Playing the last round of a sectional swiss,
things have not been going our way. We are
playing probably the 2nd best team in the field.
A big win for either side will let them be second
overall. The winners have already been decided.
With no one vulnerable, RHO deals and opens a
strong NT and I hold
107652 A109 73 KJ10
I pass, of course, as does responder. Partner
bids 2, showing hearts and a minor. Opener
passes, and so do I. LHO balances with 3,
partner passes, and RHO thinks for a long time,
then passes. I bet she's thinking of bidding 3NT,
which I very much doubt she can make. That won't
be bad for us, so I bid the normal 3, which
gets passed around to opener who does bid 3NT. I
have a problem.
What does RHO have? Probably AKx, the K,
and the A. She figures her partner has five
diamonds and a card, and she should have some sort of
play for this. I think she's mistaken; the A
is not where she thinks and I don't plan to give her
a heart trick. My clubs are so good that there's a good
chance we will take the first four or five tricks.
Maybe even six including the A. Perhaps I ought
to double to collect a nice penalty. What will happen
if I double? I'm sure she'll run to 4. Am I
willing to double that? Definitely not. It wouldn't
surprise me if it made, and we are not beating it a lot.
Will we beat 3NT more than we will beat 4?
Almost certainly. I'll choose a penalty pass and hope
to beat 3NT a bunch.
All pass and I lead the J as planned. Dummy is
a little better than I had hoped, but at least it does
not have a sixth diamond:
Partner wins the first trick with the A and
continues with the 2. That's his original
fourth-best, so we have only four club tricks at most.
Declarer tries the Q from hand at trick 2. I
win and cash another club. Partner plays the 9,
which I assume means he wants me to know that he doesn't
have the A. I knew that already.
|Me|| Dummy|| Partner|| Declarer|
|| || || 1NT|
Pass|| Pass|| 2|| Pass|
Pass|| 3|| Pass|| 3NT|
What are declarer's high cards? Probably the AKJ,
the K, and the Q. That's 13 HCP, so she
can have either the A or the Q, but not
both. Despite partner's high club, I think declarer
has the A. 3NT was a bit of a flyer, but it
seems much more likely she'd bid it with maximum 1NT
opener than with a minimum.
If she has four spades, she is going to have four spade
tricks and five diamond tricks if she guesses spades.
That's bad. I doubt she'll guess spades, and I am
not about to do it for her. At trick four, I exit with
the 7. Declarer wins and cashes four more diamonds.
Partner discards the 8 on the second round of
diamonds. We are playing upside-down signals (scary this
timethat eight-spot might matter), so he's going out
of his way to tell me not to play hearts, not that I was
Declarer has five diamonds. That's good! There's no
way she has four spades. Even Marshall Miles would not
bid 3NT here with a stiff K! That means she is
going down, probably two. To prevent partner from making
an error lest declarer run the J from dummy, my
first discard is the 10. Upside-down or right-side-up,
that card must promise the 9. It will also ensure that
partner covers the J should it be led. I discard two
spades on the last two round of diamonds; partner discards
two more hearts and his 13th club. It's time for declarer to
guess spades. Seems to me that she ought to cash the AK;
partner has not discarded a spade and must be 2-6-1-4. At least
she ought to cash the A and then finesse, as partner will
then be endplayed. She doesn't do that; she takes a first-round
spade finesse instead. It loses and partner exits with a spade.
I'd cash out now, but she tries a heart to her king. I win,
and we take the rest, partner's hand being good. Perhaps she
thought partner was 3-5-1-4? Then she would see my last spade
on the second round of the suit; there'd be no point to taking
a hopeless finesse. In any case, she got the ending wrong and
went down three, so we score +150. Our teammates were allowed
to play in 3 and were allowed to make it, so we win
six IMPs on the board.
Unfortunately, while we won the match by a lot, it was
not enough even for second. Someone blitzed and managed
to catch us by one victory point. Rats. If I had doubled 3NT and
then doubled 4, we would have luckily collected
+300 and one more victory point. The only reason we can get
them two tricks is that their two hands are mirrored. If
one of their low spades is switched with a low club, we would
be lucky to beat them one.
Copyright © 2002 Jeff Goldsmith