Say It With Feeling, Podner
I'm playing in a sectional Swiss with a capable partner
who has somewhat unusual beliefs about competitive bidding.
I am third to speak at favorable vulnerability,
and pick up Q96 98 AJ854 J32.
Partner opens 1 and RHO bids 2. I have nothing
to contribute, so I pass, sort of hoping for partner to reopen
with a double. Not so; LHO bids 2 and partner bids 3.
RHO passes, happy to be out of this, and I have to figure out who
is joking. Odds are that it's partner, but to pass or bid 3
seems like a pretty deep view with likely stoppers in both
opponents' suits, so I shrug and bid 3NT. All pass and, yes,
it was partner who was joking.
They lead a middle diamond spot, and
without thinking, I say, "thank you, partner," but 3NT
looks pretty hopeless. I suppose I could cash out for
down three, but probably they can't do better than down
four, so let's see if I can do better.
I win the first trick in dummy of course and lead a
small heart towards my hand. If RHO has the J,
he'll never know to put it up. It might not help, but
the alternative is to give up. It succeeds beyond my
wildest dreams. The 9 holds! Up to down two.
If it worked once...I continue with the 8.
Obviously, I must try the Q from dummy. It
wins, dropping the J! Cool. That means LHO
started with the AK. RHO needs to have both
spade honors to be close to his bid. I'm going to
make this! I might as well continue hearts. RHO,
as expected, shows out, pitching a diamond. LHO wins,
shrugs, and shifts to a spade. RHO wins the top two
spades and throws a club on the table. I win and
cash the A. When the Q doesn't drop,
I claim nine tricksone spade, two hearts, two
diamonds, and four clubs.
The anti-finesse position in hearts works surprisingly often.
It is, of course, a desperation play, but sometimes that's
all there is.
Partner laughed when I said, "thank you, partner;"
I hadn't even seen the dummy yet. Of course, when
I did, I realized he didn't have the semblance of
his 3 bid, but despite the hopeless situation,
I didn't let the opponents know I was in trouble and
good things happened. Perhaps I ought to have said,
"thank you," with more feeling as his hand obviously
was good enough!
Copyright © 2002 Jeff Goldsmith