Picked 'em Clean
Playing in a regional Flight A Swiss teams, we are leading at
halftime with 60 VPs (out of 80). We have a moderate
lead and expect to play one of the better teams in
the field after dinner.
It's not to happen. We draw a team who is considerably
less experienced than we are. My teammates are jubilant;
they haven't won a regional event together in about 20
years. Lots individually, but not as partners.
We are having a good set when I pick up
653 A4 Q1086 AJ53 at favorable vulnerability.
Partner opens 1NT in first chair, which we play as
10-12 HCP. Looks like it will be a boring hand, but
perhaps not. RHO overcalls 2. I take a second
to wait for a possible alert. It's forthcoming, so I
ask. "My partner has the majors." We play that a double
here shows at least one of the majors nutted; a delayed
double shows a good balanced hand. It's penalty-oriented,
but typically has exactly three trumps. There doesn't seem
to be much danger of their playing 2, so I pass in
tempo. LHO surprises me. "2NT," she cries. "Alert!" says
RHO. Partner asks, and he explains, "ten or more HCP."
Presumably that means artificial and forcing. Hmmm... does
everyone at the table have ten or more HCP? Partner passes,
and RHO bids 3. I don't expect he's going to make this,
but I don't think the auction is over, so I pass. It's not.
LHO leaps to 4. Pass, pass, and the ride stops with
a double. Our original agreement is helpful here; partner
probably can tell that I have a good balanced hand with a
little something in the majors, rather than a trump stack.
Evidentally, she remembers this and leads a trump. Good!
Dummy hits and I see:
Declarer plays low and wins the 8 in her hand.
I contribute my highest trump to give partner count.
She'll feel much better to know I have three trumps.
Declarer continues with the 10. Partner considers
this, then wins with the Q and plays a second trump.
Declarer again wins in her hand to lead a heart towards
the table. Partner plays low and declarer inserts the
8, won by my stiff ace. I get to lead the third
round of trumps. This is going to be a total massacre.
Declarer no longer has the trumps to set up and cash
the fifth heart, as partner has K9 left.
She's going to get five trump tricks
and whatever she can manage in high cards, which looks
like very little.
It turns out that declarer's other six HCP (she had four
in trumps) are the A and the Q.
The former scores her sixth trick, but we get the rest
for sticks and wheels. 1100 on a hand that is likely to
be passed out at the other table is sure to be 14 or 15
When we compare with teammates, they say, "we have a couple
of pickups." One was a grand slam they defeated which we
didn't bid when we determined it to be on a finesse and a little change.
Luckily, the finesse lost. The other was this hand. One of
my teammates opened 1 in fourth chair with the lady's
ten-count, to "create some action." He was raised to 2
and on soft defense was allowed to make it for +110. He might
as well have passed it out for the same 15 IMPs.
We end up winning the event by one victory point.
Copyright © 2000 Jeff Goldsmith