Serves Him Right
Playing in a regional Swiss, our opponents are not
normally slow, but this time, one is. My partner is
second to speak and holds x Axxxx J109x AJx.
He hears his RHO open 1. We pass throughout,
and LHO bids 2, natural and game forcing. The
auction continues 2 by opener, 2 by
responder, and 3 by opener. Responder thinks
for a second and bids 3NT, which they play as natural.
Opener goes into the tank.
A deep dark everlasting tank. Ten minutes goes by.
Finally, he emerges with 4, and all pass. Now
it is partner's turn to go into the tank. Out loud.
He says, "dummy has five clubs, three spades, probably
two diamonds and king-third of hearts. Hmmm...what should
I lead?" He thinks some more. What was he doing during
the ten-minute tank? I know I was deciding what I'd lead
against 3NT in case opener passed. It seemed obvious that
he was considering either passing or bidding 4.
After another 30 seconds, partner emerges with the A.
Dummy hits with a not-particularly-suprising
AKx KJ9x x K109xx. Partner thinks a little more and
cashes his A. I don't have two trump tricks, so
declarer claims ten tricks quickly.
With ten minutes to think about his lead, I think partner
ought to have been figuring out what to lead against 4.
If he had spent that time fruitfully, he would have realized
that I have four trumps. Declarer is thinking about 3NT vs.
4 probably because he has a stiff heart. And partner already
knew the K was in dummy. Hoping for my actual hand no
longer seems that difficult; I had Qxxx Q10x xxx xxx.
A small heart lead in tempo (if you have ten minutes to
think about your lead, you ought to be able to make it in tempo!)
almost certainly would have fooled declarer. If so, I can win
the Q and continue the suit. Declarer can get home after
this start, but it's difficult and he probably will not. Partner
will have to duck the first round of clubs, but with a full count
by then, that will be easy enough.
Too bad...that would have been a great defense, and would have
served declarer right for tanking for ten minutes in a 45-minute
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Goldsmith