Good declarers hide as much information from
their opponents as they can. Forcing a defender
to make a decision without the necessary data to
get it right is an important technique. Sometimes,
the opposite approach is needed by a tricky declarer.
Playing a regional open pairs, we are playing an
unseeded pair, but they seem alert. I deal myself
AK2 AQ2 KQ32 532
The first thing I notice about the hand is the quality
of the spot cards. It's a little heavy in high cards,
but those spots are so bad, I downgrade the hand and open
a 15-17 notrump. Partner checks for majors then jumps
to 3NT, after which I get the 10 lead and see
Having escaped a club lead, I have eleven tricks on top.
It might be fun to attack clubs to rectify the count for
a spade-club squeeze, but not only is that unlikely, I'm
already ahead of the field, so I don't want to risk an
already good score. I'm nearly certain that if I run the
J, they'll switch to hearts, but the risk-reward
ratio isn't very good.
Attacking clubs would be sneaky, but I have a better plan
which is even sneakier. I win the first trick with the
queen, letting LHO know the diamond suit as early as I
can. I cash the K, cross back to the K,
and cash the other two hearts, pitching clubs. I've now
shown the opponents 11 HCP in my hand. On the run of the
diamonds, LHO easily pitches a spade from J10xx, "knowing"
that I can't have the AK, for that would give me
18 HCP. I end up with 12 tricks for a fine matchpoint score.
I have a lot of sympathy for LHO. Sometimes counting out
the hand is unduly punished.
Copyright © 2004 Jeff Goldsmith