Try, Try, Again
Playing in a sectional Swiss, I deal and pick up a pretty
AJ8 AQ98 A10 AQ53
This seems right on the borderline between 2NT (20-21) and 2
followed by 2NT. If partner has a queen and a
jack, 3NT is going to be no bargain, so I don't upgrade.
Partner, after a little thought, bids 3NT, and LHO leads
the 4. As partner puts down dummy, he says, "I bid
3NT on a hand very similar to this recently. It didn't work
out." That's encouraging.
So much for my reasoning about a queen and a jack. At least
it looks like I was on target: 3NT is no bargain.
I play low from dummy, and RHO puts up the Q. It seems
right to start diamonds. They'll probably duck two rounds, but
maybe I can get a feel for how things break by then. I expect
accurate count, at least from whoever does not have the K,
so I can judge whether to overtake the 10. LHO high-lows
to show an even number on the diamonds, so I don't overtake,
and after a little thought, RHO ducks the second diamond. It
seems pretty clear that he has Kxxx.
So I now have two spades, two easy hearts, two diamonds,
and one club. I'm going to have to get tricks out of both
clubs and hearts at some point. I'd prefer to start clubs
from dummy, so I lead the 8. LHO thinks for a moment
and plays small. I think this is a real hezzie, not a deceptive
one. Since it looks as if he has the K, I rise with the
J, which holds. I could play clubs now, but I think
it's stronger to lead a high diamond from dummy. When RHO
covers, I discard the J! That breaks up a one-suit
squeeze of sorts against me in spades. If RHO had continued
spades, I would have had a Hobson's choice; if I put up the
J, LHO would duck, and if I don't, he'd win and clear
the suit. RHO does, in fact, continue spades, but LHO is
now forced to win and lead one of the suits I need played.
In practice, he continues with a club. I put up the 10
from dummy, but it's covered with the J. I win and
lead toward dummy's other club spot. That loses, and a club
comes back. I win, and am pleased to see that clubs were 3-3.
I cash another club to reach this position:
I have seven tricks in (one spade, one heart, two diamonds, and three clubs),
and I know LHO has the K, so I place the Q on the table.
LHO wins and thinks for a second, but I face my cards, and he folds.
It turns out that the cards lay so well for me that nearly
anything would have worked; LHO held K7643 K105 86 764.
If I had seen the opponents' cards, I could easily have made
an overtrick. This line, however, was very pretty; it included
attempts to take advantage of all dummy's high spot cards, a cute
unblock, and a nifty endplay at the end.
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Goldsmith