It's been raining everyday during this
tournament, and I've been foolish enough
to spend a good deal of time outside. I
seem to have caught a cold and I'm running
a fever. We are playing in a knockout teams
event, and are down 39 at the half, although
we are a much better team than they are and
we are not playing badly. They have just had
a great deal of luck; all their errors have
gained heavily for them.
Early in the second half, we have some chances
to recover, but I'm feeling a little fuzzy. Both
vulnerable, I pick up K743 K1098 J K654.
Partner deals and opens 1 and RHO overcalls
1. This is a complex hand, and I start
with a negative double to show my four spades.
Partner rebids 2 and I can bid 2NT. It is
a little bit of an overbid, but my heart spots
appear to be valuable. Partner happily bids the
third, and when dummy appears, we seem to have
landed in a shaky game. Perhaps raising clubs
would have been better after all.
A couple of spade spots would make this a
much better contract. LHO leads the 7.
I'd like to see RHO play the A on this
trick, and since I need to unblock hearts,
I play the Jack from dummy. RHO thinks for
a little while and wins the A. This
is probably not best for him, but he sees
a promising line of defense, so he is eager
to pursue it. He cashes the A and
continues with the 10. I duck this
and win the third spade, pitching diamonds
from dummy. Spades appear to be 5-3.
I have eight tricks assuming the heart
finesse is on, which is pretty much a
sure thing. There doesn't seem to be
any simple line for a ninth, but where
there's eight there's nine, so let's see
if we can figure out how the hidden cards
lie. Hearts appear to be 2-5 and spades
5-3. I take a club "finesse" and RHO
appears to be starting an echo. If clubs
are 3-2, then diamonds are 3-3, and I can't
generate a trick in the suit by force. If
clubs are 4-1, then diamonds are 2-4, and
if LHO has an honor, I can finesse against
it and drop it. I can, however, produce a
possible elimination. I cash the A,
and RHO completes an echo. I think (and hope!)
that he has 3532 shape. If he is 3523, there's
nothing I can do about it unless he has KQ
alone, so I shall play him for 3532. I take a
heart finesse, which holds, both following,
and run the J. RHO wins and starts
thinking. Obviously, he doesn't have another
club, so he is endplayed. I show him my cards,
and he concedes nine tricks.
The partial elimination is not hard to conceive,
but the key play of cashing exactly two clubs
before creating tenaces in the red suits is not
exactly obvious, and this hand wins us 11 IMPs.
That's not enough; we only recover 35 to lose
the match by four. I'm not displeased. I'm
looking forward to sleeping off this cold.
August 4, 1997