Playing in the finals of a national pair game, I don't
recognize my opponents. That doesn't mean much, as the
Spingold is still going, but since they appear to be
Americans, maybe they are weak and will give us a board.
I am dealt my usual, 6543 J753 1042 Q3. A rock.
No one is vulnerable, and in first seat, partner opens
1. RHO overcalls 1, and I make a pushy
preemptive raise to 3. After two passes, RHO
bids 3 and buys it there.
I have four trumps, so the tap looks like the right
approach. Declarer is likely to have a singleton heart,
so I should lead the J. It probably won't matter,
but if dummy has Kxx, I can hold the lead and
get the tap started immediately. Dummy hits with
Dummy covers and partner wins the K. Declarer
drops the ten! Nice lead! After a little thought,
partner shifts to the 9. Declarer ducks, and
I win the Q. It seems natural to start the
tap, but we are playing Jack denies leads in the
middle of the hand. That means either partner has
no club higher than the 9, or the ten and another.
It's also possible that he has AK9 exactly.
He'd have no alternative to the 9 then, but
that's unlikely. If partner has the K109
and one diamond honor and declarer is 6133, I must
continue clubs so that we get our four tricks. If
partner has exactly AK9 and declarer is
5134, I must play a heart to tap declarer to beat
the contract. Would partner have bid differently
in either case? His bidding is consistent with
his having x AK8xx Kxx K109x or with
xx AK8xx xxx AK9. Declarer really should
have six trumps to bid 3, but maybe he has
100 honors fifth.
Aha! If declarer has the KQ, the tap is
too late; declarer can just draw trumps and cash
nine tricks. He can't get more than nine if we
cash three clubs, so there's no need to worry
about partner's AK9. So I continue a
club to set up our club trick before it goes
away on the diamonds.
Horrors! Partner wins the A and continues
with the 8. I ruff, and partner wins the
K later to beat the hand one trick.
After the hand, I ask if partner has forgotten our
lead convention. "No, I remember, but I just played
a careless card." When partner has just found a
great lead, it is time to try your best, not play
carelessly. Partners hate having their good plays
ravaged. No wonder we are not doing well.
If I continue hearts at trick three, declarer can
still hold the contract to down one, but not if he
plays even one round of trumps. If he does that, he
will be down two. Oh, well.
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Goldsmith