Playing in the final of a regional knockout teams event against an
overmatched but capable team, I run into a difficult defensive problem.
We are destroying them, but I am still playing for pride when I hold the
| AQ8 |
| J1092 |
1 2 was forcing and suggested a minimum, but did not
require more than five spades.
2 3 could be short; 3 or 2NT would not be forcing.
Partner leads the 5, I win with the Ace, declarer follows with the
Eight, and I stop to take stock.
Dummy has bid his hand very aggressively, looking for a slam with only three
spades and such a bad long suit, but they have landed on their feet. Since
this is a long team match, my goal is to try to beat the contract. With
trumps breaking poorly, that looks possible if I can kill the club suit.
If declarer has six spades, we probably have no chance because declarer has
a heart trick, the Q, and a club honor for his opening bid. He
will get five trumps, a heart, two diamonds, one club, and a ruff for ten
tricks. More likely, however, is that declarer has only five trumps, which
will give him 5-3-3-2 shape. He has either the K or the QJ,
the Q, and the A, plus one of the black Kings, but not
both. Exceptionally, he might be missing the A and have the
J as well as both black Kings.
If I tap dummy or exit passively, he will be able to draw trumps, knock out
partner's club honor (which is expected to be doubleton) and make easily.
Is there anything I can do?
Yes. After trumps are drawn, the only entry to dummy's club suit is the
A, so if I remove it the club suit is dead. I shift to the
K, knowing that this might give away a trick, but expecting it
to come back with interest. If declarer lets it hold, I can continue and
knock out the Ace anyway, so he wins the trick, misjudges trumps (I was wearing
a shirt commemorating ``The Short Life of the King of Clubs'')
squirms around for a little
while and finally concedes down one. My Merrimac Coup hit below the waterline
as evidenced by the complete hand:
| AQ8 |
| K |
| J1092 |
| 76543 |
David Bird points out that declarer can still make the hand
after the K shift,
but it wasn't easy for him, and he got it wrong.
Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith