A Record

Playing matchpoints in a weakish field, a pair arrives that annoys me. My left hand opponent has a history of taking very unusual actions against me, some of which work and some which do not. He also refuses to explain his agreements and acts very condescending and rude to me. I'd love to crush this guy. I pick up as East with no one vulnerable
 S:AQ10 H:AK42 D:973 C:KJ10.
The bidding begins
I have a bidding problem at the one level. I clearly have the best hand at the table, but partner is probably broke. Since I have no sensible action, and since they are willing to play in my best suit, I choose to pass and 1H: becomes the final contract. The dummy appears and I see
S: 93
H: Q53
D: KQJ64
C: A87
S: AQ10
H: AK42
D: 973
C: KJ10
Partner leads the D:5 and dummy plays the King. What is this? For the moment, it doesn't matter, so I play low and declarer contributes the 2. How friendly! We lead low from an odd number, so partner either has 1085 or a singleton. Between dummy and my hand, I see 29 points. Declarer must have most of the rest. Partner would not lead from ten-third in my short suit; he must have a singleton! That's good. Declarer confidently continues with a small heart from dummy and I play the four smoothly. Declarer inserts the nine and partner wins the Jack. Something very odd is going on here. Partner would not lead a singleton with Jack doubleton in trumps; he probably would not lead it unless he had three trumps because he would figure that I had four and would try to help set up a long suit in my hand. Declarer is playing in a psych! Checking the vibrations around the table, I am certain that this is so. Declarer is still playing confidently, but there's worry in his eye. He is not happy about how things are working out. We are going to get him.

Partner continues with a low spade and I win the Ace and return a diamond for him to ruff. I choose the nine because I have already denied the S:K; if partner has it, I want him to underlead. He doesn't and shifts to a small club. Declarer shrugs and ducks this to my King. I give partner another ruff and he exits with a club to declarer's Queen. Declarer continues trying to draw trump and partner shows out, pitching a low club. I complete the effort, drawing trumps with my top honors.

What do I know about the hand now? Declarer is 3-3-4-3 with nine or ten high card points. I don't know who has the S:J. Partner has not pitched a spade, so I am going for the gusto and shall play him for that card. I continue with the S:Q and declarer wins with the King and continues diamonds. I ruff and lead my remaining spade to partner's Jack and he claims the balance. Declarer has taken three tricks for a well-deserved zero. He has erred in the play at nearly every trick. Maybe my Orbital Mind Control Lasers have decided to help me out.

On reflection, I feel that I have to compliment partner. He has made five defensive tricks with a two-count and only three trumps. That must be some sort of record.

Copyright © 1994 Jeff Goldsmith