## Three-Way Final

I'm playing in a regional knockout, and for the first time in
my life, I'm in a three-way final match. An early error
in bracketing (someone miscalculated his team's masterpoints)
was compounded by a director's error in trying to fix it.
So three teams are left and only one gets to win.
Each of our matches is close at the half, but the third
match is not, so we need to win both to win the event. Having
to win two six-board matches is dicey—anything can happen
in such a short match.

Both red, I deal and I pick up KQ9 AK72 4 AQ1086.
I open 1. The auction is at the five-level by my
next call: 1-3-5. Partner's preemptive
3 bid red should have some values, but not normally
two key cards, so I have no option but to double, which ends
the auction.

Partner leads the 2 (low from odd), and I see

| A7652 J4 KQ853 7 | |

| |
KQ9 AK72 4 AQ1086 |

| | |

.
**Me** | **Declarer** | **Partner** | **Dummy** |

1 | 1 | 3 | 5 |

Dbl | All Pass | | |

Impressive dummy. But I doubt they'll make it. We are
getting at least 200, 500 if declarer has two or more
spades. Can we get 800? If declarer has three spades,
we can, but there's a big danger that I'll be endplayed
after declarer strips the hand and plays a low spade
towards his possible Jxx. I can avoid this by
getting partner in to lead a spade now. The endplay won't work
if partner has the J, but he probably does not.
The only possible entry he can have is the Q.
I suppose he could have the A, but I'm not holding
my breath. In order to find out if partner has the Q,
I win the first trick and shift to the K. Declarer
plays the three and partner the five. We are playing upside-down
carding, so this must show the Q. It was nice of declarer
to reveal the 3, but there would have been no holding
partner could have and play the 5 without the queen
anyway. From 1053, he should play the ten; looking
at that dummy, it can't be of any value. So I underlead my
A to partner's Q. He goes into the tank. Uh,
oh! I led the 2 back without thinking...maybe that is
confusing him? I don't see why it'd matter—what possible
thing could I have in mind other than a spade through to
break up an endplay? He tanks and he tanks. I worry and I
worry. Finally, he smiles; I see the light bulb go on
over his head, and he shifts to a spade. Declarer ducks. I win,
exit with a trump, and get a second spade trick in the end for +800.
At the other table, the contract was the same, but our declarer
got out for 500, so we win 7 IMPs and the match by 7. We win
the other match by a little, so we win the event.

I wonder if partner was just tweaking me by thinking so long
after winning the Q, but after the match, he says to
me that he wasn't sure what I had in mind when I put him on
lead and it took him a while to figure it out. I'm glad he
took the time to get it right.

*Copyright © 2009 Jeff Goldsmith*