Playing in a club game with a strong partner, we
are making a shambles of the field. Near the end
of the evening, we sit down
against an attractive young woman and her partner.
With both sides vulnerable, I hold
A72 KQJ754 A842
Partner opens 1, and I bid 1. He
rebids 2. We play 2 here as an
artificial force, and since it's the only way
I can make any progress on the hand, I bid it.
Partner bids 2, so I bid 3. That's
forcing to game and shows a heart one-suiter.
Partner raises to 4.
The opponents ask a lot of questions about the
auction, and I explain partner's bids carefully.
When we get to 4, I tell them, "that's his
weakest way to bid 4. If he had a good
hand for hearts, he would have bid 4. He
probably has a singleton heart." The opening lead
is the J after a little thought, and partner,
as he's putting down dummy, says, "you wish I had
a singleton heart." I see a less than thrilling
I have bought better. I agree with partner's 2
bid, but maybe he might've tried 3NT rather than 4,
not that 3NT is any bargain. But it's fun to raise with a void.
The play has its pitfalls. I start off with essentially
no play, having to lose at least one heart, probably two,
at least one diamond, and two spades. I suppose if the
K is stiff, good things could occur. Too bad about
the lead. I suspect that most others will get a more
fortunate choice of leads.
So is it a singleton or a doubleton? RHO might've overcalled
1 with KQxxx. LHO probably would have led a
stiff faster. I duck the first trick. She continues with
a second spade, and I win. I see two reasonable approaches.
I can play LHO for the K and play a diamond towards
dummy, or I can play LHO for the A and length or a
problem. Who has those cards? I have no idea about the
K, but I'm inclined to give LHO the trump ace due
to the short suit lead. What the heck, I continue with
the K. I want her to win the trick, so that's the
best card. LHO does win her no-longer-putative ace, and RHO follows
with the 8. And LHO does have a problem. After about
two minutes, she judges to exit with a club. I win, pitching
my spade, pitch a diamond on the other club, and take a
diamond finesse. I don't have much hope for this, but you
LHO wins the K and exits with a diamond. RHO plays
the 9, and I win in hand. I cash another high trump,
and RHO plays the ten. I suddenly have another problem.
Does RHO have 1098 tight or 108 doubleton?
Or neither and is playing with my mind? How can I tell?
RHO is an honest sort, but everyone can play randomly
from 1098 from time to time. There must be a clue...yes,
I have it. If LHO had ace-empty-fourth of trumps, she
might well have exited with a trump. I think she has
ace-nine-fifth. She's known to have two spades, so if
she has five trumps, my only chance is for her to be
2533 exactly. I think she is. The diamonds look to be
3-3 from the play of the spots. I don't know about clubs,
but I'm going to go for it. I continue with a diamond to
dummy as both follow. I ruff a club, and exit with the
5. When RHO pitches a club, I claim holding the
J7 over LHO's 93.
Down one isn't the world's greatest triumph, but it's
the best I could have done. When the traveler is opened,
we have managed a half a point above average. Most were
going down one in 2 or 3. Tough way to get
Copyright © 2003 Jeff Goldsmith