|The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)|
Thursday, February 06, 2003
The first hand was played by my partner, Hamish Bennett, in the semifinal of the second knockout we played. At all vul he held
AQTxxx A2 Qxx Jxx
He opened 1. I responded 1N (forcing) and he rebid 2. I raised to 4 and all passed.
LHO led a trump and this dummy came down:
KJ9 Jxxx AJxx Tx
My raise to game was aggressive, but correct with a 3-card limit raise when partner shows an extra trump. (Wayne Stuart taught me this.)
Hamish won in dummy and led a diamond to the queen. LHO won the king and played a second trump, on which RHO showed out. This meant that a club ruff was unlikely.
Hamish led a club down and RHO popped ace. He led another club and LHO won the king and played a third trump.
Hamish overtook this and played three more trumps, throwing hearts from dummy. RHO threw one diamond; LHO did not pitch a diamond.
Now Hamish tested the diamonds. Both defenders followed to the ace, then RHO pitched a heart on the jack.
LHO had kept a diamond, and RHO the queen of clubs. Both defenders had one heart, so when Hamish led a heart, the king and queen dropped and Hamish took the game-going trick with the deuce of hearts!
(Note that RHO could have broken up the squeeze by playing a heart when in with the ace of clubs. At the other table my hand chose a single raise and the opponents rested in a part-score, so we won 10 imps.)
The second hand is from the knockout final. In first chair, none vul, I held
AT8x xx KJTx 9xx
I passed. Hamish opened 1, I responded 1, and Hamish raised to 2. All passed and LHO led a trump.
Q9x AKJxx xxx Kx
I played low from dummy and won RHO's jack with my ace. I then played a spade; LHO won the king and I unblocked the queen.
LHO cashed A, on which RHO discouraged. Then he led the J; I played the king and it lost to the ace. RHO returned a diamond, I played J, and LHO won Q. Now LHO led T; RHO gave this a look and played small. LHO then led a heart.
I have lost two diamonds, two clubs, and a spade, so I need the rest of the tricks for my contract. Here is the position:
9 AKJxx x -
T8 xx Tx 9
A club ruff would be nice but it would be difficult to get to hand, take the ruff, then get to hand again to pull trumps. Also
this line required trumps 3-3.
Was the heart hook on? LHO had shown K, AQ, J; that's 10 points and a queen makes 12. As he was a passed hand the heart finesse did not appear likely.
Qx with RHO was still a possibility. Also, my 9 was the second-best card in the suit, and RHO held the queen. If diamonds were 3-3 RHO would be squeezed in clubs and hearts.
I won A and played a spade to my hand. RHO pitched on this card. I pulled LHO's last trump (pitching a heart from the table) and RHO pitched again.
I played T and everyone followed. I cashed my last diamond, pitching another heart off dummy, and RHO was in trouble. He had Qx Q and had to unguard one suit. He did his best by pitching his club, but I played my 9 and took the high heart at the end. Making 2 and win 6 imps (I'm not sure what happened at the other table).
(Again, the defenders went wrong. LHO isolated his partner's club guard by cashing the ten; if he comes back with a heart I have no chance.)