Ross Taylor

A rare moment of clarity

I have not played much at all in the past year, and as you might expect, when I do inconsistency is my middle name. However, occasionally a situation pops up where I find an exciting play – analagous to an average golfer scoring a couple of birdies – it sucks him in, and makes him want to come back for more.

Yesterday in the NABC Fast Pairs, I picked up    954  98654  AQ6  A4

No one was vulnerable, and in first chair I passed. LHO opened 1D, and his partner responded 1S. I passed. LHO bid 2C, , and RHO rebid 2S. I elected to let this go again, and 2S was the final contract. (I felt like a wuss for not competing on the hand, but had decided the risk outweighed the potential benefit)

I led the heart nine, and the dummy was: 

Dealer: north

Vul: none

North

  954

  98654

  AQ6

  A4

 
  East

  AJ

  K3

  K7542

  QJ63

Declarer called for the heart king from dummy, and partner won the ace and cashed the ten. This meant we had missed our 5-4 heart fit with the king onside.

Next partner played another heart which declarer ruffed in his hand, and pitched a diamond from dummy. He played a spade to the ace and then played the spade jack, winning.

Now he called for the club queen. Partner fumbled a second and followed with the five. Declarer followed with the eight, and now it was me to play.

The fumble by partner must be put out of mind of course. It could be he was wondering whether or not to play the king, or how to give count, or he could have been trying to remember where he parked his car.

We had two tricks in, and two more aces in my hand to come. Partner may have been dealt the spade queen, in which case, declarer for sure has the club king. Or if partner did not have the spade queen, he must have begun with 10xx, else surely declarer would have overtaken the spade jack to clear the trump suit.

It seemed I had to negotiate a club ruff to beat the hand. If partner had the club king, I should win the club ace, and play another club to his king, and hope to score a ruff, or less likely, create an uppercut situation.

The uppercut seemed remote, since it looked like declarer had exactly five spades and two hearts, ergo six minor suit cards. If he had begun with only two clubs, then that would have given my partner a stiff diamond – he likely would have switched to a diamond earlier.

On the other hand, if declarer had the club king, I should duck the club queen, and thwart him from coming to his hand. I decided this was the better play.

I followed with the club four, and declarer now played a second club to his king, as partner played the two, showing an original four card club holding.

So declarer was likely 5-2-3-3 shape.

Now I had to put my partner in to give me a club ruff. There was only one holding he could have that could work for me – Jx of diamonds. And to force the jack to be an entry, I now had to exit with the diamond queen from my original AQ6.

Only the queen would do.

Sure enough, declarer played dummy’s king, which won, and a second diamond, which partner won with his jack. Happy day!

How sweet it is when things go the way you planned. The full layout was:

Dealer: north

Vul: none

North

  954

  98654

  AQ6

  A4

 
West

  KQ863

  72

  1098

   K98

East

  AJ

  K3

  K7542

  QJ63

  South

  1072

  AQJ10

  J3

  10752

 

The opponents can make two spades, and we can make two hearts, so beating two spades should ensure a respectable result.


2 Comments

John Howard GibsonJuly 29th, 2011 at 11:02 am

HBJ : Lovely article……great shame you don’t put finger to keyboard more often.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 29th, 2011 at 11:08 am

Your talent is wasted when you write and don’t play! Come out of hiding. We need more like you.

Judy

Leave a comment

Your comment