I'm playing in a regional Swiss. Despite winning our first two
matches, we draw a journeyman team in the third match. I'm
dealer and pick up a very good hand, AJ5 Q A84 AKQ853.
It's not quite good enough to open 2, and it's complicated,
so I open 1. LHO overcalls 1, and partner raises to
2. RHO passes, and I have an easy cue bid. LHO isn't
through; he confidently competes to 3, passed to me. Partner and I
play that returning to our forced level is weaker than pass, but
I don't think that applies here. It would have if LHO had
doubled 2; then 3 is weaker than pass. Regardless,
it seems as if partner does not have a heart stop, but he could
still hold KQJxx and out or even more than that, so I have
to try for slam. Upon reflection, I wish I had jump cued last
round, making it clear that I'm short in hearts. That's water
under the bridge, so now I simply re-cue 4. Partner
returns to 5, so I have to give up. It has been an
interesting auction; it's not everyday that the auction goes
1-2-3-4 between me and my LHO.
LHO leads a high heart, and I see that partner had his bidding
RHO contributes the J to Trick 1. Without much thought,
LHO continues with the K. I'm happy to duck this; nothing
bad can happen. LHO thinks about this a while and continues with
a small heart. I play low and RHO plays his 10 as I ruff.
At first glance, it looks like I have at least a
red suit show-up squeeze for
my 11th trick, but there's not much chance that LHO has four
diamonds. I need to draw trumps and ruff a spade; let's see
what I learn when that happens. I draw two rounds of trumps
and ruff the spade in dummy. LHO started with the singleton
J and follows to three rounds of spades. He appears
to have started with KQ10, but I haven't seen the 9,
so it's possible that he has four spades. Probably, however,
he has either 3721 or 3631. I suspect the former, as he bid
a lot with a moderate suit. And with only six hearts, he might
have continued with the 8 to protect partner's 10.
Regardless, I can run some trumps and see what gets pitched. On
the next two rounds of trumps, RHO pitches a heart and a
spade. That makes it clear that LHO started with 3631. The
I'm not going to have to take a diamond finesse, so I might
as well play the last trump. LHO pitches a diamond, of course,
so I release the 9. RHO perforce pitches the last spade,
so he is down to three diamonds.
Since LHO has only two diamonds, there's no reason to cash the
A, so I play a small diamond. He inserts the 9,
and now, as I expected, I have a problem. I win
the K and take stock. If LHO started with 109x,
I can run the J. If he started with Q9x, I
need to drop the Q. A priori, it's 2-1 that LHO has
the Q, since he could have been dealt Q10x or
Q9x, and he could have played the 10 or 9 from 109x.
It's much more fun to play for the squeezeif LHO has the Q,
I make on a simple finessebut I want to get it right. Did
LHO start with KQ10 AK87xx 109x J or
KQ10 AK87xx Q9x J? He doesn't really have his bids with
either of those, but the latter is a 15-count, and it seems
substantially more likely that he took a second bid with the
second hand, so I try to drop the Q. That
works, and I make 5.
It's too bad that the squeeze cum backwards finesse didn't
pan out; that was a neat end position. Even so, this
hand was fun both in the bidding and play.
Copyright © 2014 Jeff Goldsmith