Just Double Dummy
Playing in a club game, we are having fits and
starts, but rate to win no matter what. With
no one vulnerable, I deal myself:
K109742 KQJ J7 97.
This does not meet my standards for a weak two-bid,
nor for an opening one-bid, so I pass, although with
some regrets. Those get larger as LHO opens a strong
notrump, partner passes, and RHO jumps to 3,
weak. I can't let them play 3 when we may have
a big spade fit, so I bid 3. I may go for a
number, but I'm in a balancing sort of situation and
am a passed hand, so at least partner won't likely hang
me. Not so. LHO bids 4 and partner bids 4.
Huh? He can't be bidding at the four-level without a
spade fit, so that must be a fit-bid of sorts. Joy. A
fitted raise to the four-level to partner's balancing action.
I correct to 4. Fortunately, no one doubles. That's
good, but if I go down three or they couldn't make 3,
this is a disaster anyway. I await the dummy with some
apprehension. The opening lead is the 10 and dummy
I'm not so sure about partner's bid. If he was going
to raise, which I think is rather doubtful, why show the diamonds?
If they bid 5, we are not bidding on. We may double
them, but I don't see how knowing partner has diamonds will
help judge that.
3|| 4|| 4|| Pass|
4|| All Pass|
Anyway, on to the play. Looks like down two off the top.
They probably make 110 in 3, so my foray has shown
some profit at least. The lead is favorable and strange.
What can I tell about the hand? LHO didn't lead clubs,
so he must have the AQ. If RHO has the K,
that means LHO has to have all the other high cards for
his opening bid. They have eight hearts. I imagine they
are divided 4-4. Neither would likely have bid this way
with five; LHO's hand is too "aces and spaces" for a 1NT
opening with a five-card major, and RHO probably doesn't
have 6-5. He might've tried to play 2 instead.
That means RHO is either 2-4-1-6 or 1-4-2-6. If the former,
I'm in trouble. LHO will win a trump and give his partner
a diamond ruff. A club comes back and I'm down three for
a nice round zero. I don't think there's anything I can
do about it, either. What if RHO is 1-4-2-6? I don't
have any choice, so I'll play for it. Since we are
now playing double-dummy, I might as well show the diagram.
I think I
can make something of the hand if I can neutralize RHO's
stiff trump. With no real entries to dummy, I'm going
to have to do it by drawing trump. If I do, they'll
take five tricks quickly. Maybe. What if the black
kings were switched? I'd have to play spades towards
dummy to avoid losing four tricks. I'm going to hope
that LHO thinks that's what's going on. I win the
first trick in hand with the J and advance a
small spade. LHO gives this a little thought and
ducks! I'm home! I win in dummy and run diamonds
pitching both my clubs away. LHO ruffs in, but one
trick too late as I lose only two trumps and the
A. I guess my partner's bidding is now
"intrepid" rather than "excessive."
LHO fell for the little fiction in trumps, but
he should know better. He knows that I know that
if he had AKQ8, I'd've been doubled, so
I have to be being sneaky on the hand. But that's
deep thinking, and LHO can be excused for expecting
my play to be necessary rather than double-dummy
May 23, 2000