Playing in the finals of the Life Master pairs, we sit down
against a top seed. They are a study in contrast. LHO is a
friendly gregarious type, and RHO is quiet and reserved.
RHO deals and opens 1NT, 14-16. I look at
A862 1063 AJ6 J32
Lovely. It gets worse. LHO bids Stayman, and RHO shows four
spades. LHO bids 2NT, not alerted. RHO states that this
promises four hearts. RHO bids 3NT, and I have to find a
Leading a spade into the four-card suit seems awful.
I'm not leading from a jack after an invitational notrump
auction, so that leaves a heart. Leading through dummy's
suit isn't so bad, and partner has either three or four
hearts. If he has three, I might not blow a trick, and
if he has four, hopefully I can lead the suit for him two
more times. Yes, it is to be a heart. I'm about to lead
the 3 when I have an idea. If the heart suit is
something like AK8x vs. Qxx, leading the ten might
gain a trick if partner is aware enough to play the jack
on the second round. After all, it's the card he's known
to hold. Furthermore, if declarer has nine doubleton, a
not unlikely case, the ten may gain a trick by force. So
after a little bit of reflection, I lead the 10.
The play is fast and simple; the whole hand turned out to be
The 10 runs to declarer's king, and when I win my
two aces, I finesse dummy in hearts twice to take
five easy tricks.
Dummy is grinning and cheerful. He beams at me and says,
"great lead!" Declarer just holds his head in his hands
and mutters, "why me!"
As it turns out, any heart would have had the same effect,
because I can continue with the ten on the second round,
but if the 7 and 8 had been reversed, a low
heart lets the contract make while the 10 is still
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Goldsmith