In bridge, a gambit is a play in which one loses a trick
unnecessarily (my partners claim I'm very good at that!),
in order to gain more than one trick in exchange (but not
so good at that part!). They are very rare plays. The only
time I've successfully performed one was for zero matchpoints.
I played the hand great, but we were so much too high (and
doubled), that nothing could help our score.
Playing in the finals of the Life Master Pairs, it looks as if
I have found a second one. But there's many a slip 'twixt the
cup and the lip.
In fourth chair, I pick up a fair duke.
AJ87 AKQJ10 A1095
This hand is not going to be easy to bid, and it gets even
harder when RHO opens 3 in third chair. I guess it
is not so hard after all; there's nothing to do but bid 3NT.
OK, not hard, but not very accurate, either. LHO passes,
and partner goes into the tank. I suspect he's trying to
remember our methods here. Oddly, we play that 4 is
a transfer to spades (that's probably silly), and 4
is not defined. After a minute or so, partner bids the not
unexpected 4. That has to be a transfer to spades,
regardless of agreement. I'm not having any of that, so I
bid 4NT. That's not a superaccept or Blackwood, but a
"fahgeddaboutit" bid. High level notrump overcalls can often
be offshape, so rebidding notrump utterly rejects the transfer.
If partner wants to play opposite a small singleton or
void, he can try again, but that's his problem. Anyway, after
a fair bit more thought, partner passes. The opening lead is
Roberto (the 2), and as partner displays the dummy, he
says, "that's your suit!" Not exactly.
I wish I were
in 6 or even 7 from my side, but if I can't
bid my 150 honors, why am I thinking partner might have bid
his five small?
Anyway, 4NT is not much of a contract. I have seven
tricks. But if I could get to dummy...
I pitch a useless heart from dummy and win RHO's J
with the A. I note that they play fourth-best leads,
so if that is honest, RHO is 6-5! Or at least I assume he
has six hearts. After all, his partner didn't lead them.
There's nothing to do for now but run the diamonds. RHO
shows out on the first diamond trick and pitches four small
clubs(!) and a heart. LHO easily lets go of two spades. I have to
admit that I've not been paying enough attention; I don't know
which clubs LHO has left, but I hope none are below the five.
I'd like to cash the A to put pressure on LHO, but
I really need to keep my hearts intact for an endgame against
RHO, so I exit with the 10. As expected, LHO wins the
queen, and RHO pitches a heart. LHO shrugs and cashes her
other high club, and I unblock the 9, hoping to leave
her on lead so that she has to play a spade to dummy. She
seems a little surprised to see the 9 drop, so she
cashes her other club, the four. Argh! Why could not RHO
have been dealt that card! I calmly win the trick with the
five, planning to exit with a small heart to RHO to endplay
him for down one, when LHO says, "too bad, I have nothing
but spades left," and thinking she won the club trick,
flips the 7 on the table! I hasten to accept the lead
out of turn and claim the remainder. Sometimes a gambit works
even when it doesn't.
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Goldsmith