Declarer has many weapons to cause his opponents to
do the wrong thing. Some plays which fool opponents
are well-known and categorized, such as pseudo-squeezes
and falsecards. Some don't fall into any category;
I like to call those plays "fictions." I'm creating
a fictional scenario and hoping that an opponent buys
In second chair, all red at IMPs, RHO opens 1, and
I hold AQ54 KJ1098 3 1098. I overcall 1,
LHO passes, partner bids 2, and all pass. The
opening lead is the 7 and I see
The opening lead looks like a singleton, but I can afford
a club ruff, and I don't have a lot of dummy entries, so
I win and take a spade finesse. It loses, and LHO continues
with a small club. I win, of course, and take stock.
LHO has at least six diamonds. He doesn't have
four spades, since he surely has enough values for a
negative double, which means he's apparently 3262. His
diamonds are probably AQ or KJ, or he might have led
one or shifted to them instead of playing a second club.
With AQ and the K, I can't imagine he'd
pass throughout. But that gives RHO 4333 exactly with
about 15 HCP, and he didn't open 1NT. So the J
or Q is in the short hand. I'm inclined to guess
that the Q is offsides, because LHO didn't balance.
If he had KJx xx KJxxxx xx, I think he'd be more
likely to bid 3 than if he had Kxx Qx KJxxxx xx,
since the Q will pull more weight on defense than
I can make 2 even if I lose two trump tricks,
provided that I can ruff both my low spades in dummy.
I may need the 7 on my right to avoid a trump
promotion at some point, but if I play a trump now,
they can stop the spade ruffs. I'm going to need
another way back to my hand, too, so I need to get
a diamond played before I touch trump. I could lead
a diamond now, but I think that if I play a club,
RHO will attack diamonds. If I play diamonds, he'll
almost certainly attack trumps, which I don't want to
have happen. So I exit with a club. After a little
thought, RHO plays the A and the Q. I
ruff with the 9, preserving the eight.
Next, I cash the A and ruff a spade. Both
follow, and the J doesn't appear. So RHO is
roughly J10xx ??? AQx Qxx. He has to have
Axx. With AQx, he'd open a strong notrump;
without the A, he'd probably pass as dealer.
That means I'm cold now. Even if LHO has Q7
tight, all he can do is ruff the fourth spade and
play a diamond. His partner can ruff high, but he's
down to all trumps, so I can drop the Q.
I ruff a diamond with the 10 and play the
fourth spade. LHO ruffs with the 7. And plays
the 5! What's this? RHO downgraded his 15-count.
Uh, oh. I'm doomed now. The position is
There's one chance left. My order of the trump spots
may have left some doubt in RHO's mind about my exact
trump holding. I go up with dummy's 6, trying
to look like a man who has a trump smaller than the
6. If that's the case, RHO's only hope is to
win the A and play a small one, giving me the
problem to judge whether he opened 1 with a
4243 13-count or a 4333 15. That's not hard, but RHO
doesn't have much time, and if he's not been keeping
keen track, he might get this wrong.
He does! In a flash, he flies with the A and
continues with a low one. I hook and make my contract.
Nearly the same problem arrises for RHO if his partner
exits with a diamond. I ruff hight in dummy, making
RHO think that I'm about to underruff and pick up his
trumps. That's sort of a pseudo-underuffing grand coup,
except that dummy has a trump left, not that it needs one.
At the other table, RHO opened 1NT, LHO transfered to
diamonds, and our teammates were +110 to win six IMPs.
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Goldsmith