A Little Help from a Friend
8 6 5
Q 10 4 2
A Q 10 5
K Q 10 9 4
A K 9 3
Dave Metcalf (sphinx on OKbridge and a regular face-to-face partner of mine
in the early 90s) played this hand nicely to make his contract,
with a little help from the bidding. As his partner,
I have to admit, I passed 3 ♥ not due to any caution or wisdom on
my part, but because I thought Dave had opened 1 ♦. I'm not sure what
to make of Dave's 3 ♠ call - he certainly isn't ready for a
4 ♦ call if he reopens with a double, and his spade suit is pretty good.
Pass is an unpleasant option, although not unreasonable.
The ♣ Q
was led, and Dave won the ♣ A
, cashed the ♣ K
and ruffed a club, West's jack falling. Dave led a trump to the king, which
won. Crossing with the ♦ A
, he led another trump, and East
flew the ace, West showing out. East exited a heart, which Dave
won with the ace.
It looks like Dave still had to lose a trump, a diamond and a heart,
but Dave made an inspired play - he cashed the ♠ Q
and the good
, pitching hearts from dummy, then threw East in with the trump.
East could cash the ♦ K
, but then had to give up a trick in diamonds,
allowing Dave to pitch his heart loser.
If West had been quiet on the auction, we would either have played
, making, or 4 ♠
, which would
be down one when Dave took the diamond finesse. The
bidding gave Dave enough information, though - West showed up with
the ♥ K-J-x-x-x-x
and ♣ Q-J-x
, so he was quite
unlikely to have the ♦ K
as well. Also, East was marked with only
the one heart, so it was a sure thing that he was left with only
diamonds at the end when he was thrown in with a trump.
So again, let me argue passionately for passing. We often see
cases where preempts and overcalls win, but we rarely comtemplate the subtle
instances when they lose. Against a good player, describing your hand
can be very dangerous.
I've had spectacular wins when I've failed to overcall. While it is
nice to find that nine-card solid fit during the auction, it is much
nicer to find it on opening lead against 3 NT
It is often nice to conceal those 6-1 and 7-1 breaks in side-suits, as well.