|The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)|
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
There were a lot of long and strong suits throughout the evening. Here was my hand on the third board we played:
AKQJ732 65 AJ52
I was fourth chair, vulnerable against not. LHO and partner passed to RHO who opened with 1. I bid 4. This was passed around to RHO, who thought for a little while and rebid 5.
I doubled. This is not penalty; it just says that I bid 4 to make. Partner pulled to 5 and there was no more bidding.
LHO led the 8. Here is the dummy (and the bidding repeated):
I ducked in dummy and my jack won the trick. I was fine if diamonds were 3-2, but what if RHO had started with Q9xx? Then I would lose a diamond trick. Fortunately I had a counter. I led a low spade to the ten and ruffed a club with the ace! Then a spade to the nine and a ruff with the king, followed by a spade to the eight and a third ruff.
At this point both hands had one spade, two hearts, and three diamonds. I exited in hearts and what could the opponents do? If RHO won the second heart, he would have to lead into dummy's diamond tenace or give me a ruff-sluff. If LHO won the trick, I could finesse the diamond return, which would win if she somehow had the queen of diamonds, or be covered by RHO, in which case the suit was 3-2. And of course a heart or club return gives me a pitch for my diamond loser. LHO did have the stiff diamond so my caution was rewarded.
Obviously on a heart lead the contract has no play. But what if the opponents led a club? It would take a fine technician to realize that a 4-1 diamond break would have to be catered to immediately -- ruff the club, and cross to dummy three times in trumps, twice for club ruffs and once for a diamond finesse. I bet most declarers would be concerned with the location of the queen of diamonds, and would try to postpone the finesse as late as possible. There will probably not be enough data to make much difference in choosing which opponent to play for the queen; it's better to guess early and cater to the 4-1 break.
An amusing sidenote: Spades broke two-zero, so the opponents were on a heart guess to make six clubs!
The next board we played was a tough defensive problem. All red, fourth chair, I held:
K4 AQT AQJ983 32
LHO and partner passed. RHO opened 1. I overcalled 2. LHO cuebid 3 (showing a limit raise in support of hearts). RHO rebid 3 and all passed.
I made the passive lead of the 3. Here was the dummy:
Dummy's ace won the trick as partner played a discouraging 7 (we play upside-down). Then the Q was cashed. Declarer led a spade off dummy, partner played the Q, and declarer won the ace.
At this point I went into a long trance, and finally played the K. Declarer led the K; I ruffed with the Q as declarer pitched a spade off dummy. I cashed the A and crossed to partner's J. Declarer had opened 1 on K532 -- I can't understand why people do this, but so many players do -- and partner's third spade would force declarer to ruff with the king. (If he ruffs low I score the T, which is the fourth defensive trick with the trump ace still to come). I can overruff with the A. Dummy's J pulls my ten, and the nine draws a second round, but partner will be left with the 8 for the setting trick.