The World Serious

I'm having a great weekend. My girlfriend talked me into playing a sectional instead of watching my favorite team compete in the World Series. Fortunately, they won the Series yesterday, so today's Swiss starts on a happy beat. It continues, too, as we are crushing everyone.

Near the end of the first session, this hand arises:

S: J4
H: A4
D: K10953
C: J532
S: A108
H: Q32
D: QJ86
C: AK8
As dealer, I open a strong (15-17) notrump. Partner bids Stayman and rebids 2NT over my 2D: response. I'm feeling good, and I told her I was going to bid 3NT with any excuse, so I do. Upon seeing dummy, I wonder why she was so conservative; yes, we may have a problem in one of the majors, but conversely, I rate to have a diamond fit, so we may be able to run 9 tricks anyway.

West leads the C:6, playing attitude leads. That looks like his smallest one, so I try the C:J from dummy and it holds. Time to take stock...that was easy. This contract is cold with one spade, one heart, four diamonds, and three club tricks. I don't have the beer, so all that can matter is overtricks.

Since any other line risks going down, I, of course, knock out the D:A by playing a diamond to the Queen (might as well leave them with the illusion that the D:J may be missing). West wins, and after a bit of thought, continues with the S:K.

Bonus! I now have ten tricks and play for eleven. It's a pretty sure thing that West has the H:K or he'd've played a heart back. I win the spade and play one right back. If he ducks this, he's going to be squeeze-endplayed to give me a heart trick in the end, but he wins and continues the suit.

That's even better. I pitch the low heart from dummy, run the diamonds, on which East discards a club, and play a club to my King, on which East shows out, leaving this position:

S: ---
H: A
D: ---
C: 53
S: ---
H: Q3
D: ---
C: A
with West still to discard. I have a count on the clubs, so when he apparently effortlessly pitches a heart, I lead a heart up to dummy and say, "King!" looking at West. Right I am! He has been criss-cross squeezed, so I take the last trick with the H:Q to make eleven tricks.

We gain an IMP on the board, which turns out to be worth one VP, but it's not important as we win the event by a mile anyway. It's been a great weekend.

Copyright © 1996 Jeff Goldsmith