his discards. He discards the King
and Jack of spades first, so now I am certain about the end position.
Before I cash my second to last trump, these are the cards around the
When I cash my penultimate trump, West discards a club and I
pitch the spade from dummy. I cross to the A and ruff out
West's last club. The 10 is covered and allowed to
hold and I claim down one.
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If West had kept a spade in the position above, I would have discarded
a club, ruffed out his last spade and endplayed him.
Copyright © 1995 Jeff Goldsmith