|The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)|
Sunday, January 26, 2003
We played yesterday as a tune-up. The Saturday club game in Palo Alto was not a normal shuffle-deal-play game but an International Fund Game with clubs across the country playing pre-generated boards. Here are two cards involving the "beer card" -- the seven of diamonds:
As dealer, both vulnerable, I held
Q765 AT76 KQ7 84
I passed and so did LHO and partner. RHO opened 1, so I made a takeout double. LHO bid 1 over this, and Hamish bid 1. RHO rebid 2, which LHO raised to 3. Everyone passed.
I led a spade and dummy appeared with
A84 8 AJ832 JT52
Declarer won the spade and led a heart down -- 8, 3, J. I won the ace and played another spade. Hamish won the K as declarer played the J.
Hamish led a third spade. Declarer pitched 4 on this and I won with the queen as I considered my next move. At first I thought declarer had six clubs. But she had two spades, clearly a doubleton diamond, and if she has six clubs, only three hearts. This would give Hamish five hearts and four spades and he wouldn't bid spades. So declarer was 2425.
If declarer had the king of hearts, the hand was over. So if Hamish had that king to go with his spade king, declarer had QJxx and probably the top clubs for her opening bid. Leading a club seemed pointless.
For declarer to crossruff she would need to ruff diamonds back to hand -- she needs three ruffs so only one trump entry can be used. Maybe I could scare her into ruffing high. I led back the diamond seven. She flew ace, led a club to the ace, and ruffed a heart. She ruffed a diamond and I played the king. Now a second heart ruff and a diamond ...
Afraid that I started with Kx of diamonds -- I would never make a takeout double with that holding, though you never know what some club players would do -- declarer made sure of her contract by ruffing with the K. Another heart ruff in dummy left her with J8 in dummy facing Q7 in hand. She led a diamond and Hamish ruffed with his stiff 9; I scored 8 on the last trick to hold declarer to nine tricks for 9.5 out of 12 matchpoints. (If declarer makes an overtrick we get an average.)
The field was not strong. Here is a hand on which I got a top for the simplest of squeezes:
As dealer, favorable, I held
QT6 AJ3 KQ87 KQ7
I opened a 15-17 notrump and Hamish bid 2, Stayman. I bid 2. Hamish rebid 3 which we play as "Smolen" -- four spades, five or more hearts. (This allows the notrump bidder to declare the 5-3 fit.) I bid 4 and now Hamish jumped to 6.
LHO led T. Here was my dummy:
A953 K8764 A4 A2
I won the ace and played the 8, keeping the seven. Now K, heart, and lucky day -- RHO had Qx. I pulled the last trump, played three clubs pitching a spade from dummy, and crossed to the ace of spades. I ran trumps. The king of spades did not appear so I played diamonds and they ran; RHO had started with K72 and J9632 and was squeezed on the last trump.
So with 17 opposite 15, an eight-card fit, and all the aces, we got to the second-best slam -- 6 notrump plays the same as 6, and scores better. I made an overtrick on a baby squeeze, and was rewarded with all 12 matchpoints.