Main     Article 7J65 by Richard Pavlicek    

Delicate Decisions

I was South on this deal from the final of the Life Master Pairs in Long Beach. After my 1 S opening, West made a light 2 D overcall (vulnerable too) and my son Rich bid 2 H (forcing). In competition this does not promise another bid, so with my ‘tweener I had to choose between a conservative 2 S or 2 NT, and an aggressive jump. Forever an optimist, I tried 3 NT; then Rich corrected to 4 S with his undisclosed fit.

4 S by South

E-W Vul
S J 7 2
H A 10 9 6 5
D 9 3
C A Q 3
S Q
H J 7 3
D A J 10 8 4 2
C J 6 4
TableS 10 9 4
H K 8 4
D 6 5
C K 10 9 8 2
Lead: C 4S A K 8 6 5 3
H Q 2
D K Q 7
C 7 5

West

2 D
Pass
North

2 H
4 S
East

Pass
All Pass
South
1 S
3 NT

West found the best lead of a club and I finessed the queen, which seemed a good bet on the bidding. Not. East won and returned the D 6 to the king, ace; then West led the D J to my queen. I next cashed the S A. Good news! The queen fell, but this also meant I could not ruff my diamond without losing a trump trick.

I considered my options: One was to win the C A and run all my trumps, reducing to H Q-2 D 7; then if West had H K-x left, I could throw him in with the D 7. But I didn’t trust this West to have his bid, so I decided to try Plan B, running the H Q to East. (This would also work if West held the H K and East the H J.) East returned a club to remove dummy’s entry, then I ruffed a club. West’s shape appeared to be 1=3=6=3, so I established the heart suit with a ruff; making four.

Did you notice how the contract could be defeated? West must duck my D K; then when East wins the H K, another diamond would be fatal whether I drew trumps or not. At double-dummy, 4 S can be made only by ducking the original club lead. Hmm. I’ll remember that the next time I play against this West maniac.

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© 2003 Richard Pavlicek