E Pluribus Plurum
Playing in an extended team match against a team that
is giving us a run for our money, I deal and pick up
9762 Q32 K4 AK108
I make this a marginal opening bid, but since I can open my
best suit and hope for a lead there, I open 1. Partner
bids 1, and I rebid 1. (``Nice suit.'' ``Why thank you.'')
Partner raises to 3 and I should pass, but we need some
IMPs, so I shoot the game. When dummy hits, this does not look too
bad on the lead of the 3, the unbid suit.
East wins the A and shifts to a small club. With three Aces
to lose, I need trumps breaking and I shall have to pick up a trick in
the wash, either through hearts breaking or from clubs. It is too
early to commit to the club finesse, so I win, unblocking the Jack from
dummy in order to preserve as many options in the suit as possible.
I continue with a low trump. West hops up with the
Ace and continues the suit, both following, but the Ten does not drop.
Too bad; I shall have to draw the last trump with the Jack. West discards
a small diamond on this.
| KQJ5 |
| 9762 |
What do I know about the hand? The opening lead was the unbid suit and
appears to be from four, though it could be three. That club
shift seems odd. Why not continue diamonds? Or shift to trumps? Each
ought to be safe and possibly productive. Perhaps she has no further
entries and is trying to prevent an endplay against partner's KQ?
I guess that makes sense; she doesn't know that partner has two Aces.
For that to make sense, she must not have the Q or the A.
Maybe she didn't continue diamonds because she had five of them. But why not
In any case, I think that she would never play a club holding the Queen,
but I may have no other play, so I shall reserve judgement for the moment.
Now, clearly, I need to knock out the A.
I play a heart to the Queen and West's Ace (see!) and a heart comes back.
They have defended this altogether too well, but I have a myriad of lines
available now. I can cash hearts and take the club finesse. I can try
to ruff out the club. I can try to get a count on the hand and get hearts
right. The 8 might be useful. Maybe there is a squeeze. Here is the position:
The ways that I can gain another trick are: hearts 3-3, a heart finesse,
a club finesse, the club Queen dropping, pinning the club nine, or a club-heart squeeze.
I think that the best combined chance now is to try to get hearts right with
the bonuses of the club Queen third and a squeeze if the Q is with
the long hearts. In order to get hearts right, I need a count on the hand, so
I play a diamond to the King,
cash a club, ruff a club, and ruff a diamond. On this trick, West pitches the
Q, which makes life easy. It seems that she had four hearts as well, so
the squeeze chance worked. If she had had four diamonds, she would have
had to follow and I would have had to guess hearts. I think playing her for the
club is best, so hearts must be 3-3. On the other hand, about that 8....
Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith