|Posted on April 14, 2016 at 9:59 AM|
I played at the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club yesterday, just as I do every Tuesday when I am in town. My Tuesday partner is Missy. I call her Missy because even though she is my age, she is so tiny (size 0) that she looks like a 12-year-old.
We were having a pretty good game, judging by the early results on our Bridgemate device, when Ideal and Lovely came to the table. I picked up my cards - they were awful:
♠98543 ♥T82 ♦J86 ♣65
If Missy opened 1NT I would transfer to spades and then pass. Otherwise I’m bidding green cards all the way. Missy was dealer and opened 1♦. My RHO overcalled 1NT. Boy, was I glad. I just hoped Missy wouldn’t make a re-opening double. LHO bid 2♣ (Stayman) and the opponents quickly reached 3NT so I was on lead.
As a rule, when Opponent is prepared to handle my partner’s suit I don’t always lead it. This is especially true if I have a better lead, one which will get tricks for our side. On this deal, I have nothing. I don’t expect to win a trick. Even though I have 5 spades, I don’t have entries and the ♠9 is a very long-shot winner. I decided to lead my partner’s suit (the suit Declarer is known to have) and not finesse her out of an important card in a different suit.
Having decided to lead a diamond, which one should I choose? I never lead a singleton against notrump, not even in my partner’s suit, so the lead of the Jack will tell her that I have at least two. Declarer will also assume that I have two diamonds so a little sneakiness is always a good thing.
Here was the whole hand (rotated for convenience):
Me Missy ♠98543 3NT by S ♠KT2 ♥T82 ♥AJ6
♦J86 Lead = ♦J ♦T532 ♣65 ♣AT9
Here’s the auction:
Missy Lovely Me Ideal
1♦ 1NT P 2♣
P 2♦ P 3NT
Declarer won ♦A in dummy and continued to play diamonds. She led the ♦9 from dummy, covered by my partner’s 10 and won in her hand with the Queen. She now cashed ♠A and tried to reach dummy with a heart. Missy won the ♥A and continued diamonds. Lovely “knew” I had only two diamonds as I started with the Jack, so she played the ♦7, beaten by my little 8. Wow! Whoever would have thought my hand would win a trick? But we weren’t done yet. I had to find another card to lead. I chose the ♠9, top of nothing as I did not want to encourage my partner. Lovely called for dummy’s Queen which was taken by Missy’s King. She returned a spade which Lovely won in hand, but she still has to lose to the ♣Ace and she still hasn’t set up a heart trick. In fact, she led towards her hand and put in the ♥9 losing to my 10. Two tricks won by my almost yarborough!
Poor Lovely! But what went wrong? Let’s count her tricks. On the diamond lead, she has 1♠ + 3♦. These are sure tricks. She needs to establish 5 more. Where can she get them? If she knocks out ♣A then she has 2 more tricks, maybe 3 if the suit splits 3-2 (it does). She can also set up a second spade trick and a heart trick. After winning the first trick in dummy I would play a spade to the Ace and then play K♣, Q♣ and, if Missy holds up till the third round (you’ll see her 10 drop) you will have established an entry to dummy via the ♣Jack. Once in dummy, you can set up a spade trick. They can continue diamonds when they win a trick but you still have time to establish your heart trick.
It’s certainly a tricky hand. Missy and I took 5 tricks. She won ♠K, ♥A and ♣A. I won ♦8 and ♥T. Deep Finesse says that Declarer can take 10 tricks in Notrump, hearts or diamonds. They can even make 5♣.
I’m just glad I didn’t have to play it.