Playing in a sectional Swiss, we draw the only other
decent team in the first match. We beat them, but
only by a little. But thereafter, while we don't
give up many IMPs, we don't score many either; the
boards are just flat, and they are blitzing ahead
of us. We have almost no chance to win, but second
is a lock.
In the last match, we draw another very weak team.
RHO decides to be rude early on. I doubt that had
anything to do with it, but the cards turned interesting
and we are slaughtering them when I pick up, white on red
QJ104 Q4 K1087432
I'm in first seat, and while I like to preempt,
this hand looks too flawed, so I pass. LHO opens 1
and partner bids Michaels. RHO chimes it with 2.
This guy has been out to lunch the whole match, and whether
he means it as a cue bid or natural, I don't care and don't
ask. In any case, I can bid 4. I don't know if it
is to make, to save, or whatever. I don't care. All pass.
Huh? Maybe I'm going to get a decent dummy for a change!
The opening lead is the A and believe it or not,
dummy has less in high card than I do:
Nice spots, pard. It's hard to believe I'm not doubled.
There is no way I will make this, and it doesn't matter
for a host of reasons, so at 50 per trick, I just start
playing. I ruff the first trick and try a pseudo-Morton's
Fork Coup by leading a small diamond. It seems to LHO that
if she doesn't take her ace, the diamond will go away on
the K, but I'm really short of tricks, and one loser's
going away isn't a big deal. But she flies with her A
anyway. That's good. I'm up seven tricks or so. She
shrugs and exits with a diamond, and I win. I ruff a club,
cash the K, and ruff a heart. Interesting...the
Q falls on my left. So 2 was natural. Did
I mention, "nice spots, partner?" Yeah, I did. There's
not much to do but ruff a club, so I do it. The J
falls on my left, and it looks as if clubs are 3-3.
I can somewhat reconstruct the hand now. It looks as if
LHO is 2353. She has the AQ, the AJ, and
the AJ. She must have precisely the K.
With the A, she'd have a 2NT opener. Could she
have K AQx AJxxx AQJx? That's 21 HCP, and she'd
surely bid something over 4. At the least, she'd
double. How about no A? No, that's a strong NT.
Or she falsecarded in clubs without the Q...I doubt
that. All in all, it looks like the layout is this
Wait a sec...I have a chance to make this! No kidding...checking...
I'm going to need a little luck with the trump spots, but
if I ruff the low heart before cashing the K, LHO
can win her trump, but won't be able to hurt me.
But if I cash the K now, she can overruff
the heart and play another diamond. I think that'll get me. So
I ruff the low heart, and LHO overruffs with her K. She
shrugs and plays the A. I ruff as RHO follows. Cool. Now
I can cash the K, leaving this position:
I play my small trump from dummy, and RHO follows low.
My J holds as LHO contributes the 9.
No way! I have nine tricks in, and there's nothing
RHO can do to stop my taking a tenth. In fact, I can
claim. Without stating a line of play. Because I can
play any card from either hand! It simply doesn't matter
which cards I play! I can cash a high club and pitch the
winning heart. Then RHO can ruff, and dummy's trump is
good. Or I can ruff the winning club. RHO has the choice
of overruffing and conceding the last trick to the J
or not overruffing and conceding the tenth trick right then.
The result is a fair bit surprising, and I chalk up +420.
At the other table, teammates bid and made 4. While
that contract appears to have only three losers, the Hawaiian
(5-0) trump break looks tough to overcome. Maybe RHO was on the
right track, after all.
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Goldsmith