During our brush with Hurricane Frances this month, I was playing an online practice match when this deal arose. As West, I competed to 3 after partners weak two-bid was overcalled, but I doubt this had any effect. Some might feel it pushed the opponents into game, but North should bid 4 regardless.
On lead against 4 , I moused over the obvious A, but then paused to consider. Holding the ace of trumps, whats the hurry? Partner probably has the K for his bid, but not necessarily (especially opposite a loose bidder). I figured I could always shift to the A later if desired. Whether this logic is right in theory is moot, but I hit on a good lead with a low trump. (Ace and another trump would have been better yet, but far-fetched.)
After winning the Q in dummy, declarer immediately cashed the top diamonds and ruffed the J as I covered. Easts spade pitch on the third diamond was ominous, suggesting 6-4 in the black suits since his 8 at trick one was surely a singleton. Declarer failed to heed this warning and proceeded with what seemed like a safe play: He led a spade to the king. Oops.
After winning the A, I returned a spade to East; then a third spade forced declarer to ruff high, as I pitched a club. The 9 then went to my ace, then I led my last club to dummys ace. I now had the blank 7 behind declarers J-6-5-4, and he could not prevent me from scoring it with an overruff.
Declarers error was a subtle one. He should have cashed the A after ruffing the diamond (or sooner), then he could safely try for the overtrick by leading a spade. This way, he could not be locked in dummy, and my 7 could easily be drawn.
Perhaps it was declarers blackout on this deal that led to our own the Fla. Power & Light variety soon thereafter. Argh! Six days without power or phone lines was a miserable experience. I suppose it had some benefit in changing our daily routine, allowing time to stop and smell the roses alas, if only we didnt have to return to the bat cave each night.
© 2004 Richard Pavlicek