<< A Familiar Combination Interesting Bridge Hands One Chance >>

Assumptions

South Deals
None Vul
Matchpoints
K 10 9
6 4
A 5 3
Q 8 6 5 2
 
A J 4 3
K 9 8 5 2
K
A K J
South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2 1 Pass 2 2 Pass
3 3 Pass 4 4 Pass
6 5 All Pass
1. A timid call
2. Shows clubs and 9-10 pts
3. Natural
4. Cue bid
5. A matchpoint stab, after bypassing 3 NT with a double stop in diamonds.

The bidding

I have close to the values for a 2 reverse, and I don't have a problem making a natural reverse here with only four spades, but I was unhappy about the stiff K, and I prefer to have a better suit when I reverse. Several people suggest I should have called 2 NT.
When my partner finally took his 4 cue-bid (a bid I really like, given his excellent help in the other suits) I found that we had a double-stop in diamonds and had bypassed 3 NT. I figured that there was no way 5 could beat 3 NT, so I bid the slam.

The problem

West thought long and hard before he passed the 6 bid. Perhaps he could tell I was taking a shot, but I was almost sure he had the A, and probably the Q as well. How could I make this contract with the A offside?
West led a diamond, which road to my king. If I played him for the A, it was futile to try to attack hearts. I needed to pick up the spades for four tricks, plus two diamonds, a diamond ruff, and five club tricks, to make twelve. I had to get to dummy twice, once to ruff diamonds and once to finish drawing trumps. I couldn't afford to overtake the J and ruff a diamond with another club honor, so my two entries had to be in spades.

The plan

The plan was, I would lead a low spade to the 10, ruff a diamond, take the top two clubs, and lead a spade to the nine. After running the trumps and cashing the A, I would be pitched down to:
K
6 4
Q x ?
A x ?
 
A J
K
There would be only two spades outstanding, and West would be marked with one of them - the queen. On the lead of the K, I'd have him. If East followed, I would overtake, dropping the Q from West. If East did not follow, I would play low on the spade, and then endplay West with a heart to his ace, forcing him to lead his last spade to my ace.

Result

Of course, the Q was with East, so my plan fell apart immediately. East fired back a heart through my hand, and I was down three when East turned up with a stiff heart and four clubs.
Sigh. At least I was right about the A.
<< A Familiar Combination
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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