A First for Me
I am playing in the finals of the North American Pairs.
This event used to be called the Grand National
Pairs, which sounds so...grand. Why was it changed
to the sleepy-sounding "NAP?" With a bunch of
kibitzers around, I pick up a poor
hand in fourth chair, A10 J109872 652 98.
Partner opens 1 and RHO overcalls 1.
This is passed back to partner, who cue bids 2.
RHO passes, so I have to do something. My instinct
screams to pass, but I have an ace and a stopper, so
I bid the normal 2NT. Partner raises to game and
LHO leads the 7. I see
It looks as if we have enough tricks if they cannot
take five first. The A is probably
offside, and I can possibly block the suit by ducking
the opening lead if diamonds are 6-2, but that will
still give them two diamonds and three hearts. I
guess I have to hope the A is onside, so
I rise with the K. Wrong. It was AJ
doubleton on my right, so ducking would have blocked
the suit. LHO runs six diamond tricks. I pitch
a spade and three clubs from dummy and two hearts
and a club from hand. LHO continues with the K,
so ducking Trick 1 wouldn't've helped. It looks as if
I am down four, but RHO ducks the K, and LHO
shifts to a spade. RHO hasn't pitched a club, but
unless clubs are 4-0, I have the rest. Just in case
they are, however, I hop with the K. RHO looks pained
and discards the Q. I play another spade to
my hand, and RHO pitches the A. I claim three
heart tricks to go with my two spades and one club
to end up down three.
The whole hand turned out to be
RHO was squeezed on the run of the spades. I think
this is a first for me. Never before have I successfully
run a squeeze to avoid a fourth undertrick. I note to
partner that his hand only took two tricks and mine took four,
so I had my bid!
It looks like they only have five tricks against
2, so my instinct was right in a way. West,
however, was 6-6, so I suspect 2 would not
have ended the auction. Maybe some pairs will
be -170 against a spade part score, so my -150 will
gain some matchpoints vs. -200. Why didn't West bid
Copyright © 2015 Jeff Goldsmith