Why I Lose at Matchpoints
I'm playing in a unit game against random opposition.
I'm sure I've seen these ladies around, but I don't
remember much about their game. At
favorable vulnerability, in third chair, I hold
84 AK86 J4 QJ1083
Partner deals and opens 1 and I respond 1.
LHO butts in with a double. Partner redoubles showing
three-card heart support. I figure I can make 1,
so when RHO passes, I do, too. LHO pulls this (rats!)
to 2 (all right!), but partner ruins my fun by
bidding 2. I have no idea whether to bid 2
or pass 2, but figuring that it's matchpoints and
I might as well be greedy, I bid 2 which ends the
LHO leads the A, and dummy is a trifle thin.
Still, 2 looks like a reasonable contract. If
I can get trumps drawn, I have lots of diamond tricks,
and if they let me ruff clubs in dummy, I might
take a lot of tricks by cross-ruffing.
LHO continues with a second high spade which produces the
J from RHO. After a little thought, she continues
with a low trump to RHO's 10. I duck this in tempo.
RHO thinks for a little while, as well she might, and plays
another heart. I duck this one, too! LHO wins with the
J and continues a third trump. RHO follows with
the queen (huh?), so I draw trumps and run the diamonds
for eight tricks.
I'm a little unhappy that trumps turned out to be 3-3, because
I could have won the second trump, ruffed a club, crossed
back to the J, and made ten tricks. That didn't
seem like the indicated play; it looked like LHO had five
clubs and four spades. If she had three hearts, would she
really be so fast to play on trumps, particularly from
the queen? Might she not play her singleton diamond at
some point? Still, since diamonds can't really make more
than 9 tricks and there are pitfalls in the play, I like
my plus score.
...Until I see the traveller. Two managed to reach notrump
our way and score +120 and another was +130 in diamonds.
Just another average-minus.
This play is similar to the standard technical play of
ducking the first round of trumps with AKQx vs.
three small, but it's a little harder to see missing the
trump queen. All in all, a pretty play, but not the
winning one on this hand.
Copyright © 2006 Jeff Goldsmith