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Stripped

North Deals
E-W Vul
Matchpoints
K 10 7 4
6
10 8 3 2
A K 9 8
Q 8 6 2
10 8 3 2
J 7 6
4 3
 
A J 5
K Q 9 5 4
Q J 10 6 5
9 3
A J 7
A K Q 9 5 4
7 2
West North East South
1 ? 1 2
Pass 3 Pass 3 NT
All Pass

West led the 2. While tabling dummy, my partner said, "You have a right to be mad."
What he didn't know was that I was looking at nine top tricks. This being a matchpoints event, it was time to start thinking about overtricks.
East played the Q, which I ducked. East thought for a moment, then switched to the Q. I ducked again. East continued with the J, which I won. I cashed my second high club, West showing out, and ran the diamonds. West started with all three diamonds, so East had to find six pitches.
Against me, East pitched all of his hearts, perhaps playing his partner for the J (not unreasonable, given that West led a low heart, but then, why didn't East continue hearts after the first trick?)
But even if East pitches perfect, I can make the overtrick. East must hold the A and two hearts at this end-position:
K 10
9
 
A
K 9
9
A J
At this point, I lead a low spade from both hands, East's ace wins, and he must lead a heart for me to finesse.
Of course, I don't know for sure that East has the A, but when I run the diamonds, East will be forced to hold two hearts, and, if he holds the A, he with have to pitch away all of his clubs. If he doesn't hold the A, he will probably pitch away all of his spades, instead.
So when East pitches all of his club, I will play him for the A, and nail him. And if East was brilliant enough to pitch all of his clubs when he didn't hold the A, I would congratulate him on his fine defense, and move on.
In retrospect, I don't think much of my bidding. Partner might well have the A, rather than the K, and then 6 is cold. Even as it is, if West has the A, 6D is cold, making the slam close to 50%. There is even some chance that we could miss an excellent grand slam. Since partner is well shy of his opening bid, and slam is still 50%, I'd have to say I bid my hand timidly.
<< One Chance
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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