Playing in a weak club game, partner doesn't seem to be
paying much attention. It will be a struggle to win, but
I'm trying. We get to the last hand; I think we need to
win this board to win, but I'm just guessing. As dealer,
vulnerable, I pick up
K5 K87 AK2 AKJ32.
Our 2NT opening is 20-21, but I think this hand is
just a tad too good by straight evaluation. On the
other hand, since I'm deciding between opening 2NT
and opening 2 and rebidding 2NT, do I want to
be in game opposite two queens? If they are the minor
queens, definitely. If the majors, I'm not sure, although
my stopper situation will be improved. I think I'll
need some fit or spots as well in that case. Upon reflection,
it seems as if
opening 2 is a mild overbid, but opening 2NT is
a mild underbid. I'll go for the overbid.
Partner raies to game, West leads a small heart, and I
Opening leader is a decent player, but East is a beginner.
I don't yet see how that might matter, but overall, I can
probably count on less than sparkling defense. I play
low from dummy and win East's 6 with the cowboy.
I'd like to preserve a late entry to dummy, so I shall
be profligate with my hearts.
There's nothing much to do but test the diamonds. If
they are 2-2, I'm playing for overtricks. No, West shows
out on the second round, pitching a low heart. It's lower
than his first one, so he has at least five hearts.
What now? If I thought this was a normal contract, I'd
try to make the maximum number of tricks, but I doubt very
much that anyone else will be in game. That means that
undertricks don't matter; I need to make the contract.
I do not see how I'm going to make nine tricks without
the diamonds, so I continue the suit. Maybe East will
continue hearts. On the third round of diamonds, West
pitches another heart. East thinks for a little while
and plays a small spade. I have nothing to do but try
the king, so I do. No luck. West wins it and starts
Good news! He shifts to the 10. I'm still in
deep water, but that's an improvement. West plays the
6 and I win with the A. My
only real hope is West's winning the A and
continuing clubs. Concealing the J might work;
it'll mark East with the jack and maybe the rest of
the missing honors from West's perspective. I continue
with a heart. West hops up on it and thinks some more.
He continues with a club, so I claim ten tricks. That
is good enough to win the board and the game (phew).
We've all heard about the ploy in which declarer gets
a lead into his AQx and wins the trick higher than
neccesary in order to get the opening leader to underlead
his king again while another suit was wide open. The
play above is just a variation on that; perhaps they might
be called "Profligate Coups."
May 9, 2000